Excerpt from the upcoming Slow Burn

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Slow Burn (Feverish #4) drops in two days…so let me whet your appetite. Enjoy Chapter One but be warned…it’s not necessarily safe for work (adult language and situations follow)!

Slow Burn – Chapter One

Brian Zimmer jumped out of the shower and toweled off, eager to join the party.  After the sad but necessary end of his foolish marriage to the gorgeous metal goddess Kyle Summers, he’d spent far more than a few months in mourning—and now it was time to act like a hot-blooded man again.  He hadn’t been with a woman in far too long and he was dying to hold one close, smell her hair, feel her breasts pushed up against him, cause her to cry his name.

Jesus.  Just thinking about it started the blood swirling in his veins.

As the sole single member of the world-famous heavy metal band Last Five Seconds, Brian would have his choice of women, and he planned to enjoy it.  The first party after the first show at the beginning of the first leg of the tour was always the best—and this one would be the best of the best.

Superlative to the nth degree.

Besides, since Clay had settled down with a steady squeeze a couple of years ago, Brian had somehow become the resident party animal.  That label didn’t actually fit, even though the man loved having fun and enjoyed spending time around others, but he was stuck with it, nonetheless.  So he might as well enjoy it.

Pulling a comb through his long brown hair, Brian questioned if he needed to do anything else after that.  His blue eyes looked sharp but not predatory—good, because he didn’t want to look like he was on the prowl any more than he wanted to appear desperate.  Neither was a suitable look for him.

Stepping into the main room, he headed over to his suitcase, pulling out the first t-shirt on top.  He didn’t even realize it was a Harley-Davidson tee until he looked down at his chest after pulling it over his head.  The best thing about this job was that just about any shirt went with jeans—but, in his opinion, a Harley tee was one of the best pairings.  Unfortunately, he hadn’t ridden in a while, not since last summer.  He was even toying with the idea of selling his bike.  After all, why have one when you were never home to use it?  Someone else could give it more love and attention than he could.

Now that he was looking at life anew, though, he was reconsidering.  He suspected he’d have more fun riding nowadays, no matter the weather, no matter the place.

But enough musing.  Now it was time to party.

Jeans, boots, wallet in the back pocket and he was good to go.

When he stepped onto the elevator, there was a middle-aged couple already on, and the woman gave him a bit of a scowl.  He knew immediately it was likely due to the combination of his full tattoo sleeves paired with the Harley tee.  That meant one thing—the bad boy image he projected was right on target.  This woman, quite refined, very wealthy by the looks of things, probably had a secret desire to be with a rock star—he’d discovered that strange contradiction early on in his career—but she couldn’t let her husband see it on her face.

Nowadays, though, he was starting to think a few less glares might be welcome.

Brian simply settled back into the corner, waiting for the elevator to reach the bottom.  The couple got off on the second level where, if he wasn’t mistaken, there was a spacious fully stocked bar.  He was heading to the ground level where there were conference rooms and a ballroom.  One of those giant spaces was where the party was being held, complete with champagne and a bar, hors d’oeuvres, and loud music.

When they’d first arrived earlier in the day, he and the guys had taken a tour just to get familiar with the place—and while they’d all agreed the outdoor pool looked tempting, this particular early spring evening was turning out to be too chilly.  But who knew what the night might bring?

Stepping off the elevator on the bottom floor, he could hear the music down the hall to the left.  But in the open area where he stood, there was also a digital billboard on the wall, announcing the party to anyone who was invited to attend and was, perhaps, deaf, unable to find it.  There was even another sign on an easel in front of the double doors inviting him in.  Tonight’s event was one of the larger expenses of their tour, the opening night party where they invited people in the industry, local and national celebrities, and the like.  Here there would be people who could spread the news that LFS’s latest tour, one dubbed Pure Pandemonium, was worth the price of admission.

And acting like a bad boy would only help.

He hadn’t been this excited about anything in a long time, a good reminder that he was meant to be single.  He and Kyle had become best friends and why his drunken brain had thought at the time that they would then become a loving power couple only reminded him that he made shitty decisions when drinking.  Kyle was a beautiful, sexy woman and they’d been good in bed together—but they would never love each other as anything more than friends.  So he’d spent the last year or two asking what it was he actually wanted in a woman.  What would make for a solid relationship, one that felt like it was meant to be?  How could he find his own Emily or Grace or Charlie?

He was beginning to think maybe he wasn’t meant to.

All those months of soul-searching led to that conclusion.  If Kyle, one of his best friends, wasn’t what he wanted or needed as a permanent companion, then maybe Brian wasn’t destined to have a long-term relationship.  Maybe he was meant to merely play the field and enjoy all it had to offer.  While at the back of his mind he knew that was probably bullshit, for the next few months on the road, he was going to live life like LFS was supporting their first album.  Like back in the day when they had no commitments and had no expectations other than wowing the fans and wooing the girls—and if they did the first part right, the second part was easy.

When Brian entered the room, he was hit with loud music and chatter, the smell of strong booze, and bright lights.  The room was packed, something he hadn’t expected.  He’d known there would be a lot of people, but this was wall to wall—and he was pretty sure that was thanks to Mark, their tour manager.

Holy shit.  There were gorgeous babes everywhere and not one other rock star to compete with.  Had his bandmates been philanderers, that would have been another story, but they were good guys, meaning the women were his for the taking.

Goddamn, the females here seemed extra beautiful, too—but he suspected that was due to his frame of mind.  A few of them appeared to be too young, though, and that was a testament to how long LFS had been on top.  That was fine with Brian.  He’d discovered over the years that women his age were often a little more knowledgeable and a lot more freewheeling than those with less experience.

The guys were scattered throughout the room, and it looked like at least Clay and Sam were being interviewed by two different people.  Dane appeared to be entertaining a group of people who were intent on whatever it was the man was saying.  If Brian got bored, there were plenty of crew members throughout the crowd, but he was going to get a beer in hand and then follow the plan.

He’d barely made it to the small bar in the corner when the bartender held up a green bottle.  “I heard you’re a Stella fan.  Is that true?”

Raising his eyebrows, Brian smiled and nodded.  “Of late, yes.  How the hell does word like that get around so fast?”

“Ah, your secret’s safe with me.  Your manager told us last week what drinks to make sure we had stocked for you and your gang.”

While the bartender popped the top off the beer, Brian said, “Well, don’t let this little soiree fool you.  By the end of the tour, we’ll be sleeping in tents and eating at McDonald’s, happy to drink tap water.”

“Then enjoy while you can.”

After taking the bottle of beer from him, the bassist said, “Thanks, man.  Are you collecting tips?”

“It’s already covered.”

“Fantastic.  I’ll be seeing you soon, I’m sure.”

“I’ll be here.”

Downing a large swallow of the mellow brew, Brian then turned around and once more scoped out the room.  Jesus, how could he ever choose among all these beautiful women?  It didn’t seem fair to deny many by deciding on one.  But that was egotistical as fuck, and Brian knew it.  As much as he understood that a good many groupies just wanted bragging rights, a lot of these women merely wanted to meet the rock star of their dreams.  Maybe Brian could give a few of them a thrill before settling in.

Except for that extremely gorgeous blonde in the corner.  And what was it about blondes lately that got his heart racing?  Before flaxen-haired Kyle there had been the platinum Carolyn, known as Cookie to most people who knew her.  Damn, she’d been a beautiful woman, so striking she was employed as a model.  But she was as dumb as a pile of bricks, not to mention vacuous and vain.  In fact, Cookie had been so fucking bad, Brian instituted a no-model rule.  After Cookie had lashed out at him in the press by saying he wouldn’t know what to do with his dick if it had had paint-by-numbers on it (which, by the way, made no fucking sense), he’d been pretty vocal about vowing to never date a model because they were too damned stupid.

And he’d been rather colorful and amusing in his over-the-top descriptions.  At least, he’d thought so.

That blonde in the corner even looked like a model, but her clothes didn’t have that vibe.  She looked pretty fucking metal, actually, and Brian wanted to chat with her to find out exactly what kind of woman she was.

When she crooked her finger at him, she might as well have wrapped a leash around his neck, because he was all hers.

Fortunately, there wasn’t a lot of traffic between him and her and he made it to her side in mere seconds.  “Well, hello there.”

“Hi, Brian,” she said, touching his arm with her cool fingertips.  Her nails were covered with a deep blue polish, emphasizing the slender fingers, her delicate ivory skin—and already he was dying to taste it.

Jesus.  He was going to have to pace himself.

“You have a leg up on me.  What should I call you?”

“My name’s Sophia, but you can call me Sophie if you like.”

As long as he could actually call her.  Holy shit.  Up close, she was stunning.  Emerald green eyes that looked as sharp as a hawk, her body thin but strong, curvy in the right places, and tall.  If she hadn’t been wearing the dark lipstick paired with expertly groomed eyebrows, she could have passed as the girl next door.  Brian already loved the smoky makeup on her face, giving her a mysterious aura, but he also couldn’t help imagining her later in the shower looking fresh and almost innocent.

What the fuck was wrong with him?  They’d barely spoken—and yet he’d already fucked her all night long in his mind.

“Well, Sophie, I have to ask:  did you enjoy the show?”

“Of course.  I love you guys.”

“Thanks for your support,” he said, drinking down another swig of beer.  “So when you’re not attending concerts, what do you do?”

“I’m working on my law degree.”

“Oh, wow.  That’s pretty impressive.  I don’t think I’ve ever met a lawyer at one of our meet and greets.”

“I’m not a lawyer yet.”

“Meaning you plan to stop rocking out when you get your degree?”

“I’m not sure.  We’ll have to see where things take me.”

Christ.  Knowing this woman was smart made him instantly more interested.

Before he could respond, she leaned closer—close enough that he caught a vanilla scent wafting off her.  That was much better than some of the women he’d banged after a concert who had the odor of pot clinging to their locks or, almost worse, those who were drowning in a sicky-sweet floral smell.  This gorgeous babe here was not only intelligent, but she also looked and smelled so feminine.  Damn, she was exactly what he needed to end his famine.

Then, as if she could read his mind, she asked, “Is there some place else we could go?  It’s really loud in here.”

Unable to suppress his grin, Brian said, “I thought you’d never ask.”

As they made their way through the crowd, he realized he’d been out of the game so long, he wasn’t sure what to offer.  He couldn’t completely read her fucking signals even.  What the hell was wrong with him?  He was torn between asking if she wanted to go to the bar on the second floor, hang out by the pool, head to the bathrooms on this floor, or go up to his room.

Maybe he needed more alcohol.  As he swallowed a large gulp from the now almost-empty bottle, he wondered if maybe instead he needed less.

It was much quieter in the hallway, meaning he wouldn’t have to shout at her anymore.  “Where would you like to go?”  Asking her would be safer.  Making assumptions could ruin his chances before he even got started.

But she got close to him, pressing her palm against his pec.  “Do you have a room here?”

Holy shit.  He was starting to think this woman was ready to get right down to business but he needed to calm down.  There was no guarantee she was thinking what he hoped she was thinking.  “Yeah.  Were you wanting—”

“Yes, let’s go there.”  As he allowed himself to place his hand on her lower back, leading her toward the elevator, she added, “We’ll have more privacy there.”

Once they were on the elevator heading up, he realized he was going to have to do something to keep his mind off what was sure to follow.  Otherwise, he was going to wind up acting like a pre-teen who popped a boner at every slight breeze.  “So is this your first LFS concert?”

Tilting her head in the sexiest way, she almost smirked.  “It is.  Was it that obvious?”

Hmm.  Maybe he’d have to be careful.  Not all fans were rabid, having to go to every concert every time the band came to town—and it wasn’t like their shows were cheap.  Maybe in the nosebleed section, but he knew from experience that the entire experience could be pricey, which meant music lovers might have to pick and choose which shows they went to.  “Nah.  Didn’t mean to imply that.”  But in no way did that mean they couldn’t find common ground.  When the elevator stopped at his floor, he asked, “Who are your favorite bands?”

As she stepped out into the hallway, he instinctively put out a hand to stop the doors from closing before following her.  She said, “Oh, goodness.  There are so many.”  But she was silent for a bit, and Brian thought some of asking her about specific bands, because maybe she, too, was nervous now that they were closer to his room.  Finally, though, she spoke.  “Metallica.”

He had to refrain from saying duh, because everyone said that.  Of most metalheads he knew, Metallica was in their top ten, so it was a given and, frankly, a boring answer.

“And, um, Imagine Dragons.”

Okay…those guys weren’t bad, but they were nothing like LFS or Metallica.  Still, he wasn’t going to say a word.  That could potentially ruin the mood.

“And Korn!” she said, almost triumphant.

Yeah, she must have been nervous.

Whipping out the card for his room, Brian said, “Yeah, I like those guys, too.”  After opening the door, he held it for her, trying not to stare at her fine ass in that snug black leather skirt.  Holy shit.  This woman could tempt a priest.  “Haven’t had the pleasure of playing with them yet, though.”

As the door clicked into place, Sophie turned and faced him.  Goddamn, she was close, close enough that he could smell her fragrance again, but, more than that, he could feel the electricity sparking between their bodies.  He could almost taste her.

Why the fuck had he waited this long?

Instead of locking her lips with his, though, she brought them to his ear and her breath against the flesh there completely undid him.  The blood in his veins was swirling like the Colorado River and he merely had to keep it all from rushing to his cock for just a few more minutes.  Just because she was cozying up to him didn’t mean she was ready for him to ram himself into her.  “I have been dying to do this, Brian Zimmer.”

When she placed her fingers on the waistband of his jeans so he could feel her fingernails sliding against his flesh, that was all it took.  She was kissing his neck while he let the blood find its way to his cock where it had been wanting to go this whole time.  Wrapping his hands around her waist, he refrained from pulling her close, instead letting her work her magic on him.  One fleeting thought escaping his brain was that he didn’t know her last name, so he couldn’t even say anything back to her like she’d said, not that it would have mattered.  A week from now, he wouldn’t even remember that her first name was…Sophia.  Whew.

But as she pulled the zipper down, he doubted he’d be able to remember even that much about her an hour from now.  He had the urge to kiss her, but she was already dipping down, getting into position as she pulled his rigid cock out of his underwear.  “Mmm,” she said, holding his shaft and running her hand along it.

Closing his eyes, Brian leaned his head back against the door now, waiting to feel her mouth wrap around him.  He could feel his pulse in his cock as he sucked a deep breath in through his nostrils and he felt like a horse stuck behind the gate, so eager to run free.  As she ran her hand down his shaft again, shivers rippled over his flesh in anticipation.

Then she said, “Um, no,” and she let go of him.

Brian’s eyes popped open in a snap.  “What?”

“No,” she said, standing up and dusting off her hands as if she’d just accomplished a task.  “I think you’ll have to take care of yourself, Mr. Zimmer.”

He looked down at his cock, wondering if something was wrong.  Did he have something down there that he’d missed in the shower?  Was he showing signs of disease or was something else amiss?  But as he scrutinized, his good ol’ boy looked as good as ever.  “What’s going on?”

“Obviously, I’ve changed my mind.”  Cocking her eyebrow, she moved to the side, reaching for the doorknob.

“Yeah, I get that,” he said, still in shock, painfully trying to shove his engorged cock back into his underwear nonetheless.  And then his brain went back to middle school sex ed—or high school.  He couldn’t quite remember which, especially right now.  “And that’s your choice.  That’s fine.”

“But don’t you want to know why?”

Something didn’t feel right.  “Well, yeah.  Of course, I do.”

Pressing her pointy index finger into his chest right between his pecs, she then looked straight into his eyes.  She wasn’t quite smirking, but the way her eyebrow cocked up didn’t help him get himself under control.  “After you broke up with Cookie Brown, you made some particularly vile comments about models.”

“What the fuck does that have to do with you?”

“I am a model.  Most of the people I know are models.  And we are not stupid.  It just so happens I was working on my law degree and trying to find a way to pay for it.  I started modeling lingerie to do that—and the more I modeled, the more I made.  I chose to become a full-time model, Mr. Zimmer, because it paid the bills.  In fact, it’s become quite lucrative.”

“So this was all just a ploy?”

“Yes, you could call it that.  I wanted to get your attention, because you think you’re so funny.”

“Wait a second.”  Brian’s cock had softened enough that his brain could focus.  His balls ached, but that was another story entirely.  “You’re telling me that you spent money on a concert ticket and a VIP after party just so you could get my attention, hold my cock in your hands, and then turn me down?”

“I wanted to send a distinct message—and it will work.  If you say another nasty thing about models again, I’ll tell the world I decided not to sleep with you because you have a thin penis.”

Brian would have started laughing, but those were fighting words.  His cock was anything but thin.  “I think you’re the one with a problem, lady.”

“Maybe so.  But I’m not gonna have to rub one out in a few minutes.”  With that, she turned the doorknob and stepped out into the hallway.

Brian watched the door close and thought some of chasing her, ultimately deciding against it.  In the grand scheme of things, he considered himself lucky.  After all, she could have done some serious damage to his good ol’ boy and instead she only disappointed him.

And made him slightly angry—but he’d get over it.

In the meantime, though, she’d been right about one thing—and he was going to have to take care of that before heading back down to the party…

Are you wondering how these two actually wind up spending MORE time together? Well, the good news is you don’t have long to wait. You can preorder your copy of the book here:

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***PLEASE NOTE: this title will move into Kindle Unlimited shortly after release day***

Oh…one more thing. If you’re new to the Feverish series, here are links to the rest of the books:

  • Feverish (Clay’s story – book #4 in the Bullet series)
  • Boiling Point – free through Friday! (Clay on tour)
  • Scorched – 99 cents in US and UK this week only! (Sam’s story)
  • Inferno (Dane’s story)

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