This trilogy is a coming of age story, but it’s more than that. It also revolves around the romance between Kyle and CJ, and I hope that becomes more apparent as readers get in deeper.
One observation a lot of readers made about the first book (On the Run) was that, to them, it felt like a young adult novel. I assured readers that it definitely was not YA and to not let themselves be fooled by that…that, as the trilogy progressed, that fact would become clear. This book is much darker than the first. Still, at its core, it is Kyle’s story, one that I hope readers enjoy.
Like with the first book, I want to share a chapter from On the Road here, one that shows Kyle and CJ’s budding romance. Here it is!
WARNING: Due to language, sexual content, and dark themes, the book is NOT appropriate for anyone under the age of 18.
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CHAPTER SEVENTEEN of On the Road (Vagabonds #2)
THE BOWLING ALLEY was a completely different experience. For the first ten minutes, I had old high school acquaintances spot me and ask me about my life on the road. And then one of them recognized CJ—and he actually called him Siege. Awesome. My nickname for him was sticking.
When we were finally left alone, we bowled one game while sipping hot cocoa with whipped cream. Before the tenth round, I asked CJ if he wanted to wager anything. “Like what?” he asked.
I laughed. “How about that sweet car? I know you could afford another one.”
He looked up at his score. There was no way in a million years I could beat him. Well, maybe a million, but it would definitely involve a miracle of some kind. His score thus far was 168 and mine? Well, let’s just say mine was barely over one hundred. So I guessed there would be no way I could beat him at that point.
He grinned and started to say, “You know there’s—”
“Shh,” I interrupted, placing my index finger on his lips. “Are you man enough to take my bet or not?”
He chuckled and then sucked my finger into his mouth. Holy shit. That was hotter than it had a right to be, and I was pretty sure he read that reaction all over my face. I forced myself to let the air out of my lungs while he released my finger. Then he replied, “Fine, darlin’, I’ll take your bet.”
“Sweet. I love that car of yours. Now…what do you want me to wager?” I chewed on my bottom lip a second before adding, “I could make some suggestions.”
He blinked once, slowly and methodically, a slight grin making his eyes twinkle. “I’m sure you could. Why do I get the feeling you’re being naughty?”
My smile grew wider. “Am I that obvious?”
“Mm-hmm.” Yeah, like he hadn’t encouraged it.
“Okay, so let’s take care of this last frame.”
“But the bet—”
“How about…” He lifted my ball off the return and held it in his palm for me to grab. I stuck my fingers in the holes and he continued. “I choose my prize if I win?”
Oh. Okay. That would involve a lot of trust. Two seconds and I decided—I knew I trusted him. Two more seconds and I felt a thrilled shiver charge through my spine wondering just what he’d choose. I nodded. “All right. Wish me luck.”
“Absolutely. Good luck, babe.”
Another shiver darted through my body. He hadn’t called me babe often, but I loved when he did. I couldn’t quite smile at him as I took my ball out of his hand and walked up to the line. I adjusted my wrist, trying to compensate for the weird veer the ball had been doing for every frame I’d bowled. Then I took a step forward and swung the ball, closing my eyes as I let go of it. I kept them closed, listening for the sound of the ball hitting the gutter. But that sound never came. In fact, I heard the steady whirring sound of the ball rolling down the lane in a straight-ish path.
I finally peeked through the slit of one of my eyelids and saw that my ball was still traveling right down the middle, ready to hit the front pin.
And it did. My first strike of the evening. I couldn’t help but squeal (not metal at all, I know) and then I jumped up and down. I knew I’d get to throw the ball twice more now, and I turned around, smiling wide. “I got you now, mister!”
CJ grinned and brought the fingers of both his hands to his mouth, imitating the act of biting all his fingernails off. “Oh, no.”
Even had I hit all the pins twice more, I would haven’t beaten his score. But I didn’t even come close. Nope. I knocked down five pins on my next roll and three on the one after. I was still behind, and CJ hadn’t even had his turn yet.
He picked up the heavy black ball off the return and said, “This doesn’t even seem fair.”
I rolled my eyes. “Just get it over with.”
He threw the ball, this time not getting a strike, but he did get a spare and an extra ball. Talk about adding insult to injury. So, as we took our bowling shoes off and put our street shoes back on, I said, “Well?”
He looked over at me. “Well what?”
“What’s it gonna be?”
He shrugged. “I have to think about it a little bit.”
So we turned in our shoes and threw away our paper cups from the cocoa and walked outside into the cold. “Have you decided yet?”
He laughed. “Nope, not yet.” We got to his car and, after letting it run for a few seconds, he turned the heater on.
He laughed. “Impatient.” He reached over and turned down the radio. “I think I’ll collect sometime this summer.”
Oh. Oh, God, no. I knew what that meant. That meant he did want to have sex with me, but he was going to make me wait until I was eighteen. That stupid fucking rule of his. But I kept my anger in check and instead figured out a way to slither myself in between his body and the steering wheel to straddle him. He was laughing again and held his arms up to allow me to sit on his lap facing him. I pressed my forehead into his. It was only thanks to the glow of the dashboard and the lights in the parking lot that I could see his deep brown eyes in the darkness of his car. “I want you to collect now, dammit.”
And there was that magnetism, that draw, that need I felt for him as my lips brushed over his. My eyes were closed by then and he responded—thank the heavens he responded—touching my tongue with his. It was another magical kiss, one that transported me out of that car and into the sky, out of the freezing night air and into a flaming furnace. My fists were gripping his leather jacket, and I could feel his hands on the small of my back through my coat. But as I kept kissing him, I got an inkling that he might be changing his mind.
That inkling was getting harder against my jeans.
Yeah. That was what I wanted, and that indication was all I needed to know that I could talk him into it now. So I kept kissing him, unwilling to let up, until the car actually started feeling too warm with all the layers I had on. I pulled back a little, as much as the steering wheel would allow, and started unzipping the front of my coat.
“Mmm, Kyle. Stop.”
“We can’t do it in here.”
“Seriously? It can’t be done. The space is too tight.”
“That’ll make it more exciting.”
He placed his hands on my cheeks, in effect, stopping me from kissing him anymore. “Kyle, I want to.” Yeah, I had no doubt, but I wasn’t going to say it. “But I told you I won’t. Not till you’re eighteen.”
I squinted at him, although the effect was likely lost in the dim car. “You know that’s fucking stupid, right?”
“To you, maybe, but if I don’t have my honor, I’ve got nothing, Kyle.”
God. I thought that was fucking stupid too. Honor. And yet, I cared about CJ and I also respected the hell out of him. As much as I wanted him, I wasn’t going to make him break a promise to himself. I wasn’t going to exploit his weakness, either. If he wasn’t willing to sleep with me without me begging…then I didn’t want him.
“Fine.” I pulled myself off his lap—an awkward feat, believe me—and plopped back down in the passenger seat. “Then take me home.”
“Come on, Kyle. Don’t be mad at me.”
I huffed, but I tried to make my voice calm and steady. “I’m not mad at you.” He reached over and turned down the heat, and then he put the car in reverse. Soon we were on the way back to my house.
I couldn’t help myself. Halfway there, I said, “You know you’re a pussy tease, right?”
“What?” I repeated what I said and then he started laughing. “What the hell’s a pussy tease?”
“Same as a cocktease, only for girls.”
I saw him bite his lip as he turned into the residential section where my house was located. “I promise I’ll follow through, but—”
“I know. I know. Not till I’m eighteen.”
We were quiet on the way home, and we arrived early enough that my parents actually invited him in, and we played a quick game of Trivial Pursuit before I walked him to the door. I stepped outside, even though he urged me not to, because I wanted to give him a kiss goodbye.
I wanted to give him a last taste before I saw him again. I wanted him to have something to remember me by.
“I’ll be waiting,” I said.
He nodded and smiled and touched my nose with the tip of his finger. “I know. Not long now.”
Yeah, right. For all my body knew, it might as well have been years—because that was what it was beginning to feel like.
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BOOK NAME: On the Road (Book #2 in the Vagabonds series)
SERIES NAME: Vagabonds
GENRES: Contemporary Romance, Rock Star Romance, New Adult, Erotic Romance
LENGTH: Novel (105,000 words, 329 pages)
RELEASE DATE: September 21, 2015
All that glitters isn’t gold. Sometimes it’s plastic.
Kyle Summers hits the road with her band the Vagabonds, living the dream. Five young women are tossed into the limelight with little supervision, seemingly left to the wolves. Kyle is driven and headstrong, and—while she enjoys the temptations of sex and drugs on the road—music always comes first. In spite of her friends crumbling under the pressure and lack of support, the Vagabonds become a household name and enjoy success not experienced by people far beyond their years.
But Kyle realizes two things—one is that her relationships are hollow without love, but she and CJ, her main love interest, are only on-again, off-again at best, leaving her feeling unfulfilled. The second is that Kyle quickly grows weary of dealing with egos and prima donnas, and she feels helpless while watching her band fall apart.
Can she save her band—and her relationship with CJ—or will she end up alone and forgotten?
Vagabonds follows one young woman’s rise to fame past the pitfalls of sex, drugs, and easy money, through fortune and success to heartbreak and betrayal. Five girls build their band the Vagabonds from nothing but a hunger to create and quickly find that they are nothing but pawns in a larger game played by managers, agents, the press, the music industry, and all manner of unscrupulous, greedy people who want to feed on their triumphs. Friendships and lives hang in the balance. Who will survive?