‘Aha.’ Mike seemed to perk up. He extended a hand for me to shake. ‘I’m Mike.’
I shook his hand. ‘I know that.’
‘Of course you do.’ Mike was entirely unselfconscious about his famous identity. ‘And you are?’
He skewed his head and examined my cleavage. Instinctively, I lifted a hand to my chest to obscure his view, but my fingers connected with the backstage pass instead. I blushed. He had been staring not at my cleavage, but at my pass. He was trying to decipher my name.
‘Emily,’ I helped him out.
‘Emily,’ he read at the same time.
I mustered a smile even though my tummy was doing somersaults. My mouth seemed to have gone very dry. Mike oozed sex appeal from every pore, and it appeared that I wasn’t immune to his charms. Not even remotely. The only other person I had ever responded to like this, physically, was…Nate.
‘You okay?’ Mike grabbed my hand. ‘You look like you’ve seen a ghost.’
‘I’m fine,’ I croaked. ‘Only a bad taste in my mouth.’
‘Bad taste? Is there something wrong with the food?’
Mike leaned over to sniff my plate suspiciously, and I burst out laughing.
‘The food’s fine. It’s me. It was a metaphorical bad taste.’
‘Ah.’ Mike sat back, increasing the distance between his body and mine, and I sneaked in a surreptitious deep breath.
‘You looking forward to the show?’
I nodded. ‘I am, actually.’
‘You are, “actually”? You sound surprised.’
He was extremely perceptive, for a man. Damn, but the parallels between this encounter and meeting Nate were too disturbing for words. I refused to analyse the notion and elected to dig myself a hole instead, for the second time that night.
‘I am. Surprised, I mean. Of course I’m a fan, of sorts. I know your music. My ex used to play it all the time. It’s…it’s…’ I searched for a suitable adjective but failed. How did you describe rock music?
‘It rocks,’ I eventually supplied, and received a bellow of laughter in return.
‘I should certainly hope so,’ Mike yelped, wiping tears of mirth from his eyes. I pouted and returned my attention to my food. If in doubt, stuff your mouth with canapés to absolve yourself of the need for small talk.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Mike looking me up and down carefully.
‘Let me guess,’ he said. ‘Your ex got the VIP tickets, and you’re only here because of him.’
I swallowed hastily to clear my mouth. ‘Is it that obvious? Do I have a tattoo on my forehead or something?’
‘Not really. But you’re different. From, you know, our normal fans.’
‘Yeah, so I’ve been told,’ I replied wryly.
‘No, it’s good,’ Mike hastily amended. ‘It’s nice. It makes a change. I like it.’
I like it. The way he said it, it sounded like he meant, I like you. A ferocious blush spread across my cheeks, down my chest, and right down to my toes.
‘So where is he?’ Mike’s eyes were all innocence, entirely belying the nature of his leading question.
‘Who?’ Two can play your game.
‘I don’t know.’
‘You don’t know?’
‘I don’t know. He’s not here, if that’s what you’re asking.’
Mike inclined his head and his eyebrows lifted, making his eyes look wide and excited. They were a light, chestnut brown, similar to Nate’s and yet entirely different. They shone with an easy-going, teasing light.
Mike was extremely handsome, in a rugged kind of way. Where Nate’s hair was only on the long-ish side, Mike’s was unashamedly long. But it suited him. Inexplicably, it seemed to accentuate his manliness, especially when combined with that smooth, bare chest peeking through from under his unbuttoned shirt.
My all-body blush ratcheted up a few degrees, and I felt extremely hot. I couldn’t be attracted to this man. I couldn’t. I was on the rebound. I loved Nate. I had only just figured out that I loved Nate. I was only here because I wanted him back. Therefore, I couldn’t possibly be having that kind of reaction to a different man. A different rock musician, at that. Was this life’s cruel way of ramming home the error of my ways?
It took a moment for me to register that Mike had claimed my free hand again and that he was, in fact, gently massaging my palm with his thumb. His touch was warm and gentle, but every time the pad of his thumb alighted on the base of mine, my vagina jumped with joy. I had had no idea that my thumb was an erogenous touch point, but there was no mistake. Mike had a direct line to my loins, and he seemed to know it.
‘Well, well, well,’ he muttered softly. ‘He’s not here. How long since you broke up?’
None of your business, my head screamed. Back off, I’m not interested.
‘About four weeks,’ my mouth said coyly. ‘You know what it’s like.’
Mike’s eyes softened. ‘I do know what it’s like,’ he concurred. ‘From one free soul to another.’
A bell rang out from somewhere, and it pierced my consciousness like a knife. I felt as though I was waking from a trance.
‘Would you like an autograph?’ Mike asked, changing the subject completely. I reeled but pulled myself together.
‘Yes, of course. Um…’
I was still holding my plate, and I had no paper whatsoever to write on. But that didn’t prove a problem.
Mike grabbed my right arm and turned it inside up. Before I could object, he was writing on it with a marker pen that he had produced from his shirt pocket. The thick nib of the pen tickled the sensitive skin of my inner arm, and I held my breath, too stunned to object. Mike took his time, and the moment was almost sensuous in its significance. I found myself covered in delicious goosebumps from head to toe. It seemed that rock musicians had a peculiar effect on me. My body clearly knew me better than my mind.
I sat rigid and barely breathing until Mike finished with a flourish, released my arm, and planted a kiss on the back of my hand.
‘I must be off. Enjoy the show.’ He got up and left before I could reply. Dumbstruck, I stared after him until he had exited from the room. Only then did I examine his handiwork on my still tingling skin.
To Emily ~ I hope you’ll come after the show. Mike xxx
Fallen for Rock releases 30 June 2014 in ebook and paperback editions!
Meanwhile, you still have a few days left to enter my Goodreads giveaway of two signed paperback copies! Hurry, giveaway closes 23 June!