Read Love Rock'ollection: The Brutal Strength Rock Star Trilogy, books 1-3 Online

Authors: Michelle Mankin

Tags: #The Brutal Strength Shakespeare Inspired Series

Love Rock'ollection: The Brutal Strength Rock Star Trilogy, books 1-3 (85 page)

The last conversation sparked an idea in Marcus’ mind. He’d meant it when he’d told her that he was going to pull out all the stops to get her back. He typed an email to Beth while continuing to eavesdrop on Avery and Sam.

“I miss my sister, too,” Sam said softly, dabbing at one of Avery’s tears. “She’s on the road a lot. I wish you could meet her.”

Marcus noticed JR’s mouth curve into a knowing smile.

“What’s she like?” Avery asked.

“Larger than life.”

“Pain in the ass,” JR finished.

“She and JR have some history.” Sam smiled. “She’s sharp tongued and brash, but no one has a bigger heart than she does.” She reached for her cell, pulled up a photo, and showed it to Avery.

“She’s with Chris Alex?” Avery exclaimed.

“Yeah,” Sam replied. “They may get married this spring.”

“That’s great, Sam. Chris is a wonderful guy.”

“Yeah. I think so, too.” She picked up a magazine and flipped through the pages. “I can’t wait to take you around the metroplex once we land. We’ll go shopping at NorthPark. They have a Neiman Marcus store. And then head to Cavenders and get you some authentic Texas boots. We can grab some Tex-Mex at Mi Cocina.”

“Whoa,” Avery cautioned. “That’s an ambitious itinerary. I’ve got sound check at two. And don’t you have a lot of concert prep stuff to do?”

“JR and Trevor are taking care of that for me today.” She smiled. “We’re on our own until your sound check.”

“Thanks, guys.” Avery smiled at them. A genuine Avery smile. One that reached all the way to her eyes.

Marcus feasted on it, wishing it had been directed at him. Remembering a time when it would have been. He typed in a text to her.


I could taste you on my tongue after I left your room last night. I couldn’t sleep.


Avery glanced down as her cell pinged with the incoming text.

“Who’s that?” Sam asked as the captain came on the intercom alerting them to prepare for takeoff.

“It’s nothing,” Avery said evasively, but loud enough to be heard over the rumble of the jet’s engines.

Marcus persisted.


Remember that weekend in Tofino?


She read the message. Her cheeks blossomed with color.

Oh, yeah. She remembered.

The time after the proposal had been sublime. Avery had been shy and tentative at first, but not after Tofino. They’d checked into the hotel on a Friday and didn’t leave the room once until they checked out on Sunday. The entire weekend had been spent in their oceanfront suite. In front of the fireplace, in the bed, in the garden tub and in the rain shower. He’d gotten her to open up and tell him exactly what she liked and then he’d set out to fulfill her every desire. He’d quickly discovered that whatever made her hot made him equally if not more so. The results had been exhilarating and explosive for both of them. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat and texted her again.


I love you, Avery. I miss you.


“I need to lie down.” She tossed her cell on the coffee table as if it had just bitten her.

“We haven’t leveled off yet,” Sam cautioned.

“Oh, well,” Avery fired back, glaring at Marcus as she stepped over JR’s legs and headed to the bedroom.

The door slammed behind her.




AVERY STARED DOWN at the elaborately stitched black cowboy boots Sam had insisted on buying for her. Her mind replayed the kiss from the night before. She kicked herself for her willing participation. She needed to move forward. Kissing Marcus sure didn’t help. Neither did the texts he’d sent her on the plane. Those memories were too painful to recall.

She swallowed and looked out the SUV’s tinted window as they waited at the stoplight under the overpass. She stared blankly at the concrete barriers.

“Avery.” Sam squeezed her hand.

“Yeah,” she mumbled distractedly, turned away from the window.

“Don’t worry. We’ll make it in time. We’re almost there.” Sam studied her friend’s face. “You ok?”

She nodded.

“Really?” Sam arched a brow. “You’ve been pretty distracted all day.”

“I’m sorry. I had a lot of fun,” Avery admitted, gesturing at the assortment of shopping bags littering the back seat. “At least half of these are mine. You’re a bad influence, Samantha Daniels.”

“Yeah, I’ve created a shopping monster.” Sam laughed. “You’ve come a long way from the days when you used to go looking for the nearest chair after only thirty minutes of combing through the racks.” She gave her an astute side glance. “Something happen between you and Marcus?”

“Yeah.” Avery took a deep breath. “He came to my hotel room last night.” She turned her head to look at her friend. “He kissed me,” she admitted softly.

“What a sneaky snake in the grass.”

“Oh, it gets worse. I kissed him back.”

“Interesting. Are you thinking about taking him back?”

“I shouldn’t be.” She sighed and twisted her hands together. “I served my heart to him once on a silver platter and look how I got it back … sliced and diced.” She stopped, chewing on her lip. “I’d be a fool to sign up for more of that.”

“Ok, Avery,” Sam said, shifting to wipe away the tear that had fallen onto her cheek. “It’s ok. No one says you have to.”

The SUV darkened as they entered the underground parking garage.

“What about Bryan?” Sam asked.

“What about him?”

“Come on, Avery. I saw y’all the other night after the show.”

“That kiss wasn’t what you thought it was.” Her lips turned down. “I just did it to make Marcus mad. Plus, Bryan called me out on it.”

“What about that kiss in the cab? Was that one to make Marcus mad, too?”

It hadn’t been. Her lips set into a flat line. That kiss had been all about beginnings and full of possibilities, but was she ready for something like that? She wasn’t entirely sure.

“I thought not,” Sam said, reading her expression. “Sounds like you’ve got yourself a choice to make. My sister would call it a delicious dilemma.”



“PLEASE, AVERY?” JR held her hands and wiggled his tawny brows.

“Oh, alright. But you owe me big time.” She pulled her hands back. “I’m a guitarist, not a social director.”

“I know. “He flashed her a smile. “But you’re her friend and mine, and I won’t forget it.”

“You’re right. I am. Go,” she ordered, shooing him away. “I’ll see you in five.” She took a deep breath and entered the room. Three sets of eyes rose to meet hers as soon as she closed the door. One set of light brown eyes were very familiar. “Hey, Chris.” She hadn’t seen him since their date at the Commodore.

Chris Alex sauntered forward and pulled her in for a quick but tight hug. “You’re looking good, kid.”

“Thanks, I’m not a kid, though. I’m turning twenty when we get to New York.” Her lips quirked up. “Although I guess it’s all relative when you’re as old as Moses.” Over his shoulder, a stunning brunette with grey eyes broke out into ringing laughter.

“Sara Daniels.” The brunette held out her hand. “I like you already, Avery. Though I admit I’ve heard nothing but good things from the Munchkin.”

“Munchkin?” Then she got it. “Oh, you mean, Sam.”

“She hates that nickname.” Sara smiled mischievously. “But it’s so cute and perfect for her!” She stepped back and put her arm around a diminutive but still striking elderly woman. “Avery, this is my Gram.”

“Why she’s as pretty as that young country star you sang with last night, Sara.”

“Nice to finally meet you.” Avery shook her delicate hand. “Sam’s told me so much about you that I feel like I already know you.”

“Nice to meet you, too,” Maude replied. “I’m blessed to have two wonderful granddaughters.”

“Ok all of you.” Avery smiled softly. “JR’s about to blow a gasket he’s so wound up right now. But he wanted me to make sure you guys have everything you need and that you all stay out of sight until Trevor comes to get you.”

“Will do,” Chris promised. He stopped her on the way to the door. “It’s really good to see you, again.” He frowned. “But I’m worried about you. I’ve heard things have been pretty rough for you.”

“I’ve had it rough lately, but I’ll be ok,” she said with false bravado.

“You’ve got my number.” He squeezed her shoulder. “Call me if you need anything. I mean it.”

“Thanks, Chris.”

When she entered the corridor, she ran right into Marcus. She stepped back, her eyes narrowing suspiciously. “Have you been waiting out here for me?”

“Yeah.” He turned and headed down the hall. “I wanted to make sure that you didn’t miss group huddle again.”

“I wasn’t gonna.” She sighed as she followed him to the stage.

Dwight gave her a warm smile. JR spun his sticks without looking over.

“Ok, guys.” Marcus threw the laminated set list on the ground and his arm went immediately around Avery’s shoulder. Heart hammering, she tried to move away, but he held on tighter. “Stay, Ace,” he whispered in her ear as Dwight and JR joined them. His gaze drifted to them before coming back to her. “Keep it real, y’all.”

“Wow.” Dwight laughed. “That was bad. Probably the worst attempt at a Southern drawl I’ve ever heard. Remember, you’re a musician, not an actor, eh?”

Avery smiled weakly at Dwight and took her guitar from the tech. She moved next to the amp stack as Trevor finished the introduction.

“Thanks again,” JR said behind her.

“No worries,” Marcus told him with a nod. “I’m happy for you. Sam’s a great girl.”

Avery stared slack jawed at the sight of those two being so chummy.

“Close your mouth,” Marcus whispered, leaning into her. “Or I’ll take it as an invitation.”

She snapped her jaw shut and whirled around.

He chuckled, body brushing hers. “You didn’t seem to mind last night.”



“THANK YOU, DALLAS,” Marcus said into the mic after the final number. “We’ve got a special surprise for you now.” He paused to wait for the crowd roar to subside. “We’re going to attempt a country song in honor of our road manager who’s a local girl.” He turned his head toward the side. “Trevor,” he called. “Can you bring Samantha Daniels out here?”

Trevor led her out. Sam’s grey eyes were wide as JR stepped down from the drum riser and met her, taking her hand from Trevor. She began to tremble.

“Breathe, baby.” JR soothed her. Taking a mic, he gestured for her to take a seat on the middle of three stools the roadies had placed out on center stage.

“Love you, girl,” Avery told her switching out her Ibanez for an acoustic and taking a seat beside Sam.

“Me, too.” Sam gave her a nervous smile.

Avery checked behind her to see if Marcus had taken his place. He gave her a thumbs up.

“When in Texas you gotta do it big.” JR smiled widely, addressing the crowd before turning to face Sam.

Sam tilted her head. She hadn’t caught on yet.

Avery started the intro on the acoustic as Marcus accompanied on the piano. As JR sang lyrics to Billy Dean’s “I Wanna Take Care of You,” tears began to brim in Sam’s eyes. Avery had to look away to keep it together as she backed JR up on the chorus. Despite the heightened emotions all around, they managed an admirable cover that clearly pleased the crowd.

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