Excerpts: Hooch in Hades

Over the past few years I’ve been working on this series that follows four bandmates. Greyson, Kyle, Adam, and Nate all find love- in very different ways. Here are some excerpts for them!

 

Rock Stars Are a Trope (MF)“Why did you do this?”

“What?”

“Why did you do this for me?” Gabby turned to look at him, waiting for an answer.

“I didn’t do it for you.”

Her heart dropped. Gabby stared at him, trying not to show her hurt.

“The truth is, I missed you. I wanted to see you. I wanted to make an impression and give you a reason to want to see me again.”

Gabby was left speechless for a couple of seconds. “You really think I don’t have my own reasons for wanting to see you again? I promise you, me wanting to see you again has nothing to do with you flying me here, as much as it means to me. I want to see you again because I miss you.”

He stared at her, slightly taken aback based on the look that crossed his face. He looked away quickly.

“Thank you.”

He said it so softly she hardly heard it. Gabby crossed over to him and touched his back softly. He stepped toward her, still facing away from her. Gabby didn’t say anything. She just stood there, her hand against his back. She tried to figure out if she should say something or not, but she couldn’t think of anything worth saying, so she just kept her trap shut. A few seconds passed but not long until Nate turned and gave her a smile.

“I’ve got to admit I don’t have a lot of time to hang out with you, but I figured I could at least bring you out here, and we could spend some time together, and then Paige and Kenda would love to hang out, I’m sure. If you don’t mind hanging out with them.”

“No, not at all.” It wasn’t quite a lie. She wanted to hang out with Paige and Kenda. She was just nervous to do it. From what she could tell, Paige and Kenda were best friends. Although Paige had been really nice to her when it was just the two of them, she wasn’t sure she would be with a friend around.

Don’t worry so much. Paige doesn’t seem like that kinda girl. 

Trying to shove the thought out of her mind she padded over to the bed and sat.

“Does that mean I won’t get to spend much time with you?”

“Sorry, but no. I’ve got a lot of work to get done.”

Gabby bit her lower lip. She nodded, not liking his answer but understanding it.

“I’d try to get out of it, but I know I can’t.”

“No, I don’t want you to put off work because of me. I don’t want to be that kind of girl.”

A smirk spread over his lips. “See, this is one of the reasons I love you.”

His words shocked her. Gabby snapped her head up, and she stared at him with wide eyes. Had she just heard that right?

Nate’s eyes were wide as he stared at her. “I mean…” He struggled to find words, looking scared.

“I know. I mean you don’t mean you love me.” She cut him off. Of course he didn’t love her. “That’s way too soon.”

“Yes. Yes, right. Still too early for love. I just meant—”

“I know.”

“Yes. Good.”

Nate ran his fingers through his hair with a sigh. He refused to meet her gaze. She wasn’t sure what to say next. Just play it cool. Pretend it didn’t even happen. She cleared her throat.

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Rock Stars ArenAnna dropped her purse onto the table as she blew out a deep breath. Her brow still furrowed as she mulled things over. I just met a celebrity, she thought. The thought was shocking as she realized she had just met a celebrity, and more than that, she’d snapped at him.

Guilt tugged at her. She really shouldn’t have. I mean, he was just trying to make sure I was okay. That wasn’t something Anna was used to. Although she and her dad were close, she was used to taking care of herself.

That night she didn’t sleep very well. She knew it was silly to be so focused on this random guy, but for some reason she couldn’t stop thinking about him—even after she closed her eyes. Which meant when she woke up she wasn’t half as well rested as she wanted to be, and by 7:00, when she was heading out the door, she already wanted to go to sleep. Her hair teased and a pair of jean cut offs on, she felt like she should be walking toward an old pickup truck. She knew part of the music world had to do with the looks, hence the cowboy hat that she held in her hand as she slipped into the car. All right, gotta get there before the opening act gets on. She’d need all the time she could get to network with everyone.

She gunned the engine and pulled out of the driveway.

The more she was out there the more likely it would be for someone to take a liking to her. Anna quickly realized that the way to build a fan base was to be out there getting to know everyone, and that’s what she did. She knew there weren’t many other options if she wanted to succeed in this line of work.

Most people thought musicians just posted songs on YouTube or something, but that had never worked for Anna—she’d tried it. So she did it the old fashioned way.

* * * *

She pulled up to the bar with a deep breath. It looked like Jesse was here, but there was no sign of the other cars—except for James’s, but he was always here. He did own the bar, after all.

Anna stepped out of the car and grabbed her cowboy hat. She placed it over her head and padded to the back door for the band to enter.

“Anna!” James exclaimed. He padded to the bar, already getting her a drink. Anna grinned as she followed him, her heels clinking softly against the wood floor.

“I wondered if you’d be here.”

His voice sounded like silk, but it made her heart skip a beat. She spun to face him, her mouth hanging open.

“I—what are you doing here?”

“I came to see you, obviously.”

She raised an eyebrow, trying to keep cool.

“I figured it would be a safe bet to check the same bar again. I mean, you are on the event card, aren’t you?”

Her eyes widened. Of course flyers were all over the place promoting their show tonight, but she hadn’t expected him to actually notice that. She took a deep breath and smirked.

“Funny, I thought you were on an event card tonight, too.”

He laughed. “I am. I just told my friends I might be a little late. Of course, I’ll still get there before I have to be on stage. I wouldn’t make my fans wait.”

“That’s kind of you.” Anna looked him over for a fraction of a second, then held her hand out to him. “Anna.”

“Adam.”

They shook hands as his eyes roamed over her body.

“I guess you knew that though, didn’t you?”

“Nope. I had no clue what your name was.” And she hadn’t. She wasn’t a fan of the kind of music he played, at least she was guessing she wasn’t considering she’d never heard one of his songs before. As far as you know, she thought.

Adam’s smile widened. “You didn’t?”

“Nope. I saw a poster for you yesterday, that’s the only reason I recognized you.”

He let out a soft laugh. “Well, I’ll be damned.” His smile widened as James brought Anna’s drink over.

“Thanks.” She gave him a quick smile.

“Bell.” Despite the fact he used his nickname for her, Jesse didn’t sound happy. Anna’s body tensed as she turned to him. “I’ve got some bad news.”

Her eyes widened as she saw the look on his face. “What is it?”

“Mike won’t be able to make it.”

“What?” Anna snapped.

“He’s sick. He’s been puking all day. We didn’t want to say anything until we were sure he wouldn’t be able to make it, but he just went and doped himself up on cold medication.”

Anna groaned. What were they going to do? “Great,” she muttered. They’d have to cancel it. There was no other option for them. Anna ran her fingers through her hair. I’ve got to find someone who can replace him. Maybe someone I know…. No, she’d know if there was someone. Anyways, they’d have to learn all the songs for the set list.

It just wouldn’t work.

Anna blew out a deep breath. She could feel the stress inching to every part of her body, her muscles tensing.

“Who’s Mike?”

She’d totally forgotten that Adam was there. She took a deep breath, trying not to sound too disappointed. “He’s our bassist. And if he’s sick then there is no way we can play tonight.”

“You know…” Adam grinned widely. “I do happen to play bass.”

Jesse stared at him with wide eyes. “You do? Well, could you—”

“No,” Anna cut him off. “He can’t. He’s playing with his own band tonight. Hooch in Hades, was it?”

“Oh, I’ve heard of them.” Jesse mulled it over. “Donna’s kid is a big fan of them.”

“What time are you playing?”

“Nine,” Jesse answered before Anna could.

Adam bit his lip, a movement that sent a shiver down Anna’s spine.

“And you’re on for an hour?”

“Yes.”

“I’d need a ride right to the venue, but I could probably do it.”

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Rock Stars Are Fun (MF)

“He’s single.”

Paige’s breath caught in her throat. “Cool.” She tried not to sound too happy. After all, he was just some rock star—no big deal.

Kenda raised an eyebrow. “Cool? That’s all you have to say for yourself?”

“What else am I supposed to say?” Paige shrugged.

Despite the fact that she and Kenda had been friends for a long time, they were very different when it came to these kinds of things. Kenda liked to show how excited she was about things. Paige, on the other hand, didn’t.

She liked to keep that to herself.

Her eyes drifted to the man she had been looking up and down for a while now. His black hair hung damp from sweat. His blue eyes sparkled.

He wasn’t as big as Greyson, though when you compared them shirtless they were both well matched for muscle. It was just that Kyle was…thinner.

Paige gave her friend a grin as the boys stepped off stage, it was clear Kenda was about to be very busy. Paige stepped back, allowing Greyson to pull his girlfriend into a deep kiss. Paige turned away from them, letting Kenda and Greyson to have a little privacy as she made her way over to the guitarist who had just stepped off stage. His eyes sparkled as he looked her up and down.

“Did you enjoy the show?”

“I have to admit; you weren’t half bad.” She crossed her arms over her chest, her grin widening.

“Not half bad?” Kyle laughed softly. “I’ll take the compliment.”

He stepped past her, heading toward the dressing room, where the rest of his band had gone.

Paige looked around. They were completely alone. “I was wondering, do you think you could give me a ride back to my place tonight?”

“What about Ken— Right, she’ll probably be at my place.” He laughed softly. “Sure, I’d be happy to.”

“You could always stay at my place.” Paige shrugged. “I’m sure we could find something to do.”

Kyle stumbled over his own feet. Paige glanced sideways just in time to see his brow furrow. Is he really not picking up on this? She mentally shook her head as she closed her eyes just long enough to hide the eye roll.

* * * *

Kenda and Greyson left pretty quickly after they got backstage, which left Paige alone with a band that she hardly knew. She’d like to get to know Kyle better. Since she had met him earlier tonight she had wanted to rip those torn and tattered skinny jeans off him.

What could she say? Rock stars were her thing.

Of course it helped if they were talented, and Kyle had surprised her by just how talented he was, and how much he knew about music.

“Ready to head out?” Kyle asked as he reached for his guitar case.

“Yeah.” She was utterly aware of both other bandmates staring at them. “I’ll see you guys around!” She gave them a wide smile. With Kenda dating the lead singer of their band, Paige was sure she would have to see them around now and then. Which might mean this is a bad idea. But would it really matter? It wasn’t like Kyle didn’t know anything about a one-night stand.

They were fun. That’s all it was.

As they made their way along the halls and out to the parking lot, neither of them said a word. Hell, it wasn’t even until he pulled his little Camaro over in front of her apartment building that she turned to him.

“So, do you want to come upstairs?”

“I’d love to.” He was out of his car faster than Paige was. She grinned, stepping out of the car and heading toward the door. Paige was known to go home with some of the bandmates that played at the bar where she worked, but she’d never slept with a guy who had been on a best sellers list before.

She unlocked her door and headed for the flight of stairs that was between them and her apartment—and more importantly her bed.

“I wasn’t going to offer you coffee or anything,” she said as she unlocked the door and pushed it open.

“I wasn’t under the impression you invited me up here for coffee.” Kyle’s voice sounded like silk. He reached out and touched her ass, sending a shiver of pleasure down her spine. Warmth pooled in the pit of her stomach as she took a deep breath and slipped her purse off her shoulder, tossing it onto the brown couch that was to her left as she entered the small apartment.

Without slipping off her shoes, she headed for the bedroom.

When Paige turned around she wasn’t surprised to see Kyle right behind her as they stepped into her small bedroom. It was, of course, a mess. She hadn’t actually thought she’d be getting lucky tonight. Otherwise, she would have cleaned it. But it didn’t matter. It was not like he would notice.

Kyle grabbed her wrist, pulling her toward him as his lips crashed against hers. Her fingers tangled into his hair as she pulled him closer, their kiss growing more passionate.

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Rock Stars Are Trouble (MF)

Knock. Knock. Knock.

Her heart skipped a beat as her eyes snapped open. Shit. Was it already one o’clock? Kenda glanced at the clock. Yup.

Kenda rushed for the door, taking a deep breath. Suddenly her heart wasn’t racing because she was angry. It was racing for another reason, one she wasn’t willing to admit to herself. Just friends, he said, Kenda reminded herself as her fingers curled around the handle, and she pulled the door open.

“Hey,” Kenda forced a smile over her lips as she greeted him. He wore a pair of green camo pants and a muscle shirt. Kenda swallowed dryly as his muscles flexed, holding on to something. She glanced down. The black dog sat there. “Hi, Brut.”

“I hope you really meant he could come.” Greyson grinned. His black hair was tied back today, and again his green eyes were hidden behind glasses. He clearly hadn’t shaved for a few days, either. A little five o’clock shadow looked good on him.

“I did.” Kenda forced herself to speak as she continued to look him up and down. “Come on in.” She stepped out of the doorway and motioned for them to come. “Sorry it’s kinda a mess. I lost track of time.” She didn’t see the point in lying, but she wasn’t going to add the part about her boss taking credit she thought she deserved. I could just be overreacting.

“It’s not a mess. Trust me, my place looks much worse.” Greyson grinned. “Before I take him off his leash, do you mind if he goes on the couch? I know some people are super against it.”

“Oh, I don’t fucking care,” Kenda scoffed.

Greyson grinned as he let the dog off the leash. The dog didn’t seem to have any interest in looking around. All he cared about was following Greyson around. Greyson, on the other hand, he seemed very interested in looking around.

“Were you getting the interview ready to go?” he asked, glancing at her computer.

“Sorta.”

Kenda closed the distance between him and her desk before he could get a good look at what she’d just been reading. “Been doing some research, too. You didn’t tell me that fan who needed you was a little girl.” She turned to face him again.

“Maybe I liked the idea that you might be jealous.”

Kenda felt butterflies pool in her stomach. Oh this was not good.

“You thought I was jealous?” she asked as she raised an eyebrow.

“A man can hope, can’t he?”

“So you were hoping I was jealous?”

Greyson shrugged. “Let’s just say it’s been nice to meet a girl who doesn’t seem to want to jump me.”

“But you still wanted me to be jealous?” Kenda grinned, stepping towards him, interested in his answer.

“Doesn’t everyone want something they can’t have?” His eyes locked on her. A warm shiver ran down her spine and settled in the pit of her stomach. His green eyes sparkled behind his glasses.

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