Authors: Chloe Cox
Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary, #New Adult & College, #Romantic Suspense, #Mystery & Suspense, #Suspense
A Club Volare Rock Star Novel
Copyright 2013 Chloe Cox
All rights reserved.
Just a quick note…
I don’t know if I’ve ever wanted two characters to get their HEA this much.
I know that’s weird to say, but any author will tell you that there comes a point where the characters kind of…start talking to you. They have their own opinions, their own reactions, their own pain—and it’s your job to continue to put them through hell for a little while. And like many people I’ve known in real life, Declan and Molly have traumatic pasts that they cope with as best they can. It meant a lot to me to be able to help them find their way to each other—and then find the strength to face up to those pasts because of that.
But not before they discover that they can’t keep their hands off of each other, of course. ;) And let me tell you,
should have a guy with Declan’s particular, um, talents.
You’ll see. :)
Molly Ward was seriously reconsidering her choice of clothing.
She had wanted to look respectable. In control. Smart. A woman who was not to be messed with, a woman who could hold her own with Declan freaking Donovan, lead singer of Savage Heart. Instead she felt constrained and fake, the too-small conservative blouse pulling tight in all the wrong places, her skirt scratching at her, her shoes pinching, even while the heels kept getting stuck between the wooden slats of the dock. She was on a
, for chrissakes, not at some corporate whatever. She’d just been so worried about meeting the man himself and losing the upper hand right away, so terrified that she’d blow this life-changing opportunity before it even got started, that she’d overcompensated. Even her hair was in a severe bun.
Someone like Declan would no doubt prefer that she show up in no clothing at all.
Oh, that is a bad thought
. Molly couldn’t afford distracting thoughts like that if she wanted to nail this job. She had no idea how many people had applied for the ghostwriting job advertised out of Club Volare L.A., of all places, but Molly had gotten it, and she was determined not to screw it up. Adra Davis, one of the founding members of the L.A. club, had believed in her, even when Molly gasped a little when Adra told her the subject of the book would be Declan Donovan. It made sense, in retrospect—Declan’s image needed a major overhaul after his fight in Philadelphia and his stint in rehab—but that didn’t make it any less insane.
And that didn’t make Donovan any less of an irresistible, womanizing force of nature. The man was legendary.
So, of course, she’d been having lots of bad thoughts about this job, starting right when she’d heard the name Declan Donovan. She’d had lots of excited thoughts, too, and lots of scared thoughts, and, most of all, lots of sexy thoughts, because not only was she touring with Declan and the remaining members of Savage Heart with the express purpose of getting to the bottom of Declan’s fight with Soren, the lead guitarist, and the original band’s break up—yeah, only the question everyone and their mother wanted answered—but, and this is what had obsessed her since she’d put two and two together, she had been hired for the job through Club Volare L.A.. Which meant that Declan Donovan was into BDSM.
Which, if Molly was any judge, meant that Declan Donovan, confirmed rock star sex god, was also a Dom.
Molly had always fantasized about dominant men. She’d been drawn to the Club Volare posting because she wanted to learn more about their world. About the sorts of things a Dom might do with her. But never, not once, in her wildest dreams, had she imagined that Declan Donovan might be one of them.
. She could
afford to get carried away thinking about Declan in a sexual way, and not just because of the job, either. No way was Molly setting herself up to get fucked over by a guy like that again, even if Declan was the real deal, where Robbie had been a cheap facsimile.
No freaking way was she going to lose control. It cost too much.
But apparently she’d have to allow herself the occasional randy thought, because there seemed to be no stopping them. Also the occasional terrified thought, because, well, holy crap.
Molly took a deep breath, set her eyes on the clubhouse at the end of the dock, and walked forward. What kind of a privacy-obsessed sex club would throw a party on a dock? Maybe she didn’t have the right to question, considering she was crashing said party, but it seemed incongruous. No matter. She was crashing this party, specifically, to get the upper hand with Declan Donovan, rock god Dom or no. She was here to let him know that she
get to the bottom of his fight with Soren Andersson, no matter how much he didn’t want to talk about it. She was here to announce that Declan Donovan would
be dominating their interviews.
He can’t sense weakness. If he senses weakness, he’ll never open up, and the book will be a failure and everything will be ruined.
Molly put on her game face. She was almost there. She could see all the out-to-the-public members of Volare and their friends, laughing, flirting. She was sure they could see her, out of place in her cheap business casual attire, but there wasn’t anything to be done about that now.
Unfortunately, the Volare people weren’t the only ones who could see her.
“Hey, sexy librarian! C’mere!”
Molly jerked her head around. “Sexy librarian” was definitely new—new enough that it actually penetrated her invisible catcall shield.
The guys doing the catcalling, though—nothing new about that. Drunk. College-aged frat boy douchebags. Their clothing was more expensive than anything she’d ever owned, and they were doing their drinking while tying up an impressively large boat, but otherwise it was the same sort of harassment she’d gotten used to a long time ago.
But she hadn’t expected to have to deal with it here. Volare had an impeccable reputation. These guys were definitely
, she thought grimly. But she’d made the mistake of letting them know she’d heard them.
“Hey, I’m talking to you,” one of them said. She didn’t turn this time. “C’mon, you’re making me all hot for teacher.”
The others laughed. Assholes. How was it possible that otherwise normal adult males so frequently didn’t know the line between flirtation and harassment? Like the fact that she was walking away, visibly uncomfortable, wasn’t a clue?
Unless making her uncomfortable was the point. Gross.
Molly sucked in another breath and kept walking. Almost there. No big deal. She wouldn’t let it throw her off her game. She’d dealt with far, far worse.
She could hear the party now, the clinking of glasses, laughter, mixing with the sounds of the waterfront, waves crashing into pilings, sea birds overhead, and she focused on that. Otherwise maybe she would have heard the douchebag come up behind her.
Instead she just felt his hand on her arm before she knew what was happening, and then his breath on her neck, hot and smelling of whiskey, such a distinct, terrible smell, a smell that brought back way too many memories.
She jumped and tried to pull away, violently. His hand was like a vise.
“Hey, relax,” the frat boy said. He had sandy blond hair, same as Molly, blue eyes, a tan, and an annoyed expression. Like he was pissed at
for having the temerity to be scared.
“Get your hands off of me,” Molly said, pulling again. She was starting to freak out a little bit. Starting to feel like she was losing control. What was it about this guy?
“You don’t have to be such a bitch,” he said. “We were just trying to talk to you.”
He’d called her a bitch. A
. And the worst part was that he wasn’t letting her go. Molly was trapped talking to this asshole because he was stronger than her and he wouldn’t let her go, and he freaking knew it. What did he want, an apology?
“Get. Your. Hands. Off of me.” She seethed.
Molly felt herself start to blush with anger, and that only made it worse. This entitled jerk was humiliating her, was making her look weak, was making her
weak, in front of the very people she needed to impress. She could feel the attention of the Volare party on her now; this was officially a scene. And she was already fucking up her one golden opportunity. Her one chance to get out of that goddamn trailer park full of people who thought she was trash, her one chance to get away from all the things that had happened there, from the person she had almost turned out to be. Her one chance to make sure her sister Lydia didn’t have to go through the same things.
“Or what?” the frat boy said. Then he smiled. Like he knew, he smiled.
Like he fucking
what she was, like he saw right through her. Like he knew he could do this because she was just what she’d always been, the trailer park slut, just like her mother, just like Robbie and his friends had said she was after what had happened.
. Molly wasn’t going to let this jerk steal her future from her just because he felt like showing off for his jerk friends, and she wasn’t going to let anyone tell her she was a slut, ever again. She gritted her teeth and prepared to get medieval on his ass.
But she never got the chance. The voice came rumbling from behind her, a voice she would have recognized anywhere, deep and resonant, the kind of voice that could have gotten rocks to get up and move out of its way.
“You really want to find out?” it growled.
And if she hadn’t been a fan of Savage Heart back in the day, the look on the frat boy’s face would have confirmed it. Declan Donovan was standing right behind her.
Declan Donovan was threatening the frat boy. For her.
“Dude, you’re Declan Donovan!” the frat boy shouted. He looked back at his friends like he was going to share the incredible news when a giant hand encircled his wrist. A giant hand attached to an equally giant forearm. Molly stared at the tattoos swirling around the cords of muscle and watched them all flex as Declan squeezed. Hard.
“Get your hands off of her,” he said.
The frat boy winced and dropped her arm like it was on fire.
“Hey, it wasn’t like that,” the frat boy said, all eager to be buddies. “Just a mis—”
“Get the fuck off my dock.”
The frat boy blinked. Molly couldn’t help it: she turned to look up at the man who was coming to her rescue, and only then did she realize that she’d been avoiding looking directly at him.
For good reason.
Her mind went blank, confronted with that chest. Donovan was huge in real life, his tight black tank top clinging to muscles she could see even through the fabric, his arms knotted up in hard ridges of muscle, his skin covered in mesmerizing ink. He’d cut his black hair short in rehab, and it showed off his square jaw and angular cheekbones, while his black eyes glowed with anger at the cowering frat boy. She remembered that Donovan had never been one of those wilting, skinny rock guys; he’d always been the physical embodiment of the powerful music he made. But now? Had he actually gotten bigger in rehab? Or was that just the sheer fucking magnetism of the man?
It was impossible not to stare at him once you got sucked in. Molly was already gone.
“Oh, shit,” she whispered.
Then she felt his hand on her arm, burning hot, and he gently pulled her toward him, away from the frat boy. “I said
,” Declan snarled, his eyes boring holes in the smaller man.
The frat boy left.
Molly felt a thrill, watching the asshole leave with his tail between his legs, and that thrill embarrassed her thoroughly. How had she already lost her head just being this close to Declan Donovan? The more she thought about it, the more annoyed she was. She could have taken that guy. She
to be able to take that guy. To be the one to stand up for herself, to prove that she wasn’t helpless, that she wasn’t anything like Robbie or anyone else had said she was. To take back control. Molly felt like she constantly had to prove herself, and no one was quite as harsh a critic as Molly Ward herself.
But worst of all, now Declan Donovan thought she was weak, too. The one guy she needed to take her seriously. The one guy who…
He was looking at her. They were so close she could practically feel the heat coming off of him, and she knew it was crazy, but she would have sworn,
, that she could feel those eyes leaving a hot trail up and down her body.
“Are you ok?” he asked her.
That voice. God.
If she thought she’d felt weak before, she had no idea what weak was.
Suddenly she was furious. Not really with anyone in particular, but with the world, the universe, whoever. This was so manifestly unfair—she had worked so hard, had struggled so much, and now she was just another damsel in distress? Bullshit.