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Excerpt from Rock On

       Rock guitarist Nick Davies was scanning the bar area of the latest NYC hotspot for his next conquest. There was a cute brunette in a silvery mini dress, a beautiful black woman with legs a mile long, and next to her…

       Whoa.

       Nick stopped dead in his tracks. The club’s rotating spotlights had briefly illuminated a stunning red-haired, green-eyed goddess with flawless pale skin.

       He blinked to refocus, but the image was gone. The spotlights had moved on.

       “Something wrong, boss?” His bodyguard Jimmy had noticed that Nick had stopped moving and seemed rooted to the spot.

       “Change of plans.” He grabbed Jimmy by the elbow and guided him toward the bar instead of the VIP area, Nick’s gaze sweeping the scene in front of him.

       Where was she? Had he just imagined her?

       There. She was real.

       The redhead’s glorious shoulder-length curls were a tempting beacon even in the relative darkness, but when Nick got to within about twenty feet of her, he stopped.

       How odd. He could feel his heart beating erratically in his chest. He never got nervous about approaching a woman. Hell, women threw themselves at him all the time!

       “See that goddess with the red hair? I want you to go chat up her friend with the long legs.”

       Jimmy glanced at the bar and his eyes lit with understanding. Like a good wingman, he approached his target from the opposite side, forcing the girlfriend to turn away from Nick’s goddess. Nick gave Jimmy a minute to work some magic, and when the dark beauty put her fingers on Jimmy’s biceps to feel up his impressive muscles, Nick knew it was safe to make his move.

       His goddess had turned away from her girlfriend in order to give the new couple some privacy. Her eyes were scanning the crowd when they landed on Nick.

       And stayed there.

       He gave her his best rock star smile, the one that had melted the hearts of more girls than he

could count, and closed the final few feet between them.

       “Hello there, gorgeous.”

       Why did she half-turn her head as if she expected he was talking to someone behind her?

Surely she knew what she looked like in a mirror!

       “Um, hi,” she said, giving him an uncertain smile in return.

Nick paused. Huh. She obviously didn’t recognize him. Well, it was dark in here. “I’m Nick Davies.”

       “Uh, I’m Ains – Annie.”

       Nick frowned. Hell, she didn’t recognize his name, either? Did she live under a rock? And what

was with her tentative attitude? People came to a club like this to meet other people, right? People they might like to sleep with. Like Nick.

       Maybe another tactic might work.

       Nick put a thoughtful finger to his lips. “Hmm. I was hoping your personality would be as fiery as

that brilliant red hair of yours, Annie.”

       And you’ll be as fiery in my bed.

       Those glorious emerald eyes of hers widened slightly as she stared at him. “That sounds like an

insult.”

       Nick laughed. At last he was getting somewhere. Maybe the way to spark her fire was to say

outrageous things to her. Hell, he certainly had been known to be outrageous.

       “My not-so-subtle way of striking up a conversation,” he admitted, raising one eyebrow. “It

worked.”

       This time it was her turn to say, “Hmm.”

       Nick was undeterred at her apparent lack of enthusiasm. “So. To paraphrase someone

somewhere, our eyes met across a crowded room. We obviously like what we saw, because we introduced ourselves. I suppose now we should get to know each other a little. What brings you here tonight, Annie?”

       “Best friend’s birthday.” She jerked a thumb toward the black beauty Jimmy was chatting up.

“You?”

       Nick might be outrageous, but he knew enough not to say flat out, I’m hoping for a sleepover

and you’re a perfect candidate. “I heard about this club from some friends, and wanted to check it out.” When she didn’t offer anything in return, he searched for another topic of conversation.

       So weird. He didn’t usually have to work this hard with a woman. It was a new experience for

him. A challenge.

       Was he up for it? Hell, with her flaming hair and jewel-toned eyes Annie was certainly a prize

worth pursuing. So what did normal people talk about while trying to pick each other up in a club?

       “Um, do you work, Annie?”

       She nodded. “I’m an associate producer for Wake Up America.”

       Nick digested that bit of information, and noted the pride in her voice. He was pretty sure he’d

seen that TV show once or twice.

       “I guess that makes you smart,” he teased. “So, then…what’s the capital of Haiti?”

       “Port-au-Prince. Is this some sort of test?”

       “It’s not a test,” Nick said, “but… I’ll bet you don’t know where the American word sheriff comes

from.”

       She tilted her head, regarding him. “Um, no.”

       One of Nick’s favorite things to do was to file away useless bits of information. It broke up the

endless hours on tour and allowed him to entertain people. “In England our counties are called shires, and back in olden times the men who kept the peace in the county were called reeves. In America, a ‘shire reeve’ became a ‘sheriff’.”

       Her eyebrows reached her hairline, and her glorious green eyes looked impressed. For some

reason, her admiration had his heart racing again. It wasn’t often he dazzled a girl with facts instead of his fame.

       Actually, to be honest, he couldn’t remember the last time it happened.

       The magnificent smile that spread across her face now was making Nick a bit breathless. This

woman was staggeringly beautiful.

       “Actually, Nick, I think that transition might have happened before English came to America. It

was Robin Hood and the ‘sheriff’ of Nottingham, right?”

       Damn, she’d one-upped him. Another rarity. But instead of being upset, Nick was impressed.

       “Touché,” he acknowledged with a nod.

       “So… are you a professor or something?”

       He paused. It was almost a shame to admit his actual identity. She was going to be totally

embarrassed when she put two and two together and realized who he was, and for some strange reason he didn’t want to mortify her. “No. I’m a musician.”

       “Really? What instrument do you play?”

       Despite himself, Nick took a half-step back. Okay, so she hadn’t recognized his face. Or his name.

But he’d told her he was a musician. Wasn’t that enough of a hint? Hell, he’d just come off a sold-out nationwide tour!

       Forget about living under a rock, maybe this woman was from Mars.

       “Guitar,” he ground out. “I play guitar.”

       “Tough business, the music industry,” she commented. “I have some friends in local bands who

really struggle. I admire anyone who follows their dream like that.”

       Instead of taking the compliment, Nick felt his teeth grind. I just made millions on a comeback

tour that was all over the news.

       He forced himself to take a breath. “Just out of curiosity, Annie, what kind of music do you

like?”

       She tilted her head, and her glorious curls tumbled sexily over one shoulder. Nick had to stop his

fingers from reaching out to test the lush feel of them.

       “With my job, I don’t have much time to listen to music,” she said.

       Okay, so that answer helped soothe the sting to his ego a little, but still…

       “So, Annie. Now that we’ve met and had a chance to talk a little, how about going back to my

place so we can get to know each other even better?”

       Her eyes registered surprised, and her eyebrows reached her hairline. “Excuse me?”

       Nick gave her his sexiest smile and leaned toward her. “I have a brownstone not too far from

here, and a car waiting outside to take us there.”

       Her surprise turned to shock, which made Nick frown. What the hell was the problem?

He was a good-looking guy. He’d thought he’d been perfectly polite, interested, and patient with her tonight, despite the insult of her not recognizing him. And frankly, he’d spent three times as much effort on her than on his typical conquest.

       While he watched those emerald eyes of hers turn from warm green to a hard jade, her girlfriend turned from the bar.

       The black beauty took one look at him and squealed loudly. “Oh. My. God. You’re Nick Davies!

       Unfortunately, her voice carried even above the pounding beat of the dance music. More than

one club patron threw him a curious glance.

       His goddess, meanwhile, was staring at her friend.

       “What?” the woman said. “You don’t recognize him? He’s in Sebastian Roe’s rock band!”

       Annie did a double take, and looked him up and down. Meanwhile, Nick’s night took another turn

for the worse.

       I’m in Sebastian Roe’s band? Screw that. He was more than just some hired musician – he was

the band’s co-founder!

       An angry growl started deep in his throat. That’s it. I’m out of here. The evening had been ruined. First, he hadn’t been recognized, and now he’d been relegated to the position of some hired hack. He signaled to Jimmy, who handed him his leather jacket.

       “I’m sorry.”

       Annie’s sweet voice and her apologetic tone made Nick pause.

       “I’m sorry that I didn’t realize who you were.”

       Nick eyed her with suspicion. What did she mean by her statement? That she might sleep with

him now that she knew he was famous? He hated the fact he wasn’t above accepting that rationale if it got him what he wanted. But it wasn’t lust or longing he saw in Annie’s eyes. It was just a sincere acknowledgement that she hadn’t recognized him.

       A spark of admiration suffused Nick’s chest. Annie was beautiful. She was intelligent. And she

had self-respect. A rare woman in his world.

       It made Nick wish he’d handled things differently tonight.

       A small crowd had begun to gather around them, watching their every move, and Nick heard low

whispers of his name spreading through the group. It was time to move before the crowd got out of hand and he was mobbed.

       He pulled out his cell phone. “Can I have your number?”

       Annie shifted uneasily on her feet. “I don’t know–”

      “Are you kidding?” Annie’s friend grabbed his phone. Her thumbs flew over the keypad as she

input Annie’s number, then handed the cell back to him.

       “Boss…” Jimmy warned, eyeing the growing crowd warily.

       Nick’s gaze lingered on Annie’s brilliant green eyes for a moment. “It was a pleasure to meet

you. I really mean that.” He gave her and her friend a small smile, then turned to his bodyguard. “Let’s get out of here.”

 

       “He’s not going to call,” Aisling said calmly.

       “Why not?” her best friend, Jen, asked. “He seemed totally into you, girlfriend.”

       Aisling frowned. Nick had seemed into her, but obviously it was only with one end in mind. “He’s

not going to call because I told him my name was Annie. If he looks up Annie in his phone contacts, nothing will be there. Well, at least I won’t be there.”

       Jen looked shocked. “Why on earth did you do that?”

       “Self-protection, I guess. And it turned out to be a good thing. He asked me to go back to his

place after five minutes of conversation. I’m not going to be just another notch in some rock star’s belt.”

       “But you didn’t even know he was a rock star until I pointed it out to you.”

       “That’s true...” Aisling hadn’t been fascinated by Nick Davies because he was famous, she’d been

hooked by his story about the origin of the word ‘sheriff.’

       Pure catnip for a nerd like her.

       Still, there was no future with a guy like him. She shrugged. ”Whatever. I’ll never see him again.”

 

© by Leigh Court

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