Saturday, June 25, 2011

Chapter Fourteen: One Step Up

Devon stepped onto the curb and wrapped her coat tight around her. Thanks to Shelby Madison’s do-it-yourself hair disaster she blew out her schedule by thirty minutes fixing it. Her boots clicked down the familiar cobblestones of Soho to one-fifty-eight Mercer Street. What would this date bring? She smiled and took a deep breath as the doorman held the door open and she smiled as she walked in.

"Hi, I'm Devon Scott. I'm here to see Jon Bon Jovi."

He nodded. "Right this way. He's expecting you." Ralph and his neatly pressed suit showed her into the elevator and stepped back. "Have a nice afternoon Ms Scott."

The doors closed and she closed her eyes. Was she nervous? Of course she was. He'd invited her into his home so this was pretty major. She had to remember it was only lunch so it wasn't like the same pressure would be there to stay the night. They both had their own commitments to solider on into for the afternoon. She flattened her palms down the front of her coat. It was only lunch. Good god, she needed to stop analysing everything to death. She stepped out at the top into a marbled foyer and knocked on the double black doors.

"Come in." She jumped as his voice came into the foyer through a speaker from the side. "It's open." God, what was this, Charlie’s Angels?

She turned the handle and the door opened into a large open-planned living area. Off-whites, greys, charcoals and black leather spilled out before her. Clean masculine lines. She caught her breath as sun spilled through  floor-to-ceiling windows that looked out into Manhattan. "Holy shit." She looked behind her half expecting Jon to sneak up behind her but he wasn't there. He wasn't anywhere. "Jon?"

Staircases spiraled upstairs at the north end of the apartment and a generous modern open-plan kitchen stretched into the south. This place was huge. Where the hell was he? She shrugged off her coat and laid it carefully on top of one of the leather couches. It wasn't until she looked closer she noticed the single daisy on the first step of a smaller wrought iron staircase by the windows. Attached at its stem was a small note. 

"Follow me." She swallowed and looked up. What if it went to his bedroom? Leaving no time to talk herself out of it she made her way up to a single door. A blast of fresh air hit her as she pushed it open and she nearly had to pinch herself twice with what was in front of her.

The rooftop deck was dotted with teak outdoor furniture that circled around a stone fire pit that crackled away happily. Various Fiscus and shrubs plants scattered around which made the place like an outdoor haven instantly making you forget that you were in downtown Manhattan. "Oh, wow." The table was laid out with breads, fruits, cheese and fresh salads with fat red pillar candles.

"I always needed an excuse to use the roof and I never found one until now." She turned behind her as Jon strolled up to the table with a bottle of wine in one hand and two glasses threaded between his fingers.

"This is Incredible. And were you watching me the whole time up here?"

He chuckled and popped the cork and poured two glasses. "The look on your face was priceless and besides, I thought I was about to get stood up." He handed her a glass and smiled.

"I know, god, I'm sorry. I had a disaster I had to sort and I completely forgot to text you. It was very rude." He moved closer, his dark jeans wrapped around his legs like a wrapper around delicious candy. His tight red tee showed off every part of his upper body perfectly. Mama. Her gaze fell to his lips as he brushed them lightly against hers.


He stepped back but she raised her palm to her cheek. "Wait." She stepped in and their lips met again, this time her tongue pushed into his mouth and she snuck a taste of him. "Better."

The surprise flickered in his eyes and he grinned. "Maybe we won't need food."

She laughed. "Man, is that a hot tub?" She asked spying one nestled in the corner that overlooked the city.

He winced. "Yeah it is. I barely use it truth be told." He wagged his finger at her and held his cheeky grin. "We could change that though." He brushed against her forehead and ushered her to the table. "Bathing suits optional of course."

"How did I know you would say that? Cheeky man."

"You know me. I'll convince you sooner or later to get naked with me."

"Yes, so you keep saying." She took a sip of her wine and slid into the chair that he pulled out for her at the table.

He sat opposite her and raked his hand through his hair. "So busy day huh? I've had a frustrating one." He rubbed his neck and reached for the platter piling her plate with various cheese, salad and fruits.

"How much do you think I eat?" She laughed as she took it from him. "And what's wrong with your neck?"

"Just a bit stiff and you'll love it. I got it delivered in from a local deli."

"I'll give it a rub after lunch if you want."

His eyes sparkled with anticipation as he bit into a grape.

"Your neck, that is." She corrected. "Jeeze."

"That would be great. Although I wouldn't complain if you wanted to venture anywhere else." He wiggled his eyebrows as he reached for a wedge of cheese and popped it into his mouth.

Devon cleared her throat. "Yes, I think we've established that." She piled some cheese and a grape onto a cracker and took a bite. "I have to say the view is pretty amazing."

"I'd agree with that." His eyes stayed focused on her. Would that stare ever become unnerving to her? Somehow she didn't ever think so.

She rolled her eyes as he laughed. "And I take it completely for granted."

"But let me guess it's because it’s the best?"

"Arrogant right?"

"A little, but nothing wrong with having the best. I know you give back in the communities as well."

"Oh yeah, you Goggled me. I'm clearly at a disadvantage. I can't Google you."

"No, I guess you can't." She picked up one of the napkins and brought it to her lips. Thank god. "You'll just have to work harder won't you?" Teasing him came a lot easier than she thought, god and what the hell was she doing? She didn't want to encourage him.

"Now that sounds like a challenge. One I've already accepted." He spread some pesto on his bread. "One I'll win too."

"I'm going to draft up my new group spa-day proposals tonight and do some cost analysis." Deferring the subject away from getting naked was a good idea. He called her bossy, sheesh he was just as pushy. Maybe they could rule the world together.

"Oh yeah? I can always take a look at them when you've done them in the next few days. I'm very good with numbers."

"Really?" She kept her business close to her chest and more so her finances. It wouldn't hurt for him to see the proposal though and it's not like she was being audited by the IRS. The relationship was shifting and quickly as well, it scared Devon to pieces because she felt a strong connection to Jon and he was someone who was so solid and trustworthy and he didn't play games. Well, besides his deliberate flirting but she was confident she could handle that.

 "Only if you want to but that would be good. You obviously know a lot about money and if it could get me closer to one of these." She gestured around her. "Then by all means."

"It's a date. You know where I live now so just stop by with it when you've got it ready and we can go through it."

She narrowed her eyes. "Why do I suspect that's an excuse to get me back in your apartment."

"Damn. You're learning how I operate far too easily Miss Devon. I need some new moves."

"And that's what I do. I'm a fast learner." Let's face it she always had to be. She had to admit he looked a lot more relaxed from when she first saw him in the salon. "Have you been keeping up your regime we agreed on?"

"So that's what you were doing. Checking me out huh?"

"That is my job. I don't ever want your skin to go back to the way it was when I saw it."

"Yes ma’am. I'm getting accustomed to having you boss me around." He winced as he leaned forward and his hand went to his neck.

She laid down her napkin and rested her glass down. "Alright you. Over there on the lounger now." She pointed as she stood up.

Jon perched on the end of the teak lounger. She straddled it from behind him and put her hands on his shoulders to loosen him up. "You are stiff."

"I didn't stretch after my run this morning. That's probably it."

"Naughty." Her fingers dug into the kinks in his neck and he groaned. "It'll hurt for a bit but just work with me. It'll get better."

He growled. "Thanks for the heads up." His knuckles went white around the edge of the seat as he took her massage until eventually as she anticipated he relaxed under her fingers until she finished. He exhaled and shook his shoulders out. "Holy shit, you're good."

"Not just a pretty face." She chuckled as he swivelled around to face her and her heart jack-hammed into her throat as his mouth was inches from hers. On instinct she pulled back but he chased her, gently pushing her down back into the recliner. Her hands slid up on his chest and her breath left her lungs in a rush as she tried to contain him.

The first kiss was light and teasing, with only the promise of his mouth. He flicked his tongue across her upper lip and his scent swam around her. He eased his tongue between her lips and a little moan escaped her as he tasted her slowly. His hand cupped the back of her neck giving him more access as he kissed her sensually. His taste, paired with the sweetness of grapes from their lunch took over her senses as she melted into the recliner. His body hovered over hers and she closed her eyes as his mouth left hers and slid down her neck.

Her nipples hardened as the sensation of him spread across her body and her toes curled. God, if they were naked she knew he'd be inside her. There was no doubt. He lowered his head and his mouth skimmed over the soft cotton of her top and her breast. Her chest pounded as he went even lower, his tongue swirled around her tip through her layers. She was crumbling. He bunched up her top revealing the skin of her belly as he dipped down. She shuddered as his teeth scraped over her bare skin. It was the most erotic moment in her life.

"Oh god. Jon." She whispered but it came out strangled. She was sinking but what was she thinking? She had appointments this afternoon so she couldn't do this now. Her fingers threaded through his hair as she fought pleasure with common sense. "Jon, I can't. Please."

He stopped, pulled her tee down, laid back up across her and brought his lips to hers but she pushed him back gently. "No, I have to go. Sorry. I'm just running late all day and I have to stay on top of the appointments this afternoon or we'll sink. I can't-I just can't." It was a lame excuse but he pushed himself back and up off the chair and held his hand out for her.

"Devon, you don't have to do this-"

But she held her hand up. "I do. I've got to go. I'm sorry. I really am and this was all wonderful. So wonderful." She was stuttering and she sounded like a right idiot. She knew she'd kick herself afterwards but least she'd be out of the apartment to do it and safe in her own world.

"Your coat is downstairs. I'll show you out." He led her downstairs, collected her coat and showed her to the door. She turned; he looked disappointed but was calm. She was being a complete coward and she knew it but she couldn't think. And not thinking was dangerous for her. Just go, get out of there.

"Call me later k?" He didn't even try to kiss her. Surely she'd blown it with him. Who in their right mind wanted a basket case like this?

"Ok. Thanks for lunch, truly." And she escaped into the elevator.

She tipped her head back against the wall, closed her eyes and fought for breath. Why was she so afraid of him? He was everything anyone else had never been to her. She was fiercely attracted to him and that's what scared her and he clearly was too. The uncertainty of what would happen if she gave in to all of that was just too risky. Or was it? Jon was so different. So solid. God, so fucking sexy but that was another issue completely. She banged her head back against the wall.


She could go back up there; try to explain but the adrenaline that was pumping through her would make her sound like a crazy person. She had to give them some space and really think this through. God be damned.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Chapter Thirteen: Maybe Baby

"Sonofabitch." Jon doubled over the kitchen counter as the burn radiated up his calves from the twelve miles he'd clocked up on the treadmill. It was one way he'd blasted away the hangover, not to mention the morning erection he'd been left with after leaving Devon on her steps last night. He reached for the fridge, grabbed a bottle of water, and popped off the cap and glugged it down. He should be awarded a medal for leaving her at her door last night. He'd been a little drunk but he could have easily sank into her for an hour or three. 

It was apparent to him that he didn't want to fuck this up. She was the first women in a long time that had got his attention and had held it. She had no motive from him and she didn't need him to further her career or some other kind of gain. He'd been the one happy to help her out with his mother's business because she was an honest woman trying to make an honest living. She was dynamic, clearly a good leader in her salon and she had a sweet, caring side that made him want to be around her.

Devon was real and that's where he'd gone so wrong before. Everything he had and she didn’t, he wanted to share with her. And that wasn't him. He was a selfish prat at the best of times but she was different. He had an urge to show her things he knew she hadn't seen before. It was dangerous as he'd only known her for the best part of a week and he could be completely wrong about her. 

He was falling for her and he didn't fall under a woman's spell so easily.

She’d warmed to Patti and Bruce instantly, they were easy people to get along with but so was she. The mystery still remained of her background but she'd slowly been drip feeding him little things that kept him intrigued. He knew all about trust and he was going to have to win her trust if he wanted to know more about her.

He checked his watch. It was a little after eight and he needed coffee if he was going to function through the long list of things on his plate today. He grinned and jogged into the bathroom, had a quick shower and dressed. He knew just where to get it.

He tucked his keys and wallet into his pocket, grabbed his phone, sunglasses and left the apartment. The salon was deserted but the lights were on. He nudged the door open and the smell of something spicy hit him, one of those fancy oils she burned. "Devon?"

"Coming! Sorry, I'm not usually open at this time-" She stopped as she came out the back and folded her arms and smiled. "You, huh?" Her hair was pushed back with a thin black band and she was wearing a deep blue V-neck top on top of her normal knee length skirt.

"You look better than that I feel." 

She laughed and her cute cheek dimples deepened. "That's called whiskey. So what can I do you for?"

He took a few steps towards her and drew her into him. "That's a dangerous question. You know what I want." His gaze fell to her lips. She'd coated them again with candy-pink gloss which was paired with her scent. He leaned in and her eyes fluttered closed as he pressed his lips against hers and then pulled away. "Coffee."

Her eyes flew open and she nodded. "Right. Coffee. Sure." She disappeared behind the coffee counter. He slid onto a stool while she cranked the machine into action. Throwing her off her little axis was never going to get old.

"Busy day ahead?"

"Yes, I've got a pile of appointments to get through today and Kelly has the afternoon off. Creamer?"

He shook his head. "No, just black today." 

"Have you eaten?" She asked as she pulled down a mug.

He snorted. "No, have you?"

She shot him a glance. "No. I haven't. We're just as bad as each other then." 

"I did work out."

"You did? Christ! How in the hell did you even think of that this morning? I could barely function to get to the shower let alone exercise."

He laughed. "Old habit. I usually try and run off a hangover.” Or have sex. “Works for me on tour."

She slid his coffee towards him over the counter and then made herself one. "I don't know how you think of that. All I want to do is tuck into a big plate of carbs."

He took a sniff of his coffee and he swore the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. "Jesus, the rocket fuel this morning is it?" He tasted it. Shit, it sure had a kick.

"Yup-my hangover cure. Special blend." She winked.

"I've got a busy day ahead and I want to see the kids tonight. I have some band business tomorrow night but I was thinking we should do lunch tomorrow." 

"Sure. I could do lunch. I'm way behind too since someone's dragged me out for two nights this week."

"You better get used to that."

"Maybe." She slid into the chair opposite him with her cup. "So where did you want to meet?"

"You're coming to my place." 

Her gaze dropped and she shifted uneasily. "Oh? Your place huh?"

"Yup, it's a surprise. Trust me." He had planned to take her to one of his favourite little Italian restaurants but he'd just had an even better idea. 

"Ok, what time?"

"Twelve. I'm at one fifty-eight Mercer, I'll tell Ralph our doorman to expect you."

"I really had a good time last night Jon. Bruce and Patti were wonderful people, totally not what I expected." She was sincere and he loved that about her most of all.

"Well I told you, expect the unexpected with me. I'm an ordinary guy just doing his job but I have a few things up my sleeve you won't expect."  He grinned as she leaned forward. Her eyes sparkled deep blue and almost matched her top. "How in god's name do you look so good this early?"

"Years of practice and it’s called a shower." Her finger traced down his jaw over the fine stubble he was sporting. She winked as she lifted her cup to her mouth to hide the smile.

"Well hello children!" Jon turned as Jonathan bustled through the doorway bundled in a black woollen coat and scarf carrying paper bags. 

"You're early." Devon said checking her watch. 

"I know, I know. I thought I'd get ahead. Have you seen the bookings this week? Insanity. Oh, forgive me. I’m Jonathan and you must be Jon." He held his hand out and Jon shook it. "I've heard a lot about you." 

Jon chuckled. "Well thanks, pleased to meet you."

"So have you kids eaten? I've got plenty and I'm sure you've worked up an appetite after-"

"Jonathan!" Devon hissed. Jon half laughed as her cheeks flushed a deep pink.

"Oh, sorry!" Jonathan covered his mouth and dropped the bags. "Ok, I need to get started. I'll leave you guys to it. Don't do anything I wouldn't do. See you soon Jon." And he disappeared out the back.

"Is he?"

Devon shook her head. "Nope. Straight as they come. He's a lovely man though. I don't know what I'd do without him."

Jon picked up his spoon and stirred his coffee. "I hear you on that one." He felt the same way about Richie. Most times Jon was stubborn and determined enough to do everything on his own but now and again a little light-bulb would go off that he didn't have to do it alone. Richie was one of those light bulbs.  He wondered how close Jonathan and Devon were since they had an ease around each other. Maybe he knew more about Devon the person. He couldn't fault it as he wasn't exactly forthcoming about to people he barely knew either.

"So I can't tempt you for a quick massage or facial before I start my day?" Her eyelashes fluttered as the cheeky grin spread across her face. "I can give you discount. I know the owner."

He’d have loved her hands all over him but he didn’t trust himself to stop this time. "I haven't really got time but I'll take a rain check on the massage. You can see me to the door." Devon poured the rest of his coffee into one of the black paper takeaway cups for him and fastened it with a lid.

She scooted around the counter and walked him to the door. His arm slid around her waist as he drew her in. "Do you have your lip gloss at work?"

She frowned. "Yes, why?"

"Good. You'll need to reapply it." He smirked and leaned in. His lips skimmed up her chin and met her lips in a slow kiss. Her fingers wound up around his neck and into the hair at on the nape of his neck. He swallowed her little moan and his mouth moved over her jaw below the sensitive skin beneath her ear. "Have a good day, don't work too hard and I'll see you tomorrow at twelve. Don't be late." His hand drifted down her back and slid over her ass. He gave it a quick squeeze before he stepped back and out the door.


It was impossible to think of anything but that man's lips at times she thought as he disappeared out the door and into the day. God, she'd woke up feeling finally grounded again and now her head was again in a spin.  It wasn't a question of whether she'd give in, it was when. How did she go from a strong resolve to not get involved with this man to now making plans with him, wanting to sleep with him and having him fall for her? Holy crap.

"So how's lover boy?" 

"Jesus, Jonathan!"

"Well? How was he?"

She watched him disappear around the corner and then stepped back. "He was fine. We had a lovely night." She walked back across to the reception area hiding her grin as Jonathan chased after her.

"Oh c'mon on! That can't be it. Where did you go? Did you stay at his place?"

"So many questions." She too had many questions, but they were mainly for herself. 

"Don't deprive me. You know my life is boring."

Devon laughed. "I'll be sure to tell Toni that next time I see her." 

"You know what I mean. I'm certainly not getting taken out by any famous rock-stars." He scooted around the counter to join her. "Tell me."

"Well he took me to his friend’s place that happened to be Bruce Springsteen and they were really lovely people." 

"OK, now I am jealous. I've seen that guy about five times in concert."

"He and Patti are really nice people. It was a lovely evening."

"Okay, you've said lovely twice now. What about afterwards? How was Mr Rock God at other things? Did he know where to strum if you know what I mean?" Jonathan winked and elbowed her.

"Jonathan! Not that it's any of your business but no, he didn't stay the night “He wanted--I mean I wanted--" She covered her face as she felt Jon’s warm breath down her neck promising her she would cum over and over. Sweet Jesus, recompose yourself. "He was a gentleman."

"Okay. What's really going on?"

She bit her lip. "He's just so-god I don't know if I should do this." Jonathan gave her a sympathetic look and put his arm around her shoulders.

"Sleep with him or go out with him?"

"Both. He's a wonderful man Jonathan but that's just part of him. I'm not sure I can handle the rest of him."

Jonathan nodded and slid onto the stool behind the reception area. "Dev, honey. I know we've always been close and I've always supported you in anything you want to do. But I've got to say that these last few days, even though you've looked like you've wanted to throw up..." He tucked a strand of her hair back behind her ear. "You've looked happy. And I was beginning to worry about you. Honestly. You're sexy, young and a wonderfully warm person."

"Jonathan, really I'm not-"

"Hush. Now what I'm trying to say is that you need a life. I know you've got all of this and you've got all of us. But you need a life, and you need love."

"Love? I'm not in love with him."

"No, and you may never be. But you'll never know if you don't take the chance."

Jonathan was right. But it still wasn't that simple. Could she really leave behind everything in the past and finally truly move on? Or was she going to punish herself for all eternity. She'd dated a few times while she'd been here and she had to admit that no one had even come close to the way Jon stirred her. They say that love is a risk, and this was a big risk as it wasn't just about her heart on the line this time. It was everything. 

She fussed with the vase of lilacs on the reception counter and sighed. "I know you're right. But I'm going to do this at my pace." She had all the best intentions in the world at keeping Jon at a distance but after last night she knew that would only work for so long. "Now, enough. We've got work to do."

Jonathan grinned and kissed the top of her head. "Yes we have. But remember, I'm here for you and just follow your heart for once. Not your head." 

"Thanks." She chuckled. That in itself would be a feat if she could do it but maybe she just had to try. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chapter Twelve: We're Having a Party

"I'm telling you, its dangerous letting me cook. You like charcoal burgers, right?" Devon flipped a burger over on the grill and reached for her wine glass. She was possibly the worst cook she knew. She never had the knack or the urge to cook at home and she pretty useless when she did. They were set up nicely on the deck with two bottles of wine on ice and she was in an apron assisting Patti cook dinner. Bruce and Jon had disappeared to look at something in Bruce's studio and would join them soon. Patti was right though, watching them both talk about music had been fascinating and when they got going the girls may as well not have been in the room.

"Relax. Anyone can cook a burger you're doing fine Darlin'." She arranged the salads and plates onto the large oak table that stretched out under the deck. The sun's orange and red bands had melted into the river which left a dusky spring haze hanging in the air making it a perfect night for alfresco dining.

"This is really beautiful. You guys have such a wonderful home."

Patti smiled. "Aw thanks Darlin, I like it too and you're always welcome here, Devon."

She was serious and Devon didn't know if she deserved the warmth that she was giving her. She'd only just met the woman but she and Bruce had both made it easy to make you love them instantly. "Thank you. I hope, well Jon and I-" She bit her lip nervously.

Patti smiled warmly. "You're good for him you know."

Devon raised her brow. "Excuse me? I mean, how? We've only-"

"I can tell." Patti interrupted you’ve got a calm energy about you and Jon needs someone like that."

"Well thanks." I certainly don't feel calm when I'm around him. "Did you know his wife?"

Patti nodded and tossed one of the salads. "Yes, I did. She is a nice woman and she was very strong minded. A little like Jon. They just were too strong minded for each other but their kids are awesome. You'll get to meet them one day if you haven't already."

"Oh I don't know about that, we've only started to see each other. He's not thinking about that."

"You don't see the way he looks at you? Looks for you the minute he walks into the room?" Patti didn't hide the knowing smile as she dusted off her hands. "There I think we're almost ready. How's the meat looking?"

Devon didn't move. How did he look at her? His stare was completely something else but how could he even look at her that way? It had been three dates. "Uh yeah-oh crap!" She quickly flipped the burgers as they started to smoke or they really would end up as char grill.

Patti bustled in. "Here, let me. You have another sip of wine and then can you lay the plates out for me. Sorry, I didn't mean to get you flustered."

Devon brought her hands to her cheeks and took a deep breath. "You didn't. God, you must think I'm an idiot. I do really like Jon but he's so different and really intense. I just don't know if I'm ready for that."

Patti chased the meat around the grill with her tongs and piled it onto a plate. "The fame thing? Or have had a bad experience in the past? It's not my business and I'd never ask you as that would be rude. But I can tell you, Jon is a good man and he takes what he wants very seriously. He won't hurt you."

It's not him I'm worried about.

She downed her glass and topped it up again. Patti was sweet and honestly she'd probably understand where Devon had come from but she wasn't going there. She couldn't. "I know. I just need to relax and enjoy Jon and not over-analyse it. I tend to do that a lot."

"That a girl. Right, you want to call in the men or should I?" Patti asked over her shoulder.

"No need." The voice from behind startled her and Devon squealed as an arm snaked around her from behind. Warm breath tickled down the column of her neck that made her toes curl. "We're back." She clutched his hand at her belly and he swayed her lifting her momentarily off her feet.

"How much whiskey you have had?"

"Just one, maybe two. Mmm." His nose pressed into her neck. "You smell so sweet." Patti had gone back inside to collect Bruce so she wriggled around in Jon's embrace. His face was relaxed and his eyes sparkled with something she wanted to taste.

"Jon." Her palms slid up his chest as she melted into him. Their teeth clicked and they met in a slow burning kiss. "Thank you for bringing me here." It meant a lot to her being somewhere with two incredible people that were his friends. She felt right at home and didn't realize how much she'd missed company like this.

"Right kids... Dinners up. I should probably separate you two. This one's hard to control when he's a horn dog." Bruce wiggled his eyebrows as he elbowed Jon in the ribs.

Devon burst out laughing as Jon wound his arms tighter around her. "Jon. Jesus maybe you don't need any wine."

"He may not but you might, we've decided what you're singing for us later pretty girl." Bruce slid into his chair at the table.

"You didn't! I can't sing!" Jon pulled away from her and laughed as her eyes widened in horror.

"Jonny and are all ready to go on chords for you."

"Well, that's fine." She winked at Patti. "But if I have to sing you should have to do something for me."

"Oh there it is!" Bruce clapped his hands together. "Watch this one Jonny. She's all sweet and innocent but underneath she's a hard woman. Alright, I can strike a deal but I'm not having one of those fancy pants treatment deals."

Devon laughed. "I wouldn't make you do that, although I do cater for all types. It's not just women you know, I could take years off you."

Bruce rested his hands on his hips and shock registered on his face. "You calling me old?"

"Behave." Patti playfully hit his arm. "Don't pay any attention to him and this is why we don't drink much."

"God, no that's not what I meant-you're I mean-" She pursed her lips and paused when she realized she was being played. "That's not nice."

He shrugged. "I'm not a nice guy. Now come, sit down and we can all eat."

Devon slid into the seat next to Jon and flattened her napkin out on her lap. "What?" The smirk hadn't disappeared from his face in over two minutes and she was beginning to get worried.

Jon poured himself a glass of wine and raised his eyebrows. "Oh, just that I bring you out to my friends and you're already causing all sorts of problems."

She narrowed her eyes and picked up her wine glass. "I get the distinct feeling I'm being picked on here. It's alright, you'll keep."

"You're definitely not getting laid tonight Jonny B."

"Bruce!" Patti warned but it was too late, her cheeks burned as the table burst into laughter.

"Ignore my husband."

"It's fine really." She smiled as Jon topped her glass up and leaned in and his lips brushed her cheek. "Are you trying to get me drunk?"

"No doubt about it and I knew you'd like them."

"So Devon, from New Zealand. What do you think about living in America? Is it any different than back home?" Bruce asked as he rested his arms on table as they passed around the bowls of salad and platters of meat.

"Well yes and no. We're pretty Americanized at home but things are just on a much bigger scale here. Everything's bigger, faster, and maybe in the beauty is lost that way but I still think there is a lot of beauty in New York City."

"Well said. Do you ever think you'll go back?"

Devon shifted in her seat and cleared her throat. "Sure, maybe one day but right now I'm pretty comfortable here and the clinic is doing well. I'm very lucky and have many more ideas to expand the business, thanks to Jon."

"She's going to give me the grand tour one day and you're right. New York is a little like Los Angeles, you really have one shot to make it and if you play your cards right it could just be everything you ever dreamed."

Devon wished it was that simple that Jon and her could wind up back in New Zealand. She would have loved nothing more than to take him around where she grew up and out around the Canterbury plains and surrounding areas the countryside was phenomenal. That wasn't her reality though. Could Jon really be her new one? She was starting to hope so.

"Well said Jonny B. Time for a toast." Bruce raised his glass and shushed everyone. “To friends, old and new." He threw a wink Devon's way. "And may Devon find the strength to put up with Jon as I haven't found a woman yet that has."

"Amen." Jon chimed in as he clicked glasses with him. He took a sip and then pointed at him. "Maybe it's actually my friends they don't like." Another round of laughter filled the air.

"So how long have you known each other?" Devon asked.

Jon leaned back and raked his hand through his hair. "Jeeze, god I was about sixteen when I used to watch Bruce perform with Southside Jonny at Asbury Park and then we used to run into each other down at the Fast lane a few years later."

"And I tell you what Devon, he was every much a pain in the ass back then as he is now. But we did let him up on stage a few times and he got the taste for it. The rest I guess is history."

Devon laughed and watched as old friends did what old friends did the best, teased the holy hell out of each other. She'd missed this, just kicking back with people and talking about life and relaxing.


After dinner she helped Patti clear away the dishes and then they all sat out on the deck in the balmy wind with a hint that summer was on its way. Rustic pillar candles on wrought iron candle holders flickered around them as wine bottle after wine bottle melted away. Crickets chirped over the river along with the buzz of laughter and chatter from the deck.

"C'mere." Jon patted his knee as she walked back out onto the deck.

She narrowed her eyes and nodded towards his glass. "Whiskey huh?" His eyes were soft and glassy and his lopsided grin, devastatingly cute. She slid onto his knee and his arm snaked around her waist to cinch her in.

"Taste me and find out."

She leaned forward and their mouths met. The dark flavour of whiskey stung her lips as his tongue slipped in and tasted her. She moaned and slid her hand up around his neck.

"Hey none of that now kids, we're just getting started. You can do that when you go home but now-" He patted the black acoustic guitar that was slung over him. "We sing."

Devon buried her face in Jon's shoulders. "Oh god, he's not serious."

"Devon my little cupcake. It's a rite of passage. Anyone new in my house has to sing. C'mon, anyone can sing better than us right now." Bruce stood there defiant and she wanted to die.

She sat up and shook her head. "I can't sing. Seriously."

"Nonsense. Everyone can sing." He strummed a couple of times. "You'll know this one.”

Tonight you're mine completely
You give you love so sweetly

"C'mon you know this one."

Tonight the light of love is in your eyes
But will you love me tomorrow?

"I don't know it." She rolled her teeth over her lip. Holy god no.

"Liar, now come and stand here, and now imagine this is the stage and this is your audience." Bruce spread his arms out wide to indicate the "stage" or what was the front of the deck.

"Oh dear god." She didn't have a moment more to think about it as he leaned forward and pulled her up off Jon's lap. It may as well been a stage of fifty thousand people with the amount of nerves bubbling inside her. Jon laughed and clapped his hands together clearly not about to come to her rescue.

She picked up her wine and downed the rest. Call it liquid courage but she pointed at Bruce and then Jon.

"He's right, you're not getting laid after this."

Bruce bellowed and Patti giggled. His strong arm came around her shoulders and he squeezed tightly. "Oh, I definitely like you."

"Well are we doing this thing or what?" She rested her hands on her hips.

Bruce grinned broadly. "You betcha. Okay, one, two and a three..."

She took a deep breath and shot Jon a look. Well here goes nothing.

Is this a lasting treasure
Or just a moment's pleasure?
Can I believe the magic of your sighs?
Will you still love me tomorrow?

"Yes!" Patti and Jon clapped as her and Bruce managed the verse. Holy crap, the fact she was singing for start but singing with the boss, but she soon forgot about that as Patti and Jon joined in for the rest.

Tonight with words unspoken
You say that I'm the only one
But will my heart be broken
When the night meets the morning sun?

I'd like to know that your love
Is love I can be sure of
So tell me now, and I won't ask again
Will you still love me tomorrow?

She blew out her breath and brought her hand to her chest as the song ended. She had to admit she hadn't had this much fun in a long time. "Oh my god." She laughed as Jon poured them all fresh glasses of wine.

"Welcome to the club. See you can sing and the night has only just begun." Like the true Jersey Devil he was Bruce lined up the next song with Jon and the girls watched them take on Elvis and then the Beatles. It was surreal but it was so much fun.

It was three am when the town car rolled back up to her building in Soho. Jon took her hand and kissed it.

"I'll see you to the door."

"Are you sure? You're drunk." She giggled as he rolled his head back against the seat.

"Yup but so are you baby." He leaned in and cupped the back of her head and dragged her in for a fierce kiss. She was drunk and god knows how she was going to drag her ass down to work tomorrow by seven. Jonathan wasn't opening tomorrow either, she was! He took her hand out of the car and they both stumbled to her door. She fumbled for her keys reaching into her purse and paused. "I had a really fun night Jon."

He grinned. "I know, I loved how well you got on with my friends." He rested a hand at each side of her head against the door and his forehead on hers. "So,is this goodnight or am I telling the driver to drive away?"

Her eyes met his and her heart pounded hard in her chest. She wanted him. There was no doubt in her mind that she wanted him and his hands all over her. The intensity of his kiss and the way he was with her scared her what that sex with him would actually do to her. But what was worse was she knew once she did. It would be bloody hard to go back.

She ran the pad of her finger over his lips and smiled. "I want you to come in, I do."


She sighed. "God Jon, I've never met anyone like you and I'm having so much fun with you and I want-" She sucked at this and she knew it.

"Shh, it's ok." He pressed his thumb against her lips and leaned in. "its ok Dev. I'll wait. I'm telling you though it won't be for long as I want you but I'll wait." His lips barely brushed against hers. "I didn't expect to like you so much. But I do."

"Gee thanks."

Warmth melted in his gaze. "You know what I mean. I don't fall for women easily, hell at all."

She swallowed. He was falling for her? Sweet baby Jesus. "I know, and I don't either. Men that is." She quickly corrected.

His fingers slid around her neck. "I would love nothing than to come in with you right now and taste every inch of your skin." The tips of his fingers tangled in the ends of her hair. "Spend the entire night making you cum." He flicked at the end of her hair and whispered. "Again and again."

Her toes curled and her belly bottomed out. She was seconds away from giving in to him. His hot breath buzzed against her skin and the weight of him against her was making it difficult to say no.
"But I'm going to go this time. Sweet dreams, Devon." His lips crashed on hers and her back pressed against the door. She took a taste of what could be as her hand slid down his chest and she clutched his shirt in her hand. He groaned into her mouth and his hand softly cupped her breast.

Oh god, oh god. He pulled back, grinned and turned towards the car. She found her keys and unlocked the door and quickly closed it behind her. She leaned back, safe in her stairwell and slid down the wall until her heart steadied. Holy crap. She was in serious trouble.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Chapter Eleven: A Little Of That Human Touch

Here I go again. I said I wouldn't but I am. I have no idea what I've got myself into and who we're about spend the evening with. I want to meet Jon's friends I do, I just don't know how far this can really go.

I must be freaking crazy to keep seeing this man. He's a little like a drug--well his kisses certainly are. Jonathan thinks I'm falling for our resident rock star. He might be right but in all honesty I'm just loving being with someone. I haven't thought about how much I've missed hugging someone and hugging them so hard you never want to let go. And the kissing, how can one little thing in life make you feel like a million bucks?

Jon does. God, I feel like I could fall for him. Even if it’s completely out of the question the reality is I've missed having that someone. Someone you can laugh with, someone you can cry with. I don't even know Jon that well which is the ridiculous thing but I feel like we could talk for hours. If I could actually open up to him but then I doubt he'd want me in his life if he knew the truth.

What if he asks me to go home with him afterwards? Oh God. I won't lie. I want to. I haven't had sex in how long? And god even then it wasn't like this.

Devon had kept a journal since she'd opened the salon. At first she'd used the back sleeve to keep a rough scorecard of how much money she had in her box until one night she started to write her thoughts in it. It was hard coming from another place and what felt like another time without being able to talk to anyone about it. That’s how she started her journal. Back home she used to talk with everyone and shared all she had in her own little world. She still very much loved people and that was how she had become a confident for many of her salon staff when they needed to talk to her.

The reality was that it took the edge off the void in her own life while she adjusted to all this. Now, there was no looking back.

It was almost seven when Jon was scheduled to pick her up so she spent the last few minutes on last minute touches. She turned in the mirror to show off the spaghetti strapped lavender sundress that fell just below her knees. The empire waistline gave her height and length in her legs complimented with mid-heel strappy white sandals. She dabbed on perfume between her breasts and behind her ears. She shook her hair out so it fell loose around her ears and the white and silver bangles jingled on her arm.

She grabbed her keys and purse and headed down to meet Jon. She'd be lying if she said she wasn't excited to be seeing him again so soon as this whole week had been surreal. Jon was waiting standing outside his town car. He had on a well-worn pair of jeans, boots and a tight fitted grey ribbed tee under a leather jacket. He looked casual but delicious.

He wiggled his eyebrows under his aviator sunglasses. "Right on time." He grinned as his gaze ran over her. "You look amazing." He held the car door open for her but cupped her elbow as she was about to duck into the car. "Hey." His hot breath lingered on her skin as the pad of his thumb trailed down her cheek. He leaned in and held her gaze as his lips pressed against hers before he stood back again.

She slid - no more like crumbled into the backseat and was soon joined by him. The spicy scent of him swirled around her as the taste of him still burned on her lips. He picked up her hand in his and rested it on his knee as they drove out of the city.

"So where exactly are we going?" She blew out her breath in an effort to settle her nerves.

"An old neighbour of mine. He's just down the road from my other house, we do this regularly. He took pity on me when I got divorced but they're great people. You're going to love them."

"You have another house?" Okay, he was a rock star and a really rich one but she was surprised he'd needed another one.

"Yeah out in Redbank, I mainly use it when the kids come to stay. It's nice having them out of the city and my studio is on the grounds. I've put so much work into the place I just couldn't bring myself to sell it when we got the divorce and Dot didn't want to stay there."

She nodded. Kids. It was easy to forget with all the razzle and dazzle of Jon that he was also a father of four children who he very much loved. It was a side of him that she couldn't even begin to imagine or let alone maybe even get to see. "Wow, well why don't you just live there instead of Soho?"

He winced and then chuckled. "You think it's pretentious don't you? It's going to sound ridiculous but I don't like being alone there. It's a huge house. It should be filled with people, not just me."

"It's a little pretentious yes, but I understand." She glanced in his direction as she half-grinned.

"I haven't even told you about the custom-made English pub it has."

She snorted. "Of course it does. So, when do I get to see all this?" She was surprised she wanted to but it clearly meant a lot to Jon if he had kept it all this time.

"You will." He said smugly as the rounded the Navesink river tree lined road. She hadn't had a lot of exposure to New Jersey but she knew a lot of towns were older industrial towns but where they were was definitely not. This was high-end Jersey. She smiled as the sun filtered through the leafy canopies onto the road. The riverbanks were flanked with lush rolling grassy banks and it really did remind her of home.

"This is very similar driving out in rural New Zealand."

"Yeah?" His head rolled back on the seat. "I haven't been able to really look around New Zealand since the eighties. We really don't spend a lot of time there. Maybe one day you'll have to take me there."

Her heart banged in her chest. "Maybe, it's beautiful." She played along. Hell, this was their third date. He's just making small talk Devon.

Around a further bend in the road they pulled up to a modest stone gated home on a decent chunk of land. "It's a farm?"

"They have horses, yes." Jon pushed up his sunglasses and grinned.

"Really? We had horses at home. Gosh, I can't remember the last time I rode one."

"Cowgirl huh?"

She elbowed him as his lopsided grin spread across his face. "You men are all the same huh?"

"Pretty much. We're here." The rolled up the windy driveway to the main house. There were other smaller buildings dotted around the large homestead. Maybe they too had a bar and a studio too? Obviously Jon's friends wouldn't be short of a few bob. She stepped out and immediately the fresh air hit her in the lungs. She'd forgotten what it felt like after spending so much time in the city. God, the smell of the trees and fresh cut grass was divine. Her parents had owned a block of land where she grew up in the little North Canterbury town of Amberley and this is exactly what it reminded her of. Endless summer nights playing outdoors until the sun disappeared and the temperature dropped. Life seemed so simple back then.

"Amazing huh? God, I wonder why I live in the city each time I come back out here." Jon stretched and rested his hand on the small of her back as the town car rolled away again. "I live a couple of miles down the road."

"Wow. It is really beautiful out here." She turned as a figure emerged from the stables. He was tall and lanky with dark hair, dressed in a red and white check shirt tucked into jeans with a huge buckle that glinted in the sun.

"Jonny B! About time!"

"Hey Bruce." The man made his way over to him with a huge grin and they embraced.

Devon's eyes widened as he came into view. It wasn't just any Bruce, it was Bruce Springsteen. Of course he was friends with Bruce Springsteen. Holy crap.

"And you must be Devon, well aren’t you pretty? I'm Bruce and we're very happy to have you. Jonny finally brought home a woman!"

"Gee, thanks Dad."

Her cheeks flushed as she shook his hand and smiled. "I had no idea...I mean, it's lovely to meet you." Okay so it was a little surreal but the welcoming grin and the way the lines softened on his face relaxed her instantly.

"Wow, your accent is cute. Listen come inside, Patti's out on the deck with the grill she's going to be thrilled to have some company." He thumbed in Jon's direction. "Usually this one just shows up alone. We've been pestering him to bring someone for months and well, hell. You're sure a beauty so come on inside we'll get you all cosy."

They followed Bruce into the main homestead and Jon shot a wink at her. "Surprised?"

"Are you kidding me? This guy is a legend. I figured you'd know him but not, well know him."

"They're two of the kindest people I know. You're going to love them. Very down to earth."

She could tell that already. They were shown inside and the smell of grilled beef greeted them as they walked through the house. The inside was gorgeous, polished wood panelling stretched from floor to ceiling and over-sized leather chairs dotted around a huge stone fire place in the centre of the living room. A couple of guitars were mounted to the walls in the hallway along with framed records. Double doors spilled open onto decking which over looked the river where the sun was starting to set. Wow, never in her life had she seen such beauty.

"Well hello there! Jon, so good to see you again." A woman with lush red hair that spilled out around her shoulders came in from the deck. Her jeans were paired with a black loose silky top and a couple of silver chains swung around her neck. "You must be Devon. Welcome to our home, I'm Patti." Jasmine and sweet musk enveloped her as Patti embraced her. "Make yourself at home and just ignore the men. You'll see."

"It's nice to be here Patti."

"Well if that isn't the cutest accent. C'mon we'll go and get some wine and leave these guys to talk business, get it all out of their system and then you can help me grill these burgers."

Devon handed her coat and purse to Jon as Patti was already leading her out to the kitchen.

"You'll be alright?" Jon asked her with a grin.

She laughed. "I'm fine, guess I better go and get that wine."

Jon pressed his lips against the side of her head. "Don't believe anything she tells you."

"You sing Dev?" Bruce asked

"What? God--no I don't." She stuttered horrified.

Bruce chuckled. "You will. Especially after the whiskey."

"Whiskey? What?" Patti already had Devon's arm and was tugging her into the kitchen.

"Ignore Bruce. Of course you won't be able after they open that whiskey after dinner. So I'll warn you now. You'll be singing."

"Um, I don't know if you want that, I so can't sing and I can't in front--" Dear god she was so not going to sing.

"Of three singers? Relax. We all sound the same after a few, Trust me Darlin'."

Good lord, this was going to be insane but she didn't feel threatened, they were very welcoming people. She had no idea that it would just be the four of them either as she assumed it would be a group of Jon's friends but frankly she was a little relieved it was just them. Whew.


Jon shook his head and laughed as Bruce opened the liquor cabinet behind his bar and pulled out a bottle of Johnny Walker. "I thought you didn't drink much anymore?"

"C'mon those girls will be in that kitchen for ages gossiping. You know my wife so you won't see your wine for at least thirty minutes. So, shall I hit you?" Bruce asked lifting the Johnny Walker up.

"Why not." He shrugged off his coat and laid it down with Devon's.

"Besides it's a celebration as Jonny B's finally got a girl." Bruce slid a glass over the counter. "She's sweet."

Jon took a sip of whiskey and let it burn down to his belly as the sound of cheeky females chortled from the kitchen. "She is. She's different."

"Well I'm pleased, you deserved to find someone. And she must be special if you sat through those fancy beauty treatments for her."

Jon laughed and lowered himself into one of Bruce’s over-sized leather chairs. “Yeah-I guess you wouldn’t be caught dead in there huh?”

“Nope. It’s good to see you with someone. I know you don’t think you need anyone since Dorothea but I know you do. Everyone does at some point.”

“Well I never said I didn’t like women. I just got sick of the whole drama that went with dating. It sounds arrogant but it’s not easy dating when you’re us. Not that you have needed to worry about that for a while now. You guys are solid.” You could joke about the rock star lifestyle all you wanted about always getting the girl but the reality was you didn't always get the right one as too many people wanted a piece of the lifestyle and not you.

Bruce sat back and rested his glass on his belly. "You've got a good point. So, is she keeping you warm at a night?"

Jon snorted. "You're such a shit. And as a matter of fact no. I'm taking things slow before I fuck them up again." He took another sip of his whiskey and laughed. He and Bruce went way back and apart from Richie he'd always been a good man to kick back and have a few laughs with. They shared a lot of the same social views so they'd had always had a lot to talk about and Bruce and Patti were so mellow and like him stayed away from the booze and drugs lifestyle of the industry. "Are you getting on board for Obama's stomps?"

Bruce nodded. "Absolutely. This time we're getting the right man in power."

"Amen to that. I hope to be involved in between the writing that the band."

Bruce raised an eyebrow. "That time again huh?" He crossed his arms and smiled smugly. "Knew you wouldn't last that much longer."

"Richie's flying in the day after tomorrow to talk about it but I know he's already to going to bring a notebook full of ideas."

"Well tell Richie to call in, hell bring him here yourself if you get time. We'd love to see him again, it's been awhile."

"I will. He's doing really well and he'd be happy to see you." Jon smiled as Patti's laugh floated in from the kitchen.

"Least you know that they're not talking about you in the sack." Bruce quipped.

Jon rolled his eyes. "Devon wouldn't kiss and tell anyway. She's-" He paused and rested his thumb on his chin. "Classy." He teased.

"You don't know my wife, she could get the pope to spill his secrets. She’s got quite the way."

Jon wondered if Patti would be better at getting Devon to open up about herself. He'd never been as conscious before knowing that Devon knew more about him that he did her. He had to figure she had some trust issues and he didn't have any problems with that as he valued trust and loyalty more than most. But why did he have to know more about her? Christ, he was almost craving it.

Whatever it was, Devon had certainly brought something into his life that he didn't have before in dating and that was mystery. On one hand he liked it but on the other the control freak in him wanted to know everything about her. He could wait. He was enjoying courting her and when he was with her he was always looking for the next excuse to take her out.

"One more?" Bruce asked as Jon rested his glass on the table.

Jon glanced over to the kitchen, smiled and nodded. "Why not."

Will you share her secret?