The double meaning wasn’t lost on Ethan. He rested his weight on one elbow and used his free hand to stroke Trey’s c**k. Trey’s eyelids fluttered as he lost himself to pleasure, but he didn’t look away. Even when he let go in Ethan’s hand, he continued to stare into Ethan’s eyes. Ethan shuddered as he followed Trey to bliss, equally lost in the connection between them as he was in the release offered to his body.
He kissed Trey’s lips briefly. “That felt good,” he said.
“Of course it did.”
“I mean to finally tell you I love you. I’ve known since our first time together. Now that you know, are you going to make me leave?”
Trey shook his head and touched Ethan’s face. He searched his eyes for a moment. “It’s gone,” he said.
“The emptiness. Reagan filled much of it, but there was a part of me I thought only Brian would ever touch. I don’t need him to feel loved anymore. I think… I think I need you for that, Ethan.”
Ethan smiled, his heart thudding with joy. “Do you mean that?”
“Yeah. I love you. Now cuddle with me for a few minutes and then we’ll go tell Reagan.”
Ethan reached for a packet of tissues to clean up himself and Trey. He tossed the tissues and his expended condom in the trash. He rejoined Trey on the sofa, squeezing in behind him with his back against the sofa back and Trey wrapped securely in his arms.
Trey snuggled against him. “Nice,” he murmured drowsily. “How do you think Reagan will take this?”
“That her two lovers have fallen in love with each other?”
Ethan smiled and kissed the side of Trey’s head. “She can’t be too upset seeing as she loves both of us.”
“And we both love her.”
“Do you think I should be the one to tell her?” Ethan said.
“We’ll tell her together.”
“In a few minutes…” Ethan’s eyes drifted shut.
“I don’t understand what I’m doing wrong,” Reagan said to Dare, so frustrated she was nearly in tears.
“You’re doing everything right for Max,” Dare said. “You’re doing nothing right for yourself.”
“But I’m supposed to be replacing Max,” she said.
“No, you’re supposed to be our new rhythm guitarist. Let’s play “Bite” again. This time don’t try to be exactly like Max. Just play it. How you feel it.”
Play it with feeling, Reagan. That’s how you win first prize. Not by getting it perfect, but by making the audience part of the music, the advice her father had repeated to her before every competition entered her thoughts. Is that what Dare meant?
She started her part of “Bite” the way Max played it. She glanced at Dare, who yawned exaggeratedly. She made a face at him and then tried to give up on copying Max exactly. She relaxed her stance and let her fingers move with more fluidity.
“Better,” Dare said. “Again. Even looser this time.”
They played it again. And again, until she finally figured out what everyone had been trying to tell her. She wasn’t Max and shouldn’t try to be.
Reagan finally felt like she’d found the spark she’d been missing. It felt like the weight of the world had lifted from her shoulders and she loved Dare for helping her. Adored him. She one hundred percent understood why he meant so much to Trey. She supposed Dare was almost like her big brother too. Her very attractive big brother who made her think incestuous thoughts.
Dare squeezed her shoulder. “You’ve got it now. Don’t lose it again.”
“Go rest up for tonight’s show,” he suggested.
She handed her guitar off to some roadie and glanced around backstage for Ethan. She checked behind the equipment cases. In the sound equipment pit at the side of the stage. In the empty stands that would soon be filled with tens of thousands of fans. He was gone. He bitched at her constantly about going off on her own and he was nowhere to be found. Maybe he’d gone to the bathroom. She supposed overprotective bodyguards had to take a piss sometime. She had finished rehearsing much sooner than she’d anticipated, so he’d probably thought he had plenty of time. Maybe she should just wait here for him.
After several fidgety minutes of waiting, she went to ask around. “Have you seen Ethan?” she asked one of Exodus End’s stage crew.
“The big, good-looking guy who follows you around?”
“I think he went that way with Trey Mills.” The guy pointed toward the corridor where the dressing rooms were located.
She grinned, hoping they were waiting for her in her dressing room. Naked. “Thanks.” She could really use some alone time with her guys before she had to be onstage.
The corridor was blissfully empty. Ethan worried too much. She was perfectly capable of walking twenty feet to her dressing room without a muscle-bound hunk to defend her. When she reached the door labeled with her name, she opened it and paused on the threshold. Well, she couldn’t say that she blamed Ethan for wandering off. And they were naked, but hadn’t bothered to wait for her to join them. Ethan and Trey were tangled in each other’s arms, fast asleep on the sofa. They looked cozy and sexually sated. Reagan watched them sleep for a moment, a gentle smile on her lips. She hadn’t been sure how seeing them together without her involvement would make her feel. She hadn’t expected to feel giddy and full of wonder. In a little while, she’d wake them and demand to become part of their tangle of limbs, but for now she was content to watch them sleep. They seemed so content. Tender. Loving. She wondered what had brought on this change.
She caught her own reflection in the mirror and her heart skipped a beat. It stopped beating for several seconds as the message scrawled in lipstick on the mirror caught her attention.
You took what’s mine, Reagan Elliot. I will have it back.
From behind, a hand covered her mouth and nose. Startled, Reagan sucked a deep breath into her lungs. Something chemical accompanied her inrush of air. Her vision blurred. Head swam. “I’ve come to take back what’s mine,” a deep voice said in her ear. Familiar. She’d heard it before, but couldn’t place where. She managed to bang into the door—hopefully loud enough to wake her snoozing bodyguard—before she totally blacked out.