Beat of the Heart

Page 53

I grudgingly eyed my cell-phone perched on the edge of the sink before I jerked my wrist as hard as I could against the shower head. "FUCK!" I shouted, as slicing pain ricocheted through my hand. Pinching my eyes shut, I huffed several breaths in and out. There was no way in hell I was getting out of these handcuffs without help.

Out of my three band-mates, there was really only one I could call. With my free hand, I strained as I leaned over to try to grab it off the edge of the sink. Fumbling around, I finally grasped it. Dialing with my thumb, I brought it to my ear. Thankfully, Brayden answered on the second ring.

"Um, hey, it's me."

Brayden chuckled. "No shit, Sherlock. I kinda realized that with the caller ID."

"Oh yeah."

"Dude, where the hell are you and Mia? Abby's made her famous chili, and we're about to sit down for lunch in ten minutes." His voice had risen to be heard over the chattering crowd.

"Yeah, I don't think I can make lunch quite yet."

"What do you mean? Wait a sec." Rustling sounded in the background before a shriek came in my ear. "Oh no, missy. No more cookies until after lunch."

"Brayden," I pleaded.

"Sorry man, but Lily will have my ass if she realizes I let Melody eat half a bag of animal crackers on my watch. One sec. Allison, would you take her for a minute? Thanks." I heard the creak of the back-porch door. "Okay, I'm all yours."

"Listen, I need a favor, but I need you to keep this quiet."

"What's up?"

Closing my eyes, I gripped the phone tight against my ear. "I really don't want to go into this over the phone, so can you please come down here?"

"You sound really weird."

"Yeah, you would too if you were handcuffed to the fucking shower!" I snapped before I could stop myself.

A long silence came on the other end. "I'm sorry, but did you just say you were handcuffed to the shower?"

"Yeah," I growled.

"So what the hell do you need me for? Get the key from Mia and-"

"She's gone."


I heaved a frustrated sigh. "Bray, I'm standing here buck-ass naked, shivering, and hanging by one arm from a shower head. Do you think I could explain all this shit later?"

"Okay, okay. I'll see you in a few," he replied, before hanging up.

I eased the phone back on the ledge of the sink. Then I eased back and waited. The moment the front door opened I knew I was in trouble. Brayden had pulled an uncharacteristically douche move-he wasn't alone.

As I heard the guys shuffling up the ladder to the loft, I closed my eyes and let loose with a string of f-bomb-laced expletives. When Brayden appeared in the doorway with Jake and Rhys, I shook my head. "I thought you promised not to say anything."

"Yeah, well, while I was on the phone with you, Mia came to the house looking for a car to borrow, but she was so upset, Abby wouldn't let her drive."

Jake shot me a death glare. "Thanks to your douche move, I didn't get lunch, and I'm going to have a pissed fiancée when she gets back."

I narrowed my eyes at him. "Oh, I'm so fucking sorry . Could we focus on the fact that I'm the one handcuffed to a shower right now?"

Rhys snapped a picture on his phone. When he glanced at it, he grimaced. "Dude, you didn't smile."

"When I get loose, I'm going to kick your fucking ass!" I growled.

Jake snickered. "I'd be a little nicer to him, man. If he were to leak that pic of you, it could be really bad for your rep. I mean, the cold water has totally obliterated your dick."

I lunged for him and Rhys with my free arm. They both clambered backwards out of my reach. "All right, knock it off, assholes," Brayden shouted over our scuffling.

"I'll go get the key," Jake said. While he went into the bedroom, I let my head bang back against the tile.

Brayden cleared his throat. "For what it's worth, I'm sorry."

Raising my head, I peered at him. "Thanks."

He held out a fuzzy towel, and I took it from him to start drying my face and what parts of my body I could reach with one arm.

"Man, what happened? You and Mia seemed so happy," Rhys said.

"Kylie showed up, used the hide-a-key, and ran into Mia downstairs."

Rhys winced as Brayden let out a low whistle. Jake, who had returned with the key, shook his head. "Damn, dude, that fucking blows."

"No shit," I replied as I toweled my hair a little more furiously. As Jake worked at getting me free, I turned to Brayden. "Did you know Kylie was coming?"

"She called Lily last night, and I guess Lily mentioned we were here." At my scowl, he held up his hands. "We sure as hell didn't invite her. Besides, I thought whatever was between you two was in the past."

The handcuffs snapped open, and I was no longer a shower prisoner. As I rubbed my aching wrist, I replied, "It was-it is. But for some reason, Kylie still seems to think I'm interested in a booty call."

Brayden grimaced. "She's a wonderful baby-sitter and loves the hell out of my kids. But honestly, she makes the worst choices in life."

"Thanks a fucking lot, man," I grumbled.

"Nothing good ever comes from being a guy's booty call or fuck buddy, AJ," Jake argued. "I mean, hell, look at what happened to Abby because of Bree."

Rolling his eyes, Bray replied, "Yeah, well, Kylie is far from that level of psychotic."

Rhys exhaled noisily before pinning me with a hard stare. "True, but I told you back in Oklahoma City not to start that shit up again. Looks like you were all invested the first time, and now it's her this time."

Tilting my head, I gave him a 'what the fuck' look. "Seriously? So Kylie showing up is all my fault?"

"Well obviously you didn't shoot her down hard enough last night if she thought it was okay to come waltzing in here."

"What exactly did you say to her last night?" Brayden questioned.

I grimaced. "I just told her I had to go, and that I'd talk to her later."

"Dumbass," Rhys muttered.

I threw up my hands. "I didn't have a whole lot of time to stop and have a meaningful fucking conversation when I could see Mia freaking out and bailing."

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