“FALL WITH ME” brings readers more of the sultry hot rockers that you love from Jayne Frost‘s Sixth Street Bands Series, along with a healthy dose of steamy romance with some laughs on the side. Also, don’t forget to check out the cover art by none other than Judi Perkins at Concierge Literary Designs.
As the bassist for the band Caged, the last three years have been one, long non-stop party. Sure, I’ve had some regrets. Everyone does. But getting trapped in a relationship isn’t one of them. I know good and well what happens when the attraction fades. I’ve seen it first hand. Love is a zero sum game, so why play? As long as I’m upfront about my feelings, no one gets hurt. Besides, I’m never in one place long enough to worry about tomorrow.
That is, until the band decided to take an extended hiatus in our hometown. That’s when I met Melody Sullivan. She’s the full-package. Whip smart and beautiful, with enough determination to take on anything life has in store. And the best part? Melody shares my philosophy on the fleeting nature of attraction. She doesn’t buy into the whole “happily ever after” crap anymore than I do. We’re perfect for each other. For now. And now is all I want.
With the expectations off the table, I can let my guard down and enjoy her company until the spark dies. And we both know it will. In a week, or a month. But until then, we’ll just keep having fun. The good kind, with lots of sex and no strings attached. And when it’s time to move on, we will. No drawn out goodbyes and no remorse.
That’s the plan, at least.
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The tension knots in my neck disappeared the minute I set foot inside the UT Life Science building. The ceilings in the alcove, inlayed with rich, dark wood, gleamed in the autumn sunlight filtering through the high windows as I walked toward the marble arch leading to the Life Science Library. Gold letters encased in black granite marked my destination.
Passing through the glass doors, my boots squeaked on the polished stone floors as I made my way to the physics section.
When I rounded the corner, I found Mrs. Thatcher replenishing the stacks with books she picked out of a grey bin.
She slid a thick text onto the shelf, then glanced at me and smiled. “Good afternoon, Christian. That book you wanted finally came in.”
My ears perked up as I gave her an index card containing my current wish list. “Really?”
She tucked the card in her pocket and then pried a copy of Was Einstein Right? Putting General Relativity to the Test, from the cubby.
“Popular book.” She handed me the text, then turned on her heel, calling over her shoulder, “I’ll see if we have any of the others in the system.”
“Thanks,” I mumbled, running my finger over the worn cover.
I’d read this book many times, but never an edition this old. Cracking open the spine, hand written notes adorned the margins, some dating back years from the looks of it.
Exiting the stacks, I headed toward the rows of uncomfortable wooden chairs. I wasn’t complaining, though. Given the amount of time I spent in libraries growing up, it wasn’t a good day unless one of my legs was numb or my back was screaming for mercy.
Settling into my usual spot at a table in the back, I reached for my phone to bring up my secret playlist of classical music.
My father, the mathematician, insisted rock and roll wasn’t conducive to concentration. It was one of the few things we agreed on. Though I never let him know it.
As I slipped in my ear buds, I noticed a girl two tables away juggling an armful of books and supplies. Losing the battle, the texts slipped from her grasp, crashing to the concrete floor.
“Shit,” she muttered.
Dropping to her knees, she tucked a swath of blond hair behind her ear before crawling under the table to retrieve a couple of wayward pencils.
One glimpse of her on all fours, her luscious ass in the air, and I jumped out of my seat.
The scent of cinnamon and autumn leaves assaulted me as I knelt to help her collect the papers littering the floor.
“Here you go,” I said, handing over the messy pile.
Wobbling to her feet, she smiled down at me, her blond hair curtaining her face. “Thanks. I’m all thumbs today.”
Spying a cherry lip balm wedged against the chair leg, I plucked the tube from its hiding place and then rose to my feet.
“Cherry, huh?” The smile froze on my lips when I caught sight of her unusual jade green eyes. Silver lined the pupils, luminous under the fluorescent lights.
Trying to place her, I started at her blond hair, working my way down.
Pausing the descent when I reached her perfect tits, my gaze darted to hers. “Mel, right?”
Her plump lips fell into a frown as she snatched the lip balm from my hand.
“Melody,” she bit out. “My friends call me Mel. And we’re not friends, Christian.”
Opening the flap on her backpack, she dropped the little tube into the abyss.
So, the angry little mouse remembered me. And she knew my name.
“Patty was right. You do have an attitude problem.” I leaned forward, smirking. “How’s that working out for you?”
“Patty’s an idiot. And my attitude’s fine. I just don’t suffer fools.” She tipped her chin, her gaze roaming over my face like I was the fool she was being forced to suffer. “Gladly, at least.”
Unsure if I was turned on or insulted, I crossed my arms over my chest and studied her posture. Insulted. Definitely insulted.
“Saint Paul called—he wants his line back,” I said blandly. “Didn’t think I’d catch that, did you? Second Corinthians—chapter eleven, verse nineteen. Look it up if you don’t believe me. And the whole ‘not suffering fools’ thing? I guess you’re in the wrong business.” Her frown intensified, which satisfied me immensely so I added a cherry on top. “Or you were, until you got yourself fired.”
As I doubled back to my seat, I heard Mel’s mint green Chucks squeaking against the floor as she stalked after me.
“I did not get myself fired,” she hissed, dropping her backpack on the table with a thud. “You were there. I made one comment.” She held up a finger. “One. And bam…I’m out the door.”
“Calling your boss ‘draconian’ probably didn’t help.” I leaned back in my seat, smiling at the fire in her eyes. “Although the general consensus at Hut’s is that you called her a dragon.”
She blinked, stunned into silence.
“A dragon?” she finally croaked, her shoulders quaking with wry laughter as she looked down. “Well, that figures.”
All that jiggling drew my gaze straight to her breasts. Even if Melody was a haughty brat, she was a haughty brat with nice tits.
Scowl firmly in place, I adjusted myself before she looked up. But I needn’t have bothered. One look at that cold gaze and my balls shriveled.
“Well, like I said, I don’t deal well with stupid,” she chirped, slinging her backpack over her shoulder. “So, if you’ll excuse me.”
She smiled a totally fake, sweeter than sweet smile, then trotted away toward the stacks.
I stared after her, watching her hips sway.
Fuck me, the girl was rude. And hot. Hot, rude, and obviously smart, since she disappeared into the dusty heap of books that made up the biochemistry section of the library.
Too unnerved to concentrate on Einstein’s theory of relativity, I ripped a hand through my hair. That damn girl ruined my book buzz. And called me stupid.
Slamming my text shut, I pushed to my feet and then took off for the archives.
I found Mel sitting cross-legged on the floor amid a pile of books and notes.
She looked up at me and rolled her eyes. “What do you want?”
I was about to reply when I caught a view of her tantalizing cleavage. Those, I thought to myself.
For some reason—probably because I’d yet to tear my gaze from the firm, round globes beneath her blouse—the sixteenth letter of the Greek alphabet jumped into my head. Pi—the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.
Before I embarrassed myself reciting the most rudimentary mathematical constant known to man, I thrust the book on Einstein’s theory at her.
“I’m reading a book on the theory of relativity, I’ll have you know.”
My less than witty retort earned me a smile. And a mocking one at that.
Dropping back on her palms, Mel primly crossed her legs at the ankle, appraising me.
“So, I’m assuming you’re here because you got stumped on one of the big words?” She arched a perfect brow. “I’m a little busy. But the librarian has a science dictionary.” Pointing in the direction of Mrs. Thatcher’s desk, she added, “It’s the big book with words you can’t pronounce. Just point and grunt—she’ll probably get the picture.”
“You’re a presumptuous little thing, aren’t you?” She didn’t answer so I crouched to examine her pile of books. “What’s all this for, anyway?”
“Busy here,” she muttered, her eyes darting from her textbook to the notepad on her knee.
Ignoring her subtle—scratch that—blatant, attempt to get rid of me, I smiled when I came across a copy of Genetic Manipulation of the Nervous System.
I tapped her leg with the corner of the book. When she lifted her annoyed gaze, I looked deeply into her green irises.
Before I got lost in the depths, or that damn sweet scent of hers, I said, “Did you know that only two percent of the population has green eyes?”
Thoroughly unimpressed, her lip quirked. “Good to know. If you’re done regaling me with generic information—“
“Generic? I don’t think so.” Placing the heavy text back on the pile, I continued, “The field of study is still evolving. It’s only recently come to light that there are about fifteen genes responsible for determining eye color.”
That fake ass smile tilted her lips once again. “You wouldn’t happen to be able to name any of those pesky genes, would you?”
Mel wrinkled her nose in the most adorable way as she issued the challenge. Which was going to make stomping her ass all that much more satisfying.
The first rule of thumb when you’re about to pose an argument: never ask a question if you’re unsure of the answer. Guess they didn’t teach her that in chem class.
I blew out a breath as if contemplating. But the only thing I really wondered was what color steam would come out of her ears when I was finished.
“Well,” I drawled. “I don’t have time to name them all, but the OCA2 and the HER2 are the most common. The appearance of blue, green, or hazel eyes results from the Tyndall scattering of light in the stroma.” Her lips parted, and I gave her a mock frown. “You do know what the stroma is, right? That pesky fibro vascular layer of tissue behind—” Shaking my head, I sighed. “Never mind, it’s too complicated to explain right now. Let’s start with something simpler—like brown eyes. That’s pretty easy. The shade of brown in the eyes is directly related to the melanin in the—“
Jumping to her feet, Mel glared down at me. Her gaze followed mine as I stood. Since I had almost a foot on the girl, she was now glaring up at me, but the stone cold expression never changed.
“I know what the determinates of brown eyes are, thank you very much,” she spluttered through clenched teeth.
“Sure you do.” Lowering my tone, I winked. “Don’t worry. I won’t tell any of your buddies that I stumped you with an explanation of the iris pigment epithelium.”
If Mel’s lack of verbal skills was any indication, she was even more enraged. Good. One last dig and my work here would be done.
Enunciating slowly, I leaned in to make my point. “The epithelium is in the back of the iris, in case you were wondering.” I glanced over the books and notes at our feet. “You’ve obviously got some studying to do, so I’ll let you get back to it.”
I knew damn well she probably could recite everything I told her in her sleep. The fact that she assumed I didn’t know any of it is what bothered me.
I took a step back, my smile dissolving when her hand shot out to fist my t-shirt. For a second I thought she might hit me. Instead, she rose to the balls of her feet.
The last thing I saw before her mouth crashed into mine was the fire flashing in her jade green eyes. And then there was nothing but the sweet taste of her lips, and the cinnamon and autumn scent that surrounded her.
Deepening the kiss, Mel slid her tongue over mine, stroking gently.
If this was her way of winning an argument, I was all for it.
Nudging her against the bookcase, one hand disappeared in her hair. And the other? It was everywhere.
My name in the distance forced my attention to the end of the aisle. I blinked at Mrs. Thatcher, frozen in her spot with her palm molded to her hip. Her gaze fell slowly to my wandering hand that had somehow found a home on Mel’s ass.
“Allow me to repeat myself since you didn’t hear me calling your name, Christian,” the librarian said brusquely. “I got that book you wanted on the Fender bass.”
Mrs. Thatcher then turned a speculative eye on the girl still trapped in my arms.
Mrs. Thatcher then turned a speculative eye on the girl still trapped in my arms.
“Melody, you know better than this,” she admonished. “I have no problem verifying your research hours for Professor Riser, but if you’re planning on researching your own anatomy, you need to do it on your own time.”
Stepping in front of the little spitfire to keep her from getting us kicked out, I said, “We were just—“
“I know what y’all were doing,” Mrs. Thatcher interjected. “You just can’t do it here.”
Gripping my bicep, Mel stepped around me.
“I-I’m sorry, Mrs. Thatcher,” she said, employing a soft tone I didn’t think she possessed. “I was just…my boyfriend came by to see me and…” Stammering, her cheeks brightened to the color of ripe tomatoes. “We were just…leaving.”
Falling to her knees, Mel hastily gathered her things. She shoved a book in my hand, which I accepted without question, then crammed the rest of her notes into her backpack.
Curling my hand around her arm when she finished, I helped her to her feet.
Mel swallowed hard, shifting nervously as she addressed Mrs. Thatcher with a tight smile. “If you wouldn’t mind not mentioning this to Professor Riser, I’d really appreciate it.”
A smile ghosted the librarian’s lips as she folded her arms over her chest. “That’ll cost you an hour of reading to the kids in the daycare center to make up your time. Deal?”
“Deal.” Melody’s shoulders sank in what I assume was relief. “Thank you, Mrs. Thatcher.”
Stiff as a statue, Mel didn’t look at me until the librarian’s footfalls were out of earshot.
“Give me my book,” she growled.
I chuckled at her attempt at a fierce glare. “Boyfriend, huh?”
“Obviously, that was for Mrs. Thatcher’s benefit. I already lost one job; I can’t afford to have my professor questioning my research hours.”
I tucked her text under my arm. “Are you researching genetics?”
Shifting her fiery gaze to the book I was holding for ransom, she pondered her response for a long moment. My smile more or less assured she wouldn’t get what she wanted until she answered my question.
She closed the distance between us, her hot breath tickling the hollow of my neck. I thought she might kiss me again—which I was totally down for—so I relaxed.
Her greedy fingers shot out and snatched the text before I could react. Studying me with an unreadable expression, she held the book like a shield to ward off my advances. Which was funny as hell since she was the one who kissed me.
Composing herself, she took a step back and then sighed. “At the moment I’m concentrating on proteins.” She offered a curt smile, all business. “I’m a Beckman Scholar, so if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a lot of studying to do.”
Swooping her backpack from the floor before she had the chance, I nearly fell over from the weight of the damn thing.
“There’s really no excuse for you, sweetheart,” I deadpanned.
Sweetheart? I wasn’t sure if she had a heart—sweet or otherwise. But she damn sure tasted sweet. Cherry lip balm lingered on my lips from the searing kiss, the memory of her velvet tongue sending a tingle to the base of my spine.
Seizing the moment, and her blessed silence, I slid my hand into hers. “You’re rude, arrogant, and presumptuous, just like I said. But you’re also kind of cute. So I guess I’ll let you buy me a cup of coffee and tell me all about your research.”
As the guitarist for the rock band Caged, I know the rules: no relationships. No complications. Leave ‘em willing when you go, but always go. Besides, it’s not like I’m ever in one place for more than a few days at a time. As the next hottest thing out of Austin, the band and me are riding the wave, and the music is all that matters.
Lily Tennison has “complication” written across her beautiful face. But I can’t get involved. The timing’s all wrong. But she’s under my skin, and I can’t resist her troubled eyes and sweet smile. And I do have a little time to kill. Not much, just a few days in Dallas.
So I’ll scratch the itch and move on, like I always do.
So…Who is Jayne?
As a writer you would think that would be a simple question…but it’s not. I spend so much time living in my characters heads, listening to their voices, that sometimes I forget about my own.
I guess I should start with the basics: the backstory. I was born and raised in California. At this point, I’m usually asked what it was like to grow up near the beach, but sadly, I don’t know. I grew up in the “other” part of California. Perfect for an aspiring writer, if you ask me. You learn a lot about keeping yourself busy when the nearest house is a mile away…and it belongs to your grandparents.
I spent all my time with my nose in a book, living vicariously through the characters, until I wrote a book of my own. I was ten at the time. It was a scintillating piece that cast the family pet as the protagonist.
By the time I went to high school, I moved on to romance. Why? Because I met my very own prince charming. I wrote love poems in my journal about the green-eyed boy who stole my heart. He promised, the way all storybook heroes do, to sweep me away and take me on a grand adventure. And he did.
We picked up and moved to the Lone Star State and began the story of us. The best stories begin without a road map or a compass. Veering off course makes the journey so much more interesting.
True to form, just when I thought my life was set, we started the next adventure. I traded in my cowboy boots and followed my green-eyed boy to Las Vegas. My home will always be in Texas, but my heart is anywhere that he is. Our beautiful daughter made the journey with us. Our son stayed in Texas, to write his own story.
Somehow, in the midst of the chaos that is our life, I find time to write. Writing is what I love. I might stray from romance every now and then if that is what moves me…but I always come back. Some of the stories don’t seem romantic at all. They are gritty stories about flawed characters that find each other and hold on tight. Those are the stories that speak to me. Because that’s life. I believe that every story should have a happy ending—even the difficult ones.
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