Hot ticket, p.30
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       Hot Ticket, p.30
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         Part #3 of Sinners on Tour series by Olivia Cunning  
Page 30

  Author: Olivia Cunning

  “Shit,” Sed grumbled and slapped Eric on the back of the head.

  “You don’t really think they want to search the bus because I was making fun of their national anthem, do you?”

  “No, I just like to hit you. They want to search the bus because they assume if we’re rock musicians, we must be on illegal drugs. ”

  “I fuckin’ love Canada,” Eric said. “I can’t wait until they reinstate the draft so I have a legitimate reason to move here. ”

  “Border patrol,” a uniformed officer announced as he stepped on the bus. “Anything to declare?”

  “I declare that this sucks,” Trey said, shuffling past him.

  “Hey,” Eric said to the officer and pointed at Trey. “I saw that guy shove something up his ass. ”

  Sed slapped Eric again. “He’s joking, sir. Just joking. ”

  “I did see him shove something up his ass. Another guy’s cock. ” He snorted with laughter.

  Sed pushed Eric toward the exit. “Just ignore him, officer. He has no concept of when a joke is inappropriate. ”

  “That was funny though, right?”

  “Oh yes, hilarious, Eric. We won’t tell the nice officer about what you shoved up your ass. ”

  “I didn’t—”

  Sed covered his mouth. “Just ignore him. He gets jittery when he comes down off the crack. That was another joke, by the way. This bus is clean. I guarantee it. ”

  A second officer entered the bus with a German shepherd, which was fighting its leash and barking excitedly. The man waited with the dog in the driver’s area while everyone exited.

  “Are you sure it’s clean?” Aggie whispered to Sed.

  “Unless you brought something with you. ”

  Aggie shook her head. “No, I gave up drugs after high school. Almost OD’d a couple times. ”

  “Well, there you go. You have something in common with Jon. ”

  Aggie’s lip curled with displeasure. Now there was something to be proud of. She glanced at Jon, who was staring venom at Jace as usual. Aggie huddled against Jace to block the cool breeze. She wasn’t expecting it to be this chilly in September and hadn’t put on a jacket. After around fifteen minutes, the border patrol came off the bus.

  “Can we take a look underneath?”

  “Do you have a legal right to?” Sed asked.

  “Yes. ”

  “Then why bother asking?”

  Dave opened the doors to the storage compartments under the bus. The dog sniffed around and pawed someone’s jacket. The officer set it on the ground. After a second sniff, the dog lost interest.

  For no apparent reason, Jon careened into Jace, knocking him into Aggie. At Jace’s gasp of pain, Aggie turned to scowl at Jon. “What did you do that for?”

  She saw him shove something into Jace’s pants pocket and then his empty hand retreated.

  “You two just looked like you needed to cuddle a little closer,” Jon said with a chuckle. “There was at least a quarter of an inch between you. ”

  Aggie stuck her hand in Jace’s pocket. Felt the small bag full of dried leaves inside. Knew what the bastard had done. Before she could return Jon’s bag of pot to him, the dog caught scent of it and charged toward them.

  “Where is it, boy?” the officer asked.

  Huge paws landed in the center of Jace’s chest. Jace winced and turned an alarming shade of puce.

  “Wait!” Aggie grabbed Jace’s good arm, but the second officer wrenched him from her grasp and slammed him onto the asphalt. Having his arm trapped in a sling, he had no way to catch his fall.

  “Easy. He’s severely injured,” Sed said, grabbing the officer by the shoulder.

  The dog located the bag in Jace’s pocket. “Good boy,” the man said to his dog. “What do we have here?”

  “It’s not mine,” Jace said, gasping through his pain.

  “Sure, it’s not. ”

  “He’s telling the truth. Someone planted it on him. ” Aggie glanced at Jon, who was doing a poor job at feigning innocence by inspecting the clouds.

  The patrol man lifted the bag from Jace’s pocket and examined it. Got a strange look on his face.

  Jon busted out laughing.

  “What the fuck are you laughing at?” Sed grumbled in his deep baritone.

  The officer opened the bag, crunching the green leaves with his fingertips, and gave it a hesitant sniff. Dipped a wet finger inside and touched a leaf to his tongue. “This isn’t cannabis. ”

  Jon laughed harder. “It’s just oregano. Best practical joke ever, huh, guys?”

  No one was laughing.

  “Then what tipped the dog off?” the officer asked. “He wouldn’t go after oregano. ” He shook the bag at the dog, which pawed its nose and whined.

  Jon shrugged. He leaned over Jace. “You okay down there, buddy?”

  Aggie helped Jace to his feet. He staggered as he regained his balance. Blood had seeped through the bandage on his shoulder and through his white T-shirt in several spots. He lunged at Jon, murder in his eyes. Aggie wrapped herself around him and widened her stance to hold him back. “Not here, sugar,” she whispered, nodding toward the officers. “Get him back later. ”

  “Need your girlfriend to hold you up, little man?” Jon said, sneering.

  “That was so uncool,” Eric said. He touched Jace’s shoulder. “You okay? You’re bleeding. ”

  Jace nodded slightly, breathing hard as he worked to bury his anger. He had every right to be angry, and if there hadn’t been two cops standing right there, Aggie would have beat the shit out of Jon herself.

  “Officer, can I take him on the bus and redress his wounds?” Aggie asked.

  “He looks like he’s in pretty bad shape,” the patrolman said. “Maybe you should take him to a hospital. ”

  “I’ll be okay,” Jace murmured. He stumbled against Aggie. She grabbed him to keep him on his feet.

  “Can I take him inside?” she asked again.

  “Yeah, we’re done here. You’re free to go. ” The officer pointed at Jon. “You better watch it, buddy. That wasn’t funny at all. Your friend had no business being slammed on the ground. It appears he’s hurt badly. ”

  “Sorry, sir. ” Jon grinned cruelly. “It won’t happen again. ”

  The group made their way toward the bus, walking slowly behind Jace, who leaned heavily on Aggie. She wasn’t sure how he was still on his feet. She was going to kick the shit out of Jon.

  “Let me help him,” Brian offered.

  Brian took Jace’s arm and eased his weight off Aggie.

  “I’m fine,” Jace said.

  “You’re not fine,” Brian said. “And we’re taking you to a hospital. We’re not going to let you do a Trey and talk us out of getting you medical attention. ”

  “Hooray for socialized medicine,” Eric cheered.

  “You have to be a Canadian citizen to get that benefit, idiot,” Sed said.

  “I told you I was moving here. ”

  “Dave, ask that cop where the nearest hospital is,” Trey said to Dave as Brian helped Jace climb the steps. Aggie followed one step behind, prepared to catch Jace should he fall backward. He was scarcely able to lift his leg high enough to get up the steep steps.

  “I’m not going to the hospital,” Jace said, his breathing labored. “It just knocked the wind out of me. ”

  “You’re bleeding all over the fucking place,” Trey said, one step behind Aggie. “Aren’t you already low on blood?”

  “A couple pints,” Jace said. “I’ll be okay. Just need to lie down for a minute. ”

  And he did lie down—on the floor at the top of the steps.

  Chapter 31

  “Go on without us,” Aggie said. “I’ll get a car somewhere, and we’ll catch up in a few days. He won’t be able to perform anyway. Isn’t that the whole reason you brough
t AssHat Jon with you?”

  “I’m not sure bringing AssHat was the brightest idea,” Sed murmured. “I know he played that whole drug bust like it was a practical joke, but if I know Jon, he was taking the focus off himself because he had something to hide. ”

  “He’s clean now, Sed,” Eric said. “He knows the band doesn’t tolerate illegal drugs on tour. We told him that before we asked him to come. ”

  Sed slapped Eric on the back of the head. “Get a fuckin’ brain, dude. Do you think he’d be honest about it? He wants to be onstage again more than anything. Why do you think he’s mean to Jace?”

  “Jace is an easy target. ”

  Sed rolled his eyes and turned his attention back to Aggie. “We have a show tomorrow night here in Vancouver. We can probably stay another night if we need to and still make it to our next gig in Edmonton. We’ll see if Jace is feeling better by then. If not, you two can catch up later. ”

  Aggie nodded. She supposed there was a reason that Sed led the band. He was a natural.

  “It’s best to keep him in the hospital for as long as possible,” Sed said.

  Eric chuckled. “A day, if you’re lucky. The doctor said all he needed was bed rest. ”

  “And no roughhousing,” Sed added.

  Aggie’s eyes narrowed. “That was all Jon’s fault. ”

  “I’ll deal with Jon,” Sed said.

  “Let Jace deal with Jon when he feels better. ”

  Sed looked down at her. For a minute she thought he was going to yell at her, but he nodded. “I’ll give him that. ”

  Aggie smiled.

  “Unfortunately, we’ve got to rehearse right now. Jon’s a bit rusty. ”

  “Like a hundred-year-old iron gate in a bayou,” Eric muttered.

  “Thanks, guys. I’ll give you my number in case you need to call,” Aggie said.

  After they left, Aggie sank into the chair beside Jace’s bed. She watched him sleep for a while. She hoped he voluntarily agreed to stay in the hospital for a few days. She knew the stress of being around Jon was getting to him. Yawning, she decided to go for a cup of coffee and walked to the vending machine at the end of the hallway. Her phone rang. Thinking it was one of the band, she answered immediately.

  “Are you talking to me now?” her mom asked.

  “No. ”

  “Are you coming home soon?”

  “No. ”

  “A regular customer of yours stopped by last night. Said he’d been trying to reach you at the club, but they said you’d taken an extended vacation. ”

  Probably a permanent one. Roy had been furious when she’d called and told him she wasn’t sure when she’d be back to work. Aggie set her coffee on the counter and leaned against a wall. Her mother always prefaced big revelations with noncommittal statements. “And you told him I was out of town, right?”

  “He likes me. ”

  “Who?”

  “Gary. ”

  Loser Gary? “You didn’t take him into the sanctum, did you?”

  “Maybe. ”

  Aggie squeezed the bridge of her nose between her thumb and index finger. “Mom, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can really hurt someone. ”

  She laughed. “Isn’t that the whole point?”

  “No. I trained under a professional domme for two years before I did any sessions on my own. ”

  “You could train me. ” She sounded excited—for now. Aggie knew once she got into the actual work, it would hold her attention for about three hours.

  “Aren’t you ashamed of what I do?” Aggie said.

  “Ashamed? No, baby, I could never be ashamed of you. You’re only twenty-six, and look at all you’ve accomplished. You own a nice home. Have a well-paying job. Run two businesses. Have a man who loves you enough to take two bullets for you. You command respect. What do I have, Aggie? What have I done with my life? Nothing. You’re the one who should be ashamed. Not of yourself. Of me. ”
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