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|Beat of the Heart(Runaway Train #2) by Katie Ashley|
“Really?” the youngest blonde squealed, her expression lightening up instantly.
I nodded. “I’m Mia Martinelli,” I said, extending my hand.
Instead of shaking my hand, she popped out of her seat like a jack-in-the-box before throwing her arms around me. “It’s so nice to meet you.” She pulled away to give me a beaming smile. “I’m Abby—Jake’s fiancée.”
Suddenly it hit me. “Oh, my God! You’re in Jacob’s Ladder, aren’t you?”
“Yes, I am.”
“I seriously love you guys—I’ve been a fan of your brothers for several years. I love the new album.”
“Aw, thank you. That’s so sweet.” She motioned to the chair beside her. “Please sit down.”
Once I was settled, the other blonde extended her hand. “I’m Brayden’s wife, Lily.”
“It’s very nice meeting you, too.”
Abby cut her eyes over at Lily before gazing back at me. “Now I know why AJ was acting so weird earlier tonight.”
“Oh he was?” I asked, trying not to let my heart do a crazy flip-flop in my chest.
With a grin, Abby replied, “Oh yeah. Very mysterious, very withdrawn…very lovesick, now that I think about it.”
A warm rush filled my body. “I don’t know about lovesick—we just started seeing each other.”
“How did you guys meet?” Lily asked.
“Um, it’s kinda an interesting story.” By the time I finished filling them in on the escapade in Frank’s room, they were laughing hysterically.
“Now that’s two of us who have met our guys unconventionally,” Abby said.
Abby grinned and then proceeded to tell me about literally falling into Jake’s bed. “Hmm, I think you may have my crotch drying story beat.”
“I think it’s a toss-up,” she replied.
Lily laughed. “Regardless of who wins best story, I’m just so very thankful to see AJ is with someone like you, Mia.”
My brows lifted in surprise. “Like me?”
Her cheeks tinged pink a little. “I didn’t mean anything bad by it, honestly. You’re absolutely gorgeous and so AJ’s type. But at the same time, I can already tell that you’re so…real.”
Abby nodded and motioned her finger between Lily and herself. “You know, like us.”
Lily using AJ’s word, ‘real’, wasn’t lost on me. All my nerves about meeting them had evaporated, and now I was just enjoying being accepted by them. I couldn’t help wondering if girls who didn’t get along with them probably didn’t make it long with AJ or Rhys. I felt a little giddy that I seemed to be passing the test with flying colors.
We were interrupted by the house manager taking the microphone. “Good evening. I’m so glad you’ve all come out on this special night to welcome back our most famous house band, Runaway Train.” Applause and cheering rang around the bar. “I can’t thank the guys enough for being willing to come back here and play again.” Glancing over his shoulder, he nodded. “So let’s get this party started, huh?” Once again the applause and cheering were deafening. “So ladies and gentlemen, Runaway Train!”
Abby, Lily, and I screamed along with the other fans as the guys made their way to the stage. Once AJ settled behind the drum kit, he locked eyes with me. He grinned and winked before twirling one of his drumsticks between his fingers. Damn, I knew all about those masterful fingers. Just seeing him work his fingers like that, caused goose bumps to rise on my arms. Trying to forget my inappropriate thoughts, I smiled back. Then he launched into the opening beat of the first song while the guys’ guitars followed in with him. While Jake’s smooth voice, echoed through the room, I couldn’t take my eyes off of AJ as he pounded out the rhythm. With his jaw set and a determined expression on his face, he was totally in the zone.
The guys played through several of their famous tracks—or at least I assumed they were their famous tracks by the audience’s reaction—when Jake switched gears. “As much as we love our old stuff, we want to do some of the acoustic tracks from our new album,” Jake said into the microphone. I watched as AJ left the drum set to come and sit on a stool beside Jake. Brayden and Rhys eased down on stools as well but kept their guitars.
“And here’s our latest Top Forty—Marrow and Bone.” Jake nodded his head to the guys. After he began the first line of the song, AJ joined in with Jake to harmonize. At the sound of his sultry voice, every molecule in my body shuddered to a stop. It took a moment or two for me to catch my breath. It wasn’t just that he could sing—it was the way he delivered the lyrics. The song itself was one of immense love, passion, and devotion, and AJ’s voice hummed with all those emotions. It touched me to the core…as well as other places.
“Damn,” I murmured under my breath.
“Haven’t you heard AJ sing before?” Abby asked.
My heart did a funny little skipping beat. “No,” I murmured. I turned to look at her. “He’s really amazing—like panty-melting amazing.”
She laughed. “Yeah, I would have to agree, especially when he sings in Spanish.” At my incredulous expression, she held up her hands. “Trust me, there’s never been anything but friendship between AJ and me, but that still doesn’t mean I don’t find his singing sexy. But there’s no one who truly does it for me like Jake.”