Feeling the Rhythm, Conquest Series Book 7
Brad Delfini once had the world in his hands, but misfortunes and bad decisions showed him just how quickly the spotlight can go dark. For years, he was struggling to get by, until a fateful phone call brought him to famed rock band, Conquest. Since becoming their drummer, he’s hit the top of fame again, and he has all he could ever want. Except for one thing. As Conquest’s world tour draws to a close, that missed chance leaves him filled with regrets.
Remmy Laurent has been a roadie since he graduated high school, but years of being on the move have worn him down. He decides it’s time to quit and bring some stability into his life. He just wanted to finish out this one last tour with his favorite band; Conquest. It hasn’t been an easy tour, for many reasons, but most of all because no matter how hard he tried to deny it, he lost his heart to a man who he thinks barely knows he exists.
When the last concert is played, Brad and Remmy both believe they’ll never see each other again, but a little friendly intervention brings them together once more. As they begin to know each other in a whole new way, Brad must somehow make peace with his past if he and Remmy are going to have a future.
Remmy saw the stagehands gathering, ready to run out as Conquest exited to get things set for the encore. Jesse wished the crowd good night, but wasn’t halfway across the stage before the “En-core! En-core!” chant began. He jogged down the stairs and went into Evan’s arms, who hugged him, heedless of how sweaty Jesse was from the long performance. No matter how many times Remmy saw them interacting, his heart melted at the beauty of their relationship and ached to have something close to it in his own life.
That was another reason he needed to leave the roadie scene. Love didn’t seem to want to find him here. It was time for him to move on and look for it somewhere else.
Jesse and Evan walked by him, their arms around each other, both acknowledging him with smiles. Kenny followed behind them, his head tipped back with his lips locked around a bottle of water, but he still lifted his hand in a wave. Julian and Morgan neared, hand in hand.
Morgan glanced toward him. “Hey, Rem.”
“Hey.” Remmy looked at Julian. “Great show, as usual, Jules.”
Julian nodded his appreciation. “Thank you. Just a few more songs to go. I think we may survive this tour yet.”
Remmy chuckled, but it was weak. There was only one more band member left to walk by him, and just knowing Brad was approaching sent his heart racing. He glanced to the side, and there he was, coming closer, walking while wiping sweat from the back of his neck with a white towel.
Brad paused to pull the sweat soaked tank top over his head, a crew member rushing up to take it from him.
Remmy gripped the equipment crate with one hand to steady himself. He’d seen Brad without a shirt on countless times, but each time it had the same effect; instant hard-on. The body on Brad…he wanted to touch him so badly. He could almost feel the solid, thick pecs under his palms, the skin warm, soft, and smooth. The deep grooves of Brad’s abs flexed with his quick breaths, as he was slightly winded from the energy he’d put out playing. And he couldn’t help it that as he looked at the sweat shining on Brad’s skin, small droplets dotting it, all he wanted was to taste the salt of him on his tongue. How could anyone look at that man and not want to lick him?
Brad’s eyes flicked up, his gaze meeting Remmy’s. As Brad smiled and walked toward him, time passed for Remmy in his rapid heartbeats rather than seconds.
Brad clapped Remmy on the shoulder. “I forgot to tell you before the show, good job setting up my skins.”
Brad’s voice —deep, colored with a Brooklyn accent —made it so Remmy couldn’t find his own for a moment. “You’ve said that every night for the whole tour. It’s okay if you let it slip by once.”
Brad shook his head. “No, it’s not. Not for how hard you work to do things right by me, and especially now that we’re done. I gotta let you know I appreciate all you’ve done.”
Remmy stared at him. Brad’s words, his smile, the kindness in his eyes, all struck him speechless. Realizing he was staring, he quickly lowered his gaze, trying to catch something close to composure. He needed to say something. Anything! Just spit something out so he didn’t look like a total fool.
Remmy slowly lifted his gaze to Brad’s again, calling a soft smile to his lips. “Thanks, man. That means a lot.”
Brad held Remmy’s gaze for a moment longer, then cleared his throat and looked beyond Remmy. “I guess I should catch up with the guys.”
Remmy nodded, but as Brad moved by him, his mind screamed about something he’d forgotten. He spun around to Brad. “Hey, hold up a second!”
Brad stopped and turned back. “What’s up?”
Remmy picked up the package he’d left on the crate. He extended it to Brad. “I got something for you. To celebrate the end of a kickass tour.”
Brad slowly took the package, wrapped in blue paper, from Remmy’s hands, staring down at it. “You didn’t have to do this.”
Remmy shrugged. “It’s nothing big. I just thought of you when I saw it, so I had to get it.” He nodded at the package. “Open it.”
Brad tore the wrapping away, and started laughing at what it revealed; a black T-shirt with an image of The Muppets character, Animal, behind a set of drums, sticks raised as if he was wildly pounding, and the words “Drum Hero” stenciled beneath. He lifted the shirt free of the paper. “This is awesome.”
“You really like it?”
“Hell yeah. Animal was always my favorite. And his band was damn good!” Brad paused, glancing upward in a thoughtful expression, muttering softly, “What was their name?”
“Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.”
Brad snapped his fingers and laughed. “That’s right!” He looked back down to the shirt, a soft smile on his lips. “Thanks for this.”
“It’s nothing. I’m glad you like it.”
Brad set the paper aside and shook out the shirt, slipping his hands into the bottom of it. “I’ll wear it for the encore.”
Remmy’s mouth dropped open, a stuttering gasp of surprise leaving him. He watched as Brad pulled the shirt on, his abdomen and side muscles stretching with his arms over his head. As Brad tugged the shirt down and into place, Remmy saw what a perfect fit it was, tight enough to show Brad’s muscled body, his strongly formed biceps filling out the sleeves.
Brad held his arms out to the sides. “How’s it look?”
Remmy answered in a whisper. “Hotter than hell.”
Remmy’s eyes slowly widened as he realized what he’d just said. He could feel heat flooding up his neck to his face. His mouth opened, but no sound came out, as though his brain feared he’d say another embarrassing thing and wouldn’t let him talk.
Brad dropped his arms to his sides, his smile shifted to a smirk. “You think so?”
Between his brain keeping a tight hold on his mouth and his heart threatening to beat through his chest, Remmy couldn’t answer. He felt amazed he at least managed a nod.
Brad took a half step closer to him. “I really appreciate this, and all you’ve done for me.”
Before Remmy’s mind could form another thought, Brad’s body was pressed against him, strong arms wrapped around him. Shock froze him for a brief instant, but it was very brief, as his arms went around Brad in return. His hands placed on Brad’s back, and just as he’d imagined for so many long days and nights, he could feel the firm muscles. He breathed deep through his nose, pulling in the salty scent of Brad’s skin.
Brad’s voice came in a lower timbre. “I feel bad that I don’t have anything for you.”
Remmy shook his head slightly. “Don’t. That wasn’t why I got you something.”
Brad slowly released him, taking a short step back. “Yeah, but still, you’ve busted ass for us, and me. How about after the show, we head out somewhere and I buy you a beer?”
Wearing a bright smile, Brad clapped him on the shoulder. “Of course, man. Catch up to me after we wrap up these encores.”
Remmy nodded, his smile matching Brad’s. “All right, I will.” He caught sight of Jesse walking toward them, Evan at his side, Kenny, Julian, and Morgan behind him. He looked back to Brad. “Looks like it’s time for you to go on. I’m sorry, I took all your break time.”
“Don’t worry about it. It was worth it.”
Copyright 2012 by S.J. Frost and MLR Press