It looks like Charlie has backed off Laurelyn tonight. He isn't eye-fucking her as they sing, so I guess he got the message. I can't knock the guy for trying, though. She is one hell of a catch.

When they finish playing what I think is the last song, the blokes leave the stage and Laurelyn takes a seat on a stool under the spotlight. She winks in my direction as she strums some chords on her Martin and leans toward the microphone. "I wrote this next song during an extremely dark time in my life. I had just parted ways with the man I loved and thought we'd never see each other again. It's about the things I'd say to him if he ever came back to me. Well, he finally did, and this song is for him. It's called 'Loved by You.'"

Rushing over me in the sand.

You pulled me into you

From the safety of the shore

Became so much more.

Now I just want to be wanted by you.

And I just want to be needed by you.

My heart just pleads to be loved by you.

In the roughest of waters

And in the calm of the storm

My love for you grew.

To let me go

And it grows harder every day

To not let the pain show.

'Cause I just want to be wanted by you.

And I just want to be needed by you.

My heart just pleads to be loved by you.

Each one bringing us closer

Behind my every song.

'Cause I just want to be wanted by you.

And I just want to be needed by you.

My heart just pleads to be loved by you.

Laurelyn finishes and mouths, "I love you," before she kisses her fingers and holds her hand out in my direction. It's completely juvenile but it doesn't stop me from reaching out as if to catch her kiss and bring it to my lips. I look like a pussy, but what can I say? Love makes you do silly things and catching an air kiss would definitely fall under that category.

"Dude, did she just blow that kiss to you?"

I've sat by this guy the entire show without even looking at him until now. "Yeah, she did. And now I'm going to go get a real one."

I see the surprise in his eyes and it reinforces for me the huge star they see when they look at Laurelyn. "Wow. The singer for Southern Ophelia is your girlfriend? That must rock."

Girlfriend doesn't feel like the right word for what she is to me. "She's much more than my girlfriend."

"Cool. Tell her it was an awesome show."

I walk to the spot where she told me to meet her after and she's there, waiting as promised. I pull her close and kiss the side of her face. "Baby, you just keep amazing me."

"Did you like it?"

I assume she means the song she sang for me. "Like it? Hell…I love it."

"You know I wrote it about you. I mean every word."

"I know. And that's how I feel about you too. Let's go back to the room so I can show you how much."

She makes a face that tells me it's a no-go. "The band always meets up after each performance to discuss any kinks from the show. I have to go to Charlie's room. It never lasts more than fifteen minutes max. Will you come with me? I want you to meet the guys."

Fuck, no, I don't want to go to Charlie's room but even more, I don't want Laurelyn going without me. "Sure, if that's what you want."

I think I feel my testosterone level surging as I approach the room where I'll meet the blokes Laurelyn has been closest to for the past three months. Knowing that one of them has a thing for her doesn't do much for calming my instinctual caveman tendencies to make sure he knows she's mine and not for his taking.

Laurelyn stops before we go inside and places her hands on each side of my face. "You're tense but you shouldn't be. These guys are like brothers to me."

I think she forgets I have a sister and I've never considered kissing her like what I saw last night. "There's only one of them who makes me uptight, and he's the one I saw kissing you."

She strokes her hands down my cheeks until they're on my jawline. She runs her fingers over my slight beard. "You have to let that go."

Easier said than done. "He and I will get along just fine as long as he backs off."

"He already has, so there shouldn't be any problem. Right?"

She uses her hands to turn my head from side to side involuntarily. "Say, 'No, Laurelyn. There isn't going to be any problem with Charlie.'"

"No, Laurelyn. There isn't going to be any problem with Charlie." She takes her hands from my face and I add, "As long as he keeps his hands off you."

She rolls her eyes at me and shakes her head. "Come on. Let's get this over with so you can see that there is no threat."

The band members are sitting around talking when we enter Charlie's room, but they all come to full attention when they see I'm with Laurelyn. "Hey, y'all. This is Jack, and I wanted to bring him by to meet you because you'll be seeing a lot of him for the next several weeks."

Their manager, Randy, is the first to introduce himself. Then PJ and Ryan. Charlie hangs back last. At first I think it's because he's measuring me up, but then he's on his feet to offer his hand and I don't sense any type of confrontation. "Laurelyn has told me a lot about you, so it's good to finally meet you."

If I had it on my mind to be a wanker, I could construe his words into code for something else—like maybe Laurelyn telling him a lot about me means that she's confided in him or perhaps he's pointing out that it's finally nice to meet me because I haven't been around. I don't think either of these are the case. He's looking me in the eye, man to man, and he doesn't give me the Ben vibe at all.

"Good to meet you as well, mate."

"Our girl did good tonight, didn't she?"

Surprise—that's what I feel at myself for not being the least bit offended by hearing Charlie refer to Laurelyn as our girl, as if she's partially his. I would've lost it all together if I'd ever heard Ben call her that to my face. "Yes. She's rather amazing."

Time gets away from us and we end up hanging out for much longer than fifteen minutes. I don't mind because they all, surprisingly, turn out to be pretty cool. I'd expected to be anxious to get out of there, but it ends up being Laurelyn coaxing me to leave because it's late and she's tired.

It's not until we leave that I realize Laurelyn's room—our room—is next door. I've been cool with everything else, but I don't like this. She slides the keycard in and then out for the green access light. "This is the last time we stay next to any of them."

We're entering the room when she says, "They always group us together. Why is it a problem as long as we're not sharing?"

The door shuts and I scoop her over my shoulder to carry her to the bed. I toss her playfully onto her back. "Because we don't fuck soft and quiet. We fuck hard and loud."

"And you don't want to embarrass me by having them hear us going at it?"

Embarrassment wasn't what I had in mind. "Put it this way: I'm not really interested in any of them wanking off to the sounds of us fucking in the next room."

"Exactly. If they hear some of the sounds you make, there's no hope they'll ever look at you again without visualizing what you were doing while you made that noise. Trust me when I say it's best if this is the last time we bunk down so closely."

As I untuck my shirt from my pants and reach for my top button, Laurelyn scrambles to her purse on the bed. "Wait. I have an idea." She reaches inside and takes out her phone. "And we need the right kind of music for it." A song begins to play and she grins devilishly as she says, "'Addicted' by Saving Abel is perfect for what you're about to do for me."

"And what am I about to do for you?"

She scoots to the head of the bed and sits against the headboard. "You're gonna do a striptease for me while I watch."

Me doing the stripping would be a new one for us. "I am?"

"Yeah…you are. I've done it for you every time you've asked—and numerous times when you didn't. Now, I'm asking, and you're doing."

I'm pretty certain I better not say no if I ever want to see her dance again, so I start to move to the music as I begin to unbutton my shirt. "You better have some bills ready for me, baby."

I didn't expect him to go along with dancing for me—at least not without a debate. I'm surprised he agreed so easily—maybe a little too easily—but I don't care. He looks so damn hot doing it…like, flaming hot.

He turns his back on me and I watch as he moves perfectly with the music, wiggling out of his white button-down and tossing it over his shoulder. It lands on my legs so I lift it to my nose. It smells delicious, just like him.

His hands are on the back of his neck as he thrusts his pelvis forward with the song's tempo. All I can see from the back is the motion of his beautiful ass, and I imagine the way it looks when he's thrusting it between my legs.

He spins to face me and puts his palms on his chest. He glides them down as he rotates his hips in a circular motion to the music. When his hands get to the crotch of his pants, he holds them out to use as a wall to bump and grind against.

He laughs as he says, "You'll like it a lot better when I'm between your legs doing it."

His promise sends a rush of heated desire straight to the area he's talking about. "Bite your lip for me while you do it." He smirks but does as I tell him. "Mmm, that's hot, but I think it's time for you to come out of those pants. You're overdressed for a stripper."