Page 4 of Mayhem (Mayhem 1)

I brace my hands on the cold stair railing and struggle to breathe. I suck in air, desperately trying to regain some semblance of composure. How could he? How could he?!

Three years. Three fucking years. He asked me to move in with him! We live together, for God’s sake. I have never done anything to deserve this. I wouldn’t even dance with those perfectly nice guys inside!

My knees feel like they’re going to fail me, so I sit down on the top cement stair and curl my arms around my legs. It’s gotten chilly, but that’s the least of my problems. What am I going to do? I can’t sleep under the same roof as him tomorrow night. I can’t. I just can’t.

It’s pitch-dark except for a single light hanging above the door and some overhead lights across the parking lot. Bugs swarm in the spotlight above me, and normally I’d be paranoid about being so close to them since I’m allergic to pretty much all insect bites known to man, but right now, I don’t care. They can eat me alive; hopefully they finish the job.

I reach my hand up to wipe the tears from my cheeks, realizing for the first time that I’ve been crying. God, what am I going to do? Should I go back in there? Should I tell Dee? She’ll kill him.

I bury my face in my knees and let myself really cry then, sobs racking my body. I loved him. I loved him with every piece of me. I would’ve given him forever. My whole future . . .

When the door opens behind me, I sit up straight and hurriedly sniff in my tears as I wipe my shaking fingers across my slippery cheeks. I hear the flick of a lighter, and then someone sits down next to me on the stairs, puffing a cigarette. When I look over at him, I nearly choke.

He gazes back at me, starting at my hot-pink heels and then raking his way up, and then he chuckles. “Are they letting people in yet?”

Adam. He’s ditched the shades and cap, and now his dark brown hair is framing his gorgeous face, stretching almost to his chin. I look away quickly, hoping he can’t tell I’ve been crying.

“Sorry about that,” I say. And I hear the hoarse sadness in my voice, but I couldn’t keep it out.

When he reaches over and brushes my tangled hair away from my eyes, I tense.

“Is everything okay?” he asks, and I half laugh. No, everything is not okay.

“Everything’s fine.”

“Then why have you been crying?”

“No reason.”

“You get all dolled up to sit outside of rock shows crying by yourself?”

I lift my gaze to stare into his eyes, and something in them makes me believe he really cares. Or maybe that’s just what I want to see, but I suddenly need to tell someone. “My boyfriend’s in there.”

“And?”

“With another girl. I just caught him cheating.”

Adam takes a deep puff of his cigarette, nodding as he sighs it back out. “Want me to fuck him up?”

I laugh, and he smiles at me. “Would you?”

“If you want me to.”

“Why?”

He shrugs. “Because I offered.”

“Why’d you offer?”

“Who knows why I do anything I do?” He stares at me while I wait for an answer. “I just do.”

That’s a good enough explanation for me, so I look back to my knees again, letting out a shaky breath. I can’t believe I just laughed. At a time like this, Adam Everest made me laugh.

“Anyway, your boyfriend is a dumbass,” he says out of nowhere.

“How do you know?”

His gray-green eyes wash over me. “Look at you.”

I blush like hell, but I know he’s just trying to make me feel better. “You thought I was an idiot when you first saw me.”

Adam chuckles and shakes his head. “I thought you were cute as a peach.” His lips hold the cigarette in his mouth as he stands up, holding a hand down to me. My heart stops; Adam Everest is offering me his hand. In faded denim jeans, all torn up at the knees, and a fit olive-green button-down rolled up to his elbows, he makes my heart race to a nonexistent finish line. “Come on, Peach.”

I take his hand, and he lifts me to my feet, leading me away from the building. “Where are we going?”

“To get you a drink. I think you need one.”

“I’ve had a few,” I think out loud, slowing to a stop.

Adam gazes over his shoulder at me, his eyebrow cocked when he asks, “Are you saying you don’t want another?”

I take a moment to consider his question.

Just a moment, and then I keep walking.

Chapter Two

WHILE WALKING ALONGSIDE Adam, I text Dee a quick message so she won’t worry when she can’t find me at the bar.

Getting some air--with a hot guy. Be back soon.

If I told her I was just getting some air, she’d be following me outside in a heartbeat. But if she thinks I’m showing interest in any guy who isn’t Brady, I know she’ll give me space.

I think the only person who hates him more than she does right now is me.

And anyway, it isn’t a lie. Adam is hot as sin, but there’s no way in hell I’m telling Dee that’s who I’m out with. I cringe, imagining the high-pitched squeal that would tear from her lips. She’d be out here before I even finished typing the text, working some kind of voodoo telepathy and pushing me into his arms.

Adam crushes his cigarette under his shoe and then swings open the door to what I assume is his tour bus. It’s a black double-decker, and inside, it smells like leather and men’s cologne. Past the driver’s seat is a row of leather bench seats, and sleeping on one of them with his arms crossed over his chest and his face half-buried in the gray leather is a guy almost as tall as Adam. One shredded-jean-clad leg is hanging over the edge.

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