Working as an assistant for the metal band Serration is Alicia’s dream gig—a far cry from the cubicle she abandoned at her old job. She promised herself she wouldn’t become starstruck, but the band’s frontman, Vince, proves very hard to ignore. She manages to resist him on a daily basis, but soon she finds herself thinking about the keyboardist, Emerson, all the time.
The two men’s closeness confuses her a little, and Vince’s promiscuous reputation makes her wary, but when Emerson invites her to Vince’s summer house for a week-long getaway, she jumps at the chance. A single day in such close quarters convinces Alicia of one thing: these two men want each other as much as they want her. Will they only see each other as rivals, or will they give in and let her lure them both to her bed and her very willing arms?
Emerson signed his name, and then he initialed three times. He turned the paper over and signed again. With a deep breath, which failed to fortify him as the tax form in his hand made his eyes begin to cross, he signed and initialed two more times on the next page. Then two more signatures and three initials were required on the next piece of paper. Under that lay five pages stapled together, requiring him to initial throughout and then sign at the very end.
When someone walked back into the conference room, he said with unmistakable venom, “God almighty, if I ever see that lazy shit again I will kill him with my bare hands!”
The person stopped abruptly and to his surprise laughed. The beautiful sound, which always caught his attention, made him jerk his head up.
“I wouldn’t blame you. I’ve been filing and mailing and scanning documents for three solid days,” Alicia said as she pushed her tumbling black curls off of her face. “I’m so glad we’re almost done.”
“Oh.” He paused, feeling like a jerk for losing his temper in front of her, even if he hadn’t known it was she. “I bet you have been swamped. That must suck.” He rolled his eyes inwardly at his lame evaluation, but what else could he say?
She dropped down into a chair beside him and slumped over, her leg brushing his, which sent a zing of pleasure through his entire body. Obviously not seeing his evaluation as lacking in any way, she said, “It does. I need a vacation after this.”
“Come with us to Vince’s summer house,” he blurted before he could second-guess his instinct.
Emerson played keyboard for a metal band, Serration, with his high school friend Vince, and three guys they’d met in college, Mike, Tom, and Garren. Just a week earlier, Charles, their manager and accountant for the past six months, had abandoned them. At that point, they had realized two things: some, but luckily not all, of their money was missing, and none of their legal or operational paperwork was anywhere to be found. Contracts, booking records, royalty reports, tax records, and all forms of legal documentation, all were gone. Many important documents relevant to the last six months of operations, they suspected, had perhaps never even existed. Vince, with the help of his father and their family connections, had quickly located and hired a good team of lawyers and both a new manager and a new accountant for them. Except for being unable to find Charles, things had gone smoothly since then. As soon as the lawyers were satisfied with all their signatures, the whole band was heading to Vince’s summer house on a lake in his hometown of Hella for a much needed break. They had intended to begin recording again the next month, but for now it would have to wait.
Alicia smiled. “Really?”
Emerson nodded, pushing his long brown hair out of his face and behind his ears. He had a tendency to hide behind it, especially when Alicia was around, and he fought the urge now. He’d been wanting to get Alicia alone for months, but other things always got in the way between work and the other members of the band. He’d kept his growing feelings a secret because he didn’t want anything the guys did, even with the best of intentions, to ruin things for him. “As my guest. I insist. Here I am bitching about having to sign stuff, all the while you’ve been shuffling all this shit around for days with, I’m thinking, very little thanks.”
“Your thinking is correct. Everyone has been a bit testy.”
He set back to work on the papers, finding every highlighted spot and adding his signature or initials. He paused. “Did you do all this?”
“The highlighting? Yeah.”
He let out a long sigh. “Wow. I am going to make it my personal quest to see that you have an amazing time. As soon as I’m done, I’m telling … um … blond guy?”
He stopped with his pen in mid-air. “Theobald?”
She nodded. “Get used to it. I think he’ll be a great manager.”
“Well, I’m telling him you are coming with us. You were always on top of things with this last tour, so I know exactly how hard you work. You learned the ropes so quickly.”
She laughed. “How did you know I was always on top of things? My job changes every two days around here.”
He straightened the papers, trying to come up with an answer. He couldn’t very well say he watched her constantly, always made a point of knowing where she was and what she’d be doing each day, at every stop, in every city. When their eyes met after his long pause, he almost thought she might guess. Quickly, he said, “Because every time I see you, you’re doing exactly what you’re meant to be doing, which is usually making sure we aren’t missing a cue or an appointment or doing something completely stupid, not to mention reminding others of the jobs they need to be doing.”
She blushed and laughed again. That laugh was improving his day more with each passing second, and the color rising to her cheeks was adorable. “Wow. I’m glad someone has noticed.”
He nodded slightly and said in a soft voice, “I certainly have.”
“Then I would love to come with you guys. Are you still going this afternoon?”
“I think so.”
“And Vince won’t mind?”
“No. There’s plenty of room. No one has ever had to sleep on the floor, I promise.”
She raised her eyebrows. “Oh, I’m sure.”
He knew she was thinking of Vince’s and Garren’s reputations. Both of them had flirted with her on many occasions. “You’ll be my guest and have the perfect freedom to tell anyone to fuck off. I’ll do it for you if I have to.”
“So I’ll have a protector from the band’s bad boys, huh?”
“Oh yes.” She had always seemed immune to the charms of the other guys, but was this a mistake? He hadn’t made her status as his guest, or what he intended her status to be, one hundred percent clear yet. If she didn’t know he wanted this to be like a date, what would prevent her from hooking up with someone else? Most women would do almost anything to get in Vince’s bed. Or so it seemed to Emerson.
She smiled and seemed about to say something when Vince walked in. “Hey, Em, are you done yet? I figured you and I could ride up together.”
He looked down and saw he had six more pages. “Almost.” Then inspiration struck. “Hey, you know, I remember the security codes and all. You guys go ahead when you get ready. Alicia’s going to come, and I’ll give her a lift. I still need to finish packing, and it may take a bit for her to get done here and get packed, too.”
Vince’s green eyes, which women always melted for, flicked to Alicia. Emerson didn’t like the heat there, or the odd smile that played on his lips, but to his relief Alicia kept her gaze on him, not turning it to Vince.
“Thank you! Give me the ones you’ve done, and I’ll get started scanning. Just bring the rest down when you’re done. Then you can go confront Theobald.”
She took the papers and breezed past Vince with just an excited smile and nothing more. Vince smiled back, running his fingers through his own dark, curly hair. He kept smoothing his hair back as he turned and watched her walk down the hall, his eyes lowering just enough to annoy Emerson.