It was like all Derek’s joy and raw, sexual power from the night before infused everyone around him. First it raced through his bandmates, and from there it built higher and higher as it washed over the audience like a tidal wave of sex and throbbing sound.

There were women around me sobbing in ecstasy, they were so overcome.


It was a little unnerving. Like being in the middle of a herd of wild animals that might stampede at any second.

Despite how much I was loving the show, I decided to follow Derek’s advice, and made my way out of the pit and towards backstage.

53

Once I got close, though, my worrywart nature took over, and I decided to check out the bus first to make sure my things were still there.

The crew knew me by now, and directed me out the back of the auditorium. I found the tour bus being guarded by a big, bearded roadie, and he let me aboard.

Utter and complete relief. All my stuff – my purse, my wallet, my phone, my computer, my luggage, Ryan’s Zoom digital recorder – were exactly where I’d stowed them, in Derek’s personal closet.

There was a message on my phone from Glen, my editor at Rolling Stone, but I wasn’t exactly looking forward to that conversation about journalistic ethics, so I just stowed the phone again and vowed to call him later.

I took just a couple of minutes to throw on some light makeup in the posh bathroom, then put my purse back and turned to exit –

When I saw Miles standing at the head of the bus.

He did not look happy.

In fact, he looked sort of like a serial killer in a horror movie. I guess it was that ‘face tilted downwards, staring at me from beneath his eyebrows’ look of homicidal rage he had going.

I actually screamed a tiny bit because he startled me so badly. I hadn’t been expecting anybody, and then when I turned around, BOOM there he was, fifteen feet away.

I put my hand to my chest and smiled feebly. “You scared me.”

He kept his head down and kept staring at me from underneath his brows.

Not a word in reply.

Then he started walking slowly towards me, his fancy shoes click… click… clicking on the bus’s laminate floors.

If this really had been a horror movie, I would have wound up dead in the next two minutes.

But, thank God, it wasn’t a horror movie.

…at least, I was pretty sure it wasn’t.

Just in case, though, I tried to talk my way out of getting killed.

“Miles, I’m so sorry, I tried to get him to call you – ”

He slashed out an accusing finger. “YOU – SHUT – YOUR – FUCKIN’ – MOUTH.”

I shut my fuckin’ mouth.

His steps didn’t alter at all in their cadence. Just that click… click… click, slow and steady, like a metronome of doom.

As he got closer, I started to back away slowly, afraid he might jab that outstretched finger through one of my eyeballs.

He lowered his arm, but he got right up in my face.

Well, as much as he could, anyway, being five inches shorter than me.

But he was still plenty intimidating, that was for sure. And he was close enough for me to smell the bitter coffee on his breath.

“This band is a multi, multi-million dollar operation,” he said in a voice seething with restrained fury. “It is a machine. A machine which I am in charge of keeping running. But I already have two fuckin’ monkeys throwin’ wrenches in the works whenever they can. I do NOT need another fuckin’ monkey egging one of the other ones on.”

“By ‘two monkeys’ I’m assuming you mean Riley and Der– ”

“NOT ANOTHER FUCKIN’ WORD!” he screamed, so close to me that I could feel the dampness of his breath on my skin.

I nodded silently, absolutely terrified.

He stared up at me, his eyes almost incandescent with rage. “Listen to me carefully, Ms. Reynolds. You might have been able to skate through life before this on your looks, wasting other people’s time and patience – ”

Suddenly more angry than scared, I opened my mouth –

And the Finger of Doom shot up into the air, just an inch away from my nose.

I closed my mouth.

After a moment’s pause, Miles continued in a low, threatening tone of voice – but kept the Finger of Doom in place.

“And you might have gotten away with it, because you’re a pretty little thing. But I swear to God, if you ever put me in this position again… if you EVER put me in ANY position where I have to wonder if that multi, multi-million dollar machine of which I am in charge is about to blow up, because of YOU…”

He paused. The silence was unbearably malevolent.

“I.

Will.

Fuckin’.

BURY.

You.

Now… are we clear?”

I nodded like a Catholic school kindergartener who’d just been chewed out for the first time by a nun, threatened with all the fires of Hell for my disobedience.

“I CAN’T HEAR YOU! ARE WE FUCKIN’ CLEAR?!” he shouted.

“We’re clear, we’re totally clear!” I squeaked.

“Then get the fuck off this bus and out of my sight,” he hissed.

I ran as fast as I could past him and off the bus, my heart pounding in my chest.

54

Despite my near-death experience with Miles, I actually had a good time for the rest of the show as I watched it from backstage.

After the show, I had an amazing time.

When Derek shouted out “THANK YOU SAN DIEGO!” after the encore and strode offstage, he made a beeline right for me. He grabbed my hand but kept himself at arm’s length – which I appreciated, since he was dripping with perspiration.

Your opinion may vary, but mine is that sweaty’s all good in the throes of passion, but not so much any other time.

“Did you like the show?” he beamed.

“It was magnificent,” I said, and meant it.

Riley passed by, drenched in sweat, and gave us both a leer. “Damn, somebody got laid good and nasty last night.”

“Damn straight,” Derek shot back good-naturedly (as I blushed).

“It showed,” Riley called over her shoulder as she kept on walking.

Killian was next. “Outstanding,” was all he said as he strode on past with a smile.

“You too, man,” Derek said.

Mike walked over and fist-bumped Derek in passing. “That was fuckin’ ROCK AND ROLL, dude!” he crowed.

“Great fuckin’ show, Mike!” Derek laughed.

Ryan was last. He walked up with that I should probably be angry with you but I just can’t stop smiling instead kind of look, and slapped Derek on the shoulder. “I wanted to kill you when you didn’t show up before the show… but I have to admit… the wait was worth it.”

Derek laughed, then hugged his friend. “Was that a great entrance, or what?”

“That was pretty good, I’ll give you that.”

“Pretty good? That one’ll go down in the record books, man.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Ryan looked over at me and kept on grinning. “Hey, Kaitlyn.”

“Hey, Ryan. I’m sorry – I tried to get him to come earlier, but…”

Ryan laughed. “You didn’t have a chance. Trying to get Derek to do what you want when his mind’s set on something is like trying to get a hurricane to change course.”

“That is not true,” Derek said indignantly.

Ryan cocked one eyebrow at him.

“Okay, it’s a little true,” Derek conceded. “See you backstage.”

“You bet. Bye, Kaitlyn,” Ryan smiled, then walked off into the shadows.

Derek latched onto my hand and dragged me after him. “Come on.”

“Where are we going?”

“I’m going to go take a shower.”

Which quickly turned into we’re going to go take a shower.

Which turned into something even steamier.

55

We walked through the concrete maze until we came to a security guard standing outside a door. Derek nodded a greeting, then led me past him and into the showers. It wasn’t nearly as impressive as the Lakers’ locker room, but it was set up the same as the Staples Center, with a pile of towels, jeans, shirt, sunglasses, boxers, boots, flip-flops, and shaving kit on a bench.

“Are you sure you want company?” I teased him as the door closed behind us.

“Oh, I’m sure I want company,” he said as he roughly pulled my sundress straps off my shoulders and began to kiss my bare breasts.

“Wait – no – agh!” I giggled as I suddenly found myself without a stitch of clothing on.

A few seconds later, he was stripped naked, too, and he led me by the hand into a room of sparkling white tile. One by one he turned on the shower heads until the entire room was filled with steam. Delightfully hot water washed over both of us as he took me in his arms and kissed me hard and rough.

I moaned, feeling his slick, wet body against mine and his cock – thick and heavy, but not yet hard – sliding against my thigh.

He pulled out a bar of soap from the shaving kit and began to work it between his hands, building up a rich lather. He stepped behind me and began to nibble at my neck and ear as he ran his massive hands up and down my front, covering me in suds, cupping my breasts, sliding his soapy hands under them, over them, pausing every so often to tweak my hardening nipples between his slippery fingers.

I moaned as he breathed hard in my ear and let his hands slide lower, down below my waist. His fingers soaped up my little landing strip of hair, running through the curls… then probed lower still until his slippery fingers were toying with my pussy.

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