"This is a terrible idea," I say into my phone as my driver pulls up to The Millennium Hotel.
The lights of the Vegas Strip permeate the car through windows tinted so dark they're black. I need quiet and calm, not slot machines and showgirls. How the hell my manager expects me to write another number one record while I'm surrounded by the non-stop party life, I'll never know. The rest of my band is here already. They caught an earlier flight, but I stayed back, hoping for a few more days at home.
"Easton, you need to get your head out of your ass and live a little." Franco laughs over the line. "I can't believe I'm telling a rock star to party. Usually it's the other way around. Stay off the drugs, stop getting tanked in public, don't sleep with hookers." He clears his throat. "But, seriously, don't do those things."
"You know I don't touch that shit." I'm probably too harsh with him, but there's a reason I don't drink or do drugs. A fucking good one.
"I know. Sorry. How's he doing?"
Franco's getting personal now. I'm not ready for personal. "When do we start rehearsing?"
He coughs and I hear a deep intake of breath as though he's taking a drag from a cigarette. "Next week. Show's in two weeks, but this is a big production. Vegas isn't like going on tour. They'll want to make it a whole experience."
The driver is standing outside my door, waiting for me to signal him that I'm ready to get out. "Fine." I open the door and the guy scrambles to get it for me. It's his job, but I hate being pandered to. I wave him off and go around to the trunk to find my guitar and bag. "Franco, I need you to promise me this'll be worth the time. I've got an album to write so we can record."
"It's going to buy you some time. In case... well, in case you're still blocked after this."
"You'll be riding high on the publicity. We can afford a delay as long as you're still relevant."
Still relevant. God, what a fucking fickle industry. "I could always get married while I'm here."
He chokes and I hang up before he can respond. I love fucking with him. The driver has my stuff ready for me and after I tuck my phone into my pocket, I hand the guy a twenty and thank him. The hotel lobby looms and that familiar buzz of anticipation builds in my gut whenever I go somewhere new. Taking a deep breath, I walk through the doors and step inside The Millennium.
I'm immediately greeted by my own personal concierge. She's eager, too eager, and her smile is too wide.
"Mr. Harrison. Welcome to The Millennium. I'm Hannah, I'll be your contact during your stay. Anything you need, just ask." She presses a business card into my hand. "The penthouse is ready for you and we've taken the liberty of assigning a security detail to your door at all times." She speaks quickly, her breathy voice making me worry she's going to pass out on me.
"It's Easton, just Easton. And I don't need security. Where's the rest of my band staying?"
Her eyes go wide. "The three of them are in room 1127. It's a two-bedroom suite. Is that a problem? Your label made the arrangements."
I fight a sigh of frustration. These guys may not be the face that goes with the name on my records, but they've been with me since my first album. "How many bedrooms are in the penthouse?"
"Right. Do me a favor, Hannah?"
She nods but doesn't say anything.
"Have my stuff put in their suite and move those guys to the penthouse. Give them anything they need."
"Hannah?" I say her name with a little growl I know will get her attention.
"You said you were my personal contact. Anything I need."
She nods again.
"I need you to do this for me. No questions asked."
"It will take a little time."
I cast my gaze around the lobby, the sound of slot machines catching my ears unappealing. "There somewhere I can go have a bite to eat?"
"Oh, yes, of course. We've got a five-star restaurant, a coffee bar, and our famous LBD cocktail bar."
I raise an eyebrow. "LBD?"
She smiles. "Little Black Dress. No showgirls in here. Our waitresses are beautiful without sequins and feathers. There's a VIP room I'm sure they'll be glad to entertain you in as well."
"Is it quiet?"
"It can be. They'll cater to your needs."
I offer her a curt nod and head into the cacophony of the casino floor. I see it immediately. Purple neon proudly announces Little Black Dress over the backlit doorway. I'm not sure about this, but the last thing I want to do is gamble.
"Omigod, do you see him? It's Easton Harrison." I hear the squeal as soon as I'm recognized.
More murmurs of my name catch my ears and I pick up my pace. VIP room, here I come. I'll text the guys when I'm safely concealed behind a velvet rope. I rush through the door and into the upscale bar. The first thing I notice is the rich wood-paneled walls with lighting meant to create an intimate feel in a large space. It works. There's a handful of patrons sitting around tables, but it's early in the evening and most people are still out exploring the Strip or gambling. I give it two hours before this bar really gets going.
"Are you just going to stand there or did you want to order a drink?" The woman's voice catches me off guard, and her tone is bordering on annoyed. Turning my gaze toward her, I have to stop myself from letting my mouth fall open.
She's fucking gorgeous. Big blue eyes, flawless skin, long dark hair that tumbles over her shoulders. Oh, this woman is my kind of cocktail waitress. I forget all about the VIP room. I want to be right here, at the bar, with her.
"Well?" she asks, cocking one hip and staring at me.
Her dress is tight at the top, the black fabric hugging high, firm tits without showing any cleavage. But it tucks in at her tiny waist before flaring out around her hips and stopping mid-thigh. She's got great legs encased in sheer black stockings. My mouth runs dry.
She rolls her eyes and lets out a groan. "God, can you be any more obvious? Take a picture, it'll last longer."
Turning on her heel, she gives me a view of her back. The dress is completely backless all the way to her waist. The only thing holding it on is a bow tied across the tops of her shoulders. Oh, Jesus. And her stockings. They've got a dark line running up from the heel of her foot all the way to the hem of her dress. Maybe I should take a picture.
I'm not ashamed. She's a work of art. I appreciate art. "You're gorgeous."
Her cheeks turn pink, but she scoffs. "And you're a real wordsmith. What are you drinking?"
Does she not know who I am? She's standing there, hands on her hips as she waits for my answer. I say the first thing that comes to my mind. "Whiskey sour."
She lifts one eyebrow and looks me up and down. "Can I give you my cherry?"
"What?" My ears must be playing tricks on me.
"I said, can I get you a cherry?"
Shit, I definitely need to be better about wearing hearing protection on stage. Either that or nearly a year without sex is getting to me. But I needed time away from women after my last break up. I used it to write, to make something meaningful, to learn about myself. And it ended up winning me a Grammy. This girl is making me think I'm ready to end my dry spell.
"Do you have a cherry?" I ask, only a slight bit of innuendo thrown in for good measure.
"If I did, I wouldn't let you have it."
She's too much. I love it.
"What's your name?"
"Really? Like the country? I'm... Harrison." Shit, I just lied to her. Kind of. Harrison is technically my name if we're going by last names. But I love that she doesn’t seem to know who I am, isn’t fawning over me like the other girls and I don't want to break the spell of anonymity I've somehow cast.
"Really? Like the movie star?" She mimics my stupid response to her name with sweet sass. "I guess you've got a little Han Solo thing going on." Then she walks around the bar, hips swaying with her movements.
I watch her mix my drink and when she bends down to grab something, I have to fight my groan. The tops of her stockings have little black bows on them. Honestly, I think this woman could be wearing yoga pants and a baggy sweatshirt and I'd want her. She slides the drink across the bar and offers me a wink. "Han Solo was always my favorite."
Ireland tends to a few more orders over the next hour and instead of texting the guys, I observe her. She moves with the fluid grace of a classically trained dancer, poised, confident. I wonder what brought her here. There are two other waitresses milling around, and one who keeps coming and going from the VIP lounge, but for the most part, this place is exactly what I need. Quiet.
Ireland stands at the end of the long bar, chatting with another waitress. She laughs, loud and full-bodied, tossing her head back. The action changes everything about her, lighting up her face and making her look more carefree. I can't help but smile too. I want to bottle up that laugh and save it. Then her gaze locks on mine and she strolls toward me.
"Something wrong with your drink, Harry?" she asks.
"Not a thing. I'm not a big drinker. Just killing time."
"Meeting someone?" She leans her elbows on the bar, challenging me.
"I think I already met her."
Her eyes spark with interest. "Oh yeah?"
"What if she's not interested?"
I grin. "She might pretend she's not, but that's just an act. Princess Leia pretended she hated Han Solo but really she wanted him so bad it hurt."
"I'm not a princess."
"Thank God for that."
She lifts my drink to her lips and takes a long swallow. Her red lipstick leaves a mark on the glass and somehow, it's the most erotic thing I've ever seen. "What room are you in?" she whispers, leaning close enough for me to smell the vanilla of her skin.
Then she backs away and takes my drink with her, a grin on her face. "Good. I'll add this to your bill."
My cock is aching in my pants. I don't want to leave this bar without at least getting her number, but Hannah pops her head in through the front door and catches sight of me. Shit. If she says my name, the jig will be up before I'm ready. I stride across the floor and catch her as she comes inside.
"Mr. Harrison, your room is all ready." She hands me an envelope with the keycard inside. "Is there anything else I can get for you?"
I glance back at Ireland and smirk. "No. I've got everything I need right here."
* * *