Page 5 of Riot (Mayhem 2)

“That was fucking hot,” he says, and I smile to myself, somehow summoning the strength to pull the top of my dress back up and the skirt of my dress back down. He sits up far enough to take off his jacket, and then he lays it over top of me and lies back down.

“Can I have my panties back?” I ask.


“Why not?”

“I’m keeping them.”

I smile even wider and stare up at the night sky with him, feeling cold on the outside and molten on the inside. I know I should get up and walk away, try to pretend I’m not as affected as he is by what we just did, but I’m far too satisfied to move. Too satisfied to not smile and stay put beside him.

Even when the show inside ends and the guy who owns the truck starts shouting curses and death threats as he jogs toward us, I can’t do anything but laugh. Joel grabs my hand, leaves a sticky souvenir behind for the truck driver, and races back through the parking lot with me until we burst through the doors to Mayhem.

Inside, we part ways so I can go to the bathroom and put myself back together. I run my fingers through my thoroughly tangled curls as best I can, and then I freshen my makeup and try to wipe the stupid smile off my face.

Yes, sex with Joel is amazing. Always amazing. Like mind-blowingly, life-alteringly, really freaking amazing. But it’s still just sex, and I don’t want him or anyone else thinking otherwise. I don’t ever want to catch myself looking at him like those other girls look at him—with a dumb smile on my face and desperate hope in my eyes.

When I get backstage, he’s hanging with the rest of the guys from both bands, along with Rowan and Leti.

My best friend immediately narrows her gaze on me. “Did you just have sex?”

My eyes widen and I smack Joel’s stomach, but he just laughs. “I didn’t say anything!”

“Then how does she know?!”

“Girl,” Leti says, circling his hand in front of me, “you are looking thoroughly sexed.”

The guys all laugh hard, and when Adam raises his hand in the air for a high five from Joel, I’m thankful that Rowan elbows him in the ribs.

I shrug and grab a water bottle from a nearby table, untwisting the cap and trying to play it cool. “Whatever. I was just trying to prove something.”

“What’s that?” Joel asks as I take a sip. I lower the bottle and smirk at him.

“You aren’t a man of your word.”

Chapter Three

WHEN ROWAN WARNED me about Joel’s snoring, she described it as a polar bear in need of an exorcism. But the sound I wake up to the morning after the concert is more like a demonic Rottweiler trying to chew its way through cement.

I kick my foot behind me to wake the Rottweiler up. He’s on his back, and I’m on my side facing away from him.

He startles, but then the demon-dog starts chewing again.

“Joel.” I reach my hand back and fumble it over his stubbly face to wake him up. “Get up.”

He bats at my arm and whines for me to stop.

“Get up¸” I groan, rolling toward him and trying with my hands and feet to push him out of my bed. “It’s time for your walk of shame.”

He rolls on top of me to get me to stop pushing him, putting all of his weight on me and squishing me into the mattress.

Wide awake and not happy about it, I fist my hand into his hair and slowly tug his head away from where it’s planted next to my face. Nose to nose¸ he gives me a smile full of wicked intentions, and then he resists my grip to press his lips against mine in a kiss that causes my fingers to loosen and my skin to flush.

Last night, he came home with me and lived up to every single promise he had whispered in my ear at the bar earlier that night. He’s like a drug in my veins, one I need to quit before I lose myself completely. I try to muster the willpower to turn him down, but his name is a weak protest on my lips. Just a breathless word that I manage to say before he drops those lips to my neck and steals any resolution I had.

Half an hour later, he’s still in my room and I’m walking to the bathroom down the hall, every step I take reminding me of just how many hours over the past twenty-four he’s been inside me. I’ve left him stretched out on my bed so I can take a cold shower and try to get my head straight—which is nearly impossible when I imagine him sprawled naked on top of my covers with his hair a mess and my fingernail scratches marring his skin.

After a quick shower, I get dressed and do my makeup in front of a mirror in the bathroom, and then I walk back to my room with a towel wrapped around my head and a mask of impatience on my face. It works to hide the smile permanently threatening to bloom anytime Joel so much as glances in my direction.

“You’re still here?” I ask, barely giving him a sideways glance before I plant myself in front of my vanity to comb out my wet hair.

He chuckles and stands up, stretching his arms over his head. He’s slipped into his soft-worn jeans from the night before, but they’re barely clinging to his hips, held up by a too-loose studded belt. There’s just something about a guy with tattoos—something about Joel, with the neck of a guitar inked on his forearm and black script curling up his ribs—that makes brain function impossible. I’m drooling over the reflection of his toned, tattooed torso when my eyes drift up and I realize he’s caught me staring. The corner of his mouth quirks into a cocky smile that makes my cheeks redden, and I quickly turn my eyes away, wishing he’d put his damn shirt on so I could stop wanting to tackle him back onto my covers.