LENGTH: 57,988 words | 218 pages
Adam Blue is destined to be a rockstar. As lead singer of Viral Blue, he knows it’s just a matter of time before he’s on his way to fame and fortune. If he can just get a studio to sign his band and get his songs on the radio, he knows he’ll make it big.
When they land a spot onstage at a popular nightclub downtown, Adam hopes to get noticed. But he doesn’t expect to meet sexy Paulo Raucci, owner of Raucci Entertainment, a local studio looking for fresh talent. Paul likes Adam’s sound and, more importantly, likes Adam, as well.
But when Paul brings the band into the studio, his partner Lewis isn’t quite as taken with Adam’s rockstar attitude. Lewis doesn’t want to sign the band until Adam proves he’s willing to work. Unfortunately, the band takes second priority to Adam’s growing interest Paul … an interest that has nothing to do with his musical career.
The stress of recording their first studio album threatens to tear the band apart, and Adam’s ego further drives a wedge between the members of Viral Blue. Paul does his best to keep the band together, but ultimately it’s Adam’s call.
Adam wants it all — his band, his first record, and his new lover. Now that his dreams are finally within reach, what does he have to do to make them come true?
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Adam leans against the bar and looks around. There’s no one here he wants to get with tonight and absolutely no reps unless they’re changing their style nowadays. When he and the guys started playing these gigs a few years ago, the studio people were easy to spot in a crowd like this. They were usually fat men, ample guts hanging over cinched belts and tight pants bulging at the seams they had somehow managed to squeeze into like overripe fruit. They always sidled up to Adam from behind and placed sweaty palms against the small of his back, and they always smelled super sweet, as if all the candy they had ever eaten oozed from their pores. They had greasy hair and an oily grin, and were always looking for a quick suck off in the bathroom, without fail, queer or not. They all wanted his mouth on their cocks in exchange for a contract. What the hell was up with that?
Adam thinks he could force himself to do it, if he has to, for the right contract and if it’s dark in the bathroom -- God, it has to be pitch black -- but it hasn’t yet come to that. Most of these studio scouts just want a free blowjob and don’t have the credentials to back up their offers of fame. They dangle the lure of a recording deal and call him pretty names, say they like his music, but when he doesn’t put out immediately? They disappear.
That’s the type he’s looking to avoid tonight. Steff told Trace there’d be sharks here, and Adam can swim with the best if he sees them coming. Tonight he wants them to come, circle around Viral Blue’s fresh sound and offer Adam some studio time ... tonight he’ll take the bait. Hell, Trace is doing Steff for this gig, right? So Adam thinks he can take one for the guys if he has to. If only someone was offering ...
Damn slut lied to him. Adam traces designs into the condensation frosted on the side of his soda. It’s all the bartender would give him without an ID, which he stupidly left at home. Steff was wrong -- there are no execs here, studio or otherwise, unless there’s a new breed of scum out on the streets and if that’s the case, Adam isn’t even sure he’d recognize one if he were approached ...
Behind him someone purrs into Adam’s ear. “Hey there.”
Adam feels a hand trail across the words studded into his back pockets, kiss this, and warm fingers slip into the waistband of his jeans. He looks down with a frown at the strong hand at his waist, then his gaze follows the arm up to see who’s hitting on him. The first thing he sees is a wide grin and, above that, pale blue eyes as clear as the ice cubes in his drink. Those lips are so sexy, so disarming, Adam can’t help but return the smile. “Hey.”
The guy’s about Adam’s age, maybe a little older. When he steps closer, into the light, Adam adjusts that -- he’s closer to thirty, maybe even a little over. His olive skin has a dusky hue to it that gives him a Mediterranean look, and there’s dark stubble on his chin that might be the start of a beard or might just be where he forgot to shave this morning. Adam imagines running his fingertips over those bristles, feeling the raspy skin beneath his touch, and wonders what that would feel like against his own cheeks, or on his lips, or between his legs.
Suddenly the night just got a whole hell of a lot more interesting.
Leaning on the bar beside Adam, the guy turns his full attention onto Adam, right where it belongs. “I heard your song,” he says. He has a soft voice, mellow, that Adam has to lean forward to hear above the din of the crowd. In the lights of the bar, his hair is a tangle of blue-black curls, mussed and disheveled, falling effortlessly around his narrow face. Where the guy’s hand is tucked into the waistband of Adam’s jeans, Adam swears his skin burns. “You guys are pretty tight. Adam, right?”
Adam wants to ask how he knows but it’s part of the act, isn’t it? Telling the crowd who he is so they won’t forget. “Yeah.”
Because he hates that it sounds like he’s caught off-guard, he laughs. He moves a step away, just enough so the guy’s hand tugs at his jeans to keep him close. Adam looks at the hand again, then back at the stranger’s face. He notes the blue camo pants, baggy in the legs. The tight, sleeveless shirt, similar to Adam’s own, which pulls across firm chest muscles Adam thinks would taste good beneath his tongue. The shirt exposes arms he can imagine licking during sex -- he sees himself biting into those fleshy biceps until he leaves teeth marks. How wide would that mouth open then? Maybe he’ll get lucky tonight after all.
Taking a sip of his drink and wishing the glass contained something harder than soda, he asks, “Who are you?”
The guy answers with a question of his own. “Can I buy you a real drink?”
It isn’t a reply but Adam’s been waiting to hear those words all night long. He orders a rum and Coke and the guy flags down the bartender to make it two. When the drinks arrive, he lets go of Adam’s jeans and holds out a business card that’s appeared in his hand as if by magic. Adam is duly impressed.
“Paulo Raucci,” the guy says with another smile, introducing himself. He pronounces it PAH-oh-lo, and Adam mouths the word under his breath to try to get it right. “With Raucci Entertainment. Call me Paul.”
“You’re shitting me,” Adam says before he can stop himself.
The grin widens, if that’s possible. “Nah, man. Everyone calls me Paul.”
With a laugh, Adam takes the card. “No, I mean -- a guy like you ain’t with a studio.”
But he angles the card under the bar lights to study it in the amber glow, and damn if it doesn’t read, Paulo Raucci,Raucci Entertainment. A division of RVA Productions. Below that, there’s an address in the city and a slew of numbers -- home, work, cell -- followed by an e-mail address, a Facebook page, and a Twitter feed, to boot.
Damn. Adam can’t believe it. “No fucking way.”
Paul laughs as he sips at his drink. “What? Don’t I look the part?”
His eyes are like the crystal glasses behind the bar, row after row of alcohol that catches the light and reflects it back in a million faceted shards. They’re deadly like shattered glass, and Adam wants to stare into them to see if his reflection is mirrored in their depths. Just as he’s beginning to stare, Paul winks, “Did I mention I liked your sound?”
Two steps bring Adam back into the span of Paul’s arm, closer than he was before. Paul’s arm eases around Adam’s waist in a proprietary manner as Adam sticks the business card into his back pocket, brushing his fingers up along Paul’s arm to rest in the crook of his elbow. There Adam rubs the soft skin, thinking he won’t need much to convince him to do this rep for a contract. Hell, he’ll go down right here, right now, if that’s what it takes. If Paul asks, Adam will suggest they find someplace quiet. And if he doesn’t ask, Adam’s going to think it’s too crowded in here soon.
Leaning into Paul, Adam murmurs, “I think you might have said something along those lines.” He likes the coyness he hears in his own voice. He grins in that way he has that makes him seem impossibly young and inexperienced, and a thrill flushes through him when Paul grins back. “But tell me again.”
“I like your smile,” Paul says instead.
Adam thinks that’ll work, too.