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Rock Kiss 01.5 Rock Courtship

By´╝ÜNalini Singh


David shoved his hands through his hair and blew out a breath. He was a rock star; it said so in the magazine on Thea’s waiting-room table. It even called him the Gentleman of Rock. Surely someone that smooth should have his moves down pat. “Breathe, David.” Damn it, you’d think this was the first time he’d asked a woman out on a date.

Yeah, okay, he’d been a little shy as a teenager, but he’d grown out of that. Or maybe not. When you were part of a rock band whose albums had gone triple platinum one after the other, women tended to ask you out. The first time it had happened, he’d just about fallen flat on his ass. Fox, Noah, Abe—he could see women asking them out, but him?

That had been his reaction as a nineteen-year-old who’d been the shortest kid in his grade until he was seventeen. The fact he’d shot up to a respectable adult height the summer before his senior year and put on muscle during the course of that year had still been sinking in. All those women hitting on him after the band soared up the charts had altered things on a superficial level while leaving the deeper part of him unchanged. Inside, he remained the short, scrappy, brown-eyed, brown-haired kid who’d ended up in plenty of fistfights and never gotten the girl.

He wasn’t sure if any of the groupies actually saw him. For most, it was more about the cachet of being with the drummer from Schoolboy Choir—he could’ve been a drug-addicted fuckwit or a lech with no social skills and bad body odor, and he’d still have ended up with women who wanted to bang a rock star and weren’t particular about the details.

So yeah, that didn’t exactly count as success in the female department, not here, not when he was about to ask out the girl, the one who made his heart kick and his body ignite and his tongue tie itself into knots. And of course she was taller than him, especially in the ankle-breaker heels she liked to wear. Without them… without them, the two of them were a bare two inches apart in height.

He couldn’t think about what that would translate to in bed or he’d walk into her office with a big fucking hard-on, and this was already going to be a tough sell. Thea was gorgeous and brilliant at her job. She was also an ice queen when it came to the clients for whom her firm handled publicity; the majority of those clients were male musicians used to women falling at their feet. They respected Thea for standing her ground.

David just respected her, period.

He wasn’t doing this on a whim or to add a notch to his belt.

He was gone for her.

Seriously head over heels.

He’d almost killed the bastard who’d been her fiancé a thousand times over during the course of her engagement, but now she was rid of the loser. This was David’s chance, the most important of his life, even more so than the break that had led to the album deal that had catapulted Schoolboy Choir into the stratosphere. If he hesitated now and some other man entered her life, he’d never forgive himself.

Taking a deep breath and reminding himself of the points he intended to make to get Thea to agree to go on a date with him, he lifted his hand and knocked on her door. He’d deliberately arrived after the time he knew her assistant usually went home, so he didn’t have to run that particular gauntlet at least.

“Come on in!”

A smile tugging at his lips at the sound of her voice—shit, he was so fucking gone—he opened the door and stepped inside.

It was only because he watched her so often when she wasn’t aware of him that he caught the flicker in her smile, the sudden wariness in those uptilted eyes of burnished brown. A split second and she’d smoothed her initial response away to replace it with the professional smile he’d seen her use on everyone from magazine editors to record executives. Beautiful and warm… and not real.

A sucker punch to the gut couldn’t have hurt more, but he was prepared for this reaction, took the blow without flinching.

“David.” She rose and walked around the glass desk she kept clear of the usual office detritus, but that was covered with documents relating to the million things she had going on at any one time—mock-ups of posters she had to sign off on, copies of magazine articles by journalists pitching to interview her clients, notes about useful promotional ideas, it was all there. Her phone sat where her right hand would be when she was in her chair, a cup of coffee where her left would be.

The sight was so familiar it eased the knot in his gut. “Hey, Thea.” There he went, being all smooth and sophisticated. “Busy day?” Okay, that came out as planned. Now all he had to do was work in the offer of a drink someplace where she could relax. He’d already scouted an upscale bar where the music was live but the volume low enough that they could talk.