Takes place after COMPLETED and DYLAN AND JEN.
“If I’m not welcome, it’s totally your fault.”
“It’ll be fine.”
A minute later, he stopped at a large iron gate, rolled the window down, and typed a code into a keypad. The gates opened.
Whoa. The property was huge. The driveway split in multiple directions, curving left to a modern house, right to a multi-car garage, and straight in between. Mike parked by the garage next to a vintage truck.
“Dylan is here.”
He removed the shades and looked at me. “Our bassist.”
“His girlfriend Jen might be here, too. She’s a writer.” He got out of the car and walked around front before I could open my door. Offered a hand. I placed my hand on his and he tugged. “That’s a great dress, by the way.”
His eyes made my tummy flutter. I glanced away. “Thanks.”
Mike dropped my hand and started for the house only to veer around the side. Going to the back? Tucking my hair behind my ears, I followed. The backyard was even more beautiful than the front. There was also a second house visible beyond the pool deck. He wasn’t kidding when he called it a compound. A dark-haired woman my height hugged him.
“You made it. Who’s your friend?”
“Beth, this is Hannah.”
The woman had a firm handshake. “Hi, I’m Beth Lindsey. The boys call me Bethie because Jacob has since we were kids.” She swatted Mike’s bicep. “You didn’t tell me you were bringing a date.”
“We’re friends,” I said.
“Grab a drink and sit. Celeste texted they’re on their way, so we’re only wanting on Aaron.”
“Might as well eat, then,” a man with a British accent said. He placed a veggie tray on the table and kissed Beth’s cheek. “You’re getting a little sun.”
“I put on sunscreen. Damn.” She went in the house.
“Who’s this, Mikey?” he asked, nodding to me.
“Hannah.” Much as I didn’t want to, I couldn’t stop staring. Jake Lindsey was dazzling. He had this intense eye contact thing that made you think he saw all your insides and his irises were so blue in the sunlight. And the smile. I’d never seen a face so symmetrically perfect before.
A man shorter than both of them looked at me and laughed, jolting me out of my stupor. “Jake does it again.”
“What did I do?”
“Rendered some poor young woman speechless. We’ve all seen it a thousand times.” He picked up my hand and shook it. “I’m Dylan, by the way.”
“Hi.” My face was hot.
“This is Hannah,” Mike said.
Dylan glanced at him, then me, then him again. Hmm. “I see. Well, more the merrier. Jen will be here soon.”
“Coming from Big Bear?”
A shake of the curly-haired-man’s head. “Her mom’s. Seeing her sister.”
“Right, the kid with no filter.”
Dylan grinned. “You remember.” He was stockier than Jake and Mike, though maybe it appeared that way because he was less than six feet tall.
Beth returned carrying a baby girl. “Someone woke up for lunch.” She handed her to Jake. He bent his nose to the baby’s neck.
“Munchkin sleep well?” he cooed.
“She’s going to think that’s her name,” Beth said, returning with a bottle. He took it from her, sat, and offered it to the baby’s mouth.
“Don’t listen, Princess. You can be anybody you want to be.”
The guys eye-rolled. Beth shook her head with a smile. This didn’t seem like a new conversation.
A short woman in her fifties wearing a blouse and slacks walked out with a tray of glasses. Dylan tried to reach for them, but she shooed him down.
“Maria, your back,” Jake said.
“Is fine, Mr. Lindsey.” She went to the grill and raised the lid.
The mouthwatering aroma of barbequing meat made my stomach gurgle. Mike glanced at me and grinned. I covered my belly with my purse.
The group didn’t seem to care I was here. I don’t think they’d have cared if I wasn’t here, either. I’d never been…accepted didn’t feel like the right word, but he was right that they wouldn’t be bothered. Maybe they trusted his judgment that much. I didn’t know him well enough to know.
Now I’d gotten over the stun-gun effect of Jake’s looks, he did seem familiar. I’m sure I’d seen him on TV. But right now, he was merely another first-time father completely smitten with his little girl. Had my father ever looked like that holding me? I’d never know.
“You’re quiet,” Mike said quietly. “You okay?”
Car engines stopped by the garage and everyone’s attention shifted. Dylan left the table.
A tall blond man with a curvy redhead arrived before he returned. Had I seen them on a magazine in the checkout line? “Who’s the fresh meat?” he asked. She smacked his chest.
“Have some manners, Bob.”
“Let Dylan get back with Jen and then I’ll make introductions,” Mike said, on his feet. His hand was on the chair back by my shoulder, fingertips brushing my skin.
My arm had goosebumps.
“Beth?” The redhead went in search of our hostess.
Dylan walked around the corner with his arm around the shoulders of a woman with light brown hair. “Mikey brought a friend,” he said.
“Jennifer,” she said, offering her hand.
I stood and shook it. “Hannah. Sorry to intrude,” I said to the group.
“Nonsense,” Beth said. “Do you think Aaron will show up in the next ten minutes?” The men laughed. “What I thought. Everyone grab a plate and a seat. Maria’s about done with the grill. If we have to wait much longer, it’ll be shoe leather.”
The redhead set a platter on the rack next to the grill. Beth handed her a glass and the redhead opened the bar fridge and grabbed two beers. Maria set a plate of grilled veggies on the table, then returned to the meat to take it off the fire. Jake took the platter from her now the baby was on Dylan’s lap. To me it looked like they all did this often, circulating naturally around each other. Mike had called them family.
The ache in my gut since Dad’s death flared up again. I didn’t have this. Everyone related to me was dead except, well, I didn’t have family. At least with the food on the table, no one was paying attention to me. The guy they’d mentioned—Aaron—didn’t show up for lunch. Enjoying themselves, I’m not sure they noticed.
They’d cooked steaks and chicken thighs along with the grilled veggie variety. Lean protein meals in
L.A. didn’t surprise me anymore. Once the food was gone, Maria took the baby
into the house and returned with dessert.
The guys had actually taken the dirty plates to the kitchen.
The writer sat in Mike’s chair. “How long have you been dating, Hannah?” Jennifer asked.
“Oh, I’m not, I mean, we’re friends. I guess. This is the second time I’ve seen Mike in person.”
One blonde brow arched, but she didn’t comment. “Well, it’s nice to not be the new girl anymore. Cute dress.”
“Thanks. You and Dylan are recent?” It hadn’t seemed that way from all the cuddling.
“Oh. I wouldn’t have guessed.”
She grinned. “Yeah, it feels like I’ve known him forever.”
Must be nice. Granted, it’d be difficult to NOT swoon over any of these guys! Did every band member need to be smoking hot? I’d never been in the presence of so much gorgeousness before. But…it was still only Mike that gave me butterflies. Something about those coffee eyes and the slight upturned curve to his lips like he was ready to smirk or grin any moment…
Well, Mike grinned. Brian smirked, and his eyes were empty. His face moved in all the right ways, but after getting to know Mike, I saw the masks Brian wore and wondered how I could’ve been so blind before.
I hated being needy.
Movement brought me out of my musing. Mike’s hand setting a paper dessert plate in front of me with a fudge brownie on it. “Hope you saved room.”
Jen had moved out of his seat and he resumed it now.
“Are they good?”
“Maria is a goddess in the kitchen.” He cut a corner off with a fork and fed it to me.
“Oh my God…”
He grinned. “Uh-huh.”
Can taste buds have an orgasm? “That’s dangerous.” How were the Lindseys still slender?
Mike slid another bite into my mouth, then set the fork down and started eating his own brownie by hand. His eyes fluttered closed as he chewed. The pleasure on his face…wow.
I needed a drink refill. With ice.
With most of the band coupled up now, Mike is the seventh wheel. Realizing he hasn't cultivated a life outside the band in years is a lonely epiphany. When a young woman mistakes him for someone else, the awkward encounter turns into a possibility for something real. Something lasting. Something like love.
Hannah, a recent arrival in L.A., is looking for a connection in her new life. Despite meeting Mike under less-than-ideal circumstances, she accepts his invitation to a Memorial Day BBQ with his friends, never expecting them to be famous rockstars with hearts of gold. Mike couldn't be nicer and sparks are flying, so when he insists on taking their time to get to know each other, part of her is flattered and the other side is frustrated he won't get naked. How far can she tease him before he gives in?
Settle in for a sweet and spicy romance in the My Once and Future Love Revisited universe where finding yourself means finding true love. This story is intended for readers over the age of 18 due to adult language, sexual content, and adult situations.
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West Coast Soulmates series: