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|Music of the Heart(Runaway Train #1) by Katie Ashley|
He quirked his pierced brow at me. “Don’t you think music saves people?”
“A certain song can mean the difference between life and death for someone who is depressed and suicidal. Music can inspire and give hope. It can show adulation and worship and praise love and people.” He gave me a pointed look. “Including God.”
I blinked several times in surprise at the passion which he delivered his words. “You’re right. Music is life-altering and changing.”
Jake motioned toward my guitar case. “So play us something.”
“Seriously?” I asked, glancing from Jake to other guys.
AJ grinned. “Si, mi amor.”
I rolled my eyes. “Enough with the Spanish.”
“But I told you how much it turns me on to hear it coming from your lips.”
With a wry smile, I replied, “But I’m not interested in turning you on.”
A chorus of “Ooohs” rang through the cabin from Jake and Rhys to which AJ only shook his head. “Burn man,” Rhys teased with a grin.
“Okay, I think now is as good a time as ever to set up a few ground rules for our bet,” I said.
“You’re not pu**ying out, are you?” Jake asked.
I wrinkled my nose. “Ew, I hate that word.” When he started to repeat it, I jabbed a finger in his direction. “I will stay on this bus a week and win the bet, but there are going to be a few rules, or I guess I should say some courtesies that I expect you guys to follow.”
“I agree with Abby,” Brayden said.
“You would,” Jake grumbled.
“First, you need to respect me and my boundaries. At the moment, I’m not on here to be any of your playthings or hook-ups, so I would appreciate it if you stopped hitting on me.”
AJ’s jovial expression faded. “You mean you don’t think I’m hot?”
Since he appeared almost wounded, I had to rethink my strategy. “AJ, you’re a very good-looking guy. I can already tell you have a big heart and a wonderful sense of humor. Any girl would be blind not to want you.” When he beamed and puffed out his chest at the other guys, I held up my hand. “But I think we both know at the end of the day, you’re not looking for a relationship with me, right? You’re just looking to get into my panties.”
A strangled noise came from the back of his throat at the mention of my underwear. “Yeah, I am,” he finally admitted with a sheepish grin.
I returned his smile as my gaze swept over Jake and Rhys. “So as I was saying, I would appreciate if you would show me some respect by not hitting on me as well as at least trying to tone down some of the language and sexual innuendos. Somewhere deep inside you have the potential to be gentlemen, and you’re just waiting to treat women as more than just desirable play things, right?”
With a smirk, Jake countered, “I don’t know about that.”
“Oh, if your mother was on this bus, you would act the same way you are now?”
He scowled. “No, I wouldn’t.”
“Good. Then we all agree that you’ll try to treat me like a gentleman. Anything you’d like to request from me?”
Jake stepped forward to where he was looming over me, and I had to fight the urge not to cower away from him. “If we’re going to act like gentlemen, then you also need to make sure your wardrobe isn’t…tempting.”
I peered down at my sundress. Since it came below my knees and I often wore it to church, I found his request shocking. “There’s something wrong with this?”
When I glanced up at him, Jake’s hungry gaze had honed in on my cle**age. I cleared my throat to which he replied, “You’re showing way too much skin with the thin straps and the legs, so I’d suggest jeans and t-shirts from now on—the baggier the better.”
“Fine. I’ll be happy to oblige,” I replied.
“And that goes for the sleepwear too. No camis with those booty short things.”
I chewed my lip when I thought of what pajamas I had in my suitcase. “Um, okay. I can try. But I might have to make a stop at Wal-Mart or Target before tonight to get some pajamas and shirts.
Jake’s face spread into a grin. “I’m glad to hear you’re willing to work with us. After all, what good can come out of getting a bunch of horny males all riled up?”
He licked his lips lasciviously, and I gritted my teeth before replying, “Absolutely nothing.”
“Good.” Jake then turned and brought my guitar case to me. “Now please regale us all with your vocal stylings.”
“I’d be happy to.” I leaned over and popped open the locks on my case. When I pulled out my guitar, Jake stared at it in surprise. “What’s wrong with it?”
“Nothing. It’s just I expected—”
“I’ll have you know this is a Gibson Hummingbird that cost three grand! I worked my ass off to pay for it!”
He grinned. “Angel, it’s a helluva guitar. And what I was about to say before you interrupted me was I just expected it to be all glittery like Taylor Swift’s.”
Plucking out my pick, I waved it at him and winked. He eyed the shimmering purple before throwing his head back and laughing heartily. “Oh Angel, I’m so glad to see that. You don’t disappoint.”
Once I adjusted the guitar on my lap, I cocked my head at the guys. “Hmm, so what do you want me to play?”