Title: Insider (Exodus End #1)
Author: Olivia Cunning
Release Date: June 30, 2015
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Toni wants to be an insider.
Logan just wants inside her.
She’s finally ready to rock...
Toni Nichols set aside her dreams to raise her little sister, but now she's reaching for the stars as the creator of a revolutionary interactive biography about Exodus End. She’s on tour with the rock band to immerse herself in their world, but how will she ever gain the trust of four veteran superstars who've been burned by the media before? Nobody said this was going to be easy. Then again, good things can come in hard packages.
He's always ready to roll…
Adrenaline junkie Logan Schmidt lives for the rush of playing his bass guitar before thousands of screaming fans. When he's not performing onstage or in the bedroom, he's looking for his next thrill in extreme sports. So why does a sweet, innocent journalist get his heart pumping and capture his full attention? Is Toni the real deal or just digging up dirt on his band? Logan’s eager to rock Toni’s world and roll her in the sack, but when she starts to get too close to his heart, she takes her insider look to a place he may never be willing to go.
“Have a seat, Toni,” Dare offered. He stood and took a gym bag from her hand. He set it on the floor next to the spot he’d vacated, making it clear that Toni should sit next to Logan on the sofa. Logan loved the guy. Such a thoughtful son of a bitch. Toni’s dark eyes, hidden behind a pair of thick-rimmed glasses, scanned the interior of the bus as if searching for refuge. Apparently the seat next to Logan was not it. Dare plopped himself down in the only available recliner and extended the leg rest, as if he had no intention of moving for the night.
“Th-thanks,” Toni said, pushing her glasses up her nose with one trembling hand.
Logan wasn’t sure what she was so nervous about all of a sudden. She’d seemed perfectly at ease when they’d been interacting with their fans. Perhaps she’d taken his comment about a lamb in a den of wolves to heart. He’d only been teasing, but he found her skittishness endearing in a world where most women threw all inhibitions to the wind when in the presence of any member of his band, much less all four of them.
The bus rumbled as it rolled forward. They were on the road again. Toni’s hands flew out as the unexpected movement threw her off balance.
She plopped down beside Logan, perching on the edge of a cushion as if the sofa’s back was made of shards of glass. Logan was pretty sure she was looking for the emergency exit. Her gaze settled on Butch, who was standing next to their driver and running over a strict schedule detailing how to get them to their next show in time while making a promotional stop between venues. Their schedule never had an inch of give. Their manager, Sam, was a genius when it came to getting the band the most exposure, but he had the tendency to believe that because they were a metal band, they were made of iron. They didn’t require useless things like down time and rest.
“So tell us more about this book,” Dare said, which was apparently the exact right thing to say to Toni, because her unease evaporated instantly.
“Have you seen the new interactive electronic textbooks?” she asked, her eager gaze moving from Dare to Max to Steve.
Logan was very conscious of the fact that she didn’t look at him once. He’d thought their attraction was mutual, but maybe not. He scooted several inches closer to her because he saw something he wanted and wasn’t one to sacrifice his personal needs for the greater good.
“Textbooks?” Steve asked. “Like for school and shit?”
“Yeah, that’s usually where textbooks are used,” she said, a teasing grin on her lush lips. When no one laughed, her face fell. Logan forced a guffaw about five seconds too late. That got his bandmates laughing. Not at Toni’s understated joke. They were laughing at his blatant stupidity. Nothing new there.
“I can’t say I’ve even seen a textbook since high school,” Steve said.
“These new interactive ones are amazing. Each topic has videos and pictures and links. It presents the information in a way that gets students who are used to constant entertainment excited about learning.”
“So you’re writing a textbook about us?” Dare asked, brows drawn together in a confused scowl.
“What kind of textbook would that be? A manual on mayhem and debauchery?” Toni cringed when no one laughed at that joke either.
Logan guffawed five seconds too late again. He was going to have to pay really close attention to what she said to figure out when she was joking. He didn’t think she lacked a sense of humor, she just looked serious. She’d definitely fit in better at a library than at standup-comedy night.
“The publishing company I work for designs and distributes these interactive textbooks,” she said. “Samuel Baily approached us to make an interactive book about the band, the first of its kind. He’s very forward thinking.”
That got the band laughing. “You might say that,” Max said. “Sometimes he’s a bit too forward thinking. He’s got every minute of our schedules booked for the next eighteen years. He thinks we’re robots or something.”
Toni’s eyes bulged. “Eighteen years?” she muttered under her breath.
Surely she knew Max was joking, so why did she look so unsettled? Wondering if he could make her blush again, Logan scooted a few more inches closer to her. His knee brushed her thigh, and she yanked on her skirt. Other than her hands and face, not an inch of bare flesh was showing. He wasn’t sure exactly what she was trying to conceal. Maybe she wasn’t open to his attempts to seduce her. Which made her a challenge. Which, like her tits, he couldn’t resist. Or maybe she had a nice boyfriend at home. His loss.
“Speaking of robots,” Steve said. “How are the prototypes of our androids coming?”
“Good until they tried to replicate my dick and ran out of materials,” Logan said.
Toni’s sudden intake of breath made him grin. That shocked her? Seriously? Too easy.
“If they ran out of materials, it had to be due to Max’s giant forehead,” Steve said.
“Or your enormous feet,” Max countered.
Toni grabbed a pad of paper out of her bag and started writing furiously. Logan leaned against her shoulder to read what had her so excited. She was writing down their conversation. In the margin, she wrote: Keep video camera close at hand when all band members are together. They’re hilarious.
He was close enough to feel her body heat and inhale the sweet fragrance of her fruity shampoo. He wondered if she tasted as sweet as she smelled.
“For the record,” Logan said in her ear as he pointed toward her notes, “I was the one with the big dick.”
Toni leaped from the sofa as if it were on fire. Her gaze darted from one guy to the next, and she pushed her glasses up her nose with the back of her wrist. God, he wanted to take those glasses off, take those clothes off, and do things to her. Naughty, devious, delicious things.
“Um . . .”
The twin bumps poking against her shapeless turtleneck drew Logan’s attention.
Hard nipples? Did his crassness turn her on? That was all the encouragement he needed to behave inappropriately. Visible nipples also meant that her bra was not padded. There was so much win in that, he should have her name engraved on a trophy.
“What’s wrong?” Logan asked. “I won’t bite. But I will nibble. And suck. And lick.”
She stared at him with her mouth agape and her eyes wide. Her nipples strained against her sweater, begging him to do all those things and more to the tips of those luscious melons.
She glanced down at her tits and immediately crossed her arms over her chest. “Is, um, there a bathroom I can use?”
“At the back of the bus,” Dare said, nodding his head toward the end of the corridor.
“Don’t take a dump in there,” Steve said. “We stop at rest areas to do that business.”
Face flaming, she sucked in a deep breath, turned, and sprinted to the back of the bus. She fumbled with the closet door and when it popped open, a stack of towels that had shifted during transit tumbled out and pummeled her in the face.
Logan climbed to his feet to rescue her. He decided to take it easy on her for the moment. He wouldn’t want to traumatize her so much she decided to leave. They both bent to pick up the same towel at the same time and bumped heads. They jerked apart and rubbed their heads in unison. Toni looked up at him, her brown, doe-like eyes watery with tears. He wasn’t sure if they were tears of pain or humiliation, but seeing them in her eyes did strange things to his chest. He wasn’t sure why it was suddenly tight.
“It’s okay,” he said, deciding that though it was fun to tease her, he’d better tone it down a bit. She obviously wasn’t used to it, and he didn’t want to harass a woman who wasn’t receptive to provocative flirting. He hadn’t intended to upset her, just wanted to have a little fun and get under that conservative skirt of hers. “I’ll get the towels, Toni. You go ahead and do your business.” He opened the bathroom door for her.
She lowered her hand from her forehead to reveal a large reddened bump.
Logan winced and leaned forward to press his lips to the lump. She sucked a startled breath into her chest. Shit. There he went crossing the line again.
“Sorry,” he murmured. “I always kiss boo-boos.”
“I have a pimple on my ass that needs kissing,” Steve called.
Logan closed his eyes and shook his head. “One of the things you should consider stressing in your book is how little fucking privacy a man has while on tour with his band.”
“I can include that,” she said, “but I think fans are more interested in the size of your dick.” She backed into the bathroom. “I know I am.” She bit her lip before closing the door in his face.
Combining her love for romantic fiction and rock 'n roll, USA Today Best-Selling Author Olivia Cunning writes erotic romance centered around rock musicians.
Raised on hard rock music from the cradle, she attended her first Styx concert at age six and fell instantly in love with live music. She's been known to travel over a thousand miles just to see a favorite band in concert. As a teen, she discovered her second love, romantic fiction -- first, voraciously reading steamy romance novels and then penning her own.