Dee was so sure that she didn't need anyone to make her life better, much less a man. Until Joel came along. And then she fell. Hard. Fast. Totally.
And Joel, well- as much as he still lived for the fun- he knew that Dee was what he wanted, and he made sure to stop at nothing to make her see it too.
Their story was hard to take at times, mainly when they couldn't get out of their own way long enough to work things through. And there are times when my heart simply shattered for Joel, and the lonely broken boy that he was. So, their HEA was one that I had to have. I craved it. More than Adam and Rowan, maybe more than any other member of the band (who's stories are yet to come). I just needed Joel and Dee to have that peace. That love. And believe me, Jamie did not disappoint me.
I said it with Mayhem, that this is probably the best rocker series I've read in a while. I still stand by that. I can't wait to get the rest of the stories from the band- because I just know they are going to be epic. Kudos Jamie- 5 stars!!!
Synopsis: When Dee Dawson meets sexy mohawked guitarist Joel Gibbon, she knows it won't be long before she has him wrapped around her finger. No guy has ever been able to resist her … but Dee's met her match in a player like Joel. Dee's not the relationship type—not after seeing the pain "love" has caused her friends and family—yet she's desperate to make Joel want her more than anyone else. He quickly becomes an obsession, and when a reckless attempt to make him jealous ends in disaster, Dee turns into the damsel in distress she never wanted to be. With her carefree world crashing down around her, the last thing she needs is Joel's pity. But Joel is suddenly determined to prove he cares, and no matter how hard Dee tries to push him away, he refuses to let her shut him out. Now the girl who swore she'd never say those three little words must choose between guarding her heart and losing Joel forever … or falling head over heels for the tattooed rock star of her dreams.
RIOT- CHAPTER ONE
“Kiss me,” I order the luckiest guy in Mayhem tonight. When he sat next to me at the bar earlier with his “Leave It to Beaver” haircut, I made sure to avoid eye contact and cross my legs in the opposite direction. I didn’t think I’d end up making out with him, but now I have no choice.
A dumb expression washes over his face. He might be cute if he didn’t look so. freaking. dumb. “Huh?”
“Oh for God’s sake.”
I curl my fingers behind his neck and yank him to my mouth, tilting my head to the side and hoping he’s a quick learner. My lips part, my tongue comes out to play, and after a moment, he finally catches on. His greedy fingers thread into my chocolate brown curls—which I spent hours on this morning.
Peeking out of the corner of my eye, I spot Joel Gibbon stroll past me, a bleach-blonde groupie tucked under his arm. He’s too busy whispering in her ear to notice me, and my fingers itch to punch him in the back of his stupid mohawked head to get his attention.
I’m preparing to push Leave It to Beaver off me when Joel’s gaze finally lifts to meet mine. I bite Beaver’s bottom lip between my teeth and give it a little tug, and the corner of Joel’s mouth lifts up into an infuriating smirk that is so not the reaction I wanted. He continues walking, and when he’s finally out of sight, I break my lips from Beaver’s and nudge him back toward his own stool, immediately spinning in the opposite direction to scowl at my giggling best friend.
“I can’t BELIEVE him!” I shout at a far-too-amused-looking Rowan. How does she not recognize the gravity of this situation?!
I’m about to shake some sense into her when Beaver taps me on the shoulder. “Um—”
“You’re welcome,” I say with a flick of my wrist, not wanting to waste another minute on a guy who can’t appreciate how long it took me to get my hair to curl like this—or at least make messing it up worth my while.
Rowan gives him an apologetic half smile, and I let out a deep sigh.
I don’t feel bad about Beaver. I feel bad about the dickhead bass guitarist for The Last Ones to Know.
“That boy is making me insane,” I growl.
Rowan turns a bright smile on me, her blue eyes sparkling with humor. “You were already insane.”
“He’s making me homicidal,” I clarify, and she laughs.
“Why don’t you just tell him you like him?” She twirls two tiny straws in her cocktail, her eyes periodically flitting up to the stage. She’s waiting for Adam, and I’d probably be jealous of her if those two weren’t so disgustingly perfect for each other.
Last semester, I nearly got kicked out of my dorm when I let Rowan move in with me and my roommate. But Rowan’s asshole live-in boyfriend had cheated on her, and she had nowhere to go, and she’s been my best friend since kindergarten. I ignored the written warnings from my RA, and Rowan ultimately ended up moving in with Adam before I got kicked out. Fast-forward to one too many “overnight visitors” later, I still ended up getting reported, and Rowan and I got a two-bedroom in an apartment complex near campus. Her name is on the lease right next to mine, but really, the apartment is just a decoy she uses to avoid telling her parents that she’s actually living with three ungodly hot rock stars. She sleeps in Adam’s bed, his bandmate Shawn is in the second bedroom, and Joel sleeps on their couch most nights because he’s a hot, stupid, infuriating freaking nomad.
“Because I don’t like him,” I answer. When I realize my drink is gone, I steal Rowan’s, down the last of it, and flag the bartender.
“Then why is he making you insane?”
“Because he doesn’t like me.”
Rowan lifts a sandy blonde eyebrow at me, but I don’t expect her to understand. Hell, I don’t understand. I’ve never wanted a boy to like me so badly in my entire life. I don’t even want Joel to just like me—I want him to worship the ground I walk on and throw himself at my feet. I want him to beg me to be with him and then cry his eyes out when I tell him I’m not a relationship kind of girl.
When the bartender arrives to take our orders, I order shots for both of us. At eighteen, Rowan and I are far from being old enough to drink, but our fake IDs and the stamps on our hands say otherwise.
“Make hers a double,” Rowan says, pointing a thumb in my direction.
I finally stop scowling long enough to smile. “See? This is why I love you.”
We’ve just gulped down our shots and slammed our glasses on the bar top when something heavy lands on my shoulder. Leti rests his left elbow on me and his right elbow on Rowan. He’s been dancing his butt off on the dance floor with some tattooed beefcake, but he smells like he just stepped out of the shower, fresh and sexy clean.
“What are we celebrating?”
I groan, and Rowan shakes her head in warning.
“Oh,” Leti says. “Joel?”
“He’s such an ass,” I complain.
“Didn’t you just spend the night with him this past weekend?”
“Yes!” I shout. “God, what is his problem?!”
Leti laughs and massages my shoulders. “If you like him, just tell him.”
Okay, number one, in what freaking universe do they think that would ever work? Joel is a serial player. He lures girls in with his bad-boy hair and his panty-dropping smile, and then he chews them up and spits them out. “Liking” him would be like “liking” ice cream. Sure, it’s great when you’re stuffing your face with it, but then it’s gone and you’re just left with this all-consuming emptiness. Yeah, you can go to the store and get more, but what if they don’t have the flavor you want? What then?!
And number two, have these two ever met me? Boys chase after ME, not the other way around.
“I don’t like him!” I protest.
Rowan and Leti share a look and speak at the same time. “She likes him.”
“I hate you bitches.”
I hop off of my stool and head toward the crowd. Mayhem is the biggest club in town, and tonight, The Last Ones to Know are opening for a band even bigger than they are, so mayhem is an understatement for the vibe on the floor. Before the bands take the stage, the club pulses with house music that makes the floors throb and the walls shiver. I have every intention of dancing my ass off until my brain overheats and shuts down from mind-numbing exhaustion.
“Aw, come on, Dee!” Rowan pleads before I get too far.
“Don’t be mad!” Leti adds.
I turn around and prop my hands on my hips. “Are you two coming or what?”
After four songs of me being the meat in a Rowan-and-Leti sandwich, the house music fades out and the roadies begin the sound check. The crowd splits in half—half surging toward the stage to get good spots, and half retreating to the bar to catch their breath and drown themselves in liquor. Rowan, Leti, and I join the latter half, grabbing the best seats at the bar and spinning around to face the stage.
Every time Adam is about to perform, Rowan gets antsy, her feet dancing and her fingers curling. She picks at the pretty pink polish I painted her nails in this morning, and I tell her to stop, but I’m pretty sure she’d self-combust if she ever actually listened to me.
Adam is the first to walk onstage, and the crowd goes insane. He’s followed by Shawn, the lead guitarist and backup vocalist. Then Cody, the annoying rhythm guitarist who had the nerve to ask me for my number; Mike, the adorable drummer who has grown on me these past couple months; and Joel, the bane of my existence.
His eyes rove over the front row, and I know what he’s looking at: eager faces and barely-covered boobs. Those girls are just eye shadow and tits on legs, which is just how Joel likes them. And now, with Adam making it widely known that he’s off the market, Joel and Shawn have their pick of the litter. Cody gets the leftovers, and Mike avoids them like the plague—which each of those girls probably has, along with a million other communicable diseases that health teachers lecture horny freshman about in high school.
“Let’s go backstage,” I tell Rowan, already hopping off my stool. I have one thing those girls don’t—a best friend with a permanent backstage pass I intend to use to my advantage.
“I thought you wanted to stay out here?” Rowan asks. Adam wanted to drag her backstage before he left to perform—since Rowan’s dirty-blonde hair, big blue eyes, and tight little figure aren’t exactly dick repellant, in any sense of the word—but I insisted I wanted to stay at the bar so we could drink.
“I did want to. Now I don’t.”
She and Leti follow me to the backstage door, where Rowan doesn’t even need to tell security her nickname to get them to let us in. Most of the guys know her as Peach, which Adam took to calling her back before he bothered learning girls’ names or remembering their faces. Now, she has him wrapped around her little finger.
“What?” she asks when she catches me studying her. Sure, she’s gorgeous, but so are lots of other girls who throw themselves at Adam. Something about her won him over … maybe her innocence. Maybe I should give it a try. Stop being so forward, wear flats more often, keep my mouth shut once in a while.
I laugh when I realize I can’t even imagine that. “Nothing.”
I lead Rowan and Leti past the side of the stage where Shawn stands, circling around the back to get to the side where Joel stands. My heels click against the stage stairs, and once we’re at the top, I pull my long chocolate hair over my shoulders, hike my skintight dress up a little higher, and freshen my lip gloss.
It’s hard not to scream like a groupie while I watch the guys command the stage, especially from this vantage point. The way Joel’s blond spikes shine deadly under the foggy blue glow of the spotlights above him. The way he doesn’t even need to look down at his guitar while he plucks the strings. The way his blue eyes periodically find mine and his mouth tips up at the corners. His presence on the stage is magnetic. It turns my blood to lava and makes it impossible to think. Part of me wants to play hard to get, but the other part of me knows all too well the rewards of letting him have me.
When Joel’s impossibly blue eyes capture mine and hold them long enough to make me melt under their heat, my skin flushes and I know I need to do something to put myself back in control. With a devilish smile, I say, “Ro, you might want to close your eyes for this.”
Without lifting my dress up, I wiggle out of my lacy black thong and dangle it from a manicured pointer finger. Joel’s hands are busy playing his guitar, but his eyes remain fixed on me, and when I toss my panties at him, he snatches them out of the air. He finishes the song with them dangling from his wrist, and then he stuffs them in his back pocket, giving me a wink that would make any other girl weak in her knees.
“I can’t believe you just did that!” Leti shouts over the music.
“I can!” Rowan shouts back, making me laugh.
“I’m heading back to the bar,” I tell them, and Rowan questions me with a look.
The truth is, I want to see if he’ll come after me. And if he doesn’t, I need to have enough distance to pretend that I don’t care.
At the bottom of the stairs, I turn around to stop Rowan from following me. “I want another drink. You stay here. Wait for Adam.”
She frowns at me, but I give her a smile and walk backward toward the door. “I’ll see you after.”
At the bar, I sit next to the hottest guy I can find and flash a smile in his direction. Two minutes later, I have a drink and a distraction.
“So do you like the band?” he asks, nodding toward the stage.
I shrug. “They’re alright.” They’re also the last thing I want to talk about right now, since I desperately need to stop agonizing over what’s going to happen when their set ends, but God apparently hates me.
“I went to high school with most of them,” the guy brags, like he can claim some kind of residual rock-star status for having shared a zip code. I almost burst out laughing, barely managing to hide it behind the drink I’m sipping.
“Were you friends?” I ask, not caring but knowing it’s my turn to say something.
He goes on and on about the classes they shared and the time he got to see them in the talent show and how he went to one of Adam’s parties his senior year. I’m mentally plotting my escape when the guy’s eyes flit over my shoulder and open wide, sending untamed eyebrows jumping up into his forehead. His hand latches onto my forearm like a lifeline, and I turn my head just in time for my lips to brush Joel’s cheek. “Is this guy bothering you?” he questions in my ear, his blue eyes turning to read mine before narrowing on the guy’s hand, which recoils from my arm even though the rest of the guy looks totally dazed. With his wide eyes and unhinged jaw, he’s so starstruck that I can’t help but cast a quick glance at his lap to check for a man-for-man hard-on.
“You know Joel Gibbon?” he gasps, startling me from my detective work.
“Who, him?” I ask, pointing a lazy finger at the boy standing behind me. Inside, I’m giddy as hell that Joel came to find me. Outside, I’m mildly bored and totally unfazed.
“Oh my God,” the guy says. “I’m such a huge fan!”
“You apparently went to school together,” I add without turning to face Joel, who loosens up behind me even as both of his heavy arms come to wrap around my shoulders. Since no one else has popped up at my sides, I’m guessing the rest of our group stayed backstage to watch the closing band perform.
Joel’s chuckle rumbles against my back. “Oh yeah? What year were you?”
The guys talk and I tune them out until the hot fanboy eventually gets a picture with Joel and leaves. And then Joel’s suggestive voice is in my ear again.
“Are you ready to get out of here?”
“Are you ready to stop being a man-whore?”
He has the nerve to laugh. “Why, are you jealous?”
Insanely. “Why would I be jealous?” I peel his arms away and turn on my stool to face him. “I’m the one you always go home with.”
“Isn’t that interesting,” he muses with an agitating glimmer in his arctic-blue eyes.
Joel usually begins the night with someone else—or a few someone elses—and on nights I’m not around, he goes home with them. But on nights I am around, I always end up winning his attention—through exhaustive efforts that I’m really getting tired of exerting.
“If I say no, what will you do? Go home with one of them instead?”
“You won’t say no.”
I scoff at him. “Shows what you know.”
When I spin away from him, he squeezes up behind me again and presses his lips against my ear. “You won’t say no because you know all the things I want to do to you.”
He starts telling me exactly what those things are, and my toes curl in my peep-toe pumps. Goosebumps spread from my ankles to my ears, and I abruptly hop off my stool.
“Where are you going?” Joel calls after me.
“To see if you’re a man of your word!”
About the author: Born and raised in South Central Pennsylvania, JAMIE SHAW earned her M.S. in Professional Writing from Towson University before realizing that the creative side of writing was her calling. An incurable night owl, she spends late hours crafting novels with relatable heroines and swoon-worthy leading men. She's a loyal drinker of white mochas, a fierce defender of emo music, and a passionate enthusiast of all things romance. She loves interacting with readers and always aims to add new names to their book-boyfriend lists.
Connect with Jamie: Website-Facebook-Twitter
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