Sunday, November 26

Chapter Twenty-two

He regarded her for a moment, reaching to stroke her cheek gently. There was a need in her eyes that he hadn’t seen before, something beyond the lust they’d been feeling for each other almost from the moment they’d met.

“Okay,” he said softly, taking her hand and leading her to the bedroom. It was the first time since they’d sat together in the tub in Chicago that he saw more than a hint of her vulnerability, and it frightened him a bit. Whatever was causing this obvious turmoil, he was determined to chase it away.

He undressed her slowly, pulling her shirt over her head and tossing it aside as he brought his lips to brush lightly upon her collarbone. He undid the clasp of her bra and pushed the straps off her shoulders, letting it fall to the floor, and she felt the heat of his breath upon her and then, his tongue dancing lightly across her nipple. He planted a trail of kisses slowly up the valley between her breasts and across her throat.

It aches, it breaks
It takes your breath away…

She felt a hand closing gently over one breast as the fingers of the other twined in her hair, and heard his whisper in her ear. “It’s okay baby, I’m here. You’re safe with me.”

He brought his mouth to hers, sucking and then biting lightly at her lower lip before letting his tongue slip through to tease lightly at hers.

Baby, I don't want to fall in love with you
I try, try, try but I can't get around the truth
Please don't say my name, give this heart a break
I don't want to make the same mistake

He pulled back, his eyes soft and steady on hers as his hands gently tugged on the buttons
on her jeans. He slid them down over her hips before scooping her up in his arms and laying her on the bed. His eyes held hers as he reached to undo his own jeans.

It’s too late, I’ve crossed that line.

He let his mouth explore her—his lips, tongue and breath tracing a path that left her longing for more, teasing but not actually touching the place he knew would eventually give her release.

They were both trembling when he finally lifted himself above her, his desire for her almost overwhelming. Her lips parted slightly and a slight gasp emanated from them when he entered her, and he watched in satisfaction, knowing her desire for the real him was genuine. He held himself there, their breathing in tandem, until he felt her hips moving against his and he finally began to stroke in an out, slowly and without urgency.

She pulled his mouth to hers, craving the taste of him on her lips as badly as she needed to feel him inside her. At that point, nothing else in the world mattered to her but the feel of this person who had come into her life and made her feel whole for the first time in more than a decade. It wasn’t the rock star she needed. It was the man…the man who read her, body and soul, more than anyone before him. She wrapped herself around him, pulling him deeper, and her moans were soft in his ear.

“That’s my girl,” he said softly. “Let yourself go…feel me, Jordan. Give yourself to me.” He slowed for a moment, his face inches from hers and his eyes reflecting her own desire. “God baby, you feel so good.” He kissed her again, then moved to whisper in her ear. “Let me make you happy.”

He began moving again then, subtly increasing his rhythm, and gradually she felt the wave cresting. “Jon…oh, god…I’m …please…I…oh god…oh, Jon…”

He loved the sound of his name on her lips as she came—so uninhibited and honest, for him and him alone. Her climax triggered his own, and he lifted himself on his arms above her, his triceps trembling as he sunk as deeply inside her as could. His head fell back, a low moan escaping his lips as he felt her vaginal walls milk him until there was nothing left and he collapsed against her, his heart pounding almost as loudly as hers.

“Damn, baby,” he said, easing himself from her with a groan and falling on the bed beside her. “I may be the one who passes out now.” He pulled her into his arms, smoothing her hair away from her face. “Unless you need more,” he said with a smile.

She laughed shakily. “More? I’m not sure I could handle any more,” she answered, just as the slight tremor of an aftershock passed through her.

He chuckled, squeezing her tightly. “Oh I don’t know about that…I’ve yet to see you stop at just one. If need be I’ll bring in the reserve troops to finish the job.”

Jordan shook her head and sighed contentedly. “No. I’m happy right here, like this. I don’t need anything else.”
Only you.

“Well okay. I guess my tongue can use a break anyway,” he teased, and she blushed, pinching his side.

“I’ve never said you have to do that!”

“I know you haven’t,” he answered, running his hand down her side to rest on her hip. “But I love making you feel good… and I love the way you taste.”

“Jon!” she said, the blush deepening.

He laughed at her sudden coyness. “What? You can’t be surprised. Are you going to try to tell me you don’t like going down on me?”

She smiled, shaking her head. “I can’t believe we’re having this conversation.”

“We’re naked and both just had earth-shattering orgasms. What do you want to talk about, gas prices?”

She laughed. “Those are my choices? Gas prices or fellatio?”

He grinned. “Pretty much, yeah. So what’s it going to be?”

She nodded, trying to appear serious. “Well, in that case…let’s just say I’m really happy I have an energy-efficient car.”

“Oh you are, are you?” he laughed quietly and brought his hand to her chin, lifting her lips to his.

“Mmm-hmm,” she answered, before kissing him. She ran her fingers through his hair and gazed at him, and he was comforted to see no trace of whatever had so disturbed her earlier. She smiled softly. “But yes, I love going down on you.”

He chuckled. “Thank god.”

She reached to toy with the tiny pendant dangling from the leather necklace at his throat. “And I think I want to go to Europe with you.”

He felt a small rush of euphoria through his veins at her answer. “Really?”

She returned his smile, nodding. “Yes. I mean, I have to work out a few logistics but...” She paused, trying to clarify in her mind why she was saying yes. “It’s a great opportunity, and it sounds like a lot of fun.”
Not because I want…need…to be with you...

His eyes were soft. “Good, I’m glad. You won’t regret it, I promise.” It was a big promise, he knew, but he was determined to keep it. He just wasn’t ready to give her up yet.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“A tour biographer?” Tina repeated the words she’d just heard, her strides on the elliptical machine slowing for a moment. “What does that mean?”

Jordan nodded, increasing the speed on her own machine. She and Tina had met at the gym after work and Jordan was going over the events of her weekend. “Pretty much what it sounds like. I’ll take notes and pictures and try to compile it into a biography of sorts. What they decide to do with it when I’m done is up to them.”

“For a whole month?” Tina was having a hard time making sense of this one. Hell, she hadn’t really been able to make sense of any of it since she’d found out. But now her friend was going to take an extended vacation from a job she loved to follow a rock band to Europe and continue a torrid affair she was having with their most prominent member.

“Around that. We haven’t worked out the specifics yet, and they don’t leave for the European leg for several weeks.” Jordan shrugged as if it were no big deal.

“Listen to you. You don’t think this is just a little crazy?”

“What? It’s a great job offer.”

Tina burst out laughing. “Yeah…a job offer with excellent fringe benefits.”


“So…all I’m saying is that…” Tina paused. What exactly was she saying? “Would you go if you weren’t sleeping with him?”

“Absolutely. In fact I would have accepted it faster, to be perfectly honest,” Jordan replied, reaching for her water bottle. “The fact that we have a personal relationship actually made me hesitate.”

“So you admit it.”

“Admit what?”

“That you and he have a relationship.” Tina looked pointedly at her friend.

Jordan sighed. “Well, not like that. Of course it’s a relationship. I mean… we’re more like…what’s that expression? Friends with benefits.”

“Oh, is that what you’re calling it? Friends? So tell me, dear, how many other people know about this friendship?” Jordan was silent so she continued. “That’s what I thought. So answer me this: do you think he would have offered you the job if you weren’t having sex with him?”

Ouch. Jordan looked away for a moment, before bring her eyes back to Tina’s. “Probably not. But it isn’t like someone else is losing out on the job because of it.”

“I’m not saying that. And I don’t care. I’m just a little worried.” Tina stopped exercising. “I just don’t want you to end up getting hurt—directly or indirectly.”

Jordan hit the “stop” button and waited for the machine to cease moving. “I know. But really, you don’t need to worry. It is what it is—nothing more. And what it is right now is fun. And it IS a good job offer. When it’s over I’ll have some great memories and a nice addition for my resume.”

“Okay, okay,” Tina answered. But something still didn’t add up. It just wasn’t like Jordan to run off with a married man, even if it was only temporary. Even if the man was a multi-platinum rock star. She was usually so much more grounded than that. But then again…that mega-watt smile… those eyes… that ass. She could hardly blame Jordan for being a little strung out on the guy. She just hoped her friend was strong enough to handle whatever might get thrown her way. Tina was afraid that “what it was” was a hell of a lot more than Jordan was willing to admit.

“Come on,” Tina said out loud. “Kev is making dinner and you’re invited.”

Jordan laughed. “I am SO there.” Kevin was a former chef who had sold his Italian bistro when he decided the restaurant was sucking the life out of both him and his marriage. He had taken the money from the restaurant and together with a friend, invested in a small chain of sporting goods stores along the front range. Now that he wasn’t cooking for a living, Tina—and often her friends and family—had the good fortune of enjoying his culinary skills at home.

They were finishing Kevin’s signature risotto and a enjoying a nice bottle of Merlot when Jordan decided to tell her friends about the message she’d received a few days earlier.

She drained the last of the wine in her glass. “So… guess who left me a voice mail on Saturday?”

“Richie Sambora,” Kevin answered, barely missing a beat.

Jordan’s wine glass slipped from her hand and fell noisily to the table without breaking. She shot Tina an accusatory look, but her friend looked as shocked as she was.

“What?” Kevin asked, laughing. “Tina told me you were flirting with him that night after the concert… I thought maybe you gave him his number before you left.” He winked at her, teasing.

Jordan took a breath, trying to regain composure. Nothing like looking guilty. “Oh, that.” She forced a laugh and looked at Tina, who gave an embarrassed shrug.

“Now, wouldn’t THAT be a story,” Tina answered, trying to keep the sarcasm out of her voice. “Who called, Jordan?”

Jordan righted her wine glass and nodding when Kevin made a motion to fill it for her. “Rob Mitchell.”

Tina gasped. “You’re kidding.” Jordan shook her head.

“No shit,” Kevin answered, setting the wine bottle down. “What the hell did he want?” Kevin had also weathered some of the drama between Jordan and Rob. The two men had gotten along pretty well, but when the breakup went down, there was no question where his loyalty had to lie. Besides, he loved Jordan like a sister and Rob had really done a number on her. More than once.

Jordan shook her head. “I don’t know. Said he was thinking of me, wanted to know if we could get together for coffee or something.” She took a drink of her wine. “I haven’t returned the call.”

Kevin sighed. “Don’t. You remember Joe, my partner? His wife Emily is an attorney at the same law firm as Rob. I saw him at their Super Bowl party… he was there with his girlfriend; I think he said they have a house in Englewood. He called Joe a couple weeks ago to find out where he got Emily’s engagement ring.”

Tina was surprised. “You never told me any of that.”

“Well, I didn’t really see the point. He asked about Jordan and I told him she was engaged and doing great. I didn’t hang out with him all night or anything.”

Jordan nodded slowly. It was no surprise, really. But she’d be lying if she said that hearing he was marrying someone else didn’t hurt a little. She could still hear his words in her mind, even after all these years.

You are an amazing woman, and I know I’m lucky to have you…
…but I just don’t see myself settling down, with anyone…
…I really thought I did, but I was wrong... I want to travel and do what I want when I want ...

and I don’t want to have to worry about how my decisions affect other people…
…if I wanted to get married, you’d be the one, but…

She’d been crushed. They’d talked about having kids, where they’d live, what it would be like to grow old together. Then one day he just changed his mind. He packed up his things and left, and she’d collapsed on the living room floor, sobbing. She’d given him everything she had and at the time she didn’t know how she’d live without him.

She learned from his friends that he was miserable. That he was drinking too much and he was lost without her, and she’d believed them. He’d show up on her doorstep occasionally, usually when he was drunk or feeling lonely, and she’d take him in, until Tina and Kevin stepped in. What she didn’t know is that Kevin threatened to beat the shit out of him if he didn’t leave her alone and let her heal.

For a long time, she was convinced he’d change his mind, that he’d realize they were meant for each other. He’d call once every few months or so and they’d get together, eventually falling into bed, and it would last a few days or a few weeks, but inevitably the end was the same. The last time she’d seen him, they’d spent a fabulous weekend, hiking together and making love by the fire. In the morning he had tears in his eyes, saying that perhaps they shouldn’t be so quick to fall into each others arms. That it was too hard on him. That he still wanted things that didn’t include her. She’d finally lost it, telling him to stay out of her life and let her move on. That getting over him was the hardest thing she’d ever had to do and how dare he walk into her life and expect her to feel sorry for him. He’d told her he was sorry and promised to stay away.

And he had… for almost five years. Until now. Now that he was marrying someone else. Of course. He was looking for a last fling before he got married. Well it wouldn’t be with her is all she knew…

The realization hit Tina then. The missing piece of the puzzle behind Jordan’s sudden urge to run off to Europe. Maybe this was a good thing. Maybe Jordan knew what she was doing after all.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Back in New Jersey, Jon was haunted a bit by that phone call as well. He sensed that part of the reason Jordan had accepted his offer when she did stemmed from whomever had left the message. Whoever it was had caused her to fall into his arms wanting more than sex, which he had given surprisingly easily—and taken, for that matter. She gave up a part of herself that night that he hadn’t seen before. And he wanted more.

Ironically, things at home were fabulous as well. He was enjoying his few days off with his family, and everyone was in good humor. At one point his wife had looked at him and said simply, “Whatever you’re doing out there is agreeing with you.” She’d smiled softly at him and he wondered how much she suspected.

He’d heard of men who balanced two separate lives easily and without turmoil. For the first time in his life he found himself wondering how they did it and if it could last.

He’d slipped out to the studio after the kids were in bed, dialing her number as he sat at the mixing board. Her voice was sexy and warm when she answered.

“So you’re not going to back out on me, are you?” he said, teasing.

“No, I'm not. My boss was very supportive, actually. I’ve hardly taken any vacation time so she is encouraging me to take as much time as I want. I just need to take care of any loose ends before I go and leave good notes for her and my assistant, since I told them I will be totally unavailable.” She smiled, happy to hear his voice.

“Excellent. So what about this weekend? Are you coming to Vegas?” They were playing in Phoenix on Thursday and in Las Vegas on Saturday, and he had agreed to a business meeting in Vegas on Friday.

“Sure. Do you still want me to come on Friday?”

“If I have anything to say about it you will,” he teased, and he could picture the blush creeping across her face.

“You have a one-track mind, boy,” she answered, smiling.

“Sorry,” he laughed. “Yes, Friday would be good—we can sleep in on Saturday for a while and then you’ll be there for sound check and everything. Might as well put you to work now, don’t you think?” And then no one would question her presence.

“All right. How late do your meetings go on Friday?”

“I’m not sure. It’s a dinner thing but hopefully not too late. I’ll give you a call and we’ll figure it out.” He paused, smiling. “I’ll see you then, baby.”

Jordan had hung up with Jon and called her sister, apologizing for being so out of touch and promising to take time the next week to come for a visit. Morgan and her partner, Liz, lived in Boulder and both taught at the university. She and Jordan were close but not so much that Jordan had felt comfortable sharing the latest saga of her life. Her relationships with Rob and David had done little to convince her sister that there were good men in the world, and she doubted that this latest bit of news would fare any better.

And unlike with Tina, the fact that Jon was incredibly sexy would mean nothing to Morgan. Jordan fully expected a lecture from her sister and just wasn’t up for it yet. But she knew she’d have to level with her at some point, because they didn’t lie to each other.

But that could wait. Right now she didn’t want anyone raining on her parade. She was going to Las Vegas.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The rain was coming down in torrents when she slid into the taxi at McCarran International Airport. She smirked at the irony. When she’d left Denver, the skies were blue and temperatures were threatening to break 70 degrees, but the plane was delayed due to the rain in Las Vegas. How many rainy days could Las Vegas possibly get a year? Whatever. She was here and she couldn’t care less about the rain.

She checked into her room at the Hotel at Mandalay Bay, where Jon had managed to book them adjoining suites. She’d spoken to him shortly after her plane had landed—his dinner meeting was expected to go at least a couple hours, then they were moving to the Foundation Room upstairs at the House of Blues, where he hoped to be able to break free eventually. He was leaving her name at the door and suggested she come up around 9:30 or so. “If it looks like I can’t get away, call my cell or something and rescue me,” he had joked.

She looked at her watch. It was just before 6:00. She wasn’t much of a gambler so instead she decided to advantage of some of the marvelous shopping that the Strip had to offer.

She returned to her room a couple hours later, quite satisfied with her purchases—one of which started out as more of a necessity, but as she looked at it, became a source of inspiration. She smiled to herself.

Jon looked at his watch, trying not to look bored. Nine-forty. He was happy to be part of this group of philanthropists, and they’d accomplished a lot over the past few hours. But he was getting a little stir crazy. Finally he saw her enter the room, shaking the rain from her hair and brushing it from the stylish black raincoat she was wearing. She scanned the room looking for him, and when their eyes met she smiled softly. She moved to the bar, where she took a seat on one of the barstools. She crossed her shapely legs and he smiled. Obviously she was wearing a dress. He liked that she’d dressed up for the occasion. The black strappy sandals were a nice touch, with straps that wrapped around her ankles. Very sexy.

She ordered a French martini and sat patiently, smiling at his obvious frustration at being unable to extract himself from the conversation. She pulled her cell phone from her purse and punched in a quick text message. She saw him jump when he felt the vibration in his breast pocket and he reached in subtly to pull it out. He held the phone below the table where he was sitting and retrieved the message. Like my coat? it read. He cocked an eyebrow and looked up at her, hoping the other members of his party didn’t notice his disengagement. He gave a small nod, smiling slightly but looking confused. He watched has she punched another message into her phone, and bit the inside of his cheek to keep from smiling when his vibrated once again.

I’m glad. Cuz there’s nothing underneath it.

She stifled a laugh when she saw his eyebrows shoot up and saw him fighting the smirk that was threatening to take over his face. In what couldn’t have been more perfect timing, someone at the table asked him a direct question and she watched as he fought to remain serious and address the inquiry. She returned the phone to her purse and stood, taking her drink with her onto the balcony that overlook the Strip. The rain had begun to let up and there was an overhang, so she could enjoy the view while keeping dry.

Her heart was pounding a little; she was a little surprised at her own brazenness. She took another gulp from her drink. Liquid courage. She had fixed herself a vodka and soda in the room earlier, trying to get up the nerve. She’d applied some lotion with a subtle gold shimmer and slipped a pair of simple hoops through her ears, then strapped on her new Jimmy Choos before sliding the coat over her shoulders. It was soft and warm, with a small slit up the back. She’d buttoned most of the buttons, leaving a couple near the bottom and the top undone. She’d examined herself in the mirror, taking care to make sure that her secret would be safe.

Now she found herself far from chilly. She assumed it was a combination of vodka and arousal that had her so warm. She smiled as she took another drink. Her intent had been to turn him on. Who knew it would do the same for her?

He appeared at her side in the darkness, close but not touching. “Well that’s one way to get me to end a meeting.” He gazed out at the lights along the Strip. “So are you really naked under there?”

“Completely,” she answered, not looking at him.

He turned to her then, reaching to take her drink from her hand and bringing it to his own lips. “I don’t know that I believe you.”

She nodded without answering. They were alone on the balcony, and she stepped back, lifting one foot to rest on a planter nearby. “Excuse me a moment,” she said. “I think something might have bitten me.” She lifted the bottom of the coat, raising it to about mid thigh, where she pretended to look for the offending insect bite.

He grinned, looking around to see if anyone was watching. She was really going to do it.

She continued sliding the coat up, revealing her hip just long enough to convince him, then let it drop, taking her drink back from him and draining the glass.

He chuckled. “Damn lady… when you do Vegas you don’t fool around.” He smiled slyly and leaned in closer and spoke softly in her ear. “So, how’s it feel? Are you wet? ”

She smiled softly . “Actually, I am.” She looked at him boldly. “But the real question is, are you hard?”

He laughed quietly. “I am now.” He placed a hand on her back, steering her back inside to the bar, where he ordered her another cocktail and a glass of wine for himself. “We’ve got some business to conduct,” he said to the bartender. “Is the Buddha room open?”

“I believe so; let me check.” The bartender gestured for the host and Jon repeated his request. The host nodded. “It is, sir. Follow me.” He led them to a small private dining room.

“Will this do?” he asked.

“This is perfect,” Jon answered. “If you can see to it that we’re not disturbed I’d appreciate it.”

The host nodded, taking his leave and releasing the heavy velvet curtains behind him.

Jordan’s heart was pounding. “Jon, what are you doing? I just thought we’d go back to the room.”

He grinned, taking her drink from her and setting both their glasses on the table. “You’re the one who wanted to be bold.”

He reached out to release the belt on her coat, pressing her against the wall as he brought his mouth to hers. “So be bold.” He lifted the coat above her hips, and ran a hand up the inside of her thigh, sliding a finger inside her. She gasped and he chuckled. “We just gotta do it quietly.”

He continued to manipulate her until she shuddered silently against his hand, biting the inside of her lip to keep from crying out loud. Her heart pounding, she reached to undo his jeans, releasing his erection and eliciting a small groan from him. She brought her leg up, her foot resting on the edge of the table and they stifled their moans with a kiss as he slid inside, driving into her with an urgency that added to the sexy thrill of it all. He came quickly, burying his face in her neck and swallowing hard. “Oh, fuck,” he said quietly, laughing huskily.

“Wow,” Jordan said, pulling his face to hers for a kiss. “I don’t believe we just did that.”

He grinned. “See what you started?” They disengaged she laughed at the wetness on her thighs.

He laughed quietly. “Oops. I didn’t think about that.” He reached for one of the linen napkins on the table. “Guess we’ll take this one with us.” They burst out laughing then, their eyes sparkling as they looked at each other.

They reassembled themselves then sat down to finish their drinks. They knew if they exited the room too soon it would look more than a little suspicious, so they took their time, lounging on the thickly cushioned couch.

He kissed the top of her head. “I’m glad you’re here, baby.”

She lifted her eyes to his. “So am I.”

You can’t cage what you can’t tame
There ain’t no rules, this ain’t no game…
Tonight I’ll run, I need no sleep

When it feels this good you’re in too deep.

To next section...

Wednesday, November 22

Chapter Twenty-one

Jordan woke to a brightly-lit room. She reached for him, only to discover she was alone. She pulled his pillow to her and stretched sleepily, smiling softly as her eyes adjusted to the brightness. Her mind flashed back to the evening before and she replayed their tryst in her mind. It came at her in flashes, almost as if she were watching clips from a movie, and she felt her breath quicken at the memory.

Through the closed bedroom door she could hear the sound of a guitar and she sighed happily as she rose from the bed, searching for and finding the white shirt she’d purloined the evening before. She slipped it over her shoulders as she walked to the bathroom.

He sat in a pair of sweats, enjoying the sunshine that streamed in from the open balcony doors as he sipped coffee and jotted notes on a yellow legal tablet in between strumming chords on the acoustic guitar he held. He looked up and smiled when she came into the room. “Finally,” he teased. She smiled guiltily and sat down in the other chair.

“How long have you been up?” She asked, pouring herself a cup from the pot sitting on the small table in front of them. “And why didn’t you wake me?”

“About an hour, I guess,” he answered, sitting the guitar down. “And I didn’t wake you because you were sleeping so soundly I figured you needed it.” He grinned. “Especially after last night.”

She blushed at the memory. Then a look of realization came over her face. “Oh my god. Did I…I didn’t … did I?” she stammered.

He chuckled, nodding. “You did. I believe the French call it ‘la petite mort.’ It’s the first time I’ve ever witnessed it personally, however.”

“Oh god. I’m sorry!” She covered her face in her hands.

His laugh grew louder, and he shook his head emphatically. “Don’t be. Are you kidding? I’m feeling very proud of myself.”

She smiled at his obvious delight. “As well you should be. Although it certainly isn’t going to help your ego any,” she teased.

“Hey, I earned this one, thank you very much,” He sat back, puffing out his chest proudly. “And I’m going to bask in its glory as long as I damned well please.” He cocked his head and winked at her. “Are you sure you don’t want to call me Master?”

She burst out laughing and kicked at him lightly with her foot. “You are just…”
Amazing. Perfect. And not mine.

“I’m just what?”

“Impossible,” she answered, reaching out to brush back the lock of hair that had fallen across his brow.

“Oh you love me and you know it,” he responded cheerfully, taking a drink from his coffee mug.

Her heart jumped a little, and she tried to make light of it. “Yeah, well… not as much as you love me.”

The blue eyes grew serious for a moment. “Probably not.” He held her gaze until she looked away.

Suddenly he could hear Tina’s voice in his mind. This may just be fun and games, I don’t know. Whatever it is, don’t make me hate you. He stood, reaching to pull Jordan to her feet as well.

“You, young lady, need to get your lazy butt around, because we have a business lunch.” He reached to unbutton the shirt and slid his hands inside and around her waist, pulling her against him. “And we can’t do it with you dressed like this.”

She looked up at him, puzzled. “What do you mean, business lunch?”

“Just that,” he answered, reaching to smooth her hair back from her face. “Did you think I brought you all the way out here just for sex?”

“Well, yes, actually,” she laughed. “I thought the whole ‘business’ angle was just something to tell the band.”

“Well, you were wrong,” he replied with a smile.

“Was I?” She let her hands wander down to waistband of his sweats as she brought her mouth to his.

He growled, pushing her away. “Dammit, woman, I am not just your boy toy.” He laughed. “Now stop it.”

She shrugged. “Well you can’t blame a girl for trying.” She gave a mock sigh and buttoned the shirt.

“Oh, don’t worry. I’ll take you up on it later,” he grinned. “But right now I’m going down to the gym. Meet me back here,” he paused to look at his watch, “in about 90 minutes.”

Jordan nodded slowly. “I don’t think I dare say no,” she answered, wondering what he had up his sleeve.

Jon laughed. “I think that’s an attitude you should always keep around me. Make things easier for both of us.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Some 1000 miles away, a man was gazing out his bedroom window, looking at the snow-covered mountains. In his left hand he held a velvet box containing the diamond ring he’d picked up from the jeweler a week earlier. In his right he held the piece of paper containing the phone number he’d jotted down yesterday, after reaching the voice mail message at the number he was dialing.

…you’ve reached the desk of Jordan Scott. I will be out of the office…
…or try me on my cell phone at…

He hadn’t even known if she were still working at the same place and had made the call on a whim. He told himself that if she’d been wearing a ring when he saw her, he wouldn’t even be thinking about calling her. He’d punched the number into his own cell three times but didn’t hit “send.”

He had no right, he knew. Not after all this time.
But then again…

He’d changed. He’d grown up, and he was finally ready to commit himself to one person for the rest of his life. At least he thought he was. His thoughts were interrupted by a voice in the next room and he sighed.

He hadn’t quit thinking about her since he had seen her in the restaurant a few days earlier, and this morning he’d been dreaming about her when he woke up. Dreaming that she was the one curled around him.

He reached for his briefcase and tossed the ring inside.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

When Jordan returned to Jon’s suite, she found a table set up for lunch—for six. “So I take it we’re not dining alone?” she asked.

“No, the guys will be joining us in little bit,” he answered. “Have a seat.” He gestured towards one of the arm chairs near the window. She did as he asked, mostly out of curiosity; he was being so formal. He walked to the desk in the room, pulling a magazine out of the drawer. He sat down in the chair next to her as he handed her the magazine, which was open to a page he had marked with a small yellow Post-it note.

Her breath caught in her throat when she saw it was the issue of Newsweek that contained the article she’d had published two years earlier. “Wow. How’d you get this?” And why?

“I have people,” he grinned. “I also got copies of some of your work on the University newspaper.” He looked at her pointedly. “They’re very good. I’m not surprised, but I am impressed.”

She shook her head, confused. “Thanks. I guess. Can I just tell you this is a little weird?”

He laughed. “Kinda feels like you have a stalker, doesn’t it?”

“Well, yeah… a little.” She had no idea where he was going with this.

He continued. “Am I safe in assuming you were saving up vacation time for a honeymoon—didn’t you say something to me about planning some sort of month-long safari or something?”

She smiled lightly. She was impressed that he remembered. “Yes.”

“So how’d you like to take that time and join me—us—in Europe for part of the tour?” He paused, letting his words sink in. “As our personal tour biographer?”

She stared at him. “Tour biographer?”

“Yes. You’d hang out with us, take pictures, notes, keep a diary of sorts. It’s something I’ve kind of wanted to do for a while, but I’ve never taken time to look into it.” He smiled softly. “So what do you think?”

Jordan was stunned. “Jon, I’m…I’m not a professional writer. Or photographer.”

“I know you’re not. But that’s what I want. You’re certainly talented enough. And I want someone who will be more honest and less formulaic—but someone I can trust to let on the inside.” He looked down a moment before bringing his eyes back to hers. “It also would give us a reason to be together, without anyone asking any questions.”

That’s what scares me. “Wow,” she managed. “It’s…but… I…” Her mind was swimming.

“Look, you don’t need to give me an answer right now. This is a business proposition, first and foremost. For which you’d be amply compensated, I might add.”

Jordan nodded, unable to speak. In a way it was a dream proposition but she saw conflicts, both professionally and personally. She was already having feelings for him she hadn’t anticipated. The idea of being free to hang out with him, no questions asked, certainly had its appeal. So did the thought of honing her writing and photography skills.

She also had to protect her heart…and her conscience.

There was a knock on the door, interrupting her thoughts, and Jon rose to answer it. Richie walked in, looking casual and rested, a broad smile on his face. He reached out to shake Jon’s hand, and the men embraced briefly. Then he stood back and moved to Jordan.

“Hey Jords, how you doin’ today?” He leaned in to kiss her on the cheek.

The door opened and Dave and Tico entered the room, both clearly in good humor yet obviously a little curious. Behind them came the room service waiter.

A few minutes later they were enjoying good conversation over fresh sushi. Finally Jon brought up the subject of their meeting.

“So you guys know we’ve been tossing around the idea of bringing someone on as sort of a ‘biographer’ for the tour—someone to observe, keep a diary, maybe take pictures. I’ve extended an offer to Ms. Scott—Jordan—and she is going to think about it.” He paused, reaching for his iced tea. “But I figured we’d take today and tonight to sort of give her a sneak preview of what it would be like…you know, hanging out with us as we are, not just observing from in front of the stage.”

Dave grinned. “As we are? You mean the real us? She seems like a pretty classy lady, Jon. Are you sure?”

Jon laughed, nodding, “No. I’m not. That’s why I thought we’d let her hang with us for a while before she gives me an answer.”

Richie chimed in. “Are you saying we should be on our worst behavior, just so she knows what she might be getting herself into?” He winked at Jordan.

Jon sighed, shaking his head. “I’d like to have her join us, so try not to scare her off.” He looked at Jordan. “Besides, the other two candidates I was looking at are middle-aged, balding men. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have a beautiful woman tagging along for a month than another sweaty guy.”

Tico spoke up. “Jonny’s got a point.” He looked at Jordan and winked. “She’s got my vote.”

Dave put down his chopsticks and reached for his own tea. “I’m in. Welcome to the club, Jords,” he said, raising his glass in toast. The others laughed, toasting along with him.

Jords. She laughed. She already had a pet name. Her eyes met Jon’s as she brought the iced tea glass to her mouth. He nodded slightly at her, a very small smile at his lips.

I’ll be your dirty little secret and you’ll be mine.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

That evening, she rode to the arena in the van with Jon and Richie, Tico and Dave in the van behind them. Chris was once again assigned to be at her side and she was given a personal, behind-the-scenes tour where she was introduced to more crew members, all of whom already understood that she was to be given VIP access. She was then deposited in the band’s dressing room, where she found the men going through what she assumed to be their pre-show rituals, including hair, makeup, wardrobe, meditation, stretching and general warm-up movements. Tico, Richie and Dave were joking and laughing, while Jon seemed a little more reserved.

She was silent, mostly just due to the fact that the entire scenario—not to mention his offer—was a little overwhelming. She wasn’t exactly sure how to behave so she decided just to observe for the time being.

Jon came over to her, a soft smile on his lips. “You’re awfully quiet.”

Jordan took a breath. “I guess I’m still a little in shock, that’s all.” She smiled then. “Nice gold pants, Elvis.”

He laughed. “Why does everyone give me grief about these pants?”

“Other than the fact they look like they should be cut into strips and strung around a Christmas tree?” Richie volunteered, walking up and winking at Jordan.

“Fuck you,” Jon responded, good naturedly. “And your Mr. T starter kit.”

Jordan burst out laughing. “Well, he does have a point there. Not to mention, what’s with the big dangly key-chain thing you have going on here?” She reached to tug lightly on the adornment hanging off of Richie’s belt.

Richie chuckled and wrapped an arm around Jordan’s shoulders, pulling her closer to kiss her lightly on the temple. “You’re okay, Jords. I think you’ll have no problem hanging with the boys.”

Jon smiled. No problem at all. “Okay, let’s go.”

They opened the door and filed out. Assorted crew members were waiting and together they walked towards the stage, inserting their in-ear monitors and making other technical adjustments as they walked. Jordan was surprised to find her heart beating a mile a minute—and she wasn’t the one getting on stage. The guys were high-fiving each other, and Jon was bouncing on his toes, sparring with some imaginary boxing partner. The lights had obviously gone out in the arena and the roar of the crowd was deafening.

Jon winked at her before looking at the rest of the guys. He gave a simple nod and they ran up the ramps taking their spots on stage. Jon waited, letting the band kick in and build the suspense just a bit more. Then he was on, and Jordan stood, watching from the wings as the magic unfolded before her eyes.

It was fun, she had to admit. Being on the inside was amazing. Being able to do it for a month was an experience many people would die for, she knew. And frankly, if she weren’t sleeping with the lead singer she’d be jumping at the offer. But this…this was going way beyond an unexpected fling, and she was having difficulties reconciling all of the emotions that came along with that realization.

It also would give us a reason to be together, without anyone asking any questions.

Afterwards, she waited in the dressing room as the guys showered. They were clearly comfortable with her presence, toasting another successful show while wrapped in nothing more than towels.
This is when I should have my camera.

They rode back to the hotel, where a much more subdued gathering than the night before was taking place. They sat, enjoying food and drink and each others’ company. Several bottles of wine later, Jon spoke up.

“I hate to break up the party, but Jordan and I need to talk a little shop.” He looked at her. “Shall we, before it gets too late—or we get too drunk?”

God he’s good at this. “Probably not a bad idea,” she answered, trying to appear disappointed that the evening was ending. They stood, bid their goodbyes, and exited together, with no one questioning the fact.

Once they were safely inside his suite, he pulled her to him, hugging her tightly. She let him hold her there, happy they were once again alone and without the façade. In his arms it was easy for her to ignore her concerns.

He sighed contentedly. “So what do you think?”

She stepped back, taking his hands in hers. “I think I still need more time.”
I think there is something we need to acknowledge that we’re not.

He nodded. “Okay. But I have to say, I could get used to having you around.” Not to mention in his bed. He refused to acknowledge the elephant in the room, in the hopes that if they ignored it, it would just go away. After all, he was only asking for a month.

“I’m certainly tempted. But I do have responsibilities, you know. This is not a decision I think I should be making when I’m half drunk on wine…and you.”

He laughed. “Oh sure, be the responsible one.” He reached to toy with the buttons on her shirt. “Can we get naked now?”

“Finally,” she responded with a laugh, letting him pull her hips against his. “Just let me check my messages real quick, in case there is some sort of catastrophe or anything I need to address.” She pulled away from him and reached for the purse she’d tossed on the desk.

He stepped into the bedroom, pulling his T-shirt over his head and stooping to remove his boots. He turned a lamp on by the bed and pulled the sheets back, then ran a hand through his hair.
Was he crazy?

Jordan found three messages waiting—the first from her sister wondering why she hadn’t called in the past two weeks and the second from Tina, who was just calling “to be nosy” and find out how things were going. She was unprepared, however, for the voice she heard on the third message, which had been left about the same time she was walking to the stage with the band.

Hey there stranger…it’s been a long time, I know….I’ve been thinking about you and wondering how you are… I thought maybe we could get together for coffee or something, if you’re interested…maybe catch up on old times…I’d love to know what you’re up to…here’s my number…if you don’t want to call, I understand…but I hope you will…

She closed the phone with shaking hands as she stared out the window, her eyes not seeing the beauty of the Hollywood Hills in front of her. She felt a pit in her stomach and took a deep breath, trying to clear the fog of wine from her brain and process what she’d just heard.

Jon came up beside her, a look of alarm on his face. “Is everything okay?” She had grown pale and was visibly shaken. He placed his hands on her shoulders, turning her to face him directly. “Jordan, baby, what’s wrong?”

“It’s…nothing,” she answered, shaking her head. She looked at him, at his obvious and genuine concern, and she blinked back the tears that were stinging the back of her eyes.

“The hell it is. Jordan, what is it?”

She didn’t answer his question. Instead she said simply, “Make love to me. Now.”

To next section...

Friday, November 17

Chapter Twenty

“Wow,” Tina said simply, shaking her head. They had changed their lunch date to drinks after work and now sat in a booth at an upscale wine bar that was on the way home for both of them.

“Yeah,” Jordan answered, swirling the claret-colored liquid in her glass. “I know. To be perfectly honest I can barely believe it myself. You understand why I didn’t tell you, right?”

“Well, kinda. But then again…” she shook her head again. “Jesus Christ, Jordan! That’s one hell of a secret to keep. I knew something was up but never in a million years would I have suspected this. And from YOU, no less.”

“I know, I know,” Jordan replied. “But I just couldn’t help myself.” She smiled softly. “I tried.”

Tina laughed. “I can’t believe you went to his room. I’d have been scared to death.”

“I was terrified,” Jordan smiled at the memory. “But I guess lust overcame fear. And I was pissed at David. Then suddenly there I was with this rock star, and he’s telling me he wants me. And I realized that I wanted it more than I’d ever wanted anything.” She sighed. “You think I’m crazy, don’t you?”

Tina took a drink of her wine. “A little. But hell—you’re both consenting adults. God knows you needed it. And he is SO fucking gorgeous.”
Too fucking gorgeous, if you ask me. So much so as to make a woman lose her senses.

“He is, isn’t he?” Jordan grinned. “But believe me…it doesn’t end there.”

“Apparently not. And to think I was talking to you about shopping for vibrators.”

They laughed together then, and Jordan sighed. “I really did want to tell you. But I haven’t exactly wrapped my head around it yet. When I left Chicago I didn’t think I’d ever see or hear from him again.”

Tina’s mind flashed back to the flower delivery, and to the chain of events that followed. “That was a nice act the two of you put on at the after party, by the way.”

Jordan smiled. “Yeah, that was fun. I had no idea any of that was going to go down, though.”

“So to speak,” Tina giggled. “So how are you now, that’s he’s gone and life goes back to normal?”

Jordan took a breath. “Well, actually…I’m going to L.A. this weekend.”

“What? You’re going to L.A. Seriously? Because he’s there?”

“Well, he invited me—it’s not like I’m following him around like some groupie.”

“I didn’t mean that. But still,” Tina paused, doubt in her voice.

Jordan continued. “Look, I am well aware of all the factors in play here. And it’s not as if I have any expectations. We’re just having fun.” Their eyes met and Tina remained silent. “I just can’t say no to him. And right now I don’t want to.”

Tina sighed. “Jordan…”

“Tina, please. Please don’t ruin this for me. I know what I’m doing.”

“Well I don’t know about that,” Tina teased. “But since you’re going to do it anyway… have fun and be careful. I don’t want to see you on the cover of People magazine next week as the new mystery woman.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Across the aisle, two attorneys and their legal assistant were going over their notes from the day’s proceedings. One of the men had looked up briefly when the two women entered the room and had been distracted ever since.

She looked fantastic. Vibrant, sexy, and clearly quite happy. Life must be treating her well, he thought. The last he’d heard she was engaged but she wore no ring on her finger now, engagement or otherwise. He found the knowledge disconcerting, which surprised him—especially since he was planning on proposing on Saturday to the woman he’d been living with for the past two years.

But as he watched her, he couldn’t help but get caught up in the little things he hadn’t thought of in a long time. The way she absent-mindedly let her fingers trail through her hair when listening to someone else talk, and how easily she blushed when embarrassed. How she never tried to hide the delight in her laughter, and how she stroked the stem of her wine glass when trying to be coy.

The voice of his colleagues interrupted his thoughts and he drew his attention away from her. He kept stealing glances at her, however, taking care that he remained discreet enough that neither woman noticed him. When they rose to leave, he bowed his head long enough for them to turn away, then watched as they walked out the door.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“I may not be able to see you before the show,” Jon had told her on the phone. “Our schedule is pretty packed on Friday. I’ll have Chris come get you and see to it you are escorted to and from the hotel, and get you into the room afterwards.”

She had laughed at that. “I’m curious…how exactly do you plan on explaining me?”

He chuckled. “I don’t have to explain anything, you know. But actually I plan on telling them that I’m having you out on business. You have your own room on a different floor and everything.” She could hear him smiling on the other end of the phone. “Of course, I’ll leave you a key to my room. It will be easier for you to sneak into mine than vice versa.”

“I have to say, I’m beginning to feel a little like your personal love slave.”

“And that’s a problem why?” He teased. “Do you know how many woman would jump at that opportunity?”

“I do. But maybe I’m not like all those other women.”

That’s the understatement of the year. “I know you’re not. And that’s why you get a key.”

Jordan replayed the words in her mind several times over the next few days, and she spent more time preparing for her weekend getaway than she wanted to admit, even to herself. She talked her favorite hair stylist into squeezing her in, and scheduled manicure, pedicure and bikini wax appointments as well. It felt very decadent and self-indulgent and in many ways, she felt as if she were living someone else’s life.

She had just left Neiman Marcus and was walking in to Victoria’s Secret when he called. She was smiling when she answered the phone. “If you want phone sex, now’s not the time.”

He laughed. “Dammit. I was already naked and everything.”

“Well that’s a picture I like,” she answered.

“Oh well, I’d rather wait for the in-person version anyway. So how’s your week going? I didn’t catch you in rush hour traffic or anything, did I?”

She smiled softly. “No, actually, I’m doing a little shopping for my trip.” She told him where she was.

He chuckled. “Oh, you are an evil woman. I’ve got to be on stage in a few hours and now all I’ll be able to think about is you in some thigh-highs and lace.”

Well at least she knew what to buy now. Hopefully the red bumps from her waxing would be gone in time to make the most of it…

“So I don’t need to bring the flannel night shirt along, huh?”

“Baby, as long as you bring yourself I’ll take care of the rest. I’ll give you one of my shirts to keep warm.”

She felt the familiar rush through her veins at the thought. “So where are you again? San Francisco?”

“Yes. Then we have a day off. We’re not staying tonight so I thought I’d give you a call now since I won’t be able to later.”

She realized that was his way of telling her he was going home tonight after the show and spending tomorrow with his family. She tried to brush aside the mixture of emotions she was feeling at the thought.

“So can you sleep on the plane okay?” She imagined it would be exhausting flying back and forth from coast to coast.

“Actually, yes, I can. I’ve gotten pretty good at it. Not to mention we have a really nice plane. Of course I probably won’t fall asleep until right before we land, I’ll be so wound up. And those assholes always want to drink and play poker or something,” he said, but there was no animosity in his voice. “I should be able to catch a few hours before the kids get home from school so that’s good.”

Jordan was stunned by the amount of jealousy she suddenly felt for the woman he’d made his life with and who had the good fortune to be the mother of his children. Thus far she’d managed to not to let herself think about it. Much.

“I bet they miss you,” she replied, sincerely.

“Sure, but they get it. Well, the older ones do, anyway. And we have a good time when I’m home. I talk to them almost every day, so it’s not that bad.” Jon sensed it was probably time to change the subject. He knew he wouldn’t be comfortable hearing about the other loves of her life if she were the married one. “Look, I should let you go. You can finish shopping,” he added with a grin.

She smiled. “You’re an expensive habit, you know?”

He laughed. “But I’m worth it. I’ll be happy to reimburse you.”

“Please. I can afford to buy my own lingerie, thank you very much,” she teased. “Besides, you’re paying for the plane ticket and my hotel room.”

“Yes, but I expect sexual favors in return,” he joked.

She laughed. “Oh, like that will be a problem.” She lowered her voice. “I can’t wait to feel you again.”

He groaned. “Hang on to that thought. Okay, I gotta hit sound check. I’ll see you in a couple days. I miss you, baby.”

Jordan smiled as she folded the phone shut and moved towards the aisle containing the thigh highs.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The cab stopped in front of The Four Seasons, and the valet held the door open as Jordan stepped out. She paid the driver and took a moment to let the warmth sink in. It was unseasonably warm, even for California, and the sky was actually bright blue without the normal haze of smog. It had been a long time since she’d taken any sort of vacation and she’d decided to make the most of every minute.

Upon giving her name at the registration desk, she was handed her room keys along with a sealed envelope. The bellman led her to the elevators and to a luxury suite on the 14th floor, giving her a mini tour before graciously accepting his tip and closing the door behind him.

On the table in the middle of the room there was a basket containing fruit, cheese, some sinful Swiss chocolate truffles and Perrier, along with an iced bucket containing a bottle of Conundrum. There was also a gorgeous tropical bouquet and a stunning arrangement of red roses with white and star-gazer lilies. She smiled softly as she opened the envelope she’d been given at the front desk. Inside was a card with a hand-written note. “Welcome to LA! Chris will pick you up a little after 7:00. Make yourself at home. I’ll spoil you myself later.” He had signed it with a broad “J” and a smiley face and included a room keycard.

She walked to the window, taking in the panoramic view of the Hollywood Hills. A girl could get used to this. She opened the bottle of wine and poured herself a glass before slipping out of her clothes and into the shower.

Two hours later, she applied a light spritz of perfume before slipping her new lightweight black suede shirt over her shoulders. The extravagant purchase was a perfect match for the equally indulgent embellished jeans, which had elaborate black embroidery on their flared legs. The ensemble—not to mention the new panty and bra set underneath—was almost as much as her mortgage payment and she was feeling a little guilty. Especially considering the money she dropped at the salon. But she had to admit it looked good.

Besides…she had a wedding and honeymoon fund she no longer needed. What the hell.

Chris arrived at around 7:15, greeting her with a smile. “Nice to see you again,” he said politely. “Ready to go?”

Jordan returned the smile and reached for her room key. “I am.”

He led her to a nondescript grey sedan that was waiting for them outside the lobby, and a short ride later they pulled into the loading dock entrance of the arena. He handed her a lanyard with a laminated badge that read “Access All Areas” and she slipped it over her head. Curious, she followed him through the door.

There were several people racing back and forth, many with walkie-talkies or headphones, trying to hear or be heard over the noise of the opening band. No one gave her a second look, although several acknowledged Chris with a nod as they passed by. He stopped at a door and knocked, listening briefly before opening the door and gesturing her in. The room contained a couch, coffee table and a few chairs, along with a television, a small bathroom and a dressing table. “Wait here for a few minutes. I’ll be back shortly.”

She took a seat, reaching for the copy of Rolling Stone that was on the table. She thumbed through the pages without really seeing them, suddenly aware of the butterflies in her stomach.

After what seemed like an eternity, the door opened and she heard Jon’s voice before she saw his face. “Just give me a few minutes,” he was saying to someone. She tossed the magazine aside and stood as he entered the room, closing the door behind him. “Hey beautiful,” he said with a grin.

He literally took her breath away. He was in full “rock star” mode, dressed in faded denim that hugged his thighs and a visibly soft black calf-skin shirt that molded around his shoulders and biceps, unzipped almost low enough to show the muscles in his stomach. He’d obviously been in the tanning bed and his chest was smooth and bronze. A small pewter cross dangled from a black leather necklace around his neck. She found herself more than a little star struck, unable to speak.

“Earth to Jordan,” he laughed, moving closer to wrap an arm lazily around her waist. She let him pull her to him for a kiss and slowly came out of her daze. The scent of leather complimented the redolence that had become “him” to her and she found it a bit intoxicating.

“Holy shit you look amazing,” he said, stepping back from her and letting his eyes peruse her up and down. He chuckled. “We sort of match, don’t we?”

She blushed then. “Did I overdo it?”

“Not at all. Let’s just say that I don’t have a lot of room in these pants to show my full appreciation.”

She laughed, shaking her head. “Well, good. Although I didn’t think I was going to see you until afterwards so if you have to go on stage with a limp it’s not my fault.”

“I know, but I wanted to at least say hi before the show. Make sure you made it in all right, that they’re taking care of you, etc.”

“I did, I’m fine, and I’m very happy to be here,” she answered, smiling as she toyed with the zipper pull on his shirt. “Although this is very tempting.”

He laughed and grabbed both her wrists, wrapping her arms around his waist. “Oh no you don’t, you little tease. I have to go to work.” His blue eyes were sparkling as he looked at her. “I’m glad you’re here.”

He kissed her again, letting his hands wander up beneath the hem of her shirt, his thumbs brushing the lace on the underside of her bra. “I should go,” he said, making no move to pull away.

“Break a leg,” she answered with a smile, her hands sliding lower to deliver a gentle squeeze. “God you have a nice ass.”

“And on that note,” he laughed, letting his hands cup her breasts quickly as he gave her a final kiss. “I’ll see you later.”

He stepped out of the room and moments later Chris appeared. He led her around the back of the stage, eventually winding around to the barricade at the front and depositing her once again in the front row, in a section of several empty seats. “Here you go. Can I get you anything?”

“No, this is great,” she answered, feeling a little self-conscious.

“Are you sure? Would you like a drink or anything?”

“Well, actually, I wouldn’t mind a bottle of water, if it’s not too much trouble,” she replied, realizing that she might be sorry if she didn’t have one handy once the show started.

Chris nodded and disappeared behind the stage, returning a few minutes later with a bottle of Evian. “Enjoy the show. I’ll be back to get you,” he said simply.

A short while later, the lights went out and the roar of the crowd went up. Jordan felt the goose bumps rise on her arms. She had to admit… this didn’t suck.

Sometime during the first song, the seats around her filled, and she was surprised when she looked over and realized she was standing beside Kevin Bacon, who was with a young boy she assumed was his son. A few seats from her on the other side she saw Emilio Estevez with a dark-haired woman she didn’t recognize. She smiled.
Welcome to L.A.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Her ears were still ringing slightly when Chris escorted her through the doors of the Presidential Suite on the top floor of the hotel. Several people were mingling, and waiters wandered through with trays of passed hors d’oeuvres. They walked to the bar, where she chose a glass of Pinot Noir and he, a Heineken. He smiled, raising the bottle in toast. “To another successful show,” he said. She returned the smile and toasted with him.

“So is it your job to babysit me tonight?” she teased, and he laughed.

“I wear many hats,” he responded. “But yes, tonight you’re my responsibility, at least until I’m told otherwise.” He winked at her. “I’ve had worse assignments, though.”

She laughed. “Good to know.” They chatted for a bit, and she watched as guests continued to file in. There were a number of celebrities, including those who had been seated near her earlier. “This is some party,” she said, laughing.

Chris smirked. “Yeah, pretty much this only happens here and in Vegas. The band kind of feels obligated to throw a private party, whether they’re in the mood or not.”

Jordan nodded. “So this isn’t for them so much as for everyone else?”

“Kind of, yeah. They like a party as much as the next guy, I guess…but I think they are just as likely to enjoy a quiet evening with just a few people as they are something on this scale. Although, this being Hollywood, it usually doesn’t last that long, either. People make an appearance and leave.”

Just then the band walked in, Jon leading the way. She felt her breath catch in her throat. Damn. Why does that happen every time he walks in the room?

She was prepared to wait while he worked the room and was surprised when he spotted her and came right over. He nodded at Chris. “Thanks, buddy.” Chris smiled and nodded in return. “Have a nice night,” he said to Jordan, and he took his leave.

“That’s it? He’s dismissed?” Jordan teased. “And I was just getting to know him.”

“Well he’s served his purpose for tonight. I’m taking over now,” Jon replied, smiling. He was once again dressed in the white shirt/black jacket combo, and she smiled slyly, thinking of them lying in a heap on her floor.

“What?” he asked, then thought better of it. “Never mind. From the look in your eyes, I probably don’t want to know. At least not right now.”

He put a hand on the small of her back and led her through the crowd. The rest of the band greeted her with hugs and kisses. If they were surprised to see her, no one let on. They continued to meet and mingle over the next hour or so, until Jon saw an opening at a couple chairs near the window. He sat with a sigh, stretching his legs out in front of him. He took a sip of wine and smiled softly at her. He debated whether or not to bring up his proposal but decided it could wait. He was anxious to get her alone, however.

“I don’t know about you, but I’ve had about enough of the festivities,” he said casually.

“I agree,” she answered. “So I assume the key you left me was to your room?”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Thirty minutes later, Jon said goodnight to the guests, and was the first of the band members to leave the party. He took the elevator down one floor and let himself into his room. There were candles burning and soft jazz playing over the sound system. He grinned, tossing his keycard on the desk. She was nowhere to be seen, however.

He chuckled when he saw the trail of rose petals that led into the bedroom. He slipped off the jacket as he followed the path. In the bedroom were more candles and more rose petals scattered across the pillows on the bed.

“It’s about time,” she said, and he turned to see her standing in the doorway of the bathroom. “You said I could borrow one of your shirts…I hope you don’t mind.”

His stifled a groan as his eyes took it all in. The shirt she’d chosen was almost identical to the one he was wearing, and lie open to reveal the black lace ensemble beneath, complete with lace-top thigh highs and some serious fuck-me pumps.

He shook his head with a resigned smile. “Woman, you are going to be my downfall yet.”

To next section...

Monday, November 13

Chapter Nineteen

“Oh. I…uh…I just…uh…stopped by to…” Tina stammered uncomfortably. Having stumbled into a clearly private and intimate setting, she now wasn’t sure what to do.

“Actually, she can’t stay,” Jordan said hurriedly, trying to regain some semblance of control of the situation.

Jon smiled, shaking his head. “Hell, we’re busted now. Might as well let her stay for coffee.” He ran a hand through his hair and grinned sheepishly. “So what’s in the bag?”

Tina returned the smile awkwardly. “Scones.” She handed the bag to Jordan. “Excuse me for a minute. I need to… ladies’ room…” she shook her head and walked past Jon toward the bathroom.

Jon looked at Jordan, cocking an eyebrow and giving her a crooked smile.

“I am SO sorry,” Jordan whispered, “I went out to get the paper and there she was and I didn’t know how to stop her…”

Jon moved to her, wrapping his arms around her waist and kissing her. “You’re forgiven. Frankly the look on both your faces was almost worth it.” His hands slid down her hips and back up under the flannel nightshirt. He growled lightly against her neck. “However, you might want to go put some panties on, since we have company.”

Jordan couldn’t help but smile a bit, in spite of her dismay at having their secret revealed. “I’ll make sure she doesn’t say anything to anyone.”

“We’ll handle it,” he responded, taking the bakery bag from her. “Go. I’ll pour the coffee.”

Jordan was pulling on a pair of underwear when Tina appeared at the bedroom door. “Sorry for barging in. Of course I didn’t realize you’d be so… occupied.”

Jordan looked at her and smiled guiltily.

Tina laughed, shaking her head. “And I thought I told you not to do anything I wouldn’t.”

Jordan blushed. “Well, yes, you did. But you saw him standing there. You’re going to tell me YOU wouldn’t do that?”

Tina nodded. “Touché. Except last night is not the first night you’ve spent with him, is it?”

“Tina,” Jordan began.

“Never mind,” Tina said, shaking her head. “I already know the answer to that question. And I definitely want to hear the whole story later.” She looked at her friend and sighed. “Look at you. I don’t think I looked that satisfied on my honeymoon.”

Jordan shrugged, the blush deepening. “Hey…I have more than two years of bad sex to make up for. Not to mention the big dry spell before that…”

Tina laughed. “So you just decided to pick up one of the hottest rock stars on the planet? How does that work, exactly?”

Jon’s voice interrupted them as he shouted hoarsely from the kitchen. “Okay, ladies, don’t make me come in there and get you.”

Jordan looked at her friend and shrugged again. “Just lucky, I guess.” Tina shook her head and smiled, letting Jordan take her hand and lead her back to the kitchen.

They sat at the table, sipping coffee and nibbling at the scones, trying to find a comfortable harbor of conversation—which became increasingly difficult after they discussed the weather, the coffee, and how moist the scones were.

Finally Jordan spoke up. “So did Kevin leave the house with a smile on his face this morning?”

Jon laughed. “Oh, that’s right. You left the party to go home and jump your husband, didn’t you?”

Tina shook her head. “I plead the fifth.” She smiled then. “Unless, of course, the two of you want to share details of your night. Although the evidence is pretty self-explanatory.”

Jon and Jordan stole glances at one another and smiled slyly.

“I thought so,” Tina answered, laughing lightly. “Well, Jon, I guess I should thank you for helping her find her orgasm again.”

Jon burst out laughing and Jordan looked at her friend incredulously. “I don’t believe you just said that!”

“Oh, am I wrong?” Tina asked in mock curiosity. “Jon, tell me that she, well, you know…”

“Tina!” Jordan said in vain.

Jon smirked. “Oh, absolutely.” He winked at Jordan. “Unless she is one hell of an amazing actress. And as far as I know, some of those things can’t be faked.” He rose from the table to retrieve more coffee, as Jordan rested her face in her hands in embarrassment.

Tina watched as he walked across the kitchen. The faded black sweatpants molded comfortably around the muscles of his ass and sat so low she could see the curve of his hipbone. She doubted her friend had to fake anything.

Jon decided to change the subject and relieve Jordan of some of her discomfort. “I see that you’re a photographer.”

“Oh. Well, sort of. When I have time,” Jordan answered, silently thanking him for rescuing her. “I got interested during a photojournalism class I had in college.”

“They’re good, aren’t they?” Tina added. “She was on the campus newspaper staff for a couple years. Did she also tell you she had an article published in Newsweek?”

Jon joined them at the table again. “Really? What kind of article?”

“Oh, it was nothing, really…just one of those ‘my turn’ kind of things,” Jordan answered.

“She always plays it down but it was pretty cool,” Tina replied. “It was a piece about women keeping their own individuality even if they’re part of couple.”

“No way—you wrote a piece about being independent?” Jon said, teasingly, and Jordan slapped his arm playfully. “Seriously, I’d like to read it.”

“Seriously, it’s not worth it,” Jordan answered, laughing.

Tina watched them interact with interest—at their obvious comfort with each other and the lack of pretense—not to mention the chemistry that was impossible to overlook, given the circumstances. She was surprised they had managed to hide it from everyone at the party the night before. Of course, as her mind went back over the evening, things now seemed less innocent than they had originally appeared.

So what did it all mean? Obviously this was the reason Jordan had weathered the breakup with David so well. It also explained the mysterious smiles and… all of it. No wonder her friend had been flying so high. She was having the best sex of her life—with a rock star, no less. A very married rock star. As much as Tina didn’t want to think about it, she couldn’t help but wonder what would happen next. Obviously it wasn’t just a one-night stand. There was clearly some sort of relationship between the two of them, whether either of them was willing to admit it or not. Jesus, Jordan, what have you gotten yourself into?

Whatever it was, she was going to have to wait to find out; that much she knew. She also knew that she was about to overstay her welcome, so she finished her coffee and stood. “Thanks for the coffee. I’m going to leave you two alone to…” she paused and looked at them. “Yeah. I’m gonna go now.”

Jon and Jordan stood as well, and Jon leaned in to kiss Tina on the cheek. “It was nice to see you again.”

“You too,” Tina answered, then lowered her voice so only he could hear. “This may just be fun and games, I don’t know. Whatever it is, don’t make me hate you.” Her eyes held his for just a moment before she turned and walked with Jordan to the door.

“Lunch tomorrow,” Tina said simply, as she pulled her coat on, and Jordan nodded silently, the guilty smile once again creeping across her face.

“Tina, look, please don’t…” Jordan began.

“Don’t worry. Your secret is safe with me.”

“Not even Kevin,” Jordan said. “Promise me.”

“Fine, I promise. For now. But I want every juicy detail—so go back in there and make it worth it.” She smiled and shook her head. “You’re lucky I love you so much or I’d have to kill you.”

Jordan grinned. “I know.” She closed the door behind her friend and walked back into the kitchen, smiling sheepishly. “Well, I think we’re safe for now. As long as we don’t give her any reason to blackmail us,” she paused. “I really am sorry.”

Jon shook his head and wrapped an arm around her casually, pulling her to him and kissing her temple. “No harm done.”

She let him hold her there, her head resting against his bare chest, and heard his stomach rumble. She laughed. “It sounds like I need to feed you something besides caffeine and scones.” She pulled away from him. “Let me see what I’ve got here.” She opened the refrigerator and perused the contents, then looked at him. “Are you a wimpy East Coast boy or can you do spicy?”

He laughed. “Like there is anything but one answer to that question! I can hold my own on the spicy front, thank you very much.”

“Well alright then,” she responded, smiling mysteriously at him as she pulled a few things out and set them on the counter. A short while later they were enjoying eggs over easy with leftover green chile, refried beans and tortillas.

“Damn,” Jon said between bites. “First it was the photography thing, then it’s cooking. What else don’t I know about you?”

Jordan’s eyes danced. “I’m just a woman of mystery,” she teased. “Although it’s not as if this is a gourmet meal here. I am definitely no chef!”

“Maybe not,” he answered, finishing the last of his orange juice. “But this definitely hit the spot—and it’s a welcome change over hotel food.”

“Well, it’s very Colorado, that’s for sure,” she gathered their plates, carried them to the sink and began to rinse them off. “So when do I have to get you back to the hotel?”

“Not for a few hours,” he answered, coming up beside her and reaching to turn the water off. “So how about you leave the dishes and we take a bath instead? Then we can lay around and watch TV or something equally as lazy and self-indulgent.”

“Ooh,” she answered, wrapping her arms around him and pulling him close for a kiss. “I do like the way you think.”

He chuckled softly. “I thought you might.”

They took a leisurely bath and then made love slowly and just as leisurely, before moving to the couch where they lay naked under a blanket, watching The Godfather. He stroked her shoulder. “You know what I want?”

“Already?” she teased.

“Good god, no,” he laughed. “Things are definitely quiet on that front for now.” He tickled her ribs and she squirmed away from him, laughing. “Do you have any popcorn?”

“I believe I do,” she answered, and laughed at the puppy dog eyes he gave her. “Would you like me to make some for you?”

He grinned. “Yes, please.”

She nodded. “Is microwave okay or do you want fresh-popped on the stove?”

He pretended to think for a moment. “Microwave, I guess. Because you’d have to put something on to mess with the oil and the stove… and I’d rather have you naked while you wait on me.” He smiled lasciviously.

She pulled away from him with a smile. “Wait on you, huh? Well honey, if you want, I can put on my I Dream of Jeanie costume and call you Master.”

“Nah. Naked is fine,” he answered, “Although that ‘Master’ thing doesn’t sound too bad…”

“Well don’t hold your breath on that one,” she laughed and slipped out from under the blanket. “Keep it warm under there for me.”

She found herself lost in thought as she waited for the popping to stop. This is crazy. You do this with real-life lovers and boyfriends. Not with rock stars who you’re probably never going to see again. But it was too late now. Besides, it just felt too easy and comfortable with him. So what if he was stealing a moment of her real world? He had certainly let her in on his—a little.

From the couch, Jon watched her move about the kitchen, the thoughts in his mind as confused as hers. He had snuck off with no explanation to anyone and if he didn’t get back soon, there would be questions. Yet he didn’t want to leave her—and he was already thinking of ways to see her again.

She returned to the sofa, holding the bowl of popcorn out to him as she slid back underneath the blanket.

“God you’re good to me,” he teased, pulling her close and wrapping the blanket tightly around them.

She sighed contentedly. “I am, aren’t I?” She luxuriated in the warmth of his skin against hers and smiled. “Don’t let it go to your head.”

He laughed. “Yeah. Because we wouldn’t want me to get an ego or anything.”

“Well…no more than you already have. If that’s possible,” she teased.

He chuckled silently, nodding as he set the popcorn bowl on the floor. “Alright. Now you’ve done it.” He grabbed her, pinning her arms against her sides as he pulled her over his lap, laughing.

She joined him in his laughter. “Jon, what are you doing? Stop it!” She squirmed slightly but he held tight and pulled the blanket down over her hips, exposing her bare cheeks. “Oh no you don’t,” she shrieked, trying to wrestle from his grip. Between his hands and the blanket tangled around her legs, however, she was almost helpless.

He stroked her cheek softly. “You’ve got a really nice ass. Have I mentioned that?” He let his fingers dance against her skin, letting her squirm in anticipation.

“So do you,” she answered, looking over her shoulder at him and trying to ignore the undercurrent of desire she was feeling. “So how about we switch positions?”

He disregarded her suggestion and continued stroking her skin softly. “Call me Master,” he teased, smiling.

“NO!” She responded, her laughter taking away from any strength she had to devote to fighting him.

“Fine,” he answered. She felt the light sting of his slap.

“Ow,” she cried, trying to sound angry.

“Say it,” he repeated, swatting her again.

“I am NOT calling you Master,” she laughed, writhing against him. This time the slap took her breath away—and not from pain.

He felt her gasp and grinned. “You want more?”

“No,” she answered, but her tone had changed, and he smiled satisfactorily. He held her there for a moment, stroking her where her skin showed a hint of pink. She squirmed again and he held her tight. He let his fingers slide between her legs and chuckled when his suspicions were confirmed.

“I think you lie,” he said, and she felt the rush of embarrassment on her face. He pulled the blanket back up over her hips and patted her gently. “Well that was fun,” he said, pulling her up from his lap and into his arms. “Kinda sexy, isn’t it?”

She shook her head, blushing. “I can’t believe you spanked me!”

He laughed. “Why not? I’ve been threatening to for a while.” He brushed the hair from her face. “Admit it…you kind of liked it.” A cocky smile stole across his face.

She fought the urge to smile back at him. “Pass the popcorn.” He grinned and handed her the bowl, as they settled back to finish the movie. On screen, Carlo was beating the hell out of Connie, setting the scene for Sonny’s slaughter.

“I love Sonny,” Jordan pined. “I’ve always hated that he dies.”

Jon chuckled and kissed the top of her head. “Just one more thing to love about you…a girl who loves The Godfather.”

She replayed the words in her mind. Of course he didn’t mean anything by it. There were things about him she loved, too. There was an unspoken agreement between them, she knew…and she had no expectations. And no expectations means no one gets hurt.

The credits were rolling when Jon reached for the remote, turning off the television and turning on the radio before letting his hands roam along her nakedness. He smiled softly as Chris Isaak’s haunting voice filled the room. The soundtrack to their affair, he thought. It was getting longer all the time…

“Come here, baby,” he whispered huskily as he moved on top of her, bring his mouth to hers.

The world was on fire and no one could save me but you
Strange what desire will make foolish people do

Afterwards she dressed while he jumped in the shower. She gathered his clothes and folded them neatly into a pile on the unmade bed, trying not to acknowledge the small pit of sadness she felt growing in her stomach.
This was a bonus, Jordan. You weren’t expecting this much. Don’t ruin it by being sad.

She reached for his shirt and brought it to her face, closing her eyes and inhaling his scent. On the radio, she heard David Gray singing “Forgive Me” and felt the goose bumps rise on her arms.

Please forgive me if I act a little strange
For I know not what I do
Feels like lightning running through my veins
Every time I look at you

In the bathroom, Jon listened to the lyrics as well, the eyes in the mirror reflecting the turmoil he was feeling.

Help me out here
All my words are falling short
And there's so much I want to say
Want to tell you just how good it feels
When you look at me that way

He reached for the spare toothbrush she’d left out for him, shaking his head with a wry smile. He’d have to remember to punch David Gray next time he saw him.

I’ve got half a mind to scream out loud
I’ve got half a mind to die
So I won't ever have to lose you girl
Won't ever have to say goodbye
I won't ever have to lie

He was wrapped in a towel when he entered the bedroom and she laughed. “Suddenly modest, are you?” He grinned and released the towel, letting it fall to the floor and making her laugh harder.

He reached for his jeans. “So what are you doing next weekend?”

“No big plans. Why?”

“We’re playing on Friday and Saturday in L.A. You should come out.”

She felt the flutter in her stomach as she handed him his shirt. “Seriously?”

He pulled the shirt on, shrugging casually. “Sure. You gotta see more than one show,” he teased lightly. “You know, to keep my ego in tact.”

She hesitated, watching his fingers as he buttoned the shirt.
Of course she wanted to. But…

“Come on. Take off early on Friday and spend the weekend in sunny Southern California!” He moved to her then, hooking his fingers in the waistband of her jeans and pulling her closer. “I’ll take care of everything. All you’ll have to do is pack and get your sexy ass to the airport.”

She laughed softly. “Well that kind of sounds like an offer I can’t refuse.”

He grinned. “Nice. So that’s a yes?”

She sighed. “Why not?” Might as well stay on the ride a little longer.

It was an hour later when he stepped off the elevator onto the private floor of the hotel and let himself into his room. It was late enough in the day that he attracted very little attention when he entered the hotel lobby, and he was grateful that he was able to sneak into his room unnoticed, in spite of the fact that a couple of the other band members had their doors open.

He checked his messages and made a couple phone calls, then changed into a sweater and crossed the hall to join them, making a bit of production of being well-rested.

“So you guys about ready to jet?”

Sunday, November 12

Q & A Section

Q & A
Have a question or want to discuss what you've read? Do so here, via comments. I'll leave the post active among the other chapters. If people use it, great, if not, that's fine too.

Saturday, November 11

Chapter Eighteen

Her eyes were dark with desire as she gazed into his and she laughed quietly. “Don’t tempt me.”

“I’m serious,” he answered. “Get me the hell out of this hotel.”

“And just how do you propose we do that? It’s not like we can just tell everyone we’re leaving and then walk out together. Not to mention, the lobby is full of fans.” Who all have cameras.

His hand toyed with a lock of hair at her temple and he smiled softly. “Oh, I have a plan.” He brought his mouth to hers again. “And an escape route.”

“Well I’m game if you are. Tell me what to do.”

He chuckled. “Can I hold you to that all night?”

“Maybe,” she teased, swatting his ass playfully. “Now let’s get the wheels in motion before I start ripping your clothes off right here.”

He groaned. “The minute we’re behind locked doors, woman, we’ll see who’s ripping whose clothes off.” He smiled. “Okay, here’s the plan. We have to go back in there for a bit. Then I’ll announce I’m calling it a night. You hang out for a little while longer, trying not to seduce Richie while you’re at it,” he added, winking.

He continued. “You have your cell with you?” She nodded. “Okay. Put it on vibrate and keep it somewhere you can feel it. I’ll call you when I’m ready; you don’t have to answer but just take that as your cue.”

“Okay,” she answered, impressed with his plan but still not sure where it was leading.

“Bid your good-byes and go claim your car from the valet—just give them your name. Then, drive around the block to the employee entrance. I’m having one of the managers sneak me out down the service elevator and through the kitchen.”

“Ooh, very sneaky. I like it.”

He smiled. “I’ll put a do not disturb on both my phone and my door so no one will be the wiser.” He kissed her one more time before pulling away from her. “Okay. I’m going out first. Wait a few minutes before you come back in.”

He opened the door a crack, checking to see if all was clear before looking back at her with a wink. “Hang on to that thought about ripping my clothes off.”

Count on it. She waited a few more minutes and then followed him, taking her seat at the table. She pulled her cell phone out of her purse and slid it into the front pocket of her jeans. Tico had joined the table in her absence and introductions were made, then they sat visiting and joking for another fifteen tortuous minutes before Jon announced that he was wiped out and heading up to his room.

“Pussy,” Richie responded, and they all laughed.

Jon grinned and shook his head. “Fuck you. I’m the one sweating my ass off and putting in a triple aerobic workout at fifty-two hundred feet. I’m sleeping in tomorrow, too, and if any of you motherfuckers knocks on my door there will be hell to pay.”

“So what time does the train roll out?” Dave inquired.

“Sometime tomorrow night. Go skiing, go snowmobiling, sleep all day, I don’t care,” Jon shrugged and laughed. “Just don’t bother me. When I rise from the dead I’ll let you know.”

Jordan watched with interest. So far so good.

Elway and his date stood as well, saying their good-nights and walking out with Jon. Jordan took a breath, trying not to appear nonplussed as she sat with the remaining band members, the only remaining woman at the table. Oddly enough it wasn’t that uncomfortable; they were more or less treating her as just one of the guys, although she could tell they were holding themselves a little in check in her presence. Fortunately Dave and Richie kept the conversation going, although in her anticipation she barely was listening.

She jumped when she felt the vibration of her phone, but fortunately no one noticed. She reached for her purse and stood. “Hey guys, this has been fabulous but I have a busy day tomorrow so I really need to go.”

They went through the “are-you-sure-you-can’t-stay-a-little-longer” formalities but other than that, the break was pretty easy to make. Each of them gave her a big hug and thanked her for coming to the show and she thanked them for including her in their evening, then she was free.

She waited nervously until the valet brought her car up, then tipped him and slid behind the wheel. This is crazy. She drove around the block once, searching for and almost missing the employee entrance, then drove around again and there he was, waiting for her. She pulled over and unlocked the door and he strode over, opened the door and got in. He looked at her and grinned.

“Very clandestine, wouldn’t you say?”

She smiled and locked the door. “You’re mine now, boy.”

He nodded. “That I am. Now drive.” He reached over and placed a hand on her thigh. “You’re lucky you’re not wearing a skirt.”

“Oh really?” She responded, suddenly wishing she’d thought of it herself.

“Although if you were, we wouldn’t have gotten out of that coat room so quickly.”

She drew in her breath and sped up.

They arrived at her door about 20 minutes later, scarcely able to keep their hands off one another. In her haste she dropped her purse. “Shit,” she mumbled as she bent to retrieve it, her backside pressing against him. She laughed quietly when she heard him groan.

She fumbled with the keys, her hands shaking as his snuck around her waist from behind, reaching for the button on her jeans. “Dammit, Jon,” she whispered. “Let me get the door open.”

He laughed in her ear, easing the zipper down. “Then hurry the fuck up.”

She turned the deadbolt and opened the door and they fell in, closing and locking it behind them. She dropped the keys and her purse on the floor, and they somehow managed to kick off their shoes and hang their coats on the hooks behind the door before wrapping themselves around one another. In a matter of moments she had unbuttoned his shirt and pushed it and the jacket off his shoulders and onto the floor. She brought her mouth to his shoulder, biting lightly before letting her tongue trail up his neck and bringing her lips to his.

He returned her kiss edaciously, reaching to peel her shirt off. “God I’ve needed you,” he whispered in her ear as he undid the front clasp on her bra, pushing it off and cupping her breasts in his hands. She felt a fire run through her veins at his words and her legs grew weak.

Her hands reached to undo the buttons on his jeans as they stumbled through the darkness, unwilling to disengage even long enough to make it to the bedroom. She tugged at his jeans, bending to pull them down his legs impatiently. She let her tongue trail briefly up his erection, eliciting shudder from him before he pulled her mouth back to his and he finished stepping out of his jeans, making sure his socks came off as well.

She pulled away breathlessly for a moment, smiling softly.

“What?” he asked, returning the smile.

“I like that I got you naked first.” In my living room, no less.

“Oh yeah?” he answered sexily. “Well, you’re next.” He eased his hands inside the waistband of her jeans and panties and slid them off, his fingers immediately seeking out the warmth and wetness he knew was waiting for him. She gasped at his touch and he chuckled. “You have missed me, haven’t you?”

She wrapped her arms around his shoulders, pulling him down on the couch with her. “Shut up and fuck me.”

Five hard, fast, and fervid minutes later they lay together, hearts pounding. “Wow,” she said, laughing softly. “That was intense.”

He let his hand trace a path down her side. “Yeah, well… like we weren’t already about to burst. Then you go and say ‘shut up and fuck me’? You’re lucky I lasted as long as I did.”

She smiled and brushed the hair from his eyes. “I’m not complaining. I was right there with you. And if I’m not mistaken,” she smiled. “it feels as if you’re already preparing for round two.”

He laughed with a nod. “You can feel that, huh? I can’t tell you the last time that happened.” He stroked her cheek. “See what you do to me?”

“Back at you, babe,” she replied with a smile. “So should we move into the bedroom?”

He kissed her. “I like that idea. And this time we’ll take it slow.”

It was almost five a.m. before they finally collapsed against each other in a satiated heap among the tangled sheets, her head resting on his chest as he stroked her hair.

“Was it good for you?” he teased, and felt her shake her head in response.

“Not at all. Hardly worth the effort,” she replied, breathlessly.

“That’s what I thought,” he answered, nodding lazily. “Let’s do it again later.”

“Definitely,” she mumbled, fighting a losing battle to stay awake. Right before she succumbed, she could have sworn she heard him speak softly to her.

“Damn, woman. What am I going to do about you?”

He closed his eyes and drifted off, deeply aware of the fact that he was lying in her bed, in her home. And at that moment there was no place he’d rather be. The fire he was playing with was getting hotter yet he felt powerless to extinguish it.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

He woke a few hours later to the sun peaking through the wooden blinds of her bedroom. He was dying of thirst—the damned high altitude and dry climate got him every time. He’d probably barely have a voice today. He slipped quietly out of bed and walked to the bathroom, hoping the flush of the toilet wouldn’t wake her. When he came back out, she was curled around his pillow, still sleeping soundly.

He snuck to the kitchen, taking a glass from the cupboard and filling it with cold water from the tap. He drank it down and filled it again, drinking it as he walked through her home, noticing a series of framed and matted black and white portraits on the wall. He noted her name in pencil at the bottom of each. They were quite good, and he was surprised that the hobby hadn’t come up in their conversations.

He filled his glass one more time then returned to the bedroom, sitting the glass on the nightstand before slipping into the warmth of the bed. Her eyes fluttered open and she smiled softly, letting him pull her into his arms.

“So it wasn’t all a dream,” she said, her hand playing lightly with the hair on his chest.
You’re really here.

“Which part?” he answered, kissing the top of her head.

“Any of it…the concert, the party…” she paused, feeling the warmth on her face. “Sex that registered on the Richter scale.” She raised her eyes to meet his. “Waking up with you in my bed.”

“Not a dream at all,” he answered. “But a little surreal, that’s for sure. Especially after that phone call the other night.” He grinned and she flushed. “This isn’t exactly how I pictured it but it’s pretty close.” He let his thumb brush across her lips. “It’s much better in person, though.”

She lowered her mouth to his chest, letting her tongue dance lightly at his nipple as she slid her hand down to rest gently on his groin, where she felt his erection stirring. He gave a small laugh. “You have high expectations of me this morning, babe. But I’ll see what I can do.”

She shook her head, bringing her mouth to his. “You worked hard last night. Let me take charge this morning.”

A few minutes later and fully hard, he pulled her on top of him with a groan. She lowered herself onto him slowly, her eyes holding his unabashedly in the morning light. He let her make love to him, watching as she moved on him and against him until they were both on the edge, until she breathed heavily in his ear, “Come for me, honey. Come with me.” And he did—as if he had any choice in the matter at all. Or wanted one.

When the wave finally subsided and their breathing had returned to normal, she gently eased herself from him, a slight gasp escaping her lips when he slipped free of her. She fell on the bed beside him, her nerve endings sending little electric shocks throughout her body.
Oh my God.

He took her hand in his, wanting to reach for his water but not quite yet having the energy to do so. “Jesus Christ, woman,” his voice was husky and rough. “When I told you to take me home and rape me I had no idea you’d take it so literally.”

She grinned. “Neither did I. But damn it was fun.”

He laughed. “You wanton hussy.” He pulled her to him, smiling. “What am I going to do with you?”

“I think the question is, what haven’t you done with me?”

“Well, I could think of a few—” he began, and she cut him off, laughing.

“Never mind. Stupid question on my part,” she shook her head and kissed him. “I don’t know about you, but I need some coffee.” She pulled away from him reluctantly and rose from the bed.

She walked to her dresser, opening a drawer and pulling on a green plaid flannel nightshirt. “No comments—it’s warm and comfy,” she said to him, and he laughed.

“What? I said nothing. To be honest, it’s pretty damned sexy,” he responded.

She looked at him a moment and then smiled and dug further in the drawer until she came up with a pair of worn sweatpants with the CU logo on them. She tossed them at him. “These might fit if you’re interested. I’ve had them since college—they belonged to an old boyfriend but they’re so comfortable I’ve kept them around.”

Jon grinned. “For what? All the other rock stars you bring home?”

She smiled. “Exactly.” She winked at him and padded to the bathroom.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The aroma of her favorite Columbian blend filled the room as Jordan took two coffee mugs out of the cupboard and set them on the counter. She stepped around the cats several times before realizing that it was a good three hours past their normal breakfast time—and thus the reason they were so underfoot.

“God I’m a bad mom!” she chastised herself, smiling as she filled their bowl. Her Sunday morning routine was a little off kilter, she realized. She remembered the Sunday Post sitting on her doorstep and decided she should go grab it to see if there was a review of the concert.

She walked to the front door, opening it and bending to retrieve the paper. As she stood up she saw Tina coming up the sidewalk, a bakery bag in hand and a big smile on her lips. Shit.

“Good morning sunshine!” Tina said cheerily. “Did you just get up, lazy bones?”

“Uh… um…” Fuck. “What are you doing here?” She asked, trying to sound casual.

“Kevin was up bright and early to go snowboarding with his brother so I decided to pick up some breakfast and come debrief you about last night,” Tina leaned in and kissed her friend on the cheek. “I have to say I was a little relieved to see your car in the driveway.” She breezed past Jordan into the hallway and Jordan closed the door.
Shit, Shit, SHIT.

She handed Jordan the bag as she unzipped her coat and hung it on the hook, right over Jon’s leather jacket. I can’t believe this is happening.

“You won’t believe what I was thinking,” Tina continued, taking the bag back and turning towards the kitchen. “Before we got to that party last night, I was starting to think that maybe…” her voice trailed off as she noticed the path of discarded clothing on the floor.

She looked back and forth a couple times, processing the information. The boots by the door…the black suit coat and white shirt in the hall, with Jordan’s shirt and bra nearby…the pair of men’s faded jeans in the dining room and finally, Jordan’s jeans and thong underwear in front of the couch.

She stood a minute, scanning the evidence once more. Her eyes came to rest on the shirt and coat, and her mind raced back to the night before, and the last time she’d seen them. And who she’d seen them on. Her jaw dropped as she looked at Jordan, who had closed her eyes as if she were waiting for the ax to fall.

“And I was fucking RIGHT,” she said, lowering her voice as much as her excitement would allow.

“Tina,” Jordan answered, scrambling for some sort of explanation, even though she knew it was too late. “It’s not what it looks like…”
Of course it is. It’s exactly what it looks like. Shit.

“Oh really?” Tina responded confidently. “You’re going to tell me that he’s NOT in the other room and you didn’t have sex with him last night?” She paused, finally noticing the obvious just-fucked look her friend had—the messy hair, the post-sex flush, the hickey on the inner part of her shoulder where her shirt lie open. “And from the looks of things, some pretty amazing sex.”

Jordan shrugged, not knowing what to say. There was no way she could hide this one. She was busted and she knew it.

Tina shook her head in amazement. “Oh, my god. Jordan. Oh, my god!”

As if on cue, Jon’s voice interrupted them as he came walking out of the bedroom. “Hey babe, that coffee smells great. Is it read…” He stopped short when he saw them standing there then, both looking at him—Tina in wonderment and Jordan as if she’d been caught heisting the Hope Diamond.

Tina couldn’t help but stare. The man in front of her seemed far removed from the man she’d seen the night before; he had a light growth of beard and was wearing Jordan’s old CU sweatpants and nothing else—well, except for the same freshly-fucked look that her best friend was sporting.

Jon decided someone needed to break the tension. “Hi Tina. Did you bring breakfast?”

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