Read Wicked Beat Page 2

Page 2
Author: Olivia Cunning

She turned and found Sinners’ drummer, Eric, standing behind her. She smiled at him, and he smiled back, looking like he’d just discovered the puppy he’d always wanted under the Christmas tree. “Rescue me? From what?”

“Do you really think we’d make you stay on the pigsty bus?”

“I don’t mind,” she said.

“The place is highly toxic to sensible females. ”

She laughed and slapped him on the arm. “Then I’ll be perfectly fine. ”

Eric paused and raked a hand through his crazy hair.

For some inexplicable reason she wanted to run her fingers through it too. Like a work of art, Eric Stick’s hair demanded attention. It was long on one side—something to hold on to. The other half was sheared off short. She imagined it would feel soft and silky beneath her fingertips. A row of inch-long spikes ran from forehead to nape, separating long locks from short fuzz. It was shiny and ebony except for the long lock that curled around his throat and hung down to his left collarbone. By some strange coincidence it was dyed the same blue she’d chosen to dye hers—for the sole purpose of ticking off her mother—not a week ago.

She wondered if his was real hair or fake extensions. She reached up and ran a finger over the long, blue strands. They felt real. Silky. Smooth. Warm from his body heat. She stroked the lock again between her fingers and his throat. His Adam’s apple dipped as he swallowed hard. She cocked her head at him, really seeing him for the first time. When she really looked at him, he was actually very attractive. Why hadn’t she ever noticed him before? Obscenely tall (from her low vantage point) and lean. Rugged features. Strong jaw. Straight nose. Thin lips with a ready smile and a sexy cleft in the middle of his chin that begged to be stroked with her fingertip. He was no Trey Mills, but…

Rebekah’s gaze lifted to Eric’s eyes, which were the color of a clear winter sky. “Will Trey be on the other bus?” she asked.

Eric’s slim black brows drew together into a scowl. “Yeah,” he said. “Of course. ”

“Then I’m there. ”

She turned, brushed past Eric, and trotted down the bus steps.

“Later, Reb,” she heard Travis call from inside the pigsty bus.

Eric loped down the steps and came to a halt beside her. She glanced around the parking lot looking for another bus. She’d only seen one bus when the taxi had dropped her off. It wasn’t like a big ol’ tour bus was something she could have easily overlooked. Behind the pigsty bus, she spotted the large, black moving van with Sinners’ red logo painted on the back, but nope, there was no other bus in sight. “Where’s the other bus?”

“Sed’s bringing it. He called and said he was on his way. And before you ask, yes, Trey is with him. ” He rolled his eyes skyward and shook his head.

She set her suitcase at her feet to wait. Rebekah took another glance around the parking lot and noticed a vintage Stingray Corvette parked under a palm tree. That hadn’t been here when she’d arrived. She’d have noticed it for sure. The car was a real beauty that had been manufactured in 1965. Maybe ’66. Shiny emerald green paint. Its convertible top had been left down. Good thing it didn’t rain often in Southern California.

“Sweet!” she said, practically salivating over the car’s beauty and the raw power she knew would be under its hood.

“What?” Eric asked.

She pointed enthusiastically across the parking lot. “That gorgeous hunk of metal over there. ”

Eric’s gaze followed the tip of her finger. He scratched behind his ear when his eyes located the object of her obsession. “You mean my car?”

She glanced at him, eyes wide. “That’s yours?”

He grinned and nodded. “Yeah. I’m so proud of her. She died at only two stoplights today. ” He held up two fingers.

“She died?”

Eric scratched behind his ear again and stared up at the clear sky. “I can’t seem to get her timing right. Or maybe I didn’t gap those new spark plugs correctly. I’m not sure. ”

“Mind if I take a look?” Rebekah left her suitcase by the bus and was heading across the parking lot before he could answer. He caught up with her in two long-legged strides.

Before Rebekah’s failed stint as an oil-rigger and a crab fisherman, um, fisherwoman, she’d had a failed stint as an auto mechanic. Not because she had been bad at it, but because no one took her seriously. She had been bad at rigging oil and fishing crab—five-foot-two and a hundred and six pounds soaking wet did not make her suitable for many of the jobs she insisted she wanted.

When she reached the car, her heart sank. The camel-colored, leather interior was totally trashed. “What did you do to her?” she bellowed and turned on Eric, who took a step backward, his smile fading.

“She was like that when I got her. ”

“And you just left her like this? How long have you had her?”

Eric tipped backward at the hips, lifted his toes off the ground, and stared at his black Converse high-tops. “Uh, around ten…”

“Ten days?”

“Uh…” He shook his head.

“Ten weeks?”

Eric cleared his throat. “Um… ten… years. ” He whispered the last word.

She slapped him on the chest with the flat of her hand. “How could you? She’s a priceless work of art and you treat her like junk. ”

“Junk? No, not junk. She’s my baby. ” He patted the door affectionately.

“Your baby? That pisses me off even more. ” Rebekah moved around to the front of the car to pop the hood. “If the engine looks as bad as the interior, I’m gonna scratch your eyes out. ”

Eric covered his eyes with both hands.

And he had reason to. “Oh, dear,” Rebekah gasped as she tried to make heads or tails over what someone had done to the once glorious V-8 engine. “Is that? Is that… a coat hanger holding open the carburetor choke?”

“I tried to fix her,” Eric said, his eyes still protected by his long-fingered hands.

He looked ridiculous. And somehow endearing. She smiled to herself and propped up the hood with a metal rod—another coat hanger.

“Are you sure you should be the one trying to fix her?”

“I have a repair manual for this model,” he said. “A really good one. ”

“We’re going to need it to figure out how to straighten out this disaster. ”

He lowered his hands from his eyes. “We’re going to need it?”

“I’m sorta a mechanic. Or I used to be. If you want, I’ll help you get her running properly. I don’t do interiors though. ”

He hesitated.

“Do you have a better suggestion?” she asked, running a finger along the side of the engine block and finding seeping oil. Blown head gasket. Wonderful. She sighed heavily. This poor car. How could he claim that it was his baby?

Eric moved to stand beside her, looking at the completely fucked up engine with something that bordered on pride. “When I had her towed to my house from the junkyard, I promised myself that I’d do all the work on her myself. She does start now. ” He glanced at Rebekah. “Sometimes. ”

“I’m surprised she runs at all. ”

He flushed and looked across the parking lot. Rebekah stared at him, perplexed. He hadn’t been this cute ten minutes ago, had he? Maybe because he was so close, she was able to get a better look at him. And he smelled good. A hint of leather and aftershave and something utterly male. She suddenly wanted him to notice her. As a woman.

Rebekah shifted sideways and brushed her arm against his, pretending it was an accident. He didn’t move away, but he didn’t increase the contact between them either.

“You can keep that promise. If I do help you,” she said, “you’ll be the one doing all the work. I’ll just supervise. ”

His bright, genuine smile did something strange to her heart. It soared upward, fluttering in her throat or thereabouts.

“That sounds like a plan, Reb. ”

His hand slid across her lower back. A thrill of excitement raced up her spine.

“I don’t expect you to volunteer your help,” he said. What would you like in repayment for your assistance?”

His thumb rubbed a small circle at the base of her spine. Her breath caught. Why were her nipples suddenly erect? She thrust her breasts forward, wanting him to observe them, and not sure why the thought of him seeing her arousal excited her. She chanced a glance at him and found his eyes closed. Her heart sank a little. He wasn’t paying attention to her. She turned away from him slightly. Not exactly out of his one-armed embrace, but to be less… engulfed by the man. He stood over a foot taller than her, which made her feel very feminine and small. She wasn’t sure she liked that feeling.

“Uh, what did you have in mind?” she asked breathlessly.

“I give a pretty good massage,” he said, his low voice drawing goose bumps along the side of her neck. His eyes opened and immediately fixated on the small bumps at the front of her thin tank top. His breath caught. She tugged the hem of her shirt down, giving him a nice view of her cleavage as well. She pretended that was accidental too. He was definitely paying attention now.

Which would make now a good time to grab hold of the long side of his hair and pull those easy-to-smile lips against her throat.

Wait. What was she thinking? Trey—all cool, suave, and sexy—was the band member she wanted to tease mercilessly, not this silly guy with the… with the… mesmeric hands. Oh. Just his thumb rubbing in circles along her lower back had her muscles melting. Her belly quivering. Her nipples straining.

Eric moved behind her, and his long fingers dug into her shoulders with just enough pressure to have her swaying back toward those wonderful hands in bliss. His thumbs massaged either side of her spine as he worked his way lower. Lower. Lower. Mmmmm, lower.

“Sold!” she cried as a deep shudder shook her entire body. Dear God, this man’s hands…

Eric chuckled and those strong, long-fingered hands moved around her waist to splay over her belly. He drew her against his lean-muscled body. She tilted her head back and found his gaze locked on her neckline. He bent his head closer to her ear. “I’m good at other things too,” he murmured.

I’ll bet you are. “Just not fixing cars,” she teased.

His hands rubbed her belly, and she longed for him to move them a bit higher to massage her aching breasts. If his hands felt that good on her back and belly, what would they feel like there? Oh, and down there.

“That wasn’t nice, little Reb. ”

“Who said I was nice?”

“You look very nice to me,” he murmured.

She tugged the neckline of her shirt a little lower. Her nipples were scarcely covered now.

Eric drew a shaky breath through his teeth. Did he want her? She wanted him to want her. More like needed him to.

A loud, low rumble drew Rebekah’s attention. Thunder? On a sunny Californian day? A red Harley entered the parking lot and headed across the expanse of concrete in their direction. It pulled to a stop beside them, and its rider, dressed all in leather, shifted the bike on its kickstand.

“Tripod!” Eric greeted.

“Tripod?” Rebekah echoed.

The rider removed his helmet, revealing the cutest member of Sinners, bassist Jace Seymour. Jace was a perfect ten on the hottie scale. That dark beard stubble and bleached blond, spiked hair totally worked for him. Rebekah found each member of Sinners attractive in his own way. Lead guitarist Brian, with his cover model good looks, was a perfect ten. Vocalist Sed, all hunky and handsome, was another perfect ten. Rhythm guitarist Trey, sultry, sexy, with a heap of bad boy thrown in for good measure, was at least an eleven. And then there was Eric. Their drummer. She’d never really paid much attention to him. Too busy drooling over Trey. Trey—hummina, hummina, hummina—Mills. She wondered when he’d arrive.