“So you like old music, huh?” he asks.


I turn my head just enough to see his arm. His biceps is so big that I wonder if I can get my two hands around it. I’m tempted to try. “Yeah,” I say, my voice far too husky. “I guess I do.”

He nods, and his square chin comes into view. And his mouth. I’m in love with his mouth, and I’ve never even tasted it. The lower lip is wide yet full, a gentle curve that I want to follow with my tongue. But I won’t.

His upper lip is almost a bow, a cruel little sneer of a lip, and yet the effect is ruined because Drew is almost always smiling. He isn’t now, though. His lips are relaxed, fuller.

They move when he speaks. “I like Lynryd Skynryd, Zepplin, Queen.” He says this like it’s a confession. Like I’m going to sit up and point and shout, Ah-ha! Closet classic rock junkie! When he ought to know that I won’t, not when I listen to Brit-punk albums older than I am.

It’s his turn to shrug, as if my silence is agitating to him. “My dad used to listen to that stuff.” His body tilts toward mine as he reaches in his back pocket and pulls out his wallet. The picture held between his thumb and his forefinger shakes only a little as he hands it to me. “My parents.”

His parents are young in the picture. They’re hanging on to each other, arms slung over their shoulders as they ham it up for the camera. His dad is tall, dark, and handsome, in a fashion victim sort of way because he’s sporting a bad 80’s mullet and wearing skintight jeans and a black AC/DC tee. But his grin is wide and a dimple graces his cheek. Drew’s mom is kissing his other cheek, but she’s sort of smearing her lips over him as she turns to the camera, and she’s clearly laughing about her antics. She’s her own fashion victim, maybe more so than his dad, but she looks awesome doing it. Her blonde, curly hair is teased to epic proportions and brushes her shoulders. A floppy black lace bow keeps the mass of it off of her small face. She’s got on an honest-to-God black lace bustier and a shin length tight black skirt, paired with combat boots that I kind of covet when I see them. Black rubber bracelets engulf her forearms.

“So your mom was into Madonna, I take it?” I grin over at Drew, and he laughs lightly.

“Yeah, for a few months, the way she’d tell it.” His expression turns soft. “They called this their Hall of Shame picture. They were on their way to Live Aid.”

“No shit? I remember reading about that concert in my History of Rock and Roll class.”

“God, if my dad had heard you say that. He considered that concert the highlight of his young life.”

I’m smiling as I study the picture. But my heart aches. I can almost feel their joy, and their absence. “They look so young and happy. Beautiful, too.” Because they are. Drew has his mom’s nose and eyes, and his Dad’s sharp jaw line and smile.

I give him the picture, handling it with the care that it deserves. He doesn’t look at it as he tucks it away. “They met in college.” His voice goes quiet, and he turns to stare back up at the ceiling. “And they were happy.”

His profile is tight, the corners of his mouth hard. “I don’t know, I guess… I guess I feel closer to them by listening to what they listened to.”

The pain, that sharp, dark pain buried deep in his words, the pain that he’s fighting to hide, hits me straight through the middle. I clear my throat, find my voice. “And who doesn’t love Queen?” I give him a little nudge, just the barest move of my elbow against his arm. “I mean, isn’t We Will Rock You like every jock’s anthem?”

My reward is his grin, and the way the corners of his eyes crinkle. A soft laugh leaves him. “Yeah,” he says quietly, and then with more lightness, “Yeah, suppose it is.”

I don’t know what else to say. I’m comforting Drew Baylor when I’m supposed to be f**king him. An uncomfortable knot begins to writhe in my stomach. I don’t deserve to hear about his parents. To even look upon their smiling faces. Suddenly I want him out of here. I can’t breathe.

I’m about to ask him to go when he talks again.

“So I guess you like those Emo type of guys.” He turns his head slightly, and our eyes meet. There it is, that low, hot hum within me that happens every time, as if his eyes have some freaking super power with a direct line to my sex. The bed groans beneath him as he rolls to his side. He props a hand under his head, and now he’s looming over me.

His voice slows, gets richer, lower, as if he too feels the hum. “Guys who dress in black and pluck out half-ass tunes on their guitars to show their inner torment.”

There’s a guitar in my room. A Gibson acoustic that my mom gave me on my eighteenth birthday. I’d seen his gaze land on it when he first entered my room.

“Maybe I’m the one who plucks half-assed tunes.”

Baylor’s grin is lazy, and those little lines that bracket his mouth deepen. There’s a knowing look in his eyes, as if he can read my mind. And maybe he can. Because his next words are, “I bet it pisses you off that you can’t play a whole song.”

I glare at him, but I can’t be properly pissed off. He’s right, after all. I wanted so badly to play, but I suck. My fingers are like drunken frat boys stumbling all over each other on the frets. A disgrace. “It does.”

As if my honesty needs a reward, his smile grows wider. That smile. It takes my breath, then gives it back. But now my breath is too fast and too light. His golden gaze slides down to where my br**sts are rising and falling in sudden agitation, and his expression turns serious, almost stern, as if he’s contemplating doing dark things to them. I’m up for it. I’m pretty sure he could bite me there, and I’d like it.

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