Ethan’s eyes flipped open. Trey flopped from sofa to the floor when Ethan sat up abruptly. Someone had slammed the door shut or something. Reagan would not be happy if someone had caught him in a compromising position with Trey.
Silence greeted his straining ears. It was not comforting.
“I don’t hear music,” Ethan said and jumped to his feet. He grabbed his pants and hopped into them, still zipping his fly as he darted into the corridor. Except for the bang of a hammer somewhere, the stadium was silent. Sometime between when Ethan had closed his eyes and the door had banged shut, Reagan had finished rehearsing. Some bodyguard he’d turned out to be. He wondered if she’d seen him and Trey together and had stormed off in anger. There was no guarantee that she’d approve of their romantic interest in each other just because she had no problem with their sexual relationship.
“Where is she?” Trey asked. He’d managed his pants and T-shirt but was still barefoot.
“She’s probably with the band.” Ethan glanced over his shoulder and caught his reflection in the mirror and the message scrawled above his astonished face in red lipstick.
“Do you smell something?” Trey asked.
Ethan took a deep breath through his nose. It was faint, but there was no mistaking the sweet chemical smell. “Ether.” He shoved Trey in the direction of the stage. “Go see if she’s with the band. I’ll go out behind the stadium. He’s been in her dressing room again. I’m afraid he’s taken her this time.”
Trey raced down the corridor while Ethan went in the opposite direction. When Ethan burst through the back doors, it took his eyes a moment to adjust to the bright sunshine. Even when he could actually see what was happening, he blinked several times because he couldn’t believe it.
“Get back or I’ll kill her. I’ll do it.” Some wild-eyed guy with bizarre burgundy-and-green-striped bangs had a guitar string wrapped around Reagan’s throat. She was unconscious and apparently heavier than she looked. He was having a hard time keeping the wire tight while he tried, rather unsuccessfully, to drag her backwards toward the parking lot. Her heels dragged across the pavement and slowed the wiry-framed guy down. While given time, the wacko could potentially kill her with the guitar string, Sinners’ road crew didn’t look ready to give him the opportunity. Jake had a guitar cocked like a baseball bat and was slowly inching his way behind the guy. Rebekah had a cymbal in hand and was looking for an opening to practice her discus throwing. Others hopped out of the back of the semitrailer with pieces of equipment and heavy tools.
“You don’t really think you’re going to get away, do you?” Ethan said. He placed his hands on his hips, trying not to look threatening. He didn’t want Reagan to get hurt any more than she already had and he feared if he rushed the guy, he’d do something drastic. “Let her go and you’ll only be charged with attempted kidnapping and I won’t be charged with homicide.”
Brian came out of Sinners’ tour bus, a few yards from where the guy was slowly dragging Reagan backward. “What in the hell is going on out here?” He took in Ethan’s partial state of undress before his eyes fell on Reagan who’d been dragged another few feet toward the parking lot.
The kidnapper, who was obviously no criminal mastermind, dropped Reagan on the asphalt. The guitar string went taut and Ethan could see it cut into her skin from a distance. “M-master Sinclair,” the man said. “It’s a privilege.”
“What in the f**k are you doing?” Brian said. “Let her go.”
They guy’s eyes widened as he realized he’d dropped his cargo. Ethan took a deep breath when the guy bent over and the guitar string around Reagan’s throat loosened again. The kidnapper wrapped an arm around her body just beneath her br**sts and stood upright, dragging her backward several feet before pausing to catch his breath again. The guy had to be high out of his mind. Otherwise he’d realize there was no way his plan would succeed. Not with this many witnesses. Or maybe he was just crazy and had nothing to lose. Ethan just hoped he didn’t do anything even more stupid and hurt Reagan in the process. The sound of approaching sirens drew the guy’s attention. “Which one of you called the cops?”
Trey stepped out from behind Ethan and waved a cell phone at the guy. “That would be me. If you put her down now, they might not shoot you when they get here.”
“And Jace and I might not take turns punching you in the f**king face,” Eric said, coming out of the building to stand beside Trey.
Jace stepped out of the shadows and cracked his knuckles.
“And then there’s me,” Sed, who rivaled Ethan in build, said from the doorway. “No one messes with a Sinners’ girl and gets away with it.”
“I wasn’t going to hurt her. I just wanted her out of the way.” The guy’s wild eyes darted from one person to the next.
“Isn’t he with one of the opening bands?” Jace asked. “Hell’s Crypt?”
“Dim Reaper?” Eric asked.
“No, they stopped touring with us a month ago,” Jace said. “Hell’s Crypt is the new one. With the movie monster theme. Vampire, werewolf, Frankenstein. Kinda lame.”
“Really lame,” Eric said.
“Shut up,” the guy wailed. “We are not lame.”
“I don’t even know who you’re talking about,” Sed said.
“Wait,” Trey said. He snapped his fingers and pointed at him. “I know who this guy is. He was at Exodus End’s contest audition. The one that Reagan won.”
“I never even got the chance to audition,” he bellowed. “I was supposed to be the one onstage with Exodus End, not her. She took what was mine.”
Reagan moaned and slapped herself in the face with a clumsy hand. “What?” she mumbled.
The guy fumbled with something in his pocket. While he was distracted, Rebekah let the cymbal fly. It bounced off his head with a loud clang. Ethan took the opening and made his move, dashing across the parking lot as fast as his legs would carry him. Brian was closer. He got a hand on Reagan and slid his free hand under the guitar string to protect her throat as he wrenched her out of the kidnapper’s grasp. Before the guy could wrestle her away from Brian, Ethan tackled him to the ground. The dark part of Ethan tried to take the upper hand and beat the ever-loving s**t out of this crazy b*****d, but he breathed through the rage and just held the guy’s struggling body down to wait for the police cruisers to arrive. He turned his head to see how Reagan had fared.