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|Music of the Heart(Runaway Train #1) by Katie Ashley|
The makeup artist beckoned Jake, and he sighed resignedly as his arms slipped away from me. I eased down on the couch and began watching all the preparation that went into getting the guys of Runaway Train stage ready.
When the guys were almost finished, I heard the roar of the crowd and the opening music for Vindicated. “I hope he falls flat on his face tonight,” I mumbled.
Rhys and Jake roared with laughter while AJ glanced at me over his shoulder. “If I could find some good cayenne pepper powder and his change of pants, I’d make sure he didn’t enjoy any groupie action tonight.”
I laughed. “AJ, that’s terrible.”
He grinned wickedly as he waggled his brows. “You just say the word. I can always have some roadie go get me some.”
“I think I’m good, but thanks anyway.”
Once the guys were finished with hair and makeup, they were herded into wardrobe. Jake appeared a few minutes later wearing a pair of skin tight leather pants along with a red shirt that stretched across his muscles. “How do I look?” he asked.
“Wow…you look amazing!”
Jake eyed his pants disdainfully. “These are pleather so we can be politically correct. Thank God I get a wardrobe change halfway through the show because I’d much rather be in jeans.”
“Yeah, but those pants are….” I glanced up at him and grinned. “Very, very sexy!”
A wicked gleam burned in his eyes. “Are you saying I need to keep these and wear them for you some other time?”
I laughed. “Now I don’t know about that.”
Jake reached out to pull me to him when Brayden stuck his head in the door. “Okay, Jake, it’s time.”
“Always the worst f**king timing,” Jake muttered under his breath.
He then took my hand and started leading me to the door. I followed along blindly as we weaved in and out of roadies and technicians.
When we got to the wings, Jake turned back to me. “I thought about getting you into the VIP box, but you’ll have a better view here.”
“So I can stay here and watch you guys?” I asked.
“Of course.” He pulled me against him. “I want you as close as possible.”
“I also told Frank to keep an eye out for Tyler.”
“While that’s very chivalrous of you, I think I can handle things on my own.”
Jake chuckled. “I’m sure you can, Angel, but it’ll make me feel better knowing that you’re being watched over.”
“Fine. Whatever floats your boat,” I replied.
As Vanquished made their exit off stage, Jake tightened his arms around me. Tyler only gave us a fleeting sneer before stalking away.
Then the stage lighting changed as Runaway Train’s intro music began. AJ entered the stage first, waving to the crowd and throwing up rocker signs with his fingers. From the appreciative whistles and applause he was certainly a crowd favorite. He eased down behind the drum set and twirled the sticks between his fingers several times before beginning an upbeat tempo. I turned my attention from him to where a technician was handing Rhys his bass guitar. He put the strap over his head and adjusted it on his body before jogging out onto the stage, waving manically and grinning like a Cheshire cat. He then joined in with AJ’s rhythm. Already outfitted with his guitar, Brayden nodded his head in time to the beat coming from the stage. I didn’t know how he knew when to make his entrance since the noise was so loud, but then he entered as the stage lights began to flicker and change colors.
Jake leaned in close to my ear. “Magic time.”
As he started for the stage and his big entrance, I grabbed his arm. When I kissed his cheek, he gave me a quizzical look. “That’s for luck,” I shouted over the roar of the crowd.
A smirk curved at his lips. “Thanks, Angel, but I don’t need any of that.”
I smacked his arm playfully. “There you go being an egomaniac again!”
He laughed and gave me a wink. The stage lights changed again and blared red as Jake entered from the wings. The already frantic crowd went even more insane. The noise caused a ringing in my ears, and I fought the urge to stick my fingers in them.
When Jake took the microphone off the stand, his signature cocky grin spread across his lips. A thunderous roar echoed through the stadium. “Hello Indianapolis! Are you ready to rock?” Jake asked.
At their response, he glanced over his shoulder at Rhys and Brayden. They shook their heads. “Hang on. I don’t think I heard you. I asked if you were ready to FUCKING ROCK?”
If it were even possible to get louder, the crowd did. They stomped their feet, clapped their hands, and whistled and yelled. Jake grinned and nodded. “That’s more like it.” The lights went down and then the opening beat to their latest hit, “Unravel Me”, began playing. The song featured a lot of heavy guitars, and I was amazed by Brayden and Rhys’s skills. There was also the fact of the emotion that Jake emitted as he sang. One minute his voice had a hardened, bitter edge on songs like “Unravel Me” or “Twisted Reality”.
Then when it came to the ballads, he would instantly change over, and his smooth, velvety voice echoed through the arena. My favorite of theirs was “Never Before You”, which I knew from hanging around the guys that Brayden had written for Lily. I closed my eyes and swayed to the music. It was hard admitting to myself just how much Jake’s voice affected me emotionally and physically, especially hearing him sing about love.