Read Wild Child (Rock Royalty #6) Online

Authors: Christie Ridgway

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Wild Child (Rock Royalty #6) (4 page)

BOOK: Wild Child (Rock Royalty #6)
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To reverse from his space, he slid his arm across the back of Rachel’s seat and looked over his shoulder. His fingers brushed the soft knit of her sweater, and he heard the quick hitch of her breath.

Yeah, a nightcap might be just what the doctor ordered. With the car now in Drive, he accelerated toward the exit.

“You’re not in any hurry to get home, then?” he asked, and glanced right to catch her expression.

It was why he missed the deep puddle.

But not the
shush
sound of the spectacular spray created by his front tire. His head whipped around, and he automatically braked when he saw he’d inadvertently showered a slender figure standing to his left.

“Oh, hell,” he muttered. Rolling down his window, he met Ashlynn’s gaze just as she looked up from her drenched bare legs and boots. “Ash, I’m sorry. Are you all right?”

“I’m not sugar, Brody. I don’t melt.”

But she had. Into his body. Against his tongue. He remembered her sweet taste even all these weeks later. Though preoccupied by the errant memory, he still managed to take note of her solitary state.

“Why the hell are you out here alone?” he demanded.

“The guys I came with wanted to go on to another bar,” she said, wrapping her sweater tighter around her body. “I called a car service.” A phone was gripped in her narrow hand.

He stared at it, and then saw instead her slender fingers wrapped around his cock. Honeyed torture, even though they’d been too small to circle the rock-hard girth of him.

Blinking away the recollection, he frowned at her. “The pick-up’s soon?”

“Sure.” But her shrug belied the word.

Obviously the ride wasn’t confirmed.
Shit.
“Ash—”

“I’ll be fine, Brody. I
am
fine.”

And just to prove the universe was against him, once more it began to rain.

Shit!

“Brody.”

He jerked at the sound of the new voice. Rachel. How could he have forgotten she was beside him?

“Yeah, hon,” he sent her a distracted smile. “We’ll be on our way in just a—”

“Shouldn’t we drive your friend home?”

His
friend
? But yes, they’d used each other’s first names, so she’d think that. “Rachel…”

“She’s getting soaked,” Rachel said, with all the nurturing concern of her kindergarten teacher-self. Leaning across the console, she pitched her voice out the window. “Please, get inside. We’ll see you home.”

“Oh, no.” Ashlynn’s eyes went wide. “I couldn’t.”

But a damp strand of her wavy hair was already plastered to one wet cheek.

“Brody,” Rachel said again, and her hand squeezed his thigh. “Make her come.”

Already did that
, he thought with a silent groan, but then bowed to the inevitable. He wouldn’t leave an unfriendly stray pet out in the rain. “Get in, Ash.”

“No, no.” Her expression was alarmed, but the tip of her nose had turned pink from the cold.

“Get the fuck in, Ash,” he growled.

Reaching behind him, he yanked on the rear handle so the door swung open.

There was reluctance in every one of her moves as she climbed inside. Settling onto the seat, she pulled the seatbelt around her.

“Okay, though just to the nearest coffee shop. I’ll call for another car to meet me there.”

That sounded fine to him, but he could feel Rachel’s deep brown eyes boring into him. He let out a silent sigh.

“No. We’ll take you to Topanga.”

His date settled back in her seat with a little satisfied sound. Maybe one good thing would result from this. Her satisfaction at his white-knight gesture could be what got him laid tonight. To subtly signal that was indeed his intention, he reached to smooth his hand over Rachel’s hair. Her answering smile took the edge off his mood.

Waking up to this pretty woman the next morning wouldn’t be any hardship.

Then she half-turned in her seat to address the blonde at Brody’s back. “I’m Rachel.”

“Ashlynn. Ashlynn Childe.”

They hadn’t exchanged last names, which was why she’d been surprised to learn of his link to the Velvet Lemons. Not that necessarily she would have made the connection herself had she known he was a Maddox. But the Hollywood media wasn’t shy about reporting on the exploits and endeavors of the various members of the Rock Royalty. He and Bing shrugged it off and looked at it as free advertising for their construction business. Rather than resenting the exposure, they figured they should sure as hell get something from being kids of the Velvet Lemons besides guilt and regrets.

Ashlynn cleared her throat. “Are you two…” She hesitated. “Married?”


No.

In the rear view mirror, his gaze flew to hers. The passing street lights bleached her face, erasing her expression. Had he left her with the impression he was not just a bastard but a cheating bastard?

Rachel laughed, the sound a bit uncertain.

Fuck
. How rude had his “no” been to her ears?

“Rachel and I met about a month ago,” he explained, and drew a knuckle down her cheek then tugged on the ends of her hair. “Even under her daddy’s watchful eye, I screwed up my courage and asked her out.”

Rachel sent him another smile. “You seemed pretty confident to me.” Then she turned Ash’s way again. “I assumed you knew Brody’s marital status…I guess I supposed you’re friends.”

“More like acquaintances,” Ash said.

He glanced at her in the mirror again, but her gaze was downcast, her heavy black lashes fanned against her cheeks.

“Ash tends bar at a roadhouse in Topanga Canyon,” he told Rachel. Then he remembered the talk of renovation. “And manages it?”

“I
own
the roadhouse,” the blonde corrected.

Which only emphasized how little conversation they’d exchanged that night. Around midnight, she’d showed up at his elbow with a nearly full bottle of vodka tucked in her arm. Her face had been flushed with drink or horniness or some of both. There’d been a rip in the shoulder seam of her blouse, revealing a wedge of smooth skin the he’d itched to kiss.

Mark.

“You’ve been watching me all night,” she’d said, a hot glitter in her pale gray eyes. “Like what you see?”

He’d felt his mouth tip up in a lazy smile. His cock had already been half-hard, and her beauty, mere inches away, made it begin to throb. Breathing in her scent, he’d felt his smile go full-grin.

“I very much like what I see,” he’d replied.

Then she’d taken his hand—

“Brody?”

He came out of his reverie at the sound of Rachel calling his name.

“I’m sorry…what?” Needing oxygen, he opened his window an inch. Damp, fresh air blew across his face. “I missed what you said.”

“I was telling Ashlynn how you visited my kindergarten class. You did enjoy it, didn’t you?” She shifted to address the blonde again. “He brought a big bin full of lumber scraps, the edges smoothed with sandpaper so they were perfect for little hands. The kids built an entire city with his help. They loved it.”

“Oh,” Ash replied, disbelief infusing the single syllable. She met his gaze in the rear view mirror. “You, uh, really like to play with kids?”

Her surprise rankled. “I only took a couple of them home to roast and dine on later.”

After a moment of silence, Rachel released another uncertain laugh.

“Brody,” she chided. “You’ll give Ashlynn the wrong idea.”

“It sounds like Ashlynn already has the wrong idea,” he muttered.

But he didn’t think the women heard because Rachel was recounting a story about the amusing feud between two of the mothers at her school.

He didn’t listen, instead focusing on the route ahead as they turned off the freeway and onto the dark road leading into Topanga Canyon. Oaks, sage, chaparral and other native plants crowded on either side. Besides the private land holdings, it was part state park, part national recreation area, part open space reserve. Untamed was the canyon style, whether it came to the natural surroundings or its eclectic residents and visitors. Artists and musicians and filmmakers called it home. Motorcycle clubs made it their weekend ride. Rumor was that a nudist colony from the 1960s was still in operation—but now as an invitation-only, very private enclave.

Topanga was Laurel Canyon’s more reclusive and less-tamed sister.

From behind, a hand touched his shoulder. A bolt jolted down his chest, stabbing his heart. Brody gritted his teeth against the sharp strike of heat.

“Yes?”

“Don’t miss the turn,” Ash said, and he could feel her breath on the back of his neck. It lifted the fine hairs. “It’s just ahead.”

Last time, he’d followed the line of cars into the parking lot. But there was only his vehicle on the narrow track tonight. A creature darted across the broken asphalt, its eyes glowing in the headlights.

Beside him, Rachel jumped in her seat. “What was that?”

“Raccoon,” Ashlynn said, gentle amusement threading her voice.

The other woman laughed without insult. “Silly me. It’s just a little…haunted out here.”

As Brody pulled to a stop in front of the darkened roadhouse, he heard Ashlynn unlatch her seatbelt.

“Lots of ghosts,” she agreed.

He turned off the car and reached for his door handle.

Ashlynn touched him again. Once more he managed to hide his flinch.

“Don’t bother getting out,” she said. “My trailer’s just around the back.”

Even if his own scruples would have allowed her to walk to her residence unescorted, he told himself he had to put on his finest manners for Rachel. All the better to deliver the brunette to his bed, right?

He turned to her now. “You’ll be all right in the car for a couple of minutes?”

It was raining again, so he wasn’t going to suggest they make the short journey as a threesome.

“I’ll be fine.” Her sunny smile beamed Ashlynn’s way. “It was nice meeting you.”

“And you,” Ash said as she stepped into the rain. “I’m sorry I interrupted your evening.”

She said nothing to him as they skirted the roadhouse. It was an unprepossessing building, rectangular with a wide cement porch on three sides. Meager security lights illuminated the corners and the double entrance doors.

A muddy path dotted with cement stepping stones led to her single-wide, one-hundred feet beyond the restaurant/bar. It was shielded by encroaching plants, and in the distance he could hear running water in the silent night.

“There’s a creek?”

“A tributary of the much bigger Topanga Creek that dumps into the ocean.”

She came to a halt at the bottom of the three narrow steps leading to the front door. A small light hung over it, a mere speck against the darkness.

“Thank you.” Keys jingled in her hand.

“I’ll walk you in,” he said.

“Brody—”

“We’re in the middle of nowhere, Ash,” he said, trying to rein in his sudden temper. He rubbed at his forehead, where his black moods tended to gather. “I’ll walk you in, then hear you lock the door behind me.”

“All right, all right,” she grumbled. “I just thought you’d want to get back to your date as soon as possible.”

His date, Rachel. The woman he was going to bed tonight, he reminded himself, trying to dispel the gloom that seemed to be amassing inside him. He’d promised to break his self-destructive habit of late nights and heavy drinking, but he could feel the craving for oblivion calling out to him. Rachel would be the positive replacement. Having her in his bed would redirect the dark energy building inside him.

He was at Ash’s back as she flung open the door.

“Christ, it’s freezing in here,” he said, stopping just over the threshold.

Though they were out of the rain, it seemed as if the trailer’s paneled walls had captured the cold and held on to it like a stingy fist.

She crossed the tiny living room, dumping her purse on a loveseat to turn on a lamp. Three more steps took her to a wall-mounted heater that she flipped on. Brody’s gaze roamed the space. The first time he’d been here he’d taken in nothing about it other than it smelled of Ash’s perfume and held a bed that he’d fallen upon in a fit of lust.

It was a dump—and that was the nicest way he could think to describe it.

“Well…” His eyes wandered back to her.

She had her arms crossed over her chest and a scowl on her angel face.

“I’ll be going now,” he said.

With a nod, her feet took her on a speedy path to the door. Clearly she was ready to see the last of him.

Good. Rachel was waiting.

But he didn’t move. His boots took root on the floor and when she realized he’d turned to rock, her head came up. His gaze drank in her upturned, beautiful face.

Then his stone shell shattered, his will too. His hands found her shoulders and yanked her against him. Their clothes were damp, and when they met he could swear he heard the hiss of steam. He was hot, burning, and only her mouth could cool him, quench this roaring fire in his belly.

One of his palms slid down her back to her ass, and he cupped it, lifting her against his iron cock. She made a noise—a plea, not a complaint—and then he took her lips in a greedy kiss, eating at her mouth, shoving his tongue against hers, angling his head to make it deeper, harder, something to slake the inferno of desire.

Her hand slid into his hair, clutched it tight, while her other kneaded his bicep like a cat. The kiss went on and on, and he was just reaching for the hem of her little skirt when a loud
clap
startled them.

They broke apart, breathing hard.

The back of Ash’s fingers pressed to her mouth.

“Thunder,” he said, to allay her fears.

But her stricken eyes continued to stare at him, their eerie silver sliding into him like a knife.

Fuck
. Brody shoved his hand through his hair.

“I need to lock the door behind you,” she said, repeating his earlier admonition. Ash looked uncertain and nearly as broken as she had after their last round of sex weeks before.

Fuck.
“Yeah. I’ve gotta go.” He forced himself to turn and reach for the knob. “Rachel’s waiting.”

For him to take her home. To her place, where Brody would walk her to the door then leave with a peck to her cheek. Despite his upbringing and all his adolescent adventures, he was no longer so depraved that he’d take one woman to bed with another’s taste in his mouth.

BOOK: Wild Child (Rock Royalty #6)
11.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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