Authors: Lily Graison
Copyright ©2009 by Lily Graison
First published in 2009, 2009
Christian Palmer, bass player for the band Wicked, isn't your typical rocker. Much to his band mate's amusement, he's quiet, shy and looks like your average boy next door-but that's all about to change. An encounter with a girl he can't seem to forget calls for drastic measures and with the help of his friends, Christian goes from dud to stud in hopes to wow the girl of his dreams.
Jessi McClure has led a fairytale life. She has a job she loves, friends she can count on and couldn't want for anything else. Until she meets, and photographs, an unlikely rock star. Running into him again was just dumb luck, but when their paths keep crossing, she can't help but notice the change this shy, gorgeous guy has taken on and is drawn to him even more.
When fate keeps stepping in and hands you something you didn't realize you wanted, do you throw the chance away or hold on with both hands? Will Jessi get more than she bargained for when the man she thought she knew turns out to be so much more? And can Christian hold on to the girl of his dreams when a misunderstanding threatens to tear them apart?
"What about, ‘I'm going to have sex with you tonight. You might as well be there to enjoy it.’”
Christian Palmer choked on his drink and coughed, trying to clear his throat. He looked up and shook his head. When he'd caught his breath, he said, “No. Pass."
"If I tossed this quarter, what are the chances of me getting head?"
Mick laughed. “Come on, man. You only get three passes and you've already used them all."
"I don't care,” Christian said. “There's no way I'm saying that to a complete stranger."
"That's the whole point."
"Forget it. I'll take my humiliation in small doses if that's all right with you."
"Humiliation is the whole point,” Mick said, grinning. “Now pick one of these."
birthday. I should be watching you three make fools out of yourselves."
Devin grinned and reached across the table, grabbing another card. “Not going to happen, my friend. Holly would kill me. Besides, you're the one sitting alone on your birthday. Now, choose."
Christian ran a hand through his hair, dislodging the dark strands as another card was read. Like every other night out when they found themselves in a club, the pick-up game was in full force. The cards, with the cheesiest pick-up lines known to man were laid out on the table and his band mates were trying to find one for him. Finding a card wasn't the problem. Having to walk up to a strange woman and actually say what was written on it was.
Since Luke and Devin now had steady girlfriends, it was up to Mick and himself to provide the entertainment of the game and the guys had decided that tonight, it was all on him.
Luke tapped the table with his knuckle to get his attention. “How about, I lost my keys. Can I check your pants?"
"I've already had sex with you five times while you were sleeping. Want to make it six?"
"My favorite number is 69?"
Christian laughed and stared across the hotel bar, trying to ignore them. He knew he was blushing as the cards were being read. He could feel the heat burn his face and neck. Everyone's laughter only caused it to burn hotter.
Why they tortured him with this game when they knew he hated it was beyond his comprehension. Like asking a girl out wasn't nerve wracking enough for him. To have to approach a woman with one of those cards was the worst humiliation he could think of. Not that the cards deterred women from following him back to his room. You could say anything to a woman when she realized you were a member of the band Wicked and know without a shadow of a doubt, you'd get laid.
The fact they were forcing the game on him tonight shouldn't have been such a surprise. It was his birthday, after all, and he was dateless.
"Are you juveniles still torturing Christian?"
Christian turned his head at the sound of Roxy's voice. Luke's girlfriend smiled at him and grabbed the cards Luke was holding before sitting down beside him. She read over the cards, grinning before tossing them back to the table. “He'll never find a woman with these."
"Finding a woman isn't the point,” Devin said. “He's Christian Palmer. All he has to do is speak and women will fall all over themselves to be his date for the evening. The fact he has to say this to them when he approaches them just makes it fun."
"And cruel,” Holly said when she joined them.
Devin laughed at his girlfriends comment. “It's not cruel. We've all done it."
"You've actually picked up a woman with one of these horrible pick-up lines?"
She rolled her eyes and grabbed a few of the cards. “Wonders never cease."
"What we say to a woman isn't important. It's who we are that matters.” He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close to him. “Tell me you didn't want me the minute you knew who I was?"
Holly snorted a laugh. “No. You were an asshole. Although this card,” she said, waving it in front of him, “may have saved you from an immediate let down. I would have been laughing too hard to say no."
Christian listened to them talk and scanned the bar. He really didn't need their help finding a date. Devin had been right about that. Being a member of the band had its advantages. One of them being the fact that women walked all over each other to get close to them, even him. But, finding someone to fill his bed for a night, then disappearing, wasn't what
wanted. He wanted more than a string of one-night stands. He wanted to find
. The one girl made just for him. The one who would be there forever.
"This is the last one, Christian. Take it or we'll pick the worst out of the lot for you."
He looked over at Mick and took the card from him. His eyes widened when he read it. “This is worse than any you've read."
"No its not,” Mick grinned. “I can find one ten times more humiliating."
"Fine.” He bit his tongue before shoving the card in his pocket and stood.
"And he's going for it!” Luke said, laughing. “Go get ‘em, tiger."
Christian lifted his hand, raising his middle finger and flipped the guys off before walking away. Ignoring their taunts, he made his way through the throng of people crowding their table. Stopping by the bar, he waited for the bar tender and ordered a drink, gulping it down and waiting for the fire to hit his stomach. No matter how much he drank, it wasn't enough to dull the gut wrenching fear he had at approaching a complete stranger.
He glanced back over his shoulder. The guys were watching him. Waiting. “Why me?” he asked no one. Turning, he scanned the club again. The light was dim but the bright flashes of blue and red from the overhead lights illuminated the people crowding the bar enough for him to see.
Blondes, brunettes and redheads as far as the eye could see met his pursuing gaze. “Ennie-minnie-mino-mo,” he said to himself.
He smiled when a blonde crossed in front of him and looked his way. He knew by the look on her face she'd be a sure bet. He'd seen the look a thousand times. If he just stood there long enough, someone would come to him and he was half tempted to do just that. But it was the standing there and waiting part that he didn't like. Besides, the guys preferred he approach someone, not the other way around.
He sighed and leaned back against the bar. His band mates made it look so easy. All Luke ever had to do was look at a girl and she was falling all over herself to be with him. Devin and Mick only had to speak. Women loved them and spent every night in their presence trying to get them in their beds. He'd had his share of prospects too, but not like the others. Women wanted
, the bad boys of rock. They weren't drawn to the quiet one. The one who had to fight a blush when a woman looked his way.
He'd been the butt of their jokes for years and he'd taken them all in stride. He
the quiet one. He was the guy who stood in the background while life moved around him in a blur of movement. But it wasn't only sleeping with any one woman that interested him. He wanted ... more. He wanted someone who would always be there. Someone who loved
, not the bass player for the band Wicked. He wanted a woman who wanted Christian Palmer—small town boy from Kansas.
Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, he straightened his spine. “Okay,” he said, quietly. “Who is it going to be?"
He searched the club, letting his gaze fall on every woman he saw. The redhead by the dance floor was pretty. Too tall for his tastes, though. The blonde next to her wore too much make-up. Another blonde.
Too few clothes on that one.
Nothing was left to the imagination and he was almost positive he'd get laid before they made it out the door but she wasn't very pretty.
He crossed his arms over his chest and stared at the sea of bodies.
It didn't really matter if he found one attractive or not. It wasn't like he would be taking her back to the room with him, even if the card proved successful. Which he had no doubt it would be. When the woman he picked realized who he was, he was as good as laid.
A brunette crossed in front of him and the scent of wild orchids filled the air. He turned his head, watching her walk away. The green dress she wore fit snuggly over rounded hips and was backless, giving him a glimpse of tanned skin and a thin waist. Her chestnut brown hair was pinned up. Small curls were left to dangle across her bare shoulders and he followed her without thought. When she stopped at the end of the bar, he hesitated a few moments before closing the distance between them.
When he stopped behind her his eye was drawn to a tattoo on her back. A butterfly with wings of green and black hung low on her right side. He smiled while looking at it.
Reaching into his pocket, he grabbed the card again and cringed when he read it. He should have taken the first one Mick read. It wasn't nearly as provocative as this one was, especially if he had to say it to her. Of every woman in the club, she was the only one who peeked his interest and he hadn't even seen her face.
The thought made him cringe suddenly
. God, what if she's ugly? She could be a complete butter-face.
He looked her over from head to toe. It would be his luck to find a gorgeous woman who had a face of a bulldog. He'd seen his share, too. Beautiful women who men would kill to touch ... only to realize everything was perfect
but her face
He grinned while taking a leisurely look of her backside before shaking his head.
There's no way this woman is ugly. Not with a body like that.
She walked with confidence, her head held high and the dress she wore told him she knew how to draw attention. No, a woman like that was probably way out of his league. Rock star or not, he'd never have a snowballs chance in hell of hooking up with her.
But what if you're wrong?
He glanced back over his shoulder at the guys and Mick gave him a “thumbs up.” He grinned before turning back to the girl. What if she didn't turn him down? What if she was the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen and he let her walk away without even trying? What if he did try and she laughed in his face?