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       Double Time, p.5

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

  Author: Olivia Cunning

  There was a screech in the booth as the guitarist stopped playing in the middle of ‘Bite. ’ A second later Brian’s most insanely complicated and fast solo filled the booth.

  Trey scowled at Dare. “I told you it was him. No one can play that solo like he does. Not even me. ”

  “Why would we go to all this trouble to fuck with you, Trey?” Dare asked.

  “How the hell should I know?”

  Trey exited the studio and opened the door to the sound booth. “Ha ha, Brian, very funny. ” Except it wasn’t Brian playing ‘Gates of Hell’ to perfection. It was that woman. Her dirty-blond hair was cut into a short, sassy style. She wore faded army-green cargo pants, combat boots, a plain white tank top, and not a stitch of makeup. She held her red Stratocaster with authority and played it as if it were her little bitch. The woman was a fucking goddess.

  Chapter 3

  Reagan slapped her hand on her guitar strings to stop their vibration. Trey Mills had burst into the recording booth and scared the shit out of her. He stood there in the open door gaping at her and setting her heart aflutter. The last time she’d felt like this was the day she’d met Ethan Conner, and that had turned out to be the most fucked up experience of her life. She didn’t need this kind of nipple-tingling distraction right now. She needed to concentrate on her audition.

  Max’s voice came through the speaker overhead. “Send the wannabes home. We don’t need to hear anymore. We’ve found our man. ”

  “Woman,” Trey called.

  “What?” Max asked. “We want Elliot. ”

  “I’m Elliot,” Reagan said. “Reagan Elliot. ”

  “Well, I’ll be a son of a bitch,” Max grumbled.

  “Where did you learn to play like that?” Trey asked her.

  Wait just a fucking minute—did Exodus End just hire her? She’d won? Really? She played a victory screech on her guitar and carried the note with way too much whammy for polite company.

  Trey stepped closer to her and she caught the scents of cherry, leather, and sex on him. “You didn’t answer me. ”

  “Self-taught,” she told him.

  “You sound so much like Brian, I thought you were him playing a prank on me. ”

  “Brian?” When she realized to whom he was referring, her eyes felt like they were going to pop out of her head. “You mean Master Sinclair?”

  He nodded slightly.

  “Seriously?” She smiled, her heart thudding like a jackhammer. “That’s quite a compliment. ”

  “Especially coming from Trey,” Dare Mills said from the doorway.

  There should be a law against the Mills brothers standing in the same room. Separately they were murder on a woman’s ability to think straight. Together? Reagan’s mind went entirely numb. Other areas of her anatomy were fully attentive, however. The pair looked somewhat alike. Both had green eyes. Trey’s were sultry, as if he’d just woken up after a long night of fucking some lucky girl’s brains out. Dare’s were piercing and made her feel naked, exposed, and liking it. Trey’s hair was short in the back, longer in the front. By flopping in his face, his bangs drew attention to those bedroom eyes of his and made him look mysterious. Naughty. Oh so naughty. Dare’s hair was all the same length, settling a few inches below his collarbones, and made him look wicked. Dangerous. Oh so dangerous. Trey had a bad-boy vibe, accentuated by his various piercings. Dare had a similar vibe, but more feral. Dare’s sexy shadow of beard growth made Reagan crave some whisker burn on the insides of her thighs. She wasn’t sure how long she stood there staring at them and imagining them making her a very happy woman—together, separately, together again—but they allowed her inspection as if they were used to it.

  “I’m Reagan,” she gushed and rushed forward with her hand extended in Dare’s direction.

  Dare gripped her hand firmly, measuring her up as a fellow musician, not as a woman. Damn it. Well, actually that was for the best if they were going to be working together. Oh yeah, they’d be working together. Awesome!

  “I’m Dare Mills. ”

  “Yeah, you are. ” She broke out in nervous laughter and wished someone would tranquilize her before she made a bigger ass of herself.

  Maximilian Richardson entered the room and Trey had to grab her shoulder to keep her on her feet. Electrifying sensations radiated through her flesh from where Trey touched her. She turned to look at him in amazement. He stared back, looking just as stunned.

  “We’ll want you to play a few songs with us before we have you sign an official contract,” Max said, “but you’re one hell of a guitarist. How is your band not already signed?”

  She tore her gaze from Trey and forced her attention to Max. Forced her attention to Max? What the fuck was wrong with her? The leader of one of the most successful metal bands past, present, and undoubtedly future was addressing her, talking about contracts and making all of her wildest dreams come true and she was thinking how much she’d like to spend a few moments alone with Trey, just so she could hear the timber of his voice again. Well, maybe she wanted to do a few other things while alone with him, but he could talk to her at the same time. At least when his sexy mouth wasn’t otherwise occupied.

  “My band broke up several months ago,” she told Max. “The lead singer’s wife had a baby. Bands don’t usually last long once members start having kids. ”

  Trey’s hand dropped from her arm and he shuffled past his brother, who gave him a look of empathy and a squeeze on the shoulder. Was it something she said? Her brow furrowed as she tried to figure out why Trey would care that her band had broken up. They hadn’t been all that great. No real spark between them. Once Trey was out of the room, half of her brain returned. The gushing fangirl half. “Oh my God, I’m so excited. You guys are so amazing! I’ve been a fan of yours since high school. I really appreciate you giving me this opportunity. ”

  Exodus End’s bassist, Logan, and drummer, Steve, squeezed into the small room. Her band shuffled around so they could all fit into the small space. Her band. Hers. Oh my God, this had to be a dream. She pinched her arm as hard as she could. “Ouch. I guess I’m not dreaming,” she muttered.

  “You wail, sweetheart,” Steve said. “What’s your name?”

  “Reagan. ”

  She shook hands with Logan (long, golden hair, gentle blue eyes, and hot) and Steve (soft waves of shoulder-length brown hair, dreamy brown eyes, and hot). Snuck another peek at Max (dark brown, trendy short hair, deep hazel eyes, and hotter) and then Dare (silky, sleek jet-black hair, intense green eyes, and the hottest). How would she survive being in a band with this many luscious and talented men without her panties spontaneously combusting?

  “Reagan, we love your sound,” Max said. “We’d like to head down to Dare’s practice room and jam through a few songs together to make sure you’re compatible with the group as a whole. Unless you have something better to do. ”

  In twenty minutes, Reagan was supposed to be at work serving coffee to stressed-out customers in knock-off Armani suits. Did that count as something better to do? “Fuck no, I don’t. ”

  “Great,” Dare said. His wide smile was like a double-shot of espresso to the happy lobe of her brain.

  Reagan followed the group through the maze that was the north wing of Dare’s sprawling mansion. She’d never been in a house that had wings before. That entire section of his house was dedicated to the band. Gold and platinum records lined the hallway. Bits of Exodus End’s history: Photos of the band at award ceremonies and playing live shows, guitars, posters, backstage passes, drumsticks, and other memorabilia covered every square inch of wall space. Dare’s interior decorator obviously frequented chain restaurants. She wished she had time to examine it all and learn the history behind each piece. They passed another recording studio packed wall to wall with Steve Aimes’s ginormous drum kit and other percussion instruments.

  “Do you take that
entire thing on tour?” Reagan pointed into the open door.

  Steve chuckled, his brown eyes sparkling with mischief. She had the feeling she’d need to keep a close eye on that one, which would not be a chore but a privilege. “Naw, that’s my old kit, which I use mostly for special studio recordings. I just take the essentials on tour. ”

  “His essentials take up half a semitruck,” Logan said.

  “Says the man with four hundred bass guitars,” Steve countered.

  Reagan gaped. “Four hundred?”

  “Not quite that many,” Logan said.

  “Three hundred and ninety-nine,” Steve amended.

  Reagan had one good electric guitar, one cheap piece of crap, and one acoustic. She was far out of her element here. Could she handle going from zero recognition to instant infamy? She didn’t know, but she was about to find out. There was no way in hell she was giving up this opportunity.

  They passed another room that looked like a tastefully decorated high school gymnasium. The highly polished wooden floor gleamed beneath modern-styled chandeliers. A huge, fully stocked bar took up the majority of the far wall. Some chairs were stacked against one wall, but the rest of the room was empty.

  When Reagan paused and gaped through the spectacular archways, Dare said, “The ballroom. ”

  “We have a ball in there, all right,” Logan said.

  “Parties?” Reagan asked.

  “A few,” Dare said.

  “Will I be invited to the next one?” she asked eagerly.

  Dare chuckled. “I’d say so. ”

  The other band members continued down the corridor and entered the next room, talking and laughing about various party memories. Reagan caught movement out on the expansive patio outside the floor-to-ceiling ballroom windows. Everything in this house was huge. She wondered if Dare lived here alone. Seemed a waste of space for one person. She had no doubt that he had an easier time forking out millions of dollars for this place than she had coming up with mere hundreds for rent each month.

  The man outside the windows pulled his shirt off over his head and tossed it on the ground.

  “Is that Trey?” she asked breathlessly.

  Trey pushed something on the ground with his toe and a huge Jacuzzi set into the slate patio began to bubble.

  “Helping himself to my hot tub again,” Dare said. “I keep telling him he might as well move in. He says he doesn’t want to impose. The dipshit imposes all the time. ”

  Reagan looked up at Dare and was momentarily dumbfounded to find she was having a conversation with one of the most famous guitarists on the planet. One of her idols. “I think I said something back in the studio that upset him. Does he really care that Bait-n-Switch broke up? We weren’t very good, to be honest. ”

  “I’m pretty sure he’s never heard of Bait-n-Switch,” Dare said. His hand slid up into his long, silky hair and he scratched his head before tucking the black strands behind one ear. “No offense. ”

  “None taken. Do you have any idea what I said to set him off?”

  Dare smiled at her. “He has a lot on his mind. Brian Sinclair’s wife had a baby this morning. What you said about kids causing bands to break up—”

  “Oh shit! I didn’t mean Sinners. ” She tore her gaze from Dare to watch Trey kick off his shoes. He looked entirely too depressed. “I’m going to go talk to him. Can you give me a couple minutes?”

  “Sure, we need to get our instruments tuned up anyway. ”

  Reagan had completely forgotten that she was still carrying her guitar strapped around her neck and shoulder. She looked down at it wondering if it was wise to take it out near the rolling hot tub water.

  “Do you want me to take that into the practice room for you?” Dare asked.
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