Backstage Pass / Page 40

Page 40

Author: Olivia Cunning

“And how would you react if I said no?”

“I’m not sure. I’ve never had to deal with that situation.”

Myrna was stunned speechless. Was he insinuating what she thought he was?

“That’s because Myrna is dick-whipped.” Eric hid behind a sofa pil ow.

“Wel , what compromises have you made?” Myrna countered, unable to argue his logic. She didn’t ever say no to him. She didn’t want to.

“This entire relationship is a compromise for me.”

Sed increased the volume of the TV.

Brian talked louder. “I want to tel you how I feel. I want this to be serious. I want to introduce you to my parents. I want this to be permanent and about more than sex. I know this is hard for you, but it’s hard for me, too. Don’t you get that? I’m not sure how much more of this I can take.”

“Then don’t take it,” she said. “Walk away.” She flicked her hands at him as if showing him the door. She never expected him to turn his back and close himself in the bedroom. Her first instinct was to chase after him. That’s what she wanted to do, but she knew she couldn’t do that. She had to stick to her guns or things would get serious between them and she didn’t want that. Right? No, that would be horrible. Then he’d start with the stupid marriage proposals again.

“You real y blew it this time, Myr,” Eric cal ed over the blaring TV.

“Shut up, Eric.” She stood there indecisively for a moment, wondering why she felt like crying. If this “thing” didn’t work out between her and Brian, it was for the best. Right? Yeah, for the best.

She dashed a tear from the corner of her eye and settled into the booth around the dining table. She sat on the opposite side she usual y did, with her back to the living area and facing the bedroom. She didn’t want the distraction of the guys watching TV while she entered her stupid data into her stupid spreadsheet. At least, that’s what she told herself as she booted up her stupid computer with one eye on the bedroom door.

Chapter 27

Around three in the morning, Brian stumbled out of the bedroom in search of the bathroom. He hadn’t been asleep long. His brain wouldn’t shut up long enough for him to drift off, and then Trey kept cuddling up against him, which made for unpleasant sleeping arrangements. He paused in the doorway. Myrna had fal en asleep at her computer, her head resting on a stack of questionnaires. The others on the bus had retired to their bunks. He didn’t know why he should care if she was uncomfortable sleeping on her everimportant work. She obviously didn’t give a shit about him or his feelings. She hadn’t even tried to make up with him after their argument. He had to come to terms with the fact that she only wanted him for one thing. And he didn’t think he could settle for that any more.

After he finished in the bathroom, he headed back for bed. His conscience getting the better of him, he went to the booth and drew Myrna towards him. He’d just toss her in the empty bunk so she didn’t wake up with a huge crick in her neck.

“No,” she groaned, stil asleep. “Gotta get this data entered so I can stay with Brian in L.A.”

He smiled and kissed her temple. Yeah, she obviously didn’t care about him at al . He just had to be patient with her. It was just so hard to have everything he wanted pressed against him but not be able to claim her as his forever. He lifted Myrna and carried her past the empty bunk and into the bedroom. He laid her on the bed next to Trey and climbed in on her other side.

“Slumber party,” Trey murmured and snuggled up against Myrna. Mr. Cuddles was a total bed hog. But was it real y necessary for him to massage Myrna’s breast like that? Brian thought not. He grabbed Trey’s finger and bent it back until he cried out in pain. Myrna scowled in her sleep.

“Hands off, Mil s.”

Trey sighed heavily and rol ed onto his other side. “Party pooper.”

Chapter 28

Myrna opened her eyes and blinked in the bright morning sunshine. When her eyes adjusted to the light, she found Brian sleeping beside her. She wasn’t sure how she ended up in bed with him, but she was grateful to find him so close. It made it easier to apologize. She should have done it last night.

She lifted her hand to touch his face.

His eyes fluttered open and he smiled. “Good morning, beautiful.”

“Oh Brian,” she murmured, her eyes strangely watery. “I’m sorry about last night. And I’m sorry I’m not more available for you. You’re always so good to me and I just can’t bring myself to…” She shook her head. “But I do want to compromise. So if you stil want me to stay with you in L.A., I promise to hang around a couple of days and do anything you want before I go home to get caught up on work. How does that sound?”

He kissed her nose and smiled. “Like a compromise.”

“I’l try to be better about finding middle ground.”

“And I’l try to be more patient.”

“That biblical Job guy ain’t got nothing on you, sweetie.” She stroked his hair from his cheek. “I don’t know how you put up with me.”

“I think you do,” he said, “but I’ve been forbidden to say it.”

Her heart thrummed in her chest and she covered his lips with her fingertips before he let that blasted l-word slip. A hard, warm body plastered itself to Myrna’s back. She stiffened and held her breath. They weren’t alone? Within seconds, the man had splayed his hand over her bel y, intertwined his bare legs with hers and buried his face in her neck. Brian chuckled. “Mr. Cuddles strikes again.”

“Soft,” Trey murmured in her ear. He snuggled closer.

Just Trey. She emitted her held breath and relaxed. Trey snuggled closer stil .

“Don’t let him smother you,” Brian advised.

“I don’t think I can move.”

“Shhhh,” Trey murmured, his nose pressed behind her ear. “Sleeping.”

Brian chuckled and shook his head. “You might as wel go back to sleep. He won’t move for a while.”

Myrna wasn’t sure how anyone could be expected to sleep when sandwiched between two sexy guitarists.

Chapter 29

Why was she so nervous? They were just parents. Yes, one of them was Malcolm O’Neil, but that shouldn’t make her tummy flutter or her palms sweat.

“Are you okay?” Brian asked.

“Fine,” she squeaked.

“Don’t be nervous. They’l love you.”

The mood backstage was more sedate than usual, with scarcely a scantily clad woman to be found. Brian opened the dressing room door and ushered Myrna inside. The instant Brian stepped into the room, a stunning woman grabbed him in a crushing hug and kissed him square on the mouth.

“Excuse me,” Myrna said crossly.

“Mom,” Brian gasped. “Can’t breathe.”

“I don’t see you for two months and you greet me with ‘can’t breathe’?”

He gave his mom a hug that lifted her feet off the ground. She laughed.

“Put your mother down,” a deep voice said behind Myrna.

She turned and looked up at Malcolm O’Neil. Her heart did a somersault in her chest. She’d been afraid of this. She gaped up at him like a fish out of water—her throat trying to produce sounds, her mouth opening and closing sporadical y. Brian’s arm slid around Myrna’s shoulders reassuringly.

“Wel , this is her,” Brian said. “This is Myrna.”

“She looks normal,” Malcolm said suspiciously. He looked normal, too, which surprised Myrna for some reason. Shouldn’t rock legends glow with greatness?

“Don’t mind him,” Brian’s mom said. “He’s forgotten his manners. I’m Claire Sinclair. Yes, you can laugh. I didn’t realize how stupid my name would be when I agreed to marry Malcolm. I had no idea his last name wasn’t O’Neil until I saw his real name on the marriage license.”

“You never asked,” Malcolm said.

Myrna didn’t dare laugh at Claire’s name. The woman intimidated the hel out of her. She had supermodel looks and a star quality that threw Midwestern-farm-girl Myrna for a loop. Claire had to be close to fifty and she looked spectacular. Not a single wrinkle marred her perfect skin, nor was there a gray hair to be found in her silky, brown hair. If Myrna had met her on the street, she’d have thought her thirty-five. Tops. It seemed biological y impossible for her to be Brian’s mother. He had her high, sculpted cheekbones, but they looked more like siblings than mother and son.

“Are you adopted?” Myrna sputtered at Brian.

His eyebrows drew together. “Huh?”

“I don’t mean that as an insult.” Yeah, great thing to say the first time you meet your boyfriend’s mother. “I mean, you look amazing, Mrs. Sinclair. It seems impossible that you’d have a twenty-eight year-old son.”

Mrs. Sinclair beamed. “You’re a dear for saying so.” She took Myrna’s elbow and drew her away from her husband and son.

“Please, cal me Claire. Now, tel me al about yourself. Brian says you’re a doctor.”

“Wel , not a physician. A professor.”

“Yes, he told me as much, but he won’t tel me what your degree is in. I’m dying to know.”

What little respect she’d garnered by being a doctor was about to be thrown to the wayside. “I… er… wel … the thing is…”

Brian appeared at her elbow. “I’ve got to go get ready for the show. Sorry to abandon you. I’l take you both to a late dinner or something. Dad, too.”

Myrna used her eyes to plead with him to rescue her, but he just smiled at her, obviously pleased that she got along with his mother.

“We’l be fine, dear,” Claire said. “Break a leg or whatever I’m supposed to say to wish you luck.”

Myrna watched Brian head for the shower room, longing to fol ow him. And not because he was about to get naked.

“Wel , Myrna?” Claire continued. “Are you going to tel me? What’s your degree in?”

Eric magical y appeared at Myrna’s side. Either that or she had been too distracted to notice his approach. “She’s a certified human sexuality professor.”

Claire laughed. “Wel , that would explain Brian’s fascination with her.”


“So you’re like Doctor Ruth. Only younger, tal er, and more attractive,” Claire said.

“No, Doctor Ruth is a Sex Psychiatrist,” Myrna clarified. “I don’t treat people for sexual dysfunction.”

“Wel , that’s a relief,” Malcolm said behind her, his booming voice making her jump. “I thought maybe my boy had some problems he didn’t see fit to share.”

“No, no problems.” Myrna’s face flamed.

“And trust her, she would know,” Eric said.

He laughed. Claire laughed. Malcolm laughed. But Myrna didn’t laugh. She was too busy looking for a rock to crawl under.

“Doctor Myrna’s on tour with us because she’s studying the sexual behavior of our groupies,” Eric added. Claire stopped laughing. “Ugh,” she said. “Groupies. How do you stand them?” She wrapped an arm around her husband’s waist and looked up at him. “I hated your groupies.”

“They hated you, too,” he said and kissed her passionately. She clung to him as if he’d stolen her senses. If he kissed anything like his son did, Myrna was certain Claire had completely lost her senses. Myrna’s face flamed even hotter at her errant thoughts. These were Brian’s parents. His parents.

Mind out of the gutter, Myrna.

When Claire and Malcolm drew apart, Malcolm looked down at Myrna. It was strange to look up at an older, not quite as gorgeous, version of her boyfriend. “So what have you learned about Brian’s groupies?”

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