Jason North thought he was happily married and settled down. Then he encounters his ex--who happens to be male.
Download to your Kindle (eBook)
Download to your Nook (eBook)
Barnes and Noble
Jason North is the lead guitarist for Mullerin, a rock band he's formed with his old school friends. After years of touring, Mullerin is now semi-successful, and Jason has escaped what he's always dreaded, being poor, obscure, and alone. He's done everything he thinks he should, or rather, everything society considers proper for a successful young man. He's married and settled down. He's satisfied with his life, or thinks he ought to be.
Then he runs across the dark secret of his past, a secret he thought he had buried two years ago. He encounters his ex—namely, his ex-boyfriend, and his life implodes.
Old desires can never truly be laid to rest.
At the end of the recording session that day at Boxkite Studios, Carl Kilburn walked into the room holding out a slightly soiled pink shape. It dangled from his fist by the ears.
"Attention! Hey, where is everybody?” Kilburn asked. All he could see was a young man in a motorcycle jacket, jeans, and boots.
Jason North, the lead guitarist for Mullerin, muted his guitar strings with a palm and pulled off his headphones. He greeted his manager with a smile, an expression that faded when he saw what Carl was holding. “Lang and Sam have gone home. You missed them by about ten minutes. Denny's in a meeting with Malcolm.” Malcolm Hyde was the head of Boxkite Records, and he'd worn a rather livid expression when he'd stopped by the studio to summon Denny to his office, but that was not unusual.
"What is this?" Carl asked, still holding out the stuffed animal.
"Your question is rhetorical, y'know.” Jason stepped on a pedal box to add some fuzztone. He turned the volume up, trying to drown out what he knew would be coming next.
“I require an explanation.”
Jason sighed. When his manager wore that particular expression, the guitarist knew he wasn't going to like the sequel. "That is Mr. Bunny-who-belongs-to-Alexis-Mellor-who-is-your-old-client, sir!" he added cheekily.
"Good. And where is Alexis?"
"Damned if I know, fuck if I care. Carl, you're having a flashback to your army days and it's distasteful."
"I don't have flashbacks. I never left the mindset. All right. It's common knowledge that Mellor cannot survive long without his lapin-life support system, and we don't want a dead Alexis, do we?"
Jason grinned. “Why not? He's Mullerin's rival.”
“Okay! Greatest singer ever, old friend of yours, blah blah blah. What of it?”
"Someone needs to return this rabbit to its owner."
"Why don't you do it?" Jason asked, irritated. He unplugged his guitar with a jerk.
"Board meeting with Malcolm, beginning in two minutes, that's why."
“Ask Denny. He worships Mellor.”
The gleam in Carl's eye brightened. “His car is impounded. What remains of it.”
Jason paused. “What happened?”
“You know the muffler he was dragging? Taking his car to the repair shop himself because he was too stupid to call a tow truck and because he thought leaving a trail of sparks behind himself was kind of funny?”
“He decided to stop for gas on the way.”
“Oh no,” said Jason, his eyes widening.
“Worse. He drove away from the pump without unhooking the hose.”
“Shit! What happened?”
“The Mustang is carbon, but Dinkel threw himself out the door just in time. God looks after morons like the Dinkster, though it must be a full-time job for the Deity. I presume he hasn't told you because even an idiot is capable of feeling embarrassment.”
“Damn. He didn't say anything at all.” Jason was rather fond of Denny, though Mullerin's lead singer was an utter lunatic.
“I'm sure you'll get the story later. Anyway, about this rabbit.”
Jason turned away to hide his face, staring at the acoustic tiles as he unslung his guitar. “Why don't you let Denny borrow your car?” He ignored his manager's scornful snort and continued doggedly, “You'll be running into him at the meeting, won't you? Malcolm's chewing him out, right?”
“Not possible. The Dinkster lost his license, too. The station owner was pretty pissed and so were the cops. Now, I noticed you rode your 'cycle here.”
Jason quickly bent over his guitar case.
"Ahem." Carl cleared his throat.
Something inaudible came from Jason. It might have been, 'No fucking way.'
"What was that?"
The guitarist repeated himself, and it was indeed, "No fucking way," said with an unusual amount of vehemence. Jason straightened and coiled his guitar strap around his fingers, glowering at the leather. He focused on its inked symbols, drawn by the long-ago pen of one Rafael Leeland, and dropped the strap as if it had stung him.
Carl stared. "What's the problem?”
Jason mumbled something.
"What was that? Alexis's apartment? What's the matter with his apartment?"
The guitarist said nothing.
"If it's not Lexi, or the bunny, then it has to be Rafe. So it's true, then?”
Carl hesitated, a silence that was as loud as a gong in Jason's ears. “You really did have an affair with him?" the manager asked. Carl and Mr. Bunny exchanged incredulous looks. At another time, Jason would have laughed at the sight of the blond man with the boxer's build staring wide-eyed at the pink plushie, but he was too busy fumbling his guitar. To his disgust, it landed across the crimson plush lining of his instrument case with a noise like a hurdy-gurdy.
“What kind of bullshit is that?" Jason replied, his voice a nervous jitter.
"Red face, can't meet my eyes. Look, you coward, just open the door, hand whomever the rabbit, and run like hell. An ex-boyfriend you don't want to face is no excuse."
Jason didn't move.
"Or," Carl continued, "I'll tell Amanda about your old flame."
The guitarist grabbed Mr. Bunny by the neck and fled the studio. Carl did have his little ways.