Authors: Jolyn Palliata
Tags: #Paranormal;Romance;Rock star;Rock band;novella;Twists of Fate;Souls
I just need to wrap my head around it first, okay?
Standing in the middle of her living room, she let her arms drop to her side. Her chest felt tight, her muscles twinging and her breath came in hard gasps. Before she could chicken out, she stormed back over to her computer and hit ‘send.’ For a minute, she just stared at the screen.
The relief flowed from him unabated.
Thank you, Addison. Thank you.
She felt like she had just fired the killing shot, that she had just destroyed some poor man’s life. Certain that she had, her exhaustion didn’t help her horrified perspective.
“Rhys. I need some time to myself. Can you give me that?”
He didn’t sound thrilled about it, but accepting.
“Thanks,” she whispered, closing off their connection as she sank into the couch and cried.
After her crying jag was over, Addison fell asleep. In the late afternoon she crawled off the couch and lurched zombie-like to the shower. As the hard, hot spray pelted sense into her, she shook off the rest of her grogginess. It was then she realized she hadn’t been holding her link to Rhys closed anymore.
He must have known when she figured it out, because he didn’t try talking to her until then.
You okay, sweetheart?
For once he used the name affectionately rather than derogatory, and it threw her for a loop.
“Of course,” she said, trying to curb her defenses. “Why wouldn’t I be?”
I’m in your head, Addison, so I know sending the email tore you up.
Had he heard her cry?
“No,” she protested, a little too sharply. “I just got caught up on my sleep, that’s all.” She could feel his doubt in her response, and his regret, but he didn’t pursue it further.
So what’s on the docket for tonight? Should we watch a flick? What’s out now? We have to
do something while we wait for Xavier to hit us back. And let me tell ya, this wait is gonna drive
me fucking insane. Hey, I’ll even let you pick out some shitty chick-flick. Ya know, ‘cause I’m
such a nice guy.
Addison cringed, full well knowing she couldn’t delay the inevitable any longer.
She had managed to hide her reaction yesterday morning when she got the email from Jonathan, and had kept Rhys blocked as she stumbled through sending her subsequent confirmation. She was grateful for the ability to block him, but there was no way she could maintain it throughout the night. Not without a slip-up here and there. And that could get ugly.
“Um…I have plans for tonight.”
Oh, yeah? What’s up?
She shut off the water and grabbed a towel, drying off while privately considering how to answer him.
“Just going out.”
That seemed casual enough, didn’t it? No need to get into any details. After all, it wasn’t like it was any of his business.
She really should have known better.
And by going out, you mean…
When she didn’t fill in the blank, he did.
With friends, right?
“Not exactly.” She ditched the towel and wrapped in a robe before heading to her bedroom.
Sighing, she decided she should just tell him. He was going to figure it out anyway. “I have a date.”
You have a fucking what?
“A date.” She grimaced, then wiped the expression away. It was none of his business how she spent her time. “You have a problem with that, Rhys?”
Ah, yeah. I have a big fucking problem with that. You can’t go on a date.
His tone was unyielding, as if he had the right to tell her what to do.
He couldn’t have picked a worse way to approach it.
Feeling the challenge, she shot back, “And why the hell not?”
He said it simply, as if it explained everything.
She tried to shirk off her irritation as she strode towards her closet.
Was he really concerned about her wellbeing, or just messing with her? She assumed the safer reasoning of concern. Safer for him, that is.
“I’m fine,” she insisted. “Besides, dating doesn’t always equate to sex, Rhys. I understand this is a different reality than being a rock star, but really. I think I’m perfectly capable of sitting in a restaurant without hindering my recovery.”
When did you make this…
He spit out the last word as if it left a bad taste in his mouth.
I don’t remember you planning it. Were you blocking me again?
“No, you paranoid psycho. I made the date before I even met you, okay?” Guilt nagged at her nerves.
Aw, hell. “Okay, so I blocked you when I sent him an email yesterday, but that was it.” She continued shifting through her dresses, sliding one after another across the closet rack as she decided against them.
So…what? This is a blind date? A first date? I mean, the deadbeat hasn’t
been around yet so he’s obviously not your man. Shit, the fucker didn’t even send you flowers or
anything. Or did he?
She tried to ignore him as she threw her hands up—half in frustration at Rhys, half in annoyance of not having anything to wear.
But there was no way silence was going to shut him up.
he prodded, actually pushing at their link so she felt the mental poke.
“You are seriously five years old,” she accused, flipping back through all her dresses. “And it’s a third date, if you must know. I met him when I took the fiftieth anniversary photos of his grandparents.”
Aww, how sweet,
he gushed, his tone sour.
“What the hell do you care anyway?”
There was a beat of silence before he said,
“Then let’s drop it, okay?”
Fine by me.
“And stop pouting.” She could feel his mental huff, so she knew he was doing exactly that.
And the fact he didn’t bother disputing it only strengthened her theory.
After a few minutes of digging through her closet, Addison came up with two black dresses.
She wanted something simplistic to fit her style, but elegant. Something not too revealing, but feminine; something that would make a man drool but leave enough to the imagination to have him wondering what was hidden underneath.
What are you doing?
“I’m trying to decide which dress to wear.” She chewed on her fingernail as her eyes shifted from one dress to the other.
Wear the one on the right.
Her eyebrows shot up. “You can see them?”
Hell, no. But your inability to make a fucking decision is raking at my nerves.
“So you just picked one at random?”
It’s a decision, isn’t it? It’s not like you’re any closer to one.
She lifted a shoulder in semi-agreement as she eyed the wraparound number on the right.
Worked for her.
She shoved the reject dress back into the closet before she went to dry her hair and throw on some make-up.
Rhys was surprisingly quiet throughout, and then she realized he had closed off their link.
Why? She had no idea, but at this point it hardly concerned her. She was just thankful for the quiet.
After fluffing her blonde locks and putting on her face, Addison shrugged out of her robe.
She took her time as she picked out some frilly panties and bra—because you just never know—
and then wiggled into the dress.
“Oh, boy,” she mumbled, studying herself in the mirror. The dress didn’t leave as much to the imagination as she had hoped. She couldn’t go out like this, could she?
A sly smile crept to her face. Well, maybe…
What’s up, sweetheart?
Aaand the cocky attitude was back.
“Just checking things out. This dress is a bit…revealing. I’m not used to it.” He chuckled.
. Can you actually see your knees?
She pulled at the fabric wrapped tight around her chest as her ample breasts kept trying to pop out and say ‘hello,’ and then she tugged fruitlessly at the hem.
“It shows a lot more than that,” she muttered, rethinking if she could leave the house that way or not. After all, it
only a third date, and on top of that, she never truly intended to ever wear that dress; it was a impulse purchase on a day she had felt a helluva lot braver than she did just then.
Jesus, it can’t be that bad. Hell, if any damn flesh is showing, you’d consider it to be too
“I would not.” Though she probably would.
Don’t get all offended and shit. You showed me your picture, remember? Very proper, very
conservative, very non-revealing. I know your type.
“My type. Is that so?” She propped her hands on her hips, her contempt pushing her to prove the stereotyping asshat wrong. “Would you like to see for yourself? Then you can enlighten me with your vast knowledge as to how this dress is too conservative, and fits my type perfectly.” Snorting a laugh, he encouraged her further.
I would love to see your oh-too-sexy dress,
sweetheart. Lay it on me. I’ll try to contain myself.
Striking a ridiculously sassy pose that had her giggling, she projected her image from the mirror.
He made a choking sound, and she felt his entire being seize up.
Frustrated, she shut down the image. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
For crissakes, woman, you’re fucking hot in real life! What the hell happened to the prim-and-fucking-proper-working-class girl?!
Suddenly feeling very confident, she tipped her head to the side and studied her image again, being sure Rhys saw it as well.
“I let my hair down, which I’m known to do when I go out. I put in my contacts, which I also do from time-to-time. And I put this on,” she ran her hands down her dress, caressing every curve. “Which, I might add, you picked out. I think you made the right choice, don’t you?” She turned in the mirror, glancing over her shoulder to show the ‘v’ of bare skin slashing down the back.
Addison, baby, you’re killing me. Of all the damn luck; to be stuck in the head of some
searing hot babe.
He groaned as if in real pain.
She laughed at his dramatics, and closed off the image. “What does it matter what I look like? I’m still
. The irritating
you fight with constantly.”
Yeah, but before I was getting a rise out of you ‘cause I could.
“And how has that changed?”
His voice shifted low, almost sultry.
Now I’m kinda thinking of it as foreplay.
It was her turn to make the choking sound, followed by a wave of heat planting itself firmly in her cheeks. “Oh, please.”
That’s right, baby. Beg.
She couldn’t help but laugh, refusing to take the man seriously. “This is going to be a long night.”
His chuckle joined hers.
Count on it.
“You better behave yourself, Rhys.”
To that, he had no response.
“I mean it, Rhys,” Addison whispered, heading to answer the door. “You better behave yourself tonight.”
I will if you will.
“For crying out loud, it’s just dinner. Now shush. I don’t want to hear another word.” Throwing her shoulders back, she tried to compose herself. After a deep breath, she opened the door with a beaming smile.
“Jonathan. How are you?”
Jonathan’s generally polite gaze took a quick dip down and back up as he appraised her.
“You look lovely, Addison, as always.”
Stepping forward, he took her hands in his and leaned in.
Addison felt a quick anticipatory thrill as his head tipped toward hers, but it banked hard when she heard Rhys’ voice.
Whoa. Whoa. What the hell was that?
She shoved back at their connection, refusing to let him ruin this moment for her. But she was so focused on Jonathan’s lips as they got closer, that she accidentally projected the image to Rhys.
Oh, hell no! Don’t you dare fucking kiss that bastard. Do you hear me, Addison? I am not
going to be a part to this bullshit!
She was so flustered by the rant, and the impending kiss, that the only way she could cut off the image was to close her eyes. It seemed Rhys could tell the difference.
Did you just close your motherfucking eyes?! Shit, woman! Talk about an open fucking
It took all of her concentration, but she managed to close the connection a split second before Jonathan’s lips brushed hers.
It didn’t stop Rhys from trying to barge right back in.
Son of a fucking bitch! You swore not to block me! Do your promises mean nothing? Talk
about kicking a man when he’s down. And, oh yeah…let’s just add molestation to the list, shall
we? Who the fuck cares about the dead guy?!
She mentally blanched at their connection as Jonathan kissed her, his tongue dipping in and sweeping against hers. His contact was firm and she felt the purpose behind it; he was testing the waters, checking her receptiveness.
She would have been a helluva lot more into it if it hadn’t been for asshat rock star in her head. His bombardment of complaints slammed into the weak mental hold she had managed, and it slipped free as she pulled back, gesturing Jonathan inside.
“Won’t you come in?”
You’re inviting him in now, too? Are you insane, woman? Do you have any fucking idea
how a man reads into that? Do you?! You seemed like such a smart chick; don’t tell me you’re
Addison ignored Rhys the best she could.
She had agreed to keep their connection open during the date, under duress; the threat of repeated sleepless nights hanging like an guillotine blade over her neck. But she didn’t agree to let his comments go unanswered. With a smile at Jonathan, she mentally shoved at Rhys.
Shit! Easy there, sweetheart. You pack one hell of a mental punch.