Home > Fall (VIP #3)(11)

Fall (VIP #3)(11)
Author: Kristen Callihan

I hold up a hand. “Whatever you’re thinking, just stop.”

“But it’s so good,” he protests, that gleam brightening. “Oh, the wonderful possibilities.”

“Pig.”

“Oink. Oink.” He dips his head toward mine, and it is not fair how good he smells when sweaty. Not at all fair. Fuck-me pheromones at their finest. “How do I know you’re not stalking me? That is the more likely scenario.”

Everything in me stills—my breath, my heart, my yoga-induced muscle twitches. I feel the pause between us. He clearly thinks he’s said too much. And now there is no more mystery. This guy is Jax Blackwood.

His eyes widen slightly, as if silently asking me to ignore what he just let slip, go back to thinking he’s just a regular guy. But then they narrow, and I get the feeling he’s bracing for impact.

Honestly, I wish I could let it go, but someone has to address the awkward elephant on the stairs. I clear my throat. “While I was eating my ice cream—”

He snorts, but remains tense.

“I thought about how you looked familiar to me.”

“It was the guilt haunting you.”

“Or … And I’m just throwing this out there. You’re Jax Blackwood.”

He actually flinches. “Fuck. You recognized me.”

“It was bound to happen. John? Really?”

His chin tips in a pugnacious angle. “It’s my name. John is … me. Jax is who I am onstage.”

I picture him performing, all electric energy and raw passion and sheer talent. It’s a sight to behold. Hell, a couple of really hot fantasies have been induced by that sight.

While I’m lost in a teen fantasy, his eyes dart around like he’s expecting someone to pop out from behind a snow mound and take his picture. Then his gaze snags on me. My expression must be slightly punch drunk, because his entire body leans away from mine. Not exactly flattering to realize he’s afraid I’ll try to lick his face or something.

I snap my gaping mouth closed. “Oh, calm down. It’s not like I’m going to start squealing and try to grab your junk.”

His expression lightens a little. “I think if you grabbed my junk, I’d be the one squealing.”

“True. I have surprisingly strong hands.” When he stares at me in horror, I hold them up and wiggle my fingers. “Yoga. It’s highly effective.”

“My balls just flinched in terror.”

“Consider yourself warned.”

He snorts but then glances at our building. “You really live here?”

“Do you really think I hunted you down?”

John—because I can’t seem to think of him as Jax—runs his hand through his damp hair, which makes his biceps bunch and twitch. “Yeah … that does sound crazy.”

Crazy. This whole situation is. One day, I’m offered a four-month home in a dream condo, the next I’m standing on my stoop talking to a rock star. The biggest legend of my generation. I honestly don’t know how I’m not stammering right now.

“I can’t believe we’re neighbors,” I say without thinking.

His green eyes glint in the afternoon light, but he pauses and looks at me more closely. “You know, not to sound conceited here, but you’re kind of leering at me right now.”

My chin snaps up like I’ve been hit, even as my body flushes with embarrassment. Shit. I totally had been leering. No, not leering. But I had been staring at him in awe. Ugh. “Well, you do sound conceited. I was simply making polite eye contact.”

Liar McLiar-Face.

Even though his lips twist, he is kind enough not to point out my perfidy. “You must be new. I haven’t seen you around before. And this building isn’t that big.”

“I moved in the night of the blizzard.”

“You mean the night after the ice cream theft?”

“You aren’t going to let that go, are you?”

He gives me a long, level look, and I feel myself squirming. I don’t want to remember kissing him, but I do. And he knows it. His butter-soft lips stretch into a smug smile. When my cheeks reach maximum heat capacity, he finally talks. “Consider the ice cream a housewarming gift.”

“Hey, I gave you my cookies. Where’s my thanks?”

John runs the back of his finger along his bottom lip. “I know you’re being literal here, but I’m just hearing innuendo.”

“Might want to get that hearing checked, detective.”

He hums as if in agreement, but the look in his eyes is calculating. “If you really do live here, what’s your apartment number?”

I almost don’t want to give it to him. It’s clear by the amusement in his expression that he’s having fun pestering me. But I don’t think for a second he’s flirting to get somewhere with me. This guy is a revolving sex-kitten door. Freckled redheads of average looks aren’t going to hold his attention for long.

I don’t even mind. The idea of hooking up with him is unthinkable. Oh, I know he’d make it worth my time. The way he moves is pure sensual sex and utter confidence. But he lives in my building. There is no way I could look him in the eye day after day, knowing he’d had me and moved along. Because Jax Blackwood is infamous for that too.

I shake my head and force my thoughts away from sex. “I’m in 5B.”

John blinks, his expression going totally blank. “Fuck me, you’re my next-door neighbor.”

“Five A?” I say faintly. God, that music I’d heard the other night—it had been him playing the guitar.

He flashes a smile. “That’s me.”

And then it hits me with a jolt. “You’re He Who Must Not Be Disturbed! I should have known.”

“I’m sorry? Who?”

It’s kind of endearing the way his forehead wrinkles with confusion.

“My wall-neighbor on the penthouse floor. I’m supposed to stay clear of He Who Must Not Be Disturbed.”

He blinks down at me, and then the corners of his mouth pinch. “I see Scottie’s been managing things again.”

“Mr. Scott, you mean.”

“Yeah, sure, whatever you want to call him.”

“That’s his name. At least that’s the name of the man who hired me to pet sit.”

Turning as one, we both climb the stairs to the front doors. John punches in his key code and opens the door for me.

“The band calls him Scottie. He’s our manager.”

“All the secrecy makes sense now.”

“He’s like an overprotective and annoying dad.” John tosses his empty drink bottle in the recycle bin by the door. One quick lob and the bastard didn’t even look. “But he’s definitely our highest wall of protection.”

I touch my forehead. “Wow, I get it now, you being famous and all. You probably don’t like coming in contact with the little people, unless they’re sorting your M&Ms or something.”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake. I don’t even like M&Ms.”

“Skittles then. You don’t want to taste the whole rainbow, do you? Though, I can’t really talk. The purple ones are disgusting. I don’t know what the hell that flavor is, but it sure as shit isn’t grape.”

Silence rings out as John gapes down at me like I have two heads. I guess he’s a purple lover, which explains a lot. He shakes himself out of it. “You know, they make medication to deal with people like you.”

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