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Hating the Rock Star by Hamel, B. B. (1)

1

Grace

“Ever been to Vegas?”

The words come out of a god’s mouth. Actually, no, that’s not true.

Just a rock star.

Joss Myers tilts his head at me, and I’m at a loss for words. I know, it’s a simple question. I could just, like, open my mouth and say words at him. I’ve done it a million times.

Talking, it’s called talking. I can totally do that.

“Yes?” I say, blinking.

His smile spreads. He’s so close to me and my heart’s beating so fast I can barely breathe.

I can hear his bandmates in the other room. Landon, the drummer, is banging on something, keeping time and laughing as the other guys sing an out-of-tune song I’ve never heard before. The hallway I’m standing in with Joss is dim and empty except for the plush carpeting and the gold record plaques hanging on the wall.

One of those records belongs to the debut album of Slide. Actually, I think theirs is platinum.

“You’re not sure if you’ve been there?” he asks. “That sounded like a question.”

I clear my throat. “Uh, I mean, yes. I’ve been there before.” I say it so formally, and his eyes are sparkling.

I don’t know why the lead singer of Slide is talking to me. Their record, Body Language, was like the biggest thing a couple years ago. I think I wore out my CD player listening to it over and over. I know Joss’s voice intimately, or at least his singing voice.

It’s a little deeper, when he speaks. But that lilting, musical quality is still there, barely contained, just waiting to come out.

“Good,” he says. “Want to go again?”

I stare, not sure what to say. He’s waiting for an answer, but I’ve forgotten how to do that thing again. I mean, it’s an easy thing, I do it all the time.

Right. Talking.

“Okay,” I blurt out.

Joss lights up with a grin. He’s so handsome it’s almost unfair. Thick, dark hair, smooth eyebrows, heavy lashes. There’s a perpetual bit of stubble on his cheeks and chin, and colorful tattoos peek up through his simple black t-shirt.

“Good.” He turns and walks away, back into the control room where the rest of his band is waiting.

I stand there, staring after him, still holding a tray of drinks. It takes me a second to realize that I should follow, since the whole reason I’m in this hallway is to bring them some beer.

Getting a job working for Somesuch was a dream come true. I’ve always been into the music business, and Somesuch is one of the biggest indie labels around. They have huge bands on their roster, some of my favorite bands around. I’ve even gotten to work with a few, even though I’m just an intern and basically a glorified coffee girl.

And of course, there’s Slide. My all-time favorite band, and they’ve only put out one record.

I follow Joss into the room. Landon is sitting on the couch, his drumsticks in hand, keeping a languid rhythm on the coffee table in front of him. Nathan, the lead guitarist, sits at the control panel and broodingly stares at the dials and knobs. Joss leans up against the wall to my left, and Chase grins at me from the other chair in front of the control panel.

“I hear you’re coming with us,” Chase says.

“Uh, yeah,” I stammer. “Beer?”

He grins and takes the tray from me. He puts it down in front of Landon, who immediately grabs one, cracking open the top with his teeth. He gives me a grin, a little loony, but what else do you expect from a drummer?

“Good,” Chase says. “Joss here’s been needing a little, ah, cheering up. And we were hoping you’d take care of it.”

I blush and glance back at Joss, who winks at me.

“Uhm, I’ll do my best.”

The guys laugh. Even Nathan cracks a smile.

Landon holds up his beer. “To getting fucked in Vegas!” he says.

“You mean, fucked up?” Chase asks.

“Nah. I mean fucked!”

The guys all laugh but I’m intensely aware of Joss’s eyes on my body, roaming my skin.

I should get out of there. I should run away.

Instead, I’m going to Vegas with these crazy rock stars, and apparently the lead singer can’t stop staring at me.

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