“What?”

“Do you need a roommate?”

Melanie stifled a wince. “Not really. Why?”

“I sorta spent my rent money on scalped concert tickets.” She grinned sheepishly. “Again.”

Melanie released a frustrated huff of air. “I suppose you don’t have anywhere to go?”

Nikki shook her head. “I could try to find some guy with low self-esteem to take me in. They’re easy enough to find and manipulate.”

“You can stay with me.” I’ll help you get your finances in order, she added silently.

Nikki launched herself across the car and hugged Melanie. Melanie swerved halfway into the left lane, earning a well-deserved blare of a horn from the truck she’d almost hit. “Hug me later!”

Nikki kissed her cheek and then slid over to her side of the car. “I do love you, Mel.”

Melanie smiled. “I know.”

“If that rock star hurts your feelings, I’ll hurt him.”

“He’s a good guy,” Melanie assured her.

After they’d traveled about twenty miles and Nikki had told her several shocking stories about her night with Shade, Melanie’s ringtone played from inside her purse. “Will you see who that is?” she asked Nikki. “I wasn’t planning to be out of town all night. Someone might be worried about me.”

Nikki fished the cellphone out of Melanie’s purse and checked the screen. “Someone named Gabriel Banner.”

Yes! Melanie almost cheered aloud.

Nikki chuckled and slapped Melanie’s thigh. “Oh no, he’s never going to call you. I can’t believe he waited a whole half hour.” She pushed a button. “Hi!” After a pause she said, “No, this is her friend, Nikki. She’s driving. Do you want me to give her a message?” Nikki laughed. “You want to do what to her tits?”

Melanie snatched the phone out of her hand. “Hi. It’s me. I’ll call you when we get home, okay?”

“Okay,” Gabe said. “And Mel?”

“Yeah?”

“Thanks for giving me your real number.”

“Thanks for actually calling me.”

“I missed your voice.”

She smiled. Her heart fluttered and foolish tears prickled her eyes. He might not look like one on the outside, but on the inside, Gabe was a total sweetheart. “I wish I could talk right now, but I’m a road hazard when I use the phone and drive.”

“Drive safe,” he said, “but call as soon as you can.”

“I will. I can’t wait to see you again.”

“Me too, baby. Me too.”

She hung up and knew she was grinning all goofy, but she couldn’t help it. After only one night, she found herself falling hopelessly for a rock star. She was so glad she’d given him a chance, that her fear and ignorance hadn’t gotten in the way of getting to know a remarkable man. A remarkably intelligent, talented, gorgeous, and inventive geek of a man.

Gabriel Banner was perfect: tattoos, piercing, mohawk and all.


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