**For Adult Readers Only
Reid’s Deliverance by Nina Crespo, Chapter One excerpt
The lead singer of Thane’s Redemption jumped on stage. He grabbed the mic and blended his rich baritone with the edgy rock beat.
Waves of sound filled The Song, and the packed audience of mostly women cheered.
Up-tempo guitar riffs and pounding drums brought them to their feet.
Lauren Blake danced. Audible sweetness and the dark-haired keyboardist intoxicated her.
Muscles flexed underneath the clean-cut hottie’s navy button-down shirt. The rock and thrust of his jean-clad hips inspired fantasies of holding on for a sinful ride. As he played a rapidly building chord, he scanned the crowd. His gaze lingered where she jammed with Ari and Celine. Her heart rate ticked up.
Silly, he’s not staring at you. Interacting with the crowd was part of the gig.
The band launched into a cover of a popular song.
Lauren plopped down in the curved, faux leather chair at the table.
Celine sang the lyrics along with the band. Dark hair skimmed her shoulders as she shimmied to the beat. Finally, she was enjoying life.
As Lauren fanned her face, she winked at Ari.
Plum-colored lip tint complimented her friend’s light brown complexion along with her smile. “Mission accomplished.”
Celine had given them hell about going out tonight. Still, they’d zipped her into a killer red dress and dragged her from the apartment. Her having a good time now made up for the massive attitude. Not to mention, she’d snagged Thane. The tall lead singer had a silky-looking mane most women would die for; a muscular build, and, from what she’d heard, mesmerizing golden eyes. He was the sexiest guy in the band. Well, one of the sexiest.
Thane sat down on a stool center stage with an acoustic guitar. He dedicated the next song to Celine.
The sensual rumba-styled melody captivated most of the women in the audience. The rest shot eye-daggers in their direction. Lauren flipped her hair and gave the haters pointed looks. Please. They needed to get over it. Celine more than deserved the attention.
Lauren immersed herself in the lyrics. They were an invitation for one night of passion. The chords hummed through her veins. Images drifted in of the keyboardist wrapping her in his arms. His caresses floating over her. His wicked, tantalizing kisses weakening her knees. Prickles gathered along her spine.
He looked her direction.
Her face grew hot, and she squeezed her thighs together, quelling the ache. It was dumb to entertain the illusion, especially with her good-man indicator on the fritz. Hadn’t she learned her lesson after consistently picking out so many duds? Her handy hell-no list did ferret out the worst. Mama’s boys and cable sports junkies. In-between-jobs types who wanted to use her as their personal ATM. Commitment-phobes who didn’t “do” relationships. Courtesy of the last loser, double hell-no to self-centered pricks. No amount of talented cock could make up for pure asshole. And, of course, no heroes committed to protecting the world—military, police, not even those cute firemen at the local station. Nothing against dedication, but the sacrifices they made for their jobs ruined relationships.
The ballad ended to thunderous applause.
At the end of the show, a server dropped an envelope next to Celine. She opened it and pulled out three blue tickets.
Ari’s brown eyes widened. Lights from the stage shimmered in her metallic top as she wiggled in her seat. “We’re going to the after-party!”
“It’s late. I need to go home.” Celine shot up from her chair and rushed out.
Bright fluorescents flickered, erasing the muted glow of bar neon. The Song transformed into gray walls, dark floors, and steel. The lingering crowd skirted past round, red tables littered with used glasses and crumpled napkins.
“Shit.” Ari swept dark bangs into her short cut. “I thought we’d made a breakthrough. You know what this means—we have to convince her to go to the party and hook up with Thane.”
“Nope.” Lauren finished the last of her tangy-sweet mangotini. “You heard her snap my head off earlier when I suggested she talk to that guy at the bar. I’m done with matchmaking. It’s your turn.”
Ari sighed and grabbed her purse. “Wish me luck.”
Lauren stood and picked up her green clutch. No need to hurry. She had the keys. Hopefully, World War III would end before she got to the car.
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Copyright © 2015 Nina Crespo. All rights reserved.