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Double time, p.30
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       Double Time, p.30

         Part #5 of Sinners on Tour series by Olivia Cunning
 
Page 30

  Author: Olivia Cunning

  Ethan groaned. “I can imagine how that went. ”

  “And then… I got a strange text message. ”

  “Strange? Strange how?”

  “Threatening. ”

  “Someone threatened you?” Ethan no longer sounded groggy. “Who sent it?”

  “I don’t know. I deleted it. I didn’t think to check. ”

  “I can probably get the information from the phone company, but it will take some digging and persuasion. ”

  Ethan’s means of persuasion were far different from Trey’s methods.

  “What time did you get it?” he asked.

  “Right before I called you. ”

  “Seven thirty-ish your time. ”

  She nodded.

  “Reagan?”

  “I’m here. Yeah, around seven thirty. ”

  “I’ll see if I can find out who sent it. If you get another one, make sure you don’t delete it. ”

  “It scared me,” she admitted.

  “What did it say?”

  “‘You took what’s mine, bitch. Don’t think you’ll get away with it. ’”

  “Probably some jealous ex of your new boyfriend’s. It was most likely an empty threat, but I’ll still check up on it. Are you still scared?”

  “I feel better now. ” Ethan always made her feel safe. She was thinking she overreacted. She’d never been threatened like that before.

  “If you need your bodyguard a couple weeks early, I can fly out. Where are you now? On your way to Saint Louis, right?”

  “How did you know?”

  He was quiet for a long moment. “I sort of mapped out your entire trip based on the tour dates posted on Sinners’ website. ”

  Reagan laughed. “See. You are paranoid and overprotective. ”

  “You can count on it. ”

  “I’ll be okay, Ethan. Thanks for being there when I needed you. ”

  “You can count on that too. ”

  Chapter 15

  Several days later, standing in the dressing room of the venue in Indianapolis, Trey held his cell phone in an iron grip. “What do you mean, you’re stuck in traffic?” Trey asked Brian. “We have to be onstage in twenty minutes. ”

  “It can’t be helped, Trey. I didn’t order a car fire on the interstate in an attempt to annoy everyone. ”

  “If you’d quit fucking running off to L. A. every frickin’ night—”

  “I have other obligations now, Trey. I know the word ‘responsibility’ isn’t in your vocabulary, but maybe you should think about someone other than yourself for five goddamned minutes. ”

  Trey hated arguing with Brian. The man had a skill for laying on a guilt trip. “I’m not thinking of myself. I’m thinking about those twenty thousand fans who paid to see us perform and who expect us to be onstage at ten o’clock. Not ten thirty. Not eleven. Ten. ”

  “So stall them for half an hour. I’ll be there. I’m just going to be late. ”

  “Stall them? What are we going to do? Put Jace onstage to do his knock-knock joke routine?”

  “You’ll think of something. ”

  Out of the corner of his eye, Trey caught sight of Reagan laughing with (or at) Eric. “You know what? We’ll just start without you. ”

  Trey hung up before Brian could say anything else. Trey found Sed drinking a beer with several fans who’d scored VIP passes from a local radio station.

  “Brian’s going to be late,” Trey told him.

  “Late?” Sed glanced at the clock. “Like how late?”

  “At least thirty minutes. ”

  “Fuck. The crowd will go berserk by then. ” Sed set his beer down and headed toward the dressing room exit. The last of the opening bands was finishing up their set. Trey knew what Sed’s plan was. Try to keep the Kickstart onstage longer. Trey had a better idea. At least he thought it was great. He started after Sed.

  One of the fans grabbed Trey’s arm. “Is Master Sinclair okay?” she asked, her eyes full of concern.

  “Yeah, he’s just stuck in traffic. No worries. ”

  By the time Trey caught up with him, Sed was talking to Kickstart’s soundboard operator. The guy shook his head and pointed at his watch. Sed wiped a hand over his face and stared up at the rigging over the stage.

  Onstage, Kip Forrester, the lead singer of Kickstart, yelled, “Are you ready for Sinners to rock your faces off?”

  The crowd roared and then followed Kip in chanting, “Sinners, Sinners, Sinners. ” He was doing his job as a great opening act by getting the crowd pumped up for the headlining band.

  Trey took Sed by the arm and led him to a quieter hallway behind the stage. “If we make them wait an hour before we start the show, they’ll probably riot. ”

  “That’s what I was thinking. William says there’s no way Kickstart can do another encore. Any ideas?”

  “Reagan can fill in for Brian. ”

  Sed looked at him as if he’d said, “Reagan can walk on water. ”

  “Just to get us started,” Trey clarified. “As soon as Brian gets here, he can take over. ”

  “I don’t think our fans will like that much. Most of them come just to see Brian. ” He paused. “And me. ”

  Sed was never short in self-confidence.

  “Do you have a better idea?” Trey asked.

  “Yeah, I do. We’ll tell Brian he can’t go back to L. A. after every show. Put our foot down with him. This is bullshit. I thought he was going to pass out onstage in Saint Louis. ”

  Trey scoffed. “Good luck with that, Sed. He’s not going to give up seeing his family for anything. ”

  “I understand where he’s coming from, but we only have one more week on the road. He fucking looks like the walking dead. He’s stretched too thin and not doing a good job at anything. Not performing. Not taking care of himself or his family. ”

  Even though Trey was pissed at Brian, he didn’t like anyone saying bad things about him. Not even Sed. “He’s doing his best. ”

  Sed snorted derisively. “You don’t really believe that. ”

  “He’s just trying to do too much right now. ”

  “And failing at everything. Go see if Reagan is up for this idea. We’ll try it. We might have to do the entire show twice, but at least we won’t have an out-of-control crowd. ” Sed rubbed his jaw. “I hope. ”

  Trey grinned, his heart drumming with excitement. “She’ll do great. Everyone will love her. ”

  Sed chuckled. “I think you’re a tad partial, Trey. ”

  Trey hurried back to the dressing room and found Reagan chattering at Jace, who listened intently to her entire one-sided conversation and nodded occasionally but said nothing.

  Trey moved in behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist. He probably should have okayed this plan with her before bringing it up with Sed, but how could she refuse? And if she did, Trey was sure he could get his way with very little effort. He knew she kind of liked him.

  Reagan covered his hands with hers and pressed them against her belly, encouraging him to hold her more tightly. “Are you ready to go onstage?” she asked.

  “Are you?”

  She laughed. “Yeah, I can’t wait to do my first show in two weeks. I’m getting anxious. ”

  “I meant are you ready to go onstage tonight?”

  She turned around in his arms and gave him a questioning look.

  “Brian’s going to be late, so I thought you could stand in for him for a couple of songs until he gets here. ”

  “No way! I haven’t rehearsed. I’d make a total fool of myself. ”

  “You know all of Sinners’ songs. You’ll do great. ”

  “Trey, I can’t do this. ”

  “I already told Sed you’d do it. Don’t make me look like an ass. ”

  Her eyebrows drew together and she pinned him with a heated stare. “You’re being one
, why not look like one?”

  Trey tilted his head just so and held her gaze with his. “Please. ”

  “Don’t ‘please’ me, Trey Mills. That look will not get you everything you want. ”

  “Even if I want to please you?”

  Her lips twisted as she tried to suppress a smile, and he knew she was going to cave. “You always please me,” she said.

  “So you’ll do it?” he pressed.

  “Sure. Why not?”

  He kissed her neck and murmured in her ear, “You’re getting the extra-large tongue stud tonight, Reagan Elliot. ”

  “You’re supposed to sweeten the deal before I agree to your terms, not after. ”

  “Are you objecting?”

  She wrapped both arms around him and stared up into his eyes. “Absolutely not. ”

  “I guess we’d better let the stage crew know there’s been a slight change in the show tonight. ”

  Eric tapped Trey on the shoulder. “Uh, Trey, I think Reagan is great and all, but I don’t think this is the best idea. ”

  Trey lifted an eyebrow at him. “What would be your best idea?”

  “To wait for Brian. ”

  “They’re going to hate me, aren’t they?” Reagan said. “I’d hate me if I was waiting to see Master Sinclair perform and some tomboy stepped out on stage in his place. ”

  “They’ll love you, Reagan. I guarantee it. ”

  ***

  Reagan didn’t feel right borrowing Brian’s guitar without his permission, but his equipment was already tuned up and synced to the amplifiers, so switching out guitars now would have put undue stress on the sound crew. She was excited to get her first real taste of the limelight, but she could hear the restlessness of the crowd. Uneasiness settled in the pit of her stomach. What was she doing here? And why did she always do exactly what Trey wanted her to do? She couldn’t even get mad at him about it. Not when she so eagerly did his bidding and then benefited from his happiness. Because a happy Trey was a generous Trey.

  Trey rubbed her back and smiled at her. “You ready?”

  “Are you sure about this? I don’t know ‘Betrayed’ very well. It hasn’t been out very long. ”

  “You played it perfectly five minutes ago. ”

  Yeah, but there hadn’t been forty-thousand eyeballs on her five minutes ago. Rebekah gave them their cue to enter the stage, and Trey gave Reagan an encouraging squeeze before he climbed the steps and crossed the stage to its far side. Jace gave her a set of knuckles in the shoulder and followed Trey. Sed, who stood behind her, nudged her toward the stage. She found the taped X on the stage where she was supposed to stand in front of Brian’s stomp pad. She knew the notes but had no idea which amplifier she was supposed to switch to and when. This was going to be a disaster. Trey owed her a lot more than a session with his talented tongue to make up for this.

  Eric thudded the bass drum and Reagan jumped as if it was a shotgun blast. Jace’s bass line entered and she found proper fingering on the strings of Brian’s guitar. Her head started swimming and she realized she had forgotten to breathe. She gasped for air and played the first chord. Bright lights hit her in the face and she winced, but she somehow kept playing. She’d been fooling herself into thinking she was half as good as Master Sinclair. Every slight variation in tone made her cringe. No one else seemed to notice. The crowd, what little of it she could see with the blinding lights in her face, was enthusiastic for the music. They didn’t seem to notice that someone else was playing the role of their favorite guitarist. Sed entered the stage and the audience roared their approval. He paced the stage as he sang, lifting his hands to the roof and getting the crowd to mimic his motions.

  Reagan glanced across the stage at Trey, who nodded at her in encouragement with a huge smile on his face. Okay, this wasn’t so bad. She could do this. Her eyes began to adjust to the bright lights, but the heat coming off them was brutal. Sweat slickened her lower back and the nape of her neck. When the solo approached, she wasn’t sure if she should mimic Brian and head for the ego riser at the front of the stage or just stay put and hope the crowd didn’t notice Brian had sprung a set of boobs since his last performance.
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