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The Unknown (The Comeback Series Bonus Book Book 2) by Marcie Shumway (1)

The morning after a wedding could go any number of ways—from a hook-up gone horribly wrong to the hangover from hell. As I stretched, naked, under the cotton sheets covering me, the verdict was still out. My head had only a dull throb and my stomach didn’t seem ready to revolt. I’d consider that a success.

The sunlight peeked through the window and caressed my eyelids. Not yet ready to face the day, I was about to roll over when a muscled arm swung over my side and a very solid, defined chest pressed against my back. Suddenly, it all came rushing back.

I had stuck to just a couple of drinks at the reception because I’d wanted to keep my wits about me. My entire life had been about doing the “right” things, and the men in my friend Avery Hall’s life made you want to do all the wrong ones. Every single one of them was gorgeous, tattooed, and incredibly sweet. I did not do one-night stands, as a general rule, and I had slept with a total of two men in my life—well, now three. It hadn’t been my intent to change that because of a musician, bar owner, or a construction worker.

Obviously, my lady parts had made the decision for me, just as they wanted to again, one more time before I had to leave. I pushed my ass back into his pelvis and was rewarded with a moan and a twitch of his already hard member between my butt cheeks. An internal battle raged. I never did things like this. Should I enjoy this man one more time or did I bail out now?

His large hand cupped my boob through the fabric of the sheet and my hips bucked back against him of their own free will. Guess I know my answer. While he kneaded and pinched, I stretched and purred, keeping my eyes closed against the outside world. For just a little bit longer, I wanted to pretend it was just us.

“You’re playing with fire, boss lady.” His breath was a soft timbre in my ear that sent shivers down my spine.

Before I could respond, I was on my back with a lean body between my legs, and I was looking up into his handsome face. His hair, longer on top, flopping onto his forehead. My hands were somehow locked in his above our heads and his cock pulsed against my already throbbing clit. The smile on his lips was faint, but it was there, as it always seemed to be. Locking my legs behind his back, I ground against him, watching as his blue eyes darkened with lust.

“Maybe you should take care of it then,” I teased.

“Careful what you wish for,” he replied, his voice low.

I closed my eyes again and soaked in the feeling of his lips on my body. Open mouthed kisses teased my neck and traveled across my collarbone. When his warm breath whispered over my nipples, I moaned, squeezing my legs together.

“Evan,” I breathed on a sigh.

“Julie,” he responded in a growl.

I was pulled from our bubble by a sound from outside the room. My eyes popped back open and I froze. Evan continued his ministrations, however all the warm fuzzies were gone for me. A toilet flushed upstairs, then quiet murmurs in the hallway and a cough from downstairs all reminded me we weren’t alone.

“Stop,” I told him as I unlocked my legs and tugged on my hands.

He didn’t question my request; just simply rolled off me and onto his side as I pulled back the sheets and got up. I grabbed his dress shirt from the floor and slipped it on to cover myself before turning to look at him. Evan had his head propped up on his hand and made no effort to hide himself as the sheet rode low on his hips, his cock straining against his lower belly.

“You’re a huge help,” I muttered, diverting my eyes before I decided to climb back in his bed.

“I’m not going to hide the fact that I want you,” he replied, a smile in his tone. “That much was obvious before you asked me to stop.”

“Everyone is getting up!” I hissed, surprised to find my bag near the door.

“You don’t think they didn’t hear us, or Avery and Cooper last night?” he asked, the sound of him throwing back the covers and pulling on boxer briefs filling the room.

I stopped in my search for my underwear and turned to look at him. Had we really been that loud? Avery and Cooper were a given, they were newlyweds. How was I going to face them all? This was Evan’s fault. Him and that tattooed arm, those stunning blue eyes, and that package currently being cradled lovingly in black cotton. His smile grew as I took him in, yet my eyes narrowed.

“I’m sorry,” he quickly apologized, his hands going up in surrender, flashing those sinful dimples. “I’ll even go see if the coast is clear for you to make it to the bathroom.”

My eyes narrowed further when he opened his bedroom door and stepped part way out. He was still clad in his boxer briefs that fit him like a second skin, and the idea of others seeing a piece of what I had didn’t sit well with me. Wait? What? This had been a one-night thing. Why should I care if any other women checked him out?

“You’re good,” he let me know, coming back in and heading to his closet.

“Thanks,” I mumbled, grabbing my bag in one hand and clutching the too-large shirt in my other as I moved past him.

When I was settled in the bathroom with the door closed behind me, I dropped my bag and let out a long breath. It was time to put on my business face and not make the walk of shame I was already going to have to do any worse than it was. I looked in the mirror and let out a moan. My long brown hair was sticking up all over the place from the hair spray we had plastered in it the day before. My makeup was smudged, though my brown eyes gleamed, and I looked like I had been thoroughly sexed.

“Shit.” I quickly locked the door and started the water in the tub for a quick shower.

By the time I was cleaned up and in a pair of dark skinny jeans with a dark blue V-neck long-sleeved shirt, I was feeling a little more human. Once my eyeliner, mascara, blush, and a touch of lip gloss was applied, I began to feel like the powerhouse I knew I was. I ran a comb through my locks and after a few scrunches with my fingers, I let it be. It could dry on its own today. My last look in the mirror was much better than the first one.

Picking up my bag, I unlocked the door and made my way back to Evan’s room. The door stood open and I stepped in to find him gone. I put his shirt on his bed and hesitantly looked around. It fit him. His sleigh bed sat in the middle—he had even made it before going downstairs—with two nightstands on either side. The lights on each were simple as was the rest of the décor. A small Smart TV was on a bureau across the room, and it sat at an angle that he could see from either the bed or the recliner tucked in the corner by the window. The dark colors on his bed and on the walls above the headboard were masculine and surprised me, given his light-hearted nature.

As I turned to head back out, I caught a whiff of something that could only be described as his; the combination of some AXE body spray and Irish Spring soap. My core instantly warmed and I felt my nipples harden. The memory of his hands on my body filled my head, and I had to shake it as I walked to the door. My brown knee-high boots had been brought up and set by the door, so I pulled them on and, with my bag in hand, did one final look around to make sure I had everything.

It was time to face the music. Taking a couple of deep breaths, I rolled my shoulders and pulled them back. Standing up straight, I moved into the hallway. I could do this. I was a strong woman who owned her own company, and no man was going to turn me into a pile of mush. It was just a hook-up. Nothing was going to change.

“Fuck.” I cringed when I heard the click of the bathroom door behind her.

Shaking my head, I pulled on a pair of well-worn jeans and a navy and hunter green flannel button-up shirt. Rolling the sleeves up on my forearms, I sat down on the edge of the bed. The smell of her vanilla perfume instantly hit my nose and I felt my dick twitch. Down boy, I chided; there was no way we were getting any more from that lady today. Stupid early risers ruined any chance I had of getting any this morning. She had been soft and warm against me until the sounds of everyone getting up had her freezing. I knew I had been lucky as it was the night before to have her, but it hadn’t meant I wanted it to be over.

After pulling on my socks and boots, I went to my closet and did a quick round with deodorant and body spray to try to cover the smell of sex and alcohol that still clung to me. I turned around and started buttoning my shirt, when I saw Avery putting Julie’s boots by the door. She gave me a wink and a knowing smile before quietly turning and going back down stairs. Damn. This wasn’t going to be fun.

I made my bed and heard the water turn off, signaling Julie was finished in the shower. Knowing it would just make her more uncomfortable if I was here, I headed to the stairs. While I made my way down, I thought of all the things I could say to the others to keep them from making any comments. Julie wasn’t your normal wedding hook-up. The feeling of her in my arms was different than any other women I’d been with. It had felt right. Her sighs and soft mewls the night before had left me shaken to the core. I wasn’t a virgin, by any means; hell, the road life of the band didn’t allow for much of that. It was lonely and sometimes the alcohol wasn’t enough. Yet, she had ruined me for anyone else.

“Well, it’s about damn time you grace us with your presence,” Cooper Hall joked as I entered the kitchen.

The entire band, Avery, Maggie Andrews, and Lexie Waterhouse were all seated around the kitchen table and at the bar, digging into breakfast. I felt my cheeks warm and I chuckled when his new wife slapped him upside the head. She wasn’t going to let him get away with anything. I kept moving and made my way to the coffee pot. That was the first thing my body needed before I had to deal with the shit I knew was coming from all of them.

“You had better not say another word,” Avery warned as she got up and gestured for me to sit down between Coop and our lead singer, Chris Hines. “She’s not only my friend, but she’s my boss too, and I want to keep my job.”

I flinched slightly at that reminder. I didn’t want to be the cause of any issues between Julie and Avery. Clearly, the wrong head had done all the thinking the night before. I started to open my mouth to apologize to her, but her hand came up and she shook her head before I could. Putting a plate in my empty hand, Avery leaned up to press a kiss to my cheek. I smiled from ear to ear, and laughed when I heard my bandmate mumble something behind me, about touching his woman.

“She touched me first,” I reminded him as I sat down.

This time, he hit me upside the head, and everyone chuckled. I shrugged him off and kept my smile in place as I filled my plate with scrambled eggs, pancakes, and bacon. These people were my family. Chris had formed our band, Dark Roads, when we were in high school. I played bass, Cooper, the drums, and Matt Waterhouse played steel guitar. Our country music with an edge, along with Chris’s uncle, Lee, had us climbing the charts in no time. We had barely had our high school diplomas in hand when he had whisked us off to Nashville. While it had been an amazing almost eleven-year ride so far, we were all tired and looking for a bit of a break, Cooper and myself more so than the other two. Coming home to Maine had been just what we had needed.

It not only allowed us all to recharge, but had also brought Cooper and Avery back together. The two of them had been inseparable our last few years of school, yet the idiot had left her high and dry when we signed our contracts. He had never stopped loving her, though; if anything, he had fought it for ten years.

Now they were married, and I had never seen him happier. I wanted what he had. Hell, I wanted what Maggie and Lexie had. Lexie was Matt’s little sister. When she had turned eighteen, she joined us in Tennessee. She had become our little groupie and there, she met her wife, our lawyer. The two hit it off instantly, and the love between them was evident.

“Damn,” I heard Matt mutter beside me as his elbow hit mine.

I jerked my head up and saw Julie pausing briefly as she entered the room. Her hair was still wet from her shower, and fell down her back in long waves that had me fighting the urge to tangle my fingers in it. Her wide eyes were slightly weary, however she held herself ramrod straight. This woman was a force to be reckoned with. The V-neck shirt she sported teased a bit of skin, and the jeans clinging to her legs made me want to scoop her up and carry her back to my bed. I brought my elbow back into Matt’s stomach a little too hard, and heard him cough slightly.

“Keep your eyes on her face, brother,” I hissed, surprising myself.

I wasn’t normally a possessive man. This woman brought out a whole other side of me. I relaxed in my chair when I felt Cooper’s hand on my shoulder. Julie didn’t seem to notice the activity at the table as she moved toward Avery and for that, I was grateful. I didn’t want her to feel any more uncomfortable than she had earlier this morning.

“I really should go,” I heard her say after she gave her friend a big hug. “I have a lot to do at the office.”

“At least eat with us before you do,” Ave pleaded.

Julie’s gaze shifted to the table, where we were all sitting, quietly. All conversations had gone silent and eating had ceased. Her eyes passed over mine in a fleeting glance, and I knew that she had been going to take the opportunity to bail while everyone was occupied. She was embarrassed about the night before, even though a word hadn’t been spoken about it.

“I’m good,” she assured her, putting a hand on her arm to stop her from getting another plate. “I’ll get something on the road.”

Julie was already moving to pick up her bag and turn toward the door. I started to get up to walk out with her when Avery caught my eye and shook her head slightly. My ass hit the chair with a thud and my friends steadied me to keep it from going over. I wasn’t a complete jerk; I should have been the one going outside with her, not Avery.

“What the hell?” I muttered, as activity around the table resumed.

“The Foster charm was lost on that one, huh?” Matt joked as he shoveled food into his mouth.

“I’m not quite sure,” I admitted, running a hand down my face.

“She’s a skittish one,” Cooper observed, “despite her tough exterior.”

“That she is,” I agreed, smiling. “Guess I’ll just have to work on that.”

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