I was in trouble.
It was my own fault for falling for someone so unattainable. What in the hell had I been thinking, telling super-rock-star Rob Burns that yes, I had fallen madly in love with him in the space of a few days, that yes, I would wait for him until the tour was over? Yes, of course this could work, I insisted, this thing between us. It was bigger than both of us, out of my control, out of his.
That’s what I told myself whenever he called or Skyped or sent me flowers or sent me books for my Kindle. I told myself this fantasy was going to be reality, someday, that Rob Burns—Rob freaking Burns—was in love with me, and I was in love with him, and this thing was going to work.
Trouble. That’s what it is.
I had wondered on more than one occasion over the past few months if I was insane. Truly unbalanced. Maybe I really needed some help or something. Because this wasn’t me. This was... crazy.
Although, I consoled myself as I watched the night lights of L.A. flash by through the limo’s tinted windows, I was less crazy than Katie. I mean, getting on a tour bus with a rock star to travel across country with the band—that was really crazy. Me, I was the practical one. I’d spent one perfect day with the rock star of my dreams and when he’d invited me on tour with him, I had decided to stay in my little house in the suburbs of Detroit, so I could finish out the school year teaching elementary school kids how to play the recorder.
My parents would be so proud. If they ever knew I’d made that decision. Which, of course, they wouldn’t. They had no idea I’d spent the night with Rob Burns and likely never would. Nor would they be able to express their disapproval over their daughter’s decision to visit the rock star at his multi-million-dollar home in the Hollywood hills at the completion of the U.S. leg of Trouble’s tour.
I blinked under the light of a street lamp when the limo door opened. I’d been so lost in thought I hadn’t even realized we’d stopped. The driver who opened the door was a big, tall surfer-type with curly blonde hair tucked under his cap who’d told me his name was Jesse. He’d been the one who picked me up from the airport, insisting on carrying my luggage—just one small roll-on—and had showed me what all the buttons and knobs did in the back of the limo.
I’d never met the woman standing next to the driver, but she was the tallest, thinnest, most beautiful woman I’d ever seen in real life. Her dark hair was pulled back, but loosely, each curl around her face meant to look casual but clearly, carefully orchestrated. Her lipstick and nails were red, as were her heels. Her skirt and blouse were black and white, respectively. But it was her teeth that shocked me. When she smiled, they were like bright, white little Chiclets tucked into her mouth, rows of perfection, even in the dimness.
“Um, yes. I’m Sabrina,” I admitted, struggling to get out of the car. It was a stretch limo, made for a dozen people or more, and I was sticking to the seat despite the cool air circulating through the vents. I felt underdressed, even in my sundress and heels—an ensemble I had agonized over for hours back home—as I accepted the driver’s hand. He smiled as he helped me out, acting like he’d seen hundreds of awkward, ungraceful exits from his limo.
Rob. Waiting for me.
My knees went all wobbly and the surfer-driver put an arm around my waist.
“Whoa there,” Jesse said, buoying me up. His smile was rather dazzling too. Did everyone in California have perfect teeth? “You okay?”
No. I wasn’t okay at all. I was in trouble.
“Come with me.” Celeste’s heels clicked on the driveway as she turned and started to walk toward the house. “Jesse, please bring the bags.”
It was the first time I’d looked at the house since we arrived, and for a minute, my knees went wobbly again. This time Jesse was getting my bag and he wasn’t there to catch me, so I stopped at the light post—a tall, limestone column with a globe of light at the top—to catch my breath. Rob’s house wasn’t a house. I lived in a house—living room, bedroom, kitchen, one bathroom. This wasn’t a house. It wasn’t even a mansion or an estate. It was a freaking palace.
“Are you coming?” Celeste was halfway down the cobblestone toward the front door. “He’s excited to see you.”
Oh God. Excited to see me. Me?
I reminded myself that I’d been invited here. That he’d been talking about seeing me again for two months, since that amazing day in February. This was the man who called me every night, without fail, before he went to sleep, no matter where he was in the country. The man who called my extension at work every morning to leave me a sweet message to get me through the day. The man who had sent me some sort of gift every week, from flowers to candy to jewelry, since the last time we’d been together. He’d been very generous, kind, loving and, as far as I knew, faithful, despite the long-distance nature of our relationship.
Of course, he’d also been on the road with millions of screaming fans, most of them girls who threw their panties on stage and wanted to fuck him senseless.
That’s what he said whenever I mentioned the throngs of women who wanted him everywhere he went.
I want you.
Oh God, I wanted him too. I wanted him so much I could barely breathe, let alone walk up the wide, limestone steps to the French double doors, but I managed. It helped that Jesse had jogged up behind me with my carry-on and I was bookended by both the driver and Celeste as she punched in some code on a panel before we entered the foyer.
I didn’t have much time to look around in wonder at the display of opulence because there, standing on the wide, curving, marble staircase, was my barefoot, blue-jeaned, shirtless Rob Burns. My first thought was, he cut his hair! I’d seen him just a few days ago, via Skype, shaggy and scruffy and sexy, but now his hair was short, his face clean-shaven. He looked like a whole new Rob and the sight of him filled me with longing.
“Sabrina.” He said my name like he couldn’t quite believe I was real and, frankly, I couldn’t either. I was sure I was dreaming. Celeste smiled and nudged me forward and looking at her just confirmed my suspicion. No one looked like her in real life. No one was that skinny, with teeth that perfect. I had to be dreaming.
He took the stairs two at a time, like a little kid, and it wasn’t until he kissed me that I dismissed the dream theory. When he pulled me into his arms, wrapped me up in the strength and heat and scent of him, I knew he was real. His mouth moved on mine, soft at first, savoring me, and then grew more insistent. His tongue parted my lips, exploring, and I opened to him, forgetting everything.
“Sabrina,” he breathed again when we came up for air, nuzzling my ear. My arms were around his neck, my body pressed fully to his. I was dizzy, delighted, flying. “How was your flight? Are you hungry?”
Such silly, mundane questions. I didn’t need anything so ordinary as food or comfort.
All I needed was him.
“You can leave the bag,” Celeste told the driver. Her voice brought me halfway back to earth. I felt like I was looking down on the whole scene from a great distance. “Rob, Daisy will have dinner for you by ten. Everything else you requested is ready.”
“Thanks, Celeste.” Rob slipped an arm around my waist as he turned to face her. “Did you get a formal introduction? Celeste, this is Sabrina. Sabrina, this is Celeste. She’s my personal assistant.”
“We met.” Celeste smiled, flashing those perfect teeth again, giving me a little nod. “Enjoy your stay, Sabrina. I’m sure we’ll see each other again.”
“Thanks.” I leaned against Rob, feeling his hand squeezing my hip through my dress.
“I’ll see you in the morning.” Celeste turned, pulling the door open.
“Oh, a tip!” I remembered as Jesse started following Celeste. I unslung my purse, digging through for my wallet, feeling Rob chuckle beside me.
“The flight was long. And I’m starving.” I turned and put my arms around his neck again. “But not for food.”
That wasn’t quite true. I hadn’t eaten anything that day except a few saltines when I got out of bed, but I’d been too anxious to eat. Now that I was here, finally here in Rob’s arms, my stomach started growling again.
“Don’t say that,” he warned. “It’s taking every bit of willpower I have to keep from carrying you up those stairs to my bed.”
“Your bed is up there?” I eyed the wide, marble staircase. “No way you could carry me up—”
I squealed when he bent and slid an arm under my knees, sweeping me into his arms. I laughed, arms going around his neck as he started up the stairs.
“Nah.” He grinned, climbing.
“You’re going to kill us both!” I cried, burying my face in his neck as he took the stairs—one at a time instead of two—up, up, up.
“Trust me.” He reached the top without incident, only slightly out of breath. Damn, he was in shape. “I promise, I wouldn’t ever let anything bad happen to you.”
“My God, I can’t believe you’re here.” He met my eyes as he carried me, not putting me down despite my protests. There was an open area at the top of the stairs with a sectional couch and a giant television, but we passed that as he continued down a long hallway, past open and closed doors. I glimpsed something that looked like a studio, guitars lined up on a rack. Another room was clearly a library, walls lined with books.
“How big is this house?” I murmured in amazement as we reached the end of the hallway.
“Eighteen thousand square feet.”
He pushed open a door, revealing a room I couldn’t believe he slept in every night. A king-sized bed was the centerpiece, with sheer white curtains wrapped like gauze around four oak posters. It was topped with white down bedding and surrounded by lit candles on every surface. That much open flame made me nervous around all those curtains, but I didn’t say anything.
“Are you sure you don’t want something to eat?” Rob glanced at a dresser where, I noticed with a little tummy rumble, there was wine and cheese and strawberries.
“Maybe a little,” I admitted, biting my lip and meeting his eyes. “But I want you more.”
“I want you so much I can’t see straight,” he admitted, his voice hoarse, mouth inches from mine. Thank God he was carrying me, because my knees never would have held out, I was sure of it. Not under that heated gaze.
“Just make it to the bed,” I whispered, touching my lips to his.
He did, barely. We collapsed together, rolling in clouds of softness, our mouths open, slanting. He was already half undressed but I wanted more. Rob did too. He worked the tiny buttons on the front of my sundress, making it to my cleavage before I broke our kiss in frustrated protest.
“Just let me take it off,” I gasped, struggling with the straps.
“Yeah.” He rolled to his side, up on his elbow, eyes bright. “Take it off for me.”
Oh God, those eyes, those dark eyes, black heat with silver flecks in the candlelight, watching me as I sat and slipped the straps down my shoulders. Slowly, I slid off the bed, stepping out of my heels as I shimmied the dress down to my waist, over my hips. Rob let out a low whistle, devouring me with his eyes as I left my dress on the floor.
“Wait.” His command stopped me when I moved to crawl back up on to the bed. “Take it all off.”
I hesitated, feeling my face flush as I reached around and undid my bra, letting my breasts fall free. The look on Rob’s face made me feel both shy and sexy at the same time. I hooked my thumbs in the elastic of my panties and slid those down too, slowly stepping out of them and standing there for him, completely naked in the flicker of the candle light.
“Come here.” He sat, reaching for me as I approached, pulling me between his denim-clad thighs. “My God, you’re something.”
I shivered as his hands roamed over my hips, up the curve of my waist, cupping my breasts, weighing them. I bit my lip, keeping myself from crying out as he kneaded my flesh, his expression caught between lust and wonder and... something else.
“Sabrina?” His gaze lifted to meet mine, brows drawing together, and my heart dropped to my toes. “Is there something you want to tell me?”
I stood, frozen, completely naked and vulnerable between his thighs, unable to move or think or talk or even breathe. How could he possibly know? I’d been so careful to keep all the signs and symptoms to myself, which had been relatively easy, considering the time and distance.
“How—?” I whispered, swallowing hard.
He posed it as a question but the look in his eyes told me he knew the truth. I’d hoped to keep it from him for just a little longer, but here it was. I couldn’t deny it, not now. I tried to tell what he was thinking, searching his eyes for some sign. He wasn’t running away screaming—that was something—but that’s exactly what I wanted to do.
I was so ashamed. I’d been so stupid. Not only had I slept with this man after knowing him for all a few hours—I’d slept with a freaking rock star with no protection whatsoever. I’d been off the pill for years, since my last year of high school, and I hadn’t even suggested a condom, for God’s sake. Yes, there had been two of us, and yes, you would think one of us might have considered the consequences—all of which I had now been tested for but only one of which had happened—but it had all felt like such a fantasy, not real at all. You didn’t think about birth control in a dream.
You didn’t think about it until you woke up to reality and found yourself—
“Yes.” I closed my eyes, feeling the weight of it in my chest. It had been lodged there too long, unspoken. “I’m in trouble.”