Carina has been writing and creating characters for as long as she can remember, allowing her to fall in love with the next man of her dreams with every new story.
None of which are anything like boring Prince Charming.
Thankfully, fate stepped in and granted her the ultimate wish – a life full of men. Carina lives in a picturesque New England town with her husband, the man who ruined the thought of all others, and two amazing sons who always keep her on her toes.
“L. P. Dover did a great job with this book and if you know going into that it has more of a suspenseful love story, you might not be so surprised. I recommend this book. I couldn’t put it down.”—Wicked Love of Books
“I loved this book! A great romantic/suspenseful story with a HEA (and it also involved sports which is always a plus with me). I really liked the author’s style of writing.”—Rebel Spinster (five stars)
“Hard Stick may have been my first L. P. Dover novel, but it won’t be my last. I am so excited to see what’s next in the Breakaway series.”—A Novel Glimpse
He carries a big stick. And he’s not afraid to use it.
INTERLUDE (Rockstar Book 4)
International Bestselling Author Anne Mercier
FREE September 17-21
Past to present…
It all starts with a glimpse into the past of Falling Down, when Jesse meets Lucy, and everything you’ve wondered about Cage. Let’s see how they got to where they are right now.
It’s time to prepare to go back out on tour. Let’s meet the Blush Baby and get everyone settled in for what looks to be like a kick ass finish to the BFD tour.
A commercial comes on and there she is. I lean forward, my heart kicks up, and I can’t take my eyes off of the screen. She’s four years older now, curvier, and still so fucking beautiful.
“What’s with you?” Xander asks.
I nod my head toward the screen. “That’s her.”
“Her, who?” Ethan asks.
Xander’s brows lift. “The airport chick?”
“Yeah,” I tell him, still unable to look away from the TV where Lucy Russo is doing a suntan lotion commercial in a bikini. Her sun-kissed skin beautifully flawless, her breasts full within the confines of the not-so-modest bikini, and her perfectly rounded ass on display for all to see in the skimpy bottoms. I frown.
“She’s fucking hot, dude. Her ass is prime,” Xander leers.
“Motherfucker, talk about her ass one more time and you’ll be swallowing your teeth,” I seethe, seeing red.
“Whoa.” Xander holds his hands up. “Dude, you’ve got it bad and you don’t even know her.”
I glance at him when the commercial ends. “I know enough.”
“Let’s look up this Lucy,” Kennedy says, grabbing his laptop. “Full name?”
Ben walks into the room. “I remember you talking about that chick. What’s going on?”
“She was just in a commercial and Jesse’s going to kick Xan’s ass for commenting on her ass,” Ethan tells him, taking the beer Ben offers.
“Dude,” is all Ben says.
“Shut the fuck up. I know, all right?” I tell him. Shit. There is something about her. I’ve never been able to forget her. Hell, sometimes I fantasize about her when I’m jacking off or fucking a random chick. I imagine the sounds she’d make, how she’d smell, how hot and tight she’d be. Fuck. Just thinking about her is getting me hard.
“Luciana Antonia Russo. Born in Chicago. Let me skim this bullshit that I’m sure you already know. Ah, here we go,” Kennedy announces.
He starts naming off television shows and movies she’s been in.
Kennedy raises his brows. “That last one is still going. Three seasons worth.”
“I bet Cage Dude could get those to us before we get back on the road. At least we’d have something to watch on the bus,” Xander suggests.
“Hell yeah,” Ethan agrees. “I heard that show is cool as shit.”
“I bet the movies are all romantic and shit,” Ben murmurs unhappily.
“Chick flicks,” Xander agrees with a nod.
I just look at them. “You fuckers don’t want to watch ’em, don’t watch ’em.” I pick up my cell and leave the room.
“Hey man,” I say. This is fucking awkward. It shouldn’t be. It’s not like I don’t ask the man for shit all the time. But this is different. This is about her.
“What’s going on, Jesse?” he asks.
“Nothing much. Relaxing.”
“Good. I know this tour was a long one. We’ll shorten the next one up.”
I nod, even though he can’t see me. “Cool. We needed a break.”
“I’m sure, but I’m also sure that’s not why you called.”
“No. I called because I know you’ve got connections,” I tell him.
“Are you in some kind of trouble?” Cage asks.
“Nah, nothing like that man. There’s this chick…” I begin, and Cage remains quiet. “Luciana Russo.”
“What about her?” Cage barks out, sounding almost protective.
“I met her in the Chicago airport four years ago with her sister and… I don’t know man, there’s just something about her that’s stuck with me.” Christ. I sound like a total pussy.
“Go on,” Cage encourages.
“So, yeah, me and the guys just saw her in a commercial and Kennedy looked her up. You think you can get copies of all her movies and that TV show she’s in right now?” Yep, total pussy.
Silence. One long beat of silence where I’m tempted to reach down between my legs and make sure my balls are still there.
“I think that can be arranged. I can have them to you tomorrow,” he tells me.
“Sounds good, man. Thanks.”
“Anytime,” he replies, and with that he hangs up.
I stand there, leaning against the wall, wondering what the hell it is about this girl—no. She’s a woman now. What is it about her that draws me in? I shake my head. I have no fucking idea.
She’s standing in the rain—correction: she’s crying in the rain. I’m unsure if I should approach her or not, but when she sees me, her eyes widening, I know I have to go to her.
She’s furiously wiping at the mascara-smudged trail of tears on her cheeks. I reach for my handkerchief. She just stares at me, while tears continue to fall unchecked from her eyes. I reach out and gently wipe away the makeup from her face, even as more tears stream from those gorgeous brown eyes.
“What’s hurting you, Fee?” I ask, saying aloud the nickname I use in my mind. She looks at me confused for a second, then a small smirk forms on her lips. Thank God. I hadn’t meant to say that, but seeing her distressed brought out the need to nurture her. The need to hold her close is strong, and if I could get away with it without there being any awkwardness afterward, I would do that very thing.
“I—it’s the anniversary of my parents’ death,” she sobs.
“I’m so sorry, Sera,” I murmur. I should have known what today was, but I’d gotten distracted by business. I look to her, hurting so deeply, and then I say fuck it, and pull her into my chest. She wraps her arms around my waist, fisting her hands in the back of the jacket of my suit. She pours her soul into this purge of pain. I feel the grief releasing from her slender body as she weeps with a heart-wrenching, body-shaking intensity that has me holding her up when her legs buckle beneath her.
When her sobs die down to soft hiccups, I continue to stroke her hair and murmur nonsensical comforts to her, even as the rain cascades at a steady pace from the sky.
She begins to shiver and I lift her into my arms, carrying her to my car. I put her into the passenger side, buckling her seatbelt, then I head to the trunk for the blanket I store there. I return to her shaking form and cover her, tucking the blanket around her trembling form.
I hurry around to the driver’s side and turn the car on, turning the heat up as hot and high as it goes. It doesn’t matter that it’s in the seventies in California and I’m sweating. All that matters is Sera. Whatever she needs, I will give her.
Instead of taking her back to Lucy’s house, I take her to mine. Her head is still bowed, her hair hanging in wet strings, blocking my view of her pretty face. I pull to a stop, then make my way to her side of the car. I open the door and unbuckle her seatbelt. When I go to lift her into my arms, she immediately wraps her arms around my neck—that’s when I know, without a doubt, I made the right decision.
I greet the guard at the door and tell him, “Not a word of this to anyone,” and he nods his assent.
I carry my sweet Fee to my room, then make my way to the bathroom. I stand her up and she stays clinging to me.
“Fee, you need a hot bath so you don’t get sick from standing in the cold rain for so long. We have to warm you up,” I tell her. “I’m just going to turn the water on and I’ll help you, okay?”
She looks up at me with those eyes that now resemble the color of cinnamon, her lips trembling, her face red from crying. She is, quite simply, the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.
“Okay?” I ask again and she nods slightly.
I turn on the bath water and remove my suit jacket that’s dripping all over the floor. I toe off my shoes and slip off my socks. I remove my tie, unbutton my shirt, then roll up the sleeves before approaching her.
“You should change,” she whispers. “So you don’t get sick either.”
I study her closely, and see within her the same thing within myself, and that tells me I should change so she doesn’t feel guilty or worry about me. All that matters is her.
I nod. “I’ll be right back.”
She sits on the bench in the corner and slips off her shoes.
By the time I return to the bathroom in a pair of pajama pants, it’s only been maybe two minutes. I hadn’t even bothered with a shirt, but Sera’s managed to undress herself completely by that time. Her jean shorts and halter top in a heap on the floor, along with her lacy undergarments.
Hell. If I’d seen her in just those lacy underthings… Then it hits me. Fuck. She’s naked under that towel. I grit my teeth and strengthen my resolve. This isn’t about sexuality or attraction right now. It’s about friendship and comfort and my dick will just have to accept that fact.
I check the water and hold my hand out for her.
She reaches out for mine, grasping it firmly, the other hand going to the knot in her towel, undoing it and letting it drop to the floor as she walks up the three steps to the Jacuzzi. I can’t help the breath that stalls in my lungs, but either she doesn’t notice it or pretends not to, as she steps to the Jacuzzi platform, then slowly, as her fingers continue to hold mine, she steps into the warm, bubbling water. When the water swallows her body and I can no longer see that perfection, I breathe a sigh of relief.
I note her hair dipping into the water and I walk to the cabinet in the hallway. I grab some of Joan’s hair things and walk back into the bathroom where I find Sera watching the door wide-eyed and afraid. When I enter the room, her eyes droop in relief.
“Hey, hey,” I murmur as I approach her. “I was just getting some things for your hair.” I hold out my hand where pins and rubber bands and I don’t even know what else are sitting.
Her eyebrows pucker into a frown. “You have women’s hair pins?”
“I do. Joan uses them. I wasn’t sure what type you’d want—” I break off when I note her scowl. “What’s wrong?”
“Who’s Joan?” she asks me. I want to laugh with happiness at her jealousy but I don’t. Knowing Serafina and her temper, she’d slap me.
“Joan’s my mother. She adopted me when I was fourteen.” I’m going to leave it at that for now. There’ll come a time when the need to go into the whole detailed story is necessary, but for now that’s enough.
Sera looks down into the swirling water. “Oh.”
“Should we put your hair up?” I ask.
“I should wash it first if that’s okay.”
“Of course. I can get you some other—”
“No. I’ll use yours. Your hair always smells nice,” she admits and then blushes.
I smirk and she narrows her eyes. I grin and her eyes narrow even more. I can’t help it. She’s so stubborn. My grin widens and I flash some teeth. She keeps giving me the evil eye.
“You think you’re so cute, don’t you?” she asks.
I shrug. “I never really thought about it.”
She rolls her eyes. “Sure.”
She reaches out for the bottle of shampoo and that’s when I see her bruised and scratched knuckles. I grasp her hand in mine.
“What did you do, Fee?” I ask.
“I hit something.”
I lift my brows. “Person or inanimate object?”
Her lips twitch.
I nod, not willing to probe further and push her.
I stand up and untie my pajama pants.
“What are you doing?” she asks, watching me with curiosity, excitement, and reluctance.
“With your hands injured, you won’t be able to wash your hair without it hurting you even more, so I’m going to come wash it for you,” I tell her, letting the pants drop to the floor.
She stares at me in my black boxers and I stare back, waiting to see what she’s going to do.
She nods. “Okay.”
I nod back. I step into the hot water. “Scoot forward. I’ll sit behind you.” She does as I ask. I take my seat and reach for the sprayer. I adjust the temperature and pull her to lean back. She’s stiff and slow to abide, but she eventually does. Then I take the sprayer and carefully wet her hair so not to spray her in the face. This is the first time I’ve ever done anything like this, and while I think I know what I’m doing well enough, I’m still nervous. I don’t want to do anything to hurt her.
When her hair’s wet, I let the sprayer sink to the bottom of the Jacuzzi and reach for the shampoo. I use a generous amount. Fee has a lot of hair. I begin lathering it up, massaging her scalp a little and she lets out a small moan of pleasure. My body responds, my cock getting hard at the thought of her making noises like that when I’m buried deep inside her. Shit. Now I’m completely hard.
I lean forward, reaching for the sprayer, then gently tip her head back to rinse the shampoo out. She lets out a sigh of contentment and I smile inwardly. I’m enjoying this—taking care of her. I always have, even when she didn’t know I was doing it. But now, now I get to do it up close and personal and I know that tonight something has changed—something that neither of us is ready to discuss just yet.
I focus anywhere but on the bubbles running down in soapy tendrils over her perfect tits and into the water. I want her so badly right now, but instead of taking her, I reach for the conditioner.
I rub it into her hair, combing it through with my fingers. I rub my way down to her neck and knead out the tension there and in her shoulders. She leans back into me and I can’t hide the fact that my cock is hard and ready, I won’t. I think maybe it’s time Fee knows how she affects me.
She leans back, relaxing into me, and she doesn’t even flinch when she feels my hardness against her back. Interesting.
“I need to get the conditioner out, Fee,” I tell her softly and she sits up again, tilting her head back. I rinse her hair until it’s smooth and clean, then reach over to turn off the sprayer.
She reaches out and grabs my body wash and sponge. Then she does something I didn’t anticipate—she hands them to me.
“Wash me?” she asks softly.
“Lani Lynn Vale has a way of taking your soul and twisting it and tearing it up, but then somehow, some way making sure that the book still makes you have a goofy freaking happy smile, and all in love with her by the end of it.” – MJ’s Book Blog and Reviews
“It was sooo good and I am sooo excited that this was my first Lani Lynn Vale book…gasp….can you believe I have not read one of her books yet??” – iScream Books
“Don’t think about it, just go one click this book and you’ll enjoy it like, I did. One thing about this author is she keeps getting better every time. You will never be disappointed about it, I promise.” – Fabulous Ladies Book Blog