Wild For Me The Balefire Series Book 3 by Tam DeRudder Jackson Genre: Contemporary Rockstar Romance
Annabelle Stewart, all tight leather skirt and hot lace panties, thundered into my life for one night after a rock show and calmly drove away the next day. She should have been like any other one-night stand I've had over the last ten years touring with Balefire. But she wasn't. At odd moments, I catch myself thinking about her, wondering if I made as big an impression on her as she did on me.
Then I walk into the rehearsal for our drummer's wedding, and who's standing with the bride? The hottie who keeps me awake with thoughts of our one night together. Beautiful, smart, and sassy as hell, Annabelle sets me on fire with her kisses and leaves me hanging. But I've got plans for her.
I never expected to see him again. Two years after hooking up with Dakota Perri after a Balefire concert, I'd convinced myself that night was a fantasy. But the way he looks at me during Jack and Clio's wedding, like he remembers every second of our one-night stand, lights me up. Too bad I blew it.
Then I score a management internship with the band, an opportunity guaranteed to land me a scholarship with a top graduate program-if I don't earn a reputation for sleeping my way to success. Which is a problem. I see Dakota every day. Every time we're together, the sparks fly faster and hotter. If I want to achieve my goals, I have to resist him. But how can I resist a man as panty-meltingly hot as Dakota Perri when he says he's wild for me?
Afterward, Dad invited Dakota to his “office,” the last bedroom upstairs that Mom called “the escape hatch,” where Dad spent far more time playing his collection of acoustic and electric guitars than doing any kind of work. I could hear Dad talking animatedly, Dakota’s rumble sounding patient as they discussed several riffs Dad wanted to learn, their voices fading as they climbed the stairs.
I wished I could have escaped the kitchen as easily as Dakota.
“You couldn’t give me a heads-up that you were bringing a celebrity home? We could have eaten in the formal dining room at least,” Mom hissed at me when the men were probably only two steps up the hallway.
“I don’t think he minded that we ate like normal people in the kitchen, Mom.”
“Well, I minded. I would have liked to have given him a better first impression.”
“I think your stuffed pork chops impressed the heck out of him. Poor Dad’s not going to have any leftovers for his lunch tomorrow.”
Mom softened at that. “He did seem to enjoy my food.” She smiled and glanced toward the stairs. “I don’t think your dad will mind that he’s doing without for lunch tomorrow.”
“Geez, you two. None of that is important,” Emma interrupted. “Are the two of you dating? After knowing him what, a week?” She apparently had no intention of limiting her obnoxious questions to Dakota.
My heart stuttered. Carefully keeping my gaze on the dishes I rinsed and the tone of my voice even, I said, “No, we’re not dating.”
“Then what was all the hand-holding you were doing when you walked into the house?” Her expression was a sarcastic Uh-huh as she sat on the counter beside the sink, swinging her legs as Mom and I rinsed dishes and loaded the dishwasher.
“Panic, I think.”
Emma cocked a brow. “Really.” The thick sarcasm in that one word could best anything Daniel Tosh could emote in an entire episode of Tosh.0.
Mom laughed. “I think what Annabelle’s referring to is that glass-shattering scream you let out when you saw who she’d brought home with her.”
“Exactly,” I added, relieved. Dakota holding my hand as I’d introduced him to my family felt too much like bringing home someone important to me, someone who could possibly be permanent. Which of course did not describe Dakota Perri. Not. At. All. Hot, wild sex in a hotel suite after a concert? Yes. Going home with a girl to meet her parents? Not so much.
“Pooh. He hears that kind of reaction on a nightly basis when he’s on tour,” Emma scoffed, but I noticed a faint pink stain on her cheeks.
“True. But those decibels in a huge arena are easier to take than in the close confines of a hallway in someone’s house.” I smirked.
She hopped down off the counter and walked over to the door to listen to the music coming from upstairs. Soon, Mom and I joined her. By silent agreement, the three of us found ourselves upstairs in Dad’s office.
I’m not sure how long they played because it was so fun to listen to them riff off each other. Dakota couldn’t hide his virtuosity, but he dialed it back and let Dad take the lead occasionally. The way Dad’s face lit up when the two of them connected on a rhythm or a progression sucked me further inside the gravitational pull of Dakota’s orbit. If I’d thought him sexy as he whispered naughty things in my ear or winked at me during a wedding—or drove me out of my mind in a hotel suite—he out-sexied himself with the encouraging way he treated my dad’s decent but still amateur guitar-playing skills.
Finally, Dad remembered himself. “Dakota, this has been awesome. Never in my life would I have thought I’d have a private master class from a true professional. Thank you.”
“Oh my gosh, yes, Dakota. He won’t be able to stop talking about this for weeks,” Mom gushed, her face shining. For as much as she teased him about his “escape hatch,” she loved to listen to Dad play because of how much he loved playing.
“My pleasure. I learned a few things too, so thank you. It was the least I could do to repay that delicious dinner, Mrs. Stewart.”
Jesus. Again with the manners. The man continued to systematically shatter all my preconceived notions about him. Dammit. I didn’t want to like him as much as I did. Wanting his body was one thing. Liking his personality was something else entirely.
“Please, call me Ellie.” The demure look on her face told all about how Dakota had charmed her too. “You’re welcome to join us for dinner whenever you’d like.” Really, Mom? Really? I hadn’t figured out yet how to deal with Dakota at work, and now Mom extended him a standing invitation to dinner? After the way he’d invited himself over tonight, I had no doubt the man would take her up on it too. Soon. And often. What was I going to do with that?
On cue, Dakota said, “I’m all over that.”
The wicked gleam in his eyes as he slanted me a look told me he knew exactly what I thought of Mom’s standing invite. So he piled it on. “Annabelle, you gonna walk me out?”
Emma smirked at me and piped up, “I’ll walk you out, Dakota.”
He didn’t even blink. “Two gorgeous Stewart girls, one for each arm? Can’t pass that up.”
I rolled my eyes and stood to lead him from the room.
Tam DeRudder Jackson is the author of the paranormal romance Talisman Series and the contemporary romance Balefire Series. Her favorite “room” in her house is her patio where she dreams up stories of romance and risk. When she’s not writing her latest paranormal or contemporary romance, you can find her driving around in her convertible or carving turns on the slopes of the local ski hill. The mom of two grown sons, Tam likes to travel, attend rock concerts, watch football and soccer, and visit old car shows with her husband. She lives in the mountains of northwest Wyoming where she spends most of her free time trying to read all the books. Her TBR piles are threatening to take over her office, and she’s fine with that.