Authors: Sophia Hampton
This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons--living or dead--is entirely coincidental.
Rocked by an Angel copyright @ 2014 by Sophia Hampton. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embedded in critical articles or reviews.
ROCKED BY AN ANGEL
Melody Turner needed a break.
Her manager knew it, her band members knew it, even her fans knew it. But Melody was nothing if not stubborn. It took a crazy fan with a pocket knife to make her realize that this was not the dream life she had always thought she had.
True, being a famous rock star had its perks. She had gotten out of the sleepy biker town of Madena and had made something of herself. She had promised herself that she would never look back and until recently she hadn't.
Realizing your life is in danger will do that for you
, she mused to herself. She liked to think that she lived her life without fear...but that's crazy. No one can keep that up for long. She had no family left and few friends, besides her band mates. She slept little and had no social life. Whoever said that she had the lifestyle of the rich and famous, clearly didn't understand what that meant. If it meant TV dinners, long nights of practice, and virtually no time off unless you were sick...then yes - she definitely had the life!
Melody stopped strumming when her manager, Ricky, walked in. He sat down on the RV cushion and just looked at her. She knew she was in for a lecture and tried to head him off.
"I know, Ricky. I've already booked the plane tickets."
Ricky looked surprised, and then quickly gathered it together. "Where are you headed?"
She thought for a moment, wondering who it was safe to tell. Nowadays, she felt like she couldn't trust anyone. "Back home."
This time Ricky didn't even bother to conceal his shock. "But...but you
She sighed because he wasn't wrong. She had spoken often enough about how much she disliked the quiet town full of bikers and librarians. She had to think of her safety though, and as much as she despised having everyone know her business, she knew the town would not put her in any danger if they could help it.
When she didn't answer, he piped up, "How long will you be gone for? We don't have another tour until September."
"I'll be gone as long as it takes. Not sure exactly how long that is. But, I'll miss you," she added playfully. Over the years, her manager had become as close to a friend as she had.
They shared a quick hug, and then he let her get back to work. A few days later, she flew out of Denver to the small airport in Madena. Not knowing who still lived in the town, she rented a car and drove out to her parents' house. She hadn't been back since the funeral, so she spent most of the afternoon going through old photo books and digging through her mother's hope chest.
After an exhausting day, she decided to head to Minnie's, the local coffee shop, to grab some caffeine before unpacking. Standing in line, she couldn't help but hear the guys behind her who were doing their best imitation of a stage whisper.
"Mmmm...I'd like a little drizzle of cream on that vanilla latte." They cracked up, and she rolled her eyes inwardly.
"Looks like she's got some honey stowed away on her," another said. The bad puns continued until she got up to the register. When one of them went too far, she heard someone walk up behind them. A shock of awareness jolted through her when she recognized the voice.
"Leave her be, Tommy." The deep voice resonated with an unspoken threat.
"You don't have your posse here, Kent. No one to back you up now, is there?" Tommy let out a snicker and his buddies joined in.
The man let out a slow chuckle. "I didn't need help the last time, did I?"
The laughter died out, and she half turned to catch a glimpse of Tommy flying through the air and landing on his back, a stool tipping over in the process.
She looked at the broad back, recognizing the familiar lines, and noting all the new muscles that added to his already impressive size. He had been working out. Like,
The other diners went back to munching on their food. Clearly, this was not the first bout of violence between the two men. She figured there was probably more to the story, but at this point, all she wanted to do was get out of there. The last thing she needed was a complication like Jackson Kent. They had never seen eye-to-eye on the benefits of living in a small town.
She turned back to cashier and gave her an apologetic smile. This was probably more drama than they'd seen in the whole year.
"That'll be $4.50," the girl announced.
"I've got this." She suppressed the shivers that went through her when he spoke up somewhere behind her. She ignored him, slapping down a five dollar bill and smiling again at the girl behind the register. "Keep the change."
The girl gave Jackson a look, and then glanced down at the money, clearly unsure who's side she was supposed to be taking. Melody nudged her bill further ahead and thankfully the girl took it and put it in the register. She stepped off to the side to wait for her drink.
Jackson followed her after ordering his coffee, puzzled.
Why was the chick trying to be unfriendly? Or maybe she was just keeping her distance after the violence?
He didn't even try to hide his stare while he looked her over for clues.
She was wearing ballet flats and destroyed skinny jeans that hugged the curves of her calves and thighs. He could see a tiny strip of tanned skin through the ragged threads at her knee. She was tall. Not nearly as tall as he, but at least he wouldn't have to hunch over to talk to her, which was a welcome change. She had on a plain purple t-shirt with a scoop neck, just low enough that he could see the tops of her cleavage. A cross necklace was nestled between the two globes.
He felt himself growing hard and was amazed that just the merest glimpse at this mystery woman's cleavage was enough to turn him into a randy schoolyard boy. He let his eyes wander over her slender neck and up to the golden-streaked hair that was upswept into a messy bun. Her face was turned away, but from the profile he could see she had unblemished sun kissed skin and full red lips. Her eyelashes were long and full and her bottom lip was caught between her teeth. He had a moment of déjà vu and struggled to place where he had seen someone do that before.
The girl behind the counter called out a name that he didn't catch and the object of his musings stepped forward to take it. She smiled at the woman, took a sip, and then walked out of the shop. Just before she thrust the door open, she threw him back a glance. His whole world tipped and then righted itself. He knew that face. Instantly he realized where he recognized that look, those legs, her breasts. It was Melody.
Back when they were young, kids really, they had something special. They were inseparable through high school. Over a decade ago, back when they had thought they would be together forever. Back when she had thought he was worth staying for. Until she didn't. And she left him behind, heartbroken and bitter.
She hadn't even had the decency to write, or call, or come to the reunions. He knew she was big out on the West Coast, a rock star supposedly. He would always remember her tucked up against him, strumming her old acoustic guitar while he murmured sweet things into her ear and she giggled. She had been sweet, innocent, and loving. Then, her parents had died and she didn't want anything to do with this town, or with him.
She had left, never looking back, never caring how she had stomped on his heart and made him unfit for any other woman. Sure, he dated, but every girl ended up either caring too much for him or thinking they had a future. They didn't, and they wouldn't. His heart still belonged to the girl who had grown into a full blown woman halfway across the country.
Melody tried to shake off the tremors that coursed through her body since she walked out of the coffee shop. She didn't know why it unsettled her so when she saw that spark of recognition in his eyes, just before she left. He clearly recognized her, even with twelve years of no communication. Of course, she had recognized him instantly, so she supposed she shouldn't be so amazed that he had done the same.
It brought her back to the night they had broken up. It was raining and cold, a perfect setting for the ending of two bright futures. She had just said goodbye to her parents, buried deep below the earth. He had been her pillar of strength, the one thing holding her up and keeping her strong through it all.
She had wanted to leave, to get out and never look back. But he still had a family, although it was only comprised of his father and his motorcycle club, the Desperados, who were just as good as family to him. When his father had taken ill years before, it was the members of the club that had banded behind him, fed him, clothed him, and had taken care of all the medical bills until his father was healthy enough to work. Jackson could never forget that. He was a loyal until death and would never leave the club.
She had taken his refusal to move away from the town as the ultimate betrayal. She had thought they meant everything to each other. She'd honestly believed he
leave it all behind for her. But that day, he had looked at her with his eyes void of emotion and told her that this was his home, and she could become a part of that or she could leave.
She left and joined up with the first band that heard her sing. They made it big in the matter of just a few years, and now her name was a household name. True, not
name...Sapphire Daly, her alter ego. Sometimes she was more Sapphire than Melody. Sapphire was strong and fearless and confident. She didn't need people to like her or her music. She didn't need to look back.
Over the next few days, it seemed like Jackson was everywhere. If she went to the grocery store, he was leaned up against it, talking to a couple club members. If she went to a restaurant, he was there with his father. If she went to the gym, he was lifting on the machine right next to where she wanted to be.
She figured out that he had ended up buying the house that the two of them should've purchased together. It was blue with a white picket fence and a bright, sunny, yellow door. She had always loved the house. It was just another twist of the knife that he bought it and brought other women there instead of her.
She walked up to the front door and knocked twice. He answered, wearing only a pair of low slung jeans. His feet and chest were bare. She swallowed involuntarily and forced herself to look higher, past his well-defined abs and chest, to his face.
Apparently, he was having a similar problem focusing. He eyes were cast down, directed at the top of her blouse where one of the buttons had popped opened. She refused to shift like a child being punished in class and waited for his eyes to meet hers. They did, and she caught the twinkle in his eye and tried hard not to return it.
"If we're both going to continue living here, we might as well just deal with it," she started, putting her hands on her hips.
He waited a moment, and then nodded and waited for her to continue.
"I don't regret anything I have done. I don't believe in regrets." He watched her struggle for the right words.
"You could've told me you were leaving," he interrupted, his voice low and somber.
"I thought it was easier on both of us if I didn't." She tapped her shoe idly on the side of the door.
He didn't respond, but just kept watching her.
"It's not like it really would've worked anyway, Jackson!" she burst out.
His eyes roamed over her face, searching for...something. "You don't know that."
"But I do! You know how I know for sure? Because you
let me leave
. If you really cared about me like you always said you did, there's no way you would've let me walk out that door without a fight." She lost her air towards the end, her anger giving way to something more solemn and lonely. She struggled to keep her composure and not let him see how much, even to this day, it affected her.
He pulled her inside the house and shut the door behind her. She didn't get more than two steps inside before he started up again. "You left. Not me."
"Jackson…" she sighed.
"No," he said firmly, his eyes going cold. "You don't understand. You. Left. Me. I would never have done that to you."