Home > Rock Courtship (Rock Kiss #1.5)

Rock Courtship (Rock Kiss #1.5)
Author: Nalini Singh

Nalini Singh - Rock Kiss #1.5 - Rock Courtship

Rock Courtship (Rock Kiss #1.5)
Nalini Singh

romance/new adult/erotica

 

Shatter

David shoved his hands through his hair and blew out a breath. He was a rock star; it said so in the magazine on Thea’s waiting-room table. It even called him the Gentleman of Rock. Surely someone that smooth should have his moves down pat. “Breathe, David.” Damn it, you’d think this was the first time he’d asked a woman out on a date.

Yeah, okay, he’d been a little shy as a teenager, but he’d grown out of that. Or maybe not. When you were part of a rock band whose albums had gone triple platinum one after the other, women tended to ask you out. The first time it had happened, he’d just about fallen flat on his ass. Fox, Noah, Abe—he could see women asking them out, but him?

That had been his reaction as a nineteen-year-old who’d been the shortest kid in his grade until he was seventeen. The fact he’d shot up to a respectable adult height the summer before his senior year and put on muscle during the course of that year had still been sinking in. All those women hitting on him after the band soared up the charts had altered things on a superficial level while leaving the deeper part of him unchanged. Inside, he remained the short, scrappy, brown-eyed, brown-haired kid who’d ended up in plenty of fistfights and never gotten the girl.

He wasn’t sure if any of the groupies actually saw him. For most, it was more about the cachet of being with the drummer from Schoolboy Choir—he could’ve been a drug-addicted f**kwit or a lech with no social skills and bad body odor, and he’d still have ended up with women who wanted to bang a rock star and weren’t particular about the details.

So yeah, that didn’t exactly count as success in the female department, not here, not when he was about to ask out the girl, the one who made his heart kick and his body ignite and his tongue tie itself into knots. And of course she was taller than him, especially in the ankle-breaker heels she liked to wear. Without them… without them, the two of them were a bare two inches apart in height.

He couldn’t think about what that would translate to in bed or he’d walk into her office with a big f**king hard-on, and this was already going to be a tough sell. Thea was gorgeous and brilliant at her job. She was also an ice queen when it came to the clients for whom her firm handled publicity; the majority of those clients were male musicians used to women falling at their feet. They respected Thea for standing her ground.

David just respected her, period.

He wasn’t doing this on a whim or to add a notch to his belt.

He was gone for her.

Seriously head over heels.

He’d almost killed the bastard who’d been her fiancé a thousand times over during the course of her engagement, but now she was rid of the loser. This was David’s chance, the most important of his life, even more so than the break that had led to the album deal that had catapulted Schoolboy Choir into the stratosphere. If he hesitated now and some other man entered her life, he’d never forgive himself.

Taking a deep breath and reminding himself of the points he intended to make to get Thea to agree to go on a date with him, he lifted his hand and knocked on her door. He’d deliberately arrived after the time he knew her assistant usually went home, so he didn’t have to run that particular gauntlet at least.

“Come on in!”

A smile tugging at his lips at the sound of her voice—shit, he was so f**king gone—he opened the door and stepped inside.

It was only because he watched her so often when she wasn’t aware of him that he caught the flicker in her smile, the sudden wariness in those uptilted eyes of burnished brown. A split second and she’d smoothed her initial response away to replace it with the professional smile he’d seen her use on everyone from magazine editors to record executives. Beautiful and warm… and not real.

A sucker punch to the gut couldn’t have hurt more, but he was prepared for this reaction, took the blow without flinching.

“David.” She rose and walked around the glass desk she kept clear of the usual office detritus, but that was covered with documents relating to the million things she had going on at any one time—mock-ups of posters she had to sign off on, copies of magazine articles by journalists pitching to interview her clients, notes about useful promotional ideas, it was all there. Her phone sat where her right hand would be when she was in her chair, a cup of coffee where her left would be.

The sight was so familiar it eased the knot in his gut. “Hey, Thea.” There he went, being all smooth and sophisticated. “Busy day?” Okay, that came out as planned. Now all he had to do was work in the offer of a drink someplace where she could relax. He’d already scouted an upscale bar where the music was live but the volume low enough that they could talk.

“You wouldn’t believe it.” She put one hand on her lower back and rubbed lightly, her slender body lithe and beautiful in the pale gray sheath dress she wore with chunky turquoise beads and strappy heels that drew his attention to her long, long legs. He had no idea how she walked all day on those ice picks, but God he liked the view.

The fantasies he had about Thea’s legs…

“The magazine thing I told you about?” she said, her fine-boned face lit with laughter and the straight, silky black of her hair in a sleek twist that had begun to unravel just a tiny bit, her skin a flawless, smooth gold. “Well, turns out the photographer wanted to get you guys in a bathtub for an avant-garde shoot.”

David blinked, momentarily diverted from his path. “All four of us?”

“Yes. Naked.”

“Jesus.”

“No?” A teasing question, her smile no longer so agonizingly professional.

“Hell, no.” He shuddered. “We don’t like each other that much. How the hell would he fit the entire band in a tub anyway?”

Thea snorted with laughter and suddenly, she was the Thea he knew again, the one who wasn’t so icy behind her professional facade and whose sense of humor had a wicked bite. “Only way to find out is to do it.” Smile deep, she arched an eyebrow. “Should I give the photographer a call?”

“Very funny.” Realizing he was in danger of getting totally off track, he bit the bullet and laid his heart on the line. “So, I was thinking we could grab a drink, unwind together.” He’d gotten back into L.A. an hour ago after an out-of-state gig at a music festival; it was as good an excuse as any to put her at ease, make this seem less “datelike.”

Smile fading from her eyes though her lips remained curved, she said, “I wish I could, but I have a dinner meeting with a television producer about a new entertainment show.”

Not about to give up, David slipped his hands into the back pockets of his jeans and said, “Tomorrow?”

“Another working dinner, I’m afraid.”

The knot in his gut was now a jagged rock that made it difficult to breathe. “Lunch?” he asked with a grin, making light of her rebuff and giving her the opening to suggest another time, another meal, a simple fifteen minutes to grab a drink or a coffee. Anything.

Thea’s laugh was rueful. “Booked into next year.”

“Working, huh?” he managed to get out, though he felt as if he’d had the stuffing kicked out of him.

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