July 27, 2010

Chapter 7


Kim nodded breathlessly, her cheeks flushing as Jon smiled at her again.  He tipped his head toward the concrete steps leading to the second floor.  “I’m up top.”  His voice was slightly husky, tinged with excitement.  Together they turned, Kim silently following his lead as Jon headed for the stairs.

When they reached the landing Kim paused as Jon stepped toward the nearest door.  “Here we are,” he announced, turning the knob.  The unlocked door swung easily inward.  “After you.”

Kim hesitated for a second before brushing past Jon to step through the doorway.  She heard him inhale as she passed, and her pulse raced.  She stopped just steps inside the door, gulping in a breath and trying to remain calm.  Oh My God.  They were alone.  In his apartment.

As she tried to maintain her composure Kim’s eyes traveled around the small apartment.  She was somewhat surprised at what she saw.  It certainly didn’t look like the kind of place a rock star would live.

She was standing in a sparsely-furnished, rather messy living room.  Sunlight filtered in between the slats of  yellowed plastic vertical blinds screening a sliding glass door that led out onto a tiny deck.  Matted beige carpet stretched across the floor between dingy white walls that were adorned with tacked-up posters of rock legends and scantily-clad women. 

An ugly brown couch sat against one wall, fronted by a battered coffee table strewn with papers, magazines, empty soda cans, and fast-food wrappers.  On the opposite wall a shelving unit fashioned from concrete blocks and two-by-fours held a large television and VCR.  Videotapes and audio cassettes were piled haphazardly on both sides of the TV.

Beside the television stand stood a glass-fronted walnut cabinet holding an expensive-looking stereo.  Three-foot-high speakers sat in opposite corners of the room.  Two guitars, one acoustic and one electric, leaned against the sides of the stereo cabinet like stylish bookends.

Kim’s eyes drifted to the other side of the apartment where a round glass-topped dinette table and chairs sat in a small nook next to a tiny kitchen.  Her gaze returned to center and she saw a short hall directly in front of her, leading to an open door.  Through the doorway Kim could see the end of an unmade bed, its rumpled red sheets spilling off the mattress and onto the floor.  A jolt of heat shot through Kim’s core at the idea of Jon’s hard body reclining naked in the bed, draped in those scarlet sheets.  Her lips parted as a soft little sigh escaped her at that thought.

Jon pushed the door shut with a quiet click and watched Kim as she evaluated his apartment.  The amused little smile on her luscious lips made his own mouth water.  He was dying to see if those lips tasted as sweet as they looked. 

Jon could practically read Kim’s thoughts as she looked around:  “THIS is where he lives?”  He chuckled softly.  “Sorry, it’s kinda a mess.  I wasn’t expecting company, and I’m not much of a housekeeper.”

Kim visibly started at his words.  “Oh!  No… it’s…”

“A fleabag, I know.  But it’s MY fleabag.”  Jon grinned self-depricatingly as he heard Kim’s nervous giggle.  “A real bachelor pad, as you can see.  Nothing matches, no curtains, hardware-store special furniture…”  He gave Kim a little wink when she turned to look at him.  “No woman’s touch.  And I’m sure I left the toilet seat up.”

Kim could hardly breathe as she stared into Jon’s gleaming blue eyes.  He was so close, only a short step away, between her and the door.  She could feel the heat of his body and his musky scent filled her senses.  “I… it’s…. nice.”  She didn’t know what else to say.

“Thanks.”  Jon stared at Kim for another long minute.  When he spoke again his voice was huskier.  “You want something to drink?”

“Umm… water?”  Kim asked meekly.

Jon nodded.  “Okay.”  Giving in to his urge to touch her, he reached out to gently brush his hand over her arm.  “You can drop your bag anywhere.”

Jon’s touch sent a shiver of pleasure racing through Kim’s body.  As his words sunk in she realized she was still holding her backpack slung over her shoulder.  She had been so caught up in her surroundings and Jon’s closeness that she had completely forgotten why she was here:  to shower and change for work.  “Oh.  Umm…  Where’s your bathroom?”

“It’s through there.”  Jon pointed down the hall.  “You have to go through the bedroom to get to it.”

Kim’s heart leapt into her throat.  Holy SHIT…  Suddenly she was very nervous.  She had really wanted to be alone with Jon, hoping that a little privacy would lead to…. what?  She could hardly believe that he was interested in her, that he seemed to feel the same intense sexual attraction that she felt.  But the evidence was right before her, in Jon’s piercing blue eyes.  The lust in his gaze was unmistakable.

Jon watched Kim’s reaction to his words, smiling as she chewed on her bottom lip.  He knew she wanted him; he had learned long ago to read the signs.  And now that the opportunity was presented she was nervous.  Relax, Baby… he thought, confident that in a moment he would put her at ease.  All it would take was one kiss. 

“Let me get you that water.”   Jon stepped past Kim, heading for the kitchen. 

Kim stood frozen for a moment before moving slowly over to the table. She slid her backpack from her shoulder and set it on the glass top, then closed her eyes.  She willed her racing pulse to calm, even as she craved more stimulation.  Kim heard the soft slam of the refrigerator door, then the crackle of ice cubes being popped from a tray, then the clink of the cubes inside a glass.  The soft swish of water running from the tap followed.

Kimberly opened her eyes and turned to face Jon, just as he moved toward her.  She hardly breathed as he approached, stopping a scant step in front of her.  Jon handed her the glass.  “Here.”

“Thanks,” Kim croaked.  She took a quick gulp of water, thankful for the ice he had thought to include.   The chilly liquid soothed her suddenly-parched throat.

Jon watched as Kim drank, trying to maintain his cool countenance.  Christ, he wanted to touch her.  When he had wrapped his arms around her and pulled her against him during the shoot he could hardly contain his arousal.  Her flesh was so firm yet yielding, her skin so soft.  When she raised her face to look at him, he knew it was time.

Jon gently took the glass from Kim’s hand, then leaned toward her as he reached to set it on the table behind her.  She shrunk slightly back from him, letting out a soft gasp of surprise.  Jon moved his hand to brush back a strand of damp, dark hair from Kim’s face.  His other hand went to her waist as he dipped his head to capture her mouth with his. 

Kim saw stars at the touch of Jon’s lips.  Then she felt his hand on her arm, warm and comforting, as his mouth gently caressed hers.  God, his lips were so soft… just like they looked.  “Mmmmm….” she sighed as she tilted her head slightly, submitting to his kiss.  Her lips parted, accepting his tongue as it pushed inside to stroke hers.  Of their own accord her hands went to Jon’s chest, her palms resting lightly against the soft tee that draped his hard pecs.

Jon grinned as he pulled back to look at Kim.  She looked dazed, but there was a sexy smirk curving the corners of her pretty mouth.  “You’ve been wanting me to do that,” he observed softly.

“Yes,” she breathed, her cheeks flushed.

Kim’s husky admission made Jon’s cock throb with excitement.  “What else do you want me to do?”

Kim blushed, fluttering her lashes shyly as she looked away from his face, to her hands against his chest.  Her fingers moved to trace over the pendant hanging from his neck.  “Well… you could start by taking your shirt off.”  She surprised herself with her response.  It was unlike her to be so forward; usually she let the guy set the pace.  But Kim couldn’t help herself.  There was something about Jon that emboldened her.

“Okay.”  Jon reached for the hem of his ripped tee and stripped it from his body, slinging it aside.  He gave Kim a sexy grin.  “Your turn.”

Kim’s eyes widened, but her smirk remained.  Without a word her hands went to her midriff, her fingers curling under the rolled edge of her makeshift tank that was pulled tight against her skin.  She tugged at the fabric for a moment before realizing she would have to loosen it before she could pull it up over her breasts.  Nicki had tied her shirt up tightly in the back when they were fashioning their photo shoot wardrobe.  “Umm…”  Kim’s cheeks flushed even more as she reached behind her back, fumbling with the knot of fabric there.

Jon chortled.  “Do you have a particular attachment to this shirt?” he asked, his eyes twinkling.

“No, not really.”  Kim’s fingers scrabbled over the knot, looking for a way to loosen it.  But it wasn’t budging.  Dammit, Nicki…

“Good.”  Kim let out a little squeak of surprise as Jon reached for her neck.  He grasped the ragged neckline of the t-shirt with both hands and yanked.  The thin fabric ripped easily, exposing Kim’s tanned chest and turquoise bikini top.  Jon tugged a little harder and the fabric unrolled from its band under her breasts, the tear extending to the shorn bottom of Kim’s tee.  With a final tug the t-shirt separated into two halves, hanging loosely over Kim’s now-heaving chest.

Kim’s knees felt weak as she stared into Jon’s hypnotic blue eyes.  She was hopelessly turned on by his aggressive move; he had literally ripped the covering from her bosom, like some plundering scoundrel in a Harlequin romance novel.

“I’ll get you a new one,” Jon murmured as again his mouth descended to Kim’s.  He kissed her provocatively, delighted when she responded with equal fervor.  Again their tongues tangled and Jon’s hands went to Kim’s shoulders.  He slid his palms lightly over her skin, down her arms to her hands.  His fingers closed around hers, squeezing gently.

Pulling his mouth from hers with a soft gasp, Jon rested his forehead against Kim’s for a moment before pulling back to smirk at her again.  Her beautiful hazel eyes were dark with desire and her lips were full and shiny, swollen from the kiss.  “So… what else do you want, Kim?”  His voice was barely above a whisper, more of a honeyed purr.  It was the sound of pure sex. 

Kim’s womb clenched at the question.  Jesus, she wanted HIM.  To ask her to communicate with words what she craved was almost cruel.  She could barely remember her own name let alone tell Jon that she wanted him to make her continue to feel like she was feeling, only better, sweatier, harder, faster, wetter… 

Kim’s head spun as she considered the many possibilities.  Only now they weren’t just possibilities.  All she had to do was answer…


July 24, 2010

Chapter 6


Jon’s nostrils flared and his lids drifted closed as Kim’s scent washed over him.  He wanted to bury his nose in her hair and inhale.  Hell, that wasn’t the only thing he wanted to bury in her.

Her skin was warm and slick against his, her flesh firm and quivering under his hands.  Jon could feel Kim’s pulse racing as his arms remained locked firmly around her middle, holding her against him.  Their playful struggle had abruptly ceased when he pulled her up into the car and back against his chest.  She was making no effort to resist him now.

“Surrender?” Jon murmured, moving his lips near her ear. 

“No.”  Jon could hear the smile in Kim’s voice despite her defiant response.  She still made no move to escape his grasp.

“I win.”  He couldn’t resist teasing her.

“Win what?  You think you get some kinda prize?”  Her defiance turned coy.

Oh yeah.  In fact…”  Jon’s statement was cut short, replaced by a yelp of surprise as he was showered with cold water.  He instinctively ducked behind Kim, using her body to shield his own.   Kim squealed as she took the brunt of the blast from the garden hose.  She struggled to sit upright, pulling away from Jon’s embrace.

“What the fuck… WENDY!”  Kim sputtered as she swiped water away from her face and ran a hand through her now-drenched hair.

The curly-haired redhead grinned.  “Looked like you needed a little help up there, Kim.  Things were a little… heated.  Thought somebody could use some cooling off.” 

“Gee, THANKS.”  Kim’s sarcasm carried a distinct contrary message.  Dammit, did she look like she WANTED any help in escaping from Jon?

Jon laughed throatily and raised his arm to drag his fingers through his dampened hair.  Kim turned to look at him at the sound of his chuckle, just in time to see his bicep flex with his motion.  She almost gasped aloud at the delicious sight.  Kim again silently cursed Wendy for causing him to pull those arms from around her.

Nicki popped her gum as she gave Kim an inquisitive look.  “Jeez, Kim.  You usually don’t let guys grab you like that.”  Her observation carried an unspoken subtext, one she was sure her friend would recognize. 

Though she was surprised Jon had ignored her flirting earlier, Nicki could now see why.  He was clearly interested in Kim.  But Kim wasn’t usually receptive to guys coming on to her; she said it made her feel like she had a big “Fuck Me” sign on her forehead.  This time she didn’t seem to mind, though.

“Yeah well… he surprised me.”  Kim met Nicki’s look, silently telling her to back off.  She knew Nicki was determined to capture the fancy of one of these rock stars, but she wouldn’t compete with one of her girlfriends for their affection.
It was part of their unwritten Sisterhood code:  once a guy showed interest in one girl he was off-limits to the others.

Nicki held Kim’s gaze for a minute to be sure she understood, then she shrugged.  A little pout again curved her lips as she realized now she couldn’t bed the gorgeous singer, as she had hoped.  That privilege would be Kimberly’s, if it happened at all.  Though Nicki loved Kim to death, her friend just wasn’t… well, sexy.  Cute, sure.  But definitely not sexy.  And she sure as hell wasn’t a one-night-stand-with-a-rock-star kind of girl.

Nicki’s eyes dropped to Jon’s crotch.  What a waste.  She sighed gently, then turned to look at the men laughing with Carmen and Marie next to the black convertible.  The coy smile returned to her lips as she caught Richie’s eye.  Now that one she could easily have…

“Hey!  Kids!  Did you forget we’re working here?”  Mark’s scolding rang out across the lot.  “Look this way so I can get some decent shots, then you can get on with your water fight.”

“Awww, Dad!  You’re no fun!” David whined through his grin.  Kim laughed at Jon’s silly friend, then reluctantly slid down the side of the car until her toes touched the pavement.  She shivered slightly at the feel of Jon’s hand brushing against the small of her back as she moved.  She turned back toward him, then looked over her shoulder at the camera.

The photographer shot another long series of photographs, cheerfully calling out instructions to the group.  When he was finally satisfied he stood back and waved an arm.  “That’s a wrap!”

“Wait a minute, Man!  You need to get in this picture too!” Richie protested.  “C’mon, just for fun.  A couple shots for the scrapbook.”

“Yeah!  Get in here!” Jon echoed to the photographer.  He grinned at Kim and patted the space beside him, where she had sat a few minutes prior.  “Wanna come up?” he invited softly.  She nodded and turned her back to him, then pushed herself up with her arms and a small hop, until she was seated.  Jon shifted sideways to give Kim room to swing her legs into the passenger compartment.  Then he leaned toward her, deliberately brushing his arm against her back as he rested his hand behind her on the convertible’s surface.

Mark laughed and nodded his agreement.  “Okay.”  Motioning to Joey to take over behind the camera, he sauntered over to the group.  “Guess I get to be in the middle, huh?”  He stepped past Wendy and settled on the hood of the red convertible.

“Say Cheese, everybody!” Joey announced from his place behind the tripod.

“Cheese?  What is this, some kindergarten class picture?” Mark barked teasingly at his assistant.  “This is a rock and roll photo shoot!  Fuck You!”  He playfully flipped the bird at the camera.  His actions were immediately mimicked by the band and the girls, as they all shouted expletives and made obscene gestures at the substitute photographer.

“Okay, okay…” Mark laughed after Joey shot a few frames that would never make it to print.  “Now something I can actually put in my portfolio, okay?  Everybody try to look at least mildly amused.”

“Hey Suzanne.”  Kim heard Jon’s quiet voice close to her ear.  It sent a little shiver of pleasure down her spine.  “Gimme that bucket.”

Kim turned to look at Jon and saw his devilish grin.  “What are you doing?” she asked softly.

“Shhh.”  Jon’s lips pursed with the whispered command as he reached behind Kim to take the half-full bucket of soapy water from Suzanne.  His eyes gleaming, he shifted the bucket to his thigh.   “On the count of three, grab the sponge and follow my lead.”

Realizing what Jon had planned, Kim nodded silently, reaching into the bucket.  “One… two… THREE!”  At the count Jon hesitated for a split second to allow Kim to yank the soapy sponge from the bucket before he tipped its remaining contents over Mark’s head.  Kim laughed as she leaned forward to squeeze the soapy water from the sponge onto Mark’s wet locks as he shouted out a curse of surprise.

The rest of the gang burst out laughing at Jon and Kim’s prank as Mark sputtered away the water running down his face.  Joey gave a thumbs-up to indicate he had caught the entire sneak-attack on film.  “That’s a wrap!” He mimicked Mark from behind the tripod.

After a few more minutes of good-natured ribbing, the guys and girls climbed down from their perches on and in the two convertibles.  Again Kim’s pulse raced as she felt Jon’s hand on her knee, giving it a little squeeze before he turned away and hopped off the opposite side of the car.  She watched as Jon strolled over to pick up his t-shirt from the ground and slipped it over his head.  Then with a dreamy little smile Kim swung her legs over the side of the car, slid to the pavement and drifted over to join her girlfriends.

David, Alec, Tico and Richie mingled with the girls as Jon and Mark conversed quietly near the van.  As they talked Joey unloaded the film from the camera and packed it away in a hard-sided case.  Several minutes later, their business complete, Mark and Jon wandered over to the group. 

Mark doled out business cards and hundred dollar bills to each of the girls, complimenting them on their afternoon’s work.  He grinned at Nicki’s obvious excitement when he told her to contact him if she was interested in participating in future photo shoots.  He had no doubt he would hear from her soon.

“So, Ladies…. How about we treat you to a late lunch?” Richie clapped his hands together and looked around at the girls, grinning broadly.  He added in a silly faux-British accent:  “I’m feeling a bit peckish.”

“Yeah, you’re feeling somethin’, no doubt,” Jon grinned.  He looked sideways at Kim, who was standing next to Carmen.  “How ‘bout it?  You girls feel like grabbing a dog and a beer at Max’s?”

“Sounds great.  I’m starving!”  Marie agreed readily.

“Me too.”  Wendy nodded along.  “I didn’t think this was going to take so long.”

“What time is it?” 

Jon’s smile faded slightly at Kim’s question.  He glanced at his watch.   “Almost two.  Why?”

A disappointed frown fell across Kim’s lips as she sighed.  “I can’t go.  I gotta be at work by four-thirty.”

“That’s two and a half hours from now,” Jon replied.  “C’mon, you have time.”  He gave her a hopeful grin.  “Come with us.”

Kim shook her head.  “I can’t.  There’s no way I have time to go eat with you guys then go home and shower and change and get back to the bar in a little more than two hours.  And I have to shower—I’m all sweaty and I look like a drowned rat.”  Her disappointment was evident in her voice.

“It’s okay, Kim.  I’ll go with you.”  Carmen gave David an apologetic look.  “She rode with me.”

“No, Carmen, you stay – if I can borrow your car I’ll go home and change, then drop it off with you at Max’s before I go to work.”  Kim could see Carmen wanted to spend some more time with the funny, charming keyboardist.  She didn’t want to spoil her friend’s fun, even though she couldn’t have her own.

“Wait, didn’t you bring your clothes with you?” Carmen asked.  “You usually do, and you just use the beach showers.”

“Yeah, but that’s because I usually just need to rinse off the sand and suntan oil, not wash my hair and everything.” Kim protested.  “I’m a MESS.  I have to shampoo and dry my hair.  I can’t do that in one of the public showers.”

“You can change at my place.”  Jon interrupted Kim and Carmen’s debate, surprising himself with the suggestion.  So much for keeping his residence a secret.  “I have a shower and a hair dryer.”  He tried not to sound too eager, but he really wanted to spend some time with Kim.  Preferrably alone.

Kim’s eyes widened slightly at Jon’s suggestion, and her heart flipped at his inviting smile.  “I… I couldn’t do that…”  Her response was more a question than a denial.

“Why not?  I live close by.  You could take a quick shower and change at my place, do your hair, then I’ll drive you over to Max’s to meet up with the rest of the gang.”  Jon stared hopefully at Kim, silently urging her to agree. 

“Well…”  Kim hesitated, weighing her choices.  On the one hand, she hardly knew Jon.  She had met him literally hours ago.  She and the girls were always careful when it came to being alone with strange guys; they had all heard too many horror stories about girls who made stupid decisions and suffered the consequences.  But on the other hand, she knew of Jon, and from all accounts he was a decent guy, if a little wild.  He certainly seemed nice enough, the way he had treated her and her friends today.

And Jesus, did she want to spend some time alone with him. She felt a flush creep over her body, a sensory response to the memory of his arms around her, his hard, warm chest against her back, his voice in her ear…   

If she didn’t stay now, she might never have the chance again.

“Umm… I guess.”  Kim blushed slightly as Jon broke into a delighted grin.

“Kim, you sure?”  Marie’s voice held a note of concern.  Kimberly could tell as she turned to look at Marie that her friend was just being careful.

“Yeah, Marie.  It’s fine.  I won’t be long.”  She gave her friend a reassuring smile.  “We’ll be right behind you.”

“Yeah, but Kim…”

“She’s a big girl, Marie,” Carmen interrupted.  She winked at Kimberly, reading her friend’s smile.  She could see what was going on.  Jon and Kim definitely didn’t want a chaperone.  “I’ll go get the car and bring you your bag.”

“Thanks, Carm.”  Kim looked back at Jon as her friends chattered with the guys, determining who was riding with whom for the short drive to the hot dog stand.  Jon gave her a conspiratorial smile.  Suddenly Kim couldn’t wait for their friends to be gone.  She needed to be alone with him.  Now.

As the group dispersed, headed for various vehicles, Jon moved over to stand close beside Kimberly.  She took a deep breath, trying to calm herself as her body reacted to his proximity.  “Ummm…. Which car is yours?” Her voice was breathy with anticipation though she tried to sound casual.

Jon gave her a surprised look.  “What?”

“Your car. To drive to your place.”

Jon smiled, now understanding.  “Oh.  The white 280-Z .  Over there.”  He pointed to the sports car parked at the opposite end of the lot, near the back stairs.  “But we don’t need it.  I live here.”

It was Kim’s turn to be surprised.  “What?”

Jon chuckled at her expression.  “I live here.  In this building.”

“Oh.”  Kim thought about that for a minute, then smiled shyly.  “Well, I guess that makes sense.  Why else would you do a photo shoot in the parking lot of an apartment building.”

“Duh,” Jon teased, reaching out to gently squeeze her arm.  He needed to touch her again.  “Just kidding.  Not many people know I live here.  Just moved here, in fact.”

“Why didn’t you tell us before?”

Jon laughed softly and shook his head.  “Long story.”

Kim arched an eyebrow.  “Psycho girlfriend?”

“Psycho one-night stand who thought she needed to be my girlfriend,” Jon clarified with a grin.  He was a little surprised Kim had picked up on that so quickly.  “How did you guess?”

“I’ve been a bartender for awhile.  You hear lots of stories.”  Kim chuckled.  “And that one seems to be pretty common.”

“Yeah,” Jon chortled.  “I would guess so.”

“So, you don’t have a girlfriend then?”  Kim looked Jon straight in the eye as she asked, daring him to tell the truth.

“I have lots of girlfriends.”  Jon tried the charming line, but Kim didn’t flinch.  She just continued to stare at him.  “No,” he added more softly.  “I used to, but not now.  I’m very single.”

Kim’s gaze dropped momentarily as she smiled that same shy, sexy smile he had first seen on the beach.  “Good.”

As Kim breathed the word a silver Monte Carlo rounded the corner and pulled into the lot.  Carmen threw the car in park as Kim stepped up to the window.  “Here ya go, Honey.”  Suzanne passed a purple backpack to Carmen, who handed it through the window to Kimberly. 

“Thanks.  I’ll catch up with you guys in a few.”  Kim slung the backpack over one shoulder and smiled at her friends, who were both grinning ear-to-ear.

“No hurry.”  Carmen winked.  “Take ALL the time you need.”

Kim blushed, reading her loud and clear.  “I will,” she mumbled. 

With a honk and a wave Carmen pulled the car out of the lot and turned onto Ocean Avenue, headed for Max’s.

Kim took a deep breath.  She was relieved to finally have Jon to herself, but she was also a little nervous.  When she turned to look at him she felt weak.  Her gaze met Jon’s, and she saw those gorgeous blue eyes gleaming with unmasked desire.  Oh God…

Jon swept a hand toward the building.  “Shall we?” 

July 20, 2010

Chapter 5


When he reached his spot Jon looked back at Kimberly. She turned her head to gaze at him, her lips slightly parted and the corners of her mouth curved upward. Her shy smile acknowledged the private message Jon had sent.

Jon pushed his sunglasses upward until they rested on top of his head, the temples pinning his hair behind his ears. Grinning back at Kim, he watched a flush creep to her cheeks.  Jon gave her a little wink, chuckling softly as her eyes widened and she quickly looked away.

Kim’s heart continued to pound as Mark caught her attention.  She moved over to the spot he pointed out, next to the red convertible. She took a deep breath, trying to calm herself in preparation for the shoot. But Kim could feel Jon’s eyes on her and the memory of his touch still tingled on her hand.

“Here ya go.” Joey handed Kim a big yellow sponge and set a bucket of soapy water at her feet. “Have fun.”

“Thanks.” Kimberly smiled at the eager assistant before leaning over to drop the sponge in the bucket. As she straightened she again glanced at Jon. Another surge of excitement bolted through her as he arched a brow and gave her a saucy smirk.

“Okay Girls – here we go!” Mark called out from behind his tripod. “Have some fun, don’t worry about me or the camera. You’re just hanging out on a hot summer day, washing your Porsches…”

“Yeah, just like we do every fuckin’ day.” Carmen’s sarcastic comment wasn’t loud enough for Mark to hear but it made her friends grin. She retrieved the wet sponge from her bucket and slopped it onto the hood of the car. “Wax on, Wax off,” she kidded, moving the sponge in a circle.

Kim laughed heartily and bent down to grab her own sponge. She purposely swung it a little bit wide as she raised it toward the red car, hitting Wendy’s midsection with a stream of soapy water.

“Hey!” Wendy squealed as the cool water dripped down her torso. “We’re not supposed to get each other wet!”

“What’s the fucking point in that?” Suzanne blew a raspberry at Wendy and flicked her sponge toward her curly-haired friend. “The name of the record is Slippery When WET. Don’t you fucking pay attention?” She flicked the sponge again, showering Wendy with suds and water.

“Fine, you Bitch!” Wendy sent a spray of water back at Suzanne before dropping her own sponge onto the hood of the red convertible.

“Just don’t fuck up your hair,” Nicki cautioned, popping her gum. She was standing inside the convertible, leaning over the windshield. She swiped absently at the glass with a chamois cloth, not even looking at what she was doing. Despite her prop she was clearly posing more than washing.

Nicki’s statement was answered with a blast of soapy water from Marie, aimed at Nicki’s chest. “Just get the tits wet, right?” Marie teased.

“Can’t hurt.” Nicki shot a look toward the men gathered at the edge of the lot, giving Jon in particular a suggestive smile. Even though he had semi-insulted her a few minutes ago Nicki was confident she would have him eating out of the palm of her hand by the time this afternoon was done.

“Go ahead, Girls! Get into it!” Mark shouted, prompting them to perform. “Those cars ain’t gonna wash themselves!”

Several yards behind the photographer five pairs of eyes were glued to the scene. “Jesus, this was the best fucking idea…” David grinned. “Since they wouldn’t let us shoot the clubs in Vancouver, anyway.”

Jon chuckled. “We never woulda gotten that by the record company. Especially not the showers.” But Christ, it would have been fun to try…

“Yeah, but those photos wouldn’t have had to be for the record. They could have been just for us!” David was only half-kidding in his protest.

“You didn’t take pictures? Shit, I have rolls and rolls of film…” Richie taunted his pal.

“The why the fuck haven’t you shared?” Jon tore his eyes away from Kim long enough to grin at his wingman. “Jesus, what happened to all for one and one for all?”

Richie raised both hands in protest. “Hey, Man! I gotta have some kinda blackmail material! And then there are those videos….”

That comment was met with a chorus of lusty groans.

“Those were good times, Man,” Tico observed. “But sadly, fun time’s over. Back to the grind now.”

“But the memories will live on in Kodachrome,” Richie quipped with a laugh.

The men were silent for a moment, each reflecting on the debauchery they had shared over the past few months. They had fully enjoyed every second of their visit to Vancouver to record this new album, playing as hard as they worked.

Jon looked back at Kimberly and his dirty smile gentled. As much fun as Vancouver had been – and he had had his fun and then some – he was bored with that whole scene now. He was glad to be back home in Jersey, with girls who had some substance behind their pretty smiles. Like this one.

Kim let out a little squeal and a laugh, raising her hands and spinning away from a jet of water aimed by a garden hose-wielding Carmen. Jon chuckled as he saw Kim had fared far worse than her friends in the water wars; her shorts and shirt were soaked and her hair was damp.

Jon could see the turquoise triangles covering Kim’s breasts through her wet tee, and the sight made his mouth water. To him that was so much sexier than Nicki’s blatant display. A glance at the blonde’s ample chest confirmed what Jon suspected: Nicki’s wet tee was shrink-wrapped to her chest, her nipples clearly visible through the thin fabric.

Well shit, T&A sells, Jon thought with a little shrug. It just wasn’t what appealed to him right now. He was more interested in feeling Kimberly’s wet, warm body against his, in finding out what that soft, tanned skin tasted like. Maybe he could convince her to meet him at The Pony later. If she would, who knows where things might go from there…

Hell, he might even bring her back here to his new place instead of diverting to Snake’s. Kim sure didn’t seem like the psycho type. Not like the wacko chick who had prompted him to desert his old roommate and find this new bachelor pad.

At that moment Kim looked in Jon's direction, her hazel eyes sparkling with laughter. She raised her hand and combed her fingers through her damp hair, pushing the thick locks back away from her face as she grinned at him. Jon groaned softly as her simple movement made his cock stir lustily. He unconsciously flexed his hands as his fingers itched to tangle in her hair, maybe as her pretty mouth trailed downward over his chest and stomach, tasting and suckling, until it reached…

Another playful shriek from Kim pierced Jon’s fantasy. He laughed heartily as she wheeled around to face off with Marie, who had smacked Kim square in the back of the head with a soapy sponge while she was distracted by Jon.  Kim crouched to snatch the garden hose from the pavement, taking cover behind the convertible’s front wheel. She aimed the nozzle and fired a stream of cold water straight at Marie’s chest. The blonde squeaked out a curse as the burst soaked her shirt.

“Okay! Okay!” Mark shouted, laughing at the girls’ antics. “Let's take a break!” Shaking his head, he turned away from the camera and sauntered the few paces over to where his clients stood. “Whaddya think so far?” Mark directed his question at Jon.

“You’re the Pro, Man. But it looks good to me.” Jon’s reply was nonchalant, but it was evident from his grin he was pleased with the way this shoot was going.

Real good.” Richie echoed with a smirk. “Tough gig, huh?”

Mark laughed. “Yeah, this is way more fun than shooting you preening, pouting, pretty boys, that’s for sure.” He paused, looking back over his shoulder at the women. They had dropped their water-weapons and were now talking and laughing as they sat on the cars, awaiting further instruction.

“Listen, I want to get some shots of you guys too. With the girls.”

“Us?” Alec asked, voicing the other guys’ surprise. “Man, you didn’t tell us to come dressed for this.” He looked around at his bandmates. All of them except Jon were wearing jeans, and that was only because they had roused Jon from his bed when they arrived at his apartment this morning. The hung-over singer had yanked on the first garments he could locate, which happened to be those ratty cutoffs and that shredded tee.

“That’s fine. Actually, it works.” Mark answered, his eyes traveling over the band members’ attire. “I don’t want you guys to look like you’re washing, just playing.  Enjoying the show.”

“That ain’t a stretch,” David grinned.

“Let’s do it,” Jon nodded. He clapped his hands and stepped forward. “Where do you want us?”

“Wherever. Spread out,” Mark instructed. “You know how to do this. Just don’t bunch up. I want guys and girls evenly dispersed.

“Right.” Jon started for the cars, leading the way. He knew exactly where he was going to position himself.


“Well, HELL-LO….” Marie’s statement was a quiet warning. “Look who’s coming over.”

Kim turned her head in the direction of Marie’s gaze and almost gasped aloud. Jon was striding purposefully toward her, his blue eyes sparkling as he grinned broadly. The other four band members trailed boisterously in his wake, joking and laughing. Kim barely noticed them; her eyes were locked on Jon’s perfect smile.

“Hey,” he said softly, stopping just a few feet from where Kim sat on the red convertible’s front fender. He paused for a moment before sweeping his gaze over to the other girls. “Mind if we join you?”

“It’s your record. Do what you want.” Carmen’s answer was blunt but she was grinning.

“Mark wants us to mingle with you ladies for a bit, so he can get some shots of us Rock Stars in our natural habitat.” David’s cheerful sarcasm once again made the girls giggle.

“What, a parking lot?” Carmen shot back playfully.

David cocked his head to the side and gave Carmen a dazzling grin. “Surrounded by beautiful women.”

Carmen mirrored his smile, tipping her own head coyly. “Ah. That happen a lot, does it?”

“Not nearly enough, Sweetheart. Today’s my lucky day though.”

Kim chuckled softly as she watched Carmen blush and break her eye contact with David. Well, well…. It looked like Miss Cynical was enjoying this little project more than she wanted to let on.

Kimberly’s gaze was drawn back to Jon and again she felt her tummy flutter as he spoke quietly, directly to her. “We’re gonna do some shots of all of us together, then we should be done for the day. Maybe we can go grab a bite to eat or something?”

“Yeah, to thank you girls for your time,” Richie piped up, inviting himself and the others along. He winked at Nicki. “Least we can do is buy you a pizza or a beer or something.”

“We still get paid, right?” Suzanne responded. Richie nodded and she shrugged. “Cool.”

“But first we gotta get this shoot done,” Jon said firmly, turning his head to give Richie a stern look. He swung his gaze back to Kim and his voice softened. “Then we can socialize.”

Kim’s stomach flipped at the meaningful note in his voice. She’d love to spend some time with Jon, to get to know him a little, even if it was over a beer with the rest of the gang. Maybe he’d be interested enough to ask for her phone number.

Mark’s voice interrupted the social chatter. “Okay Girls, break’s over. Back to your places, please. Guys, spread out. Find someplace to be, but don’t get in front of the girls. And don’t bunch up.”

As the other girls dispersed to their places Kim slid off the car and moved back to her position near the convertible’s door. Her movement took her within a half-step of where Jon stood. She gave him a shy smile, not quite daring to meet his gaze. Her arm brushed against his when she turned.

“Sorry,” Kim breathed. She didn’t mean it.

“Excuse me.” Kim could hear in Jon’s voice that their incidental contact was quite welcome. He made no effort to move.

“Hey Jonny, climb up in the car.” Mark shouted out his instruction. “Up next to Blondie.”

Jon hesitated for a minute, looking at Kim. She raised her eyes to his and smiled. Their connection sent shockwaves through Jon’s senses, straight to his dick. Then with a sly grin he took a step back. His hands went to his waist and lifted as he stripped off his shirt.

Kim stopped breathing.

Seeing he had achieved the desired reaction, Jon turned and tossed his shirt over toward Mark and the camera, then brushed past Kim to brace his hands against the car door. With a powerful push he vaulted over the side of the car and up onto the back of the convertible, his thick, wavy hair swinging with the movement.

Kim heard Nicki let out a little giggle of delight that Jon had joined her in the car’s passenger compartment. She turned to look at him, unable to keep her eyes off of his tanned, sculpted torso. Settling onto the car’s retracted ragtop, Jon pulled his sunglasses from atop his head and tucked them into the pocket of his cutoffs.

“Wanna come up here and help me wash the windshield?” Nicki offered Jon her invitation in a throaty purr.

Jon turned his head to give Nicki a long look. Man, this chick can’t take a hint, he thought as he gave her a tight-lipped little smile. “Naw. I’m fine right here.” He turned his gaze back to Kim and gave her another wink.

Kim’s knees felt weak. She leaned heavily against the car, letting the door support her weight as she returned Jon’s smile.

“Okay Girls, keep washing.” Mark’s voice commanded action. Kim stared at Jon for another second, then reluctantly turned away. She dropped her gaze to her feet and saw that her bucket and sponge were no longer where she had left them. Confused, she looked up at Suzanne, who was slopping sudsy water on the convertible’s trunk.

Suzanne chuckled at her friend’s stunned look. She had drooled herself when Jon disrobed, but Kim’s expression was almost comical. She looked shell-shocked. “Just use the hose, Kim.” Suzanne gestured to the green garden hose snaking across the pavement near her feet, water trickling from its nozzle.

“Oh… yeah.” Kimberly crouched to pick it up. Before straightening she closed her eyes for a second and took a deep breath. Calm down, she ordered herself. Then she slowly stood, raising her head to find Jon still watching her.

Mark called out more directions as Kim and Jon exchanged private little smiles.  "Al, why don’t you go down to the end, by the bike. Yeah. Richie, more toward the center. Honey… what’s your name? Yeah, Wendy. Drop down a little so I can see Tico. Dave – what the hell is with that shirt?” That question brought a peal of laughter from the group. “Dave, just lose the shirt, okay Man? Richie, are you trying to buff that chick’s ass?”

Mark's last comment made Jon and Kim laugh, turning their attention from each other to the pairs on the other car. They watched as their friends bantered merrily, then they exchanged a conspiratorial sideways glance. Kim could tell Jon was thinking exactly the same thing she was: Let’s hurry up and get this done.

Again Kim’s heartbeat accelerated as she wondered if Jon would want to go somewhere with her, without the rest of the gang. Somewhere private where they could talk, or....

“Here we go!” Mark finally succeeded in positioning everyone as he wanted them and ducked behind his camera. “Come on, Girls! These guys want you to get wet!” He grinned at his double-entendre.

Kim chuckled and looked over her shoulder at the camera, not turning her body away from Jon. He was less than an arm’s length away from her, so close she could hear him breathe. She was sure he could feel the electric current of mutual attraction that seemed to crackle in the space between their bodies.

She didn’t realize it but the sexy, wanton smile Kimberly gave the camera as she reveled in Jon’s closeness was exactly what the photographer wanted. Mark grinned to himself as he zoomed in on the pretty brunette and the handsome singer behind her. It never hurt to get a good solo picture of the Rock Star surrounded by beautiful women. And Jon certainly appreciated his present company. The attraction between Jon and Kim didn’t escape the photographer’s trained eye; that simmering lust would certainly translate on film.

“Hey.” Kim felt a little nudge against her arm as she heard Jon’s voice. A little patch of gooseflesh raised where she felt his touch.

“What?” Kim kept her face turned toward the camera.

“What’re you gonna do with that hose?” Jon’s tease was deliberately dirty.

“What do you want me to do with it?” Kim resisted the urge to turn and gawk at Jon. She could feel him grinning at her, and she just knew his were eyes sparkling and his muscles were rippling as the breeze floated through his hair.

Her question earned a growly chuckle from Jon. “Well, that t-shirt of yours is getting pretty dry… Can’t have that, can we?”

Kimberly grinned even more broadly. “I don’t see why not. Especially since you’re dry. Hardly seems fair that I have to get all wet and you don’t.”

“Yeah, well… I’m just the singer. You’re the one who’s gonna sell this record. Tits n’ Ass, Baby. Remember?”

Kim had to glance at Jon at that comment. Her stomach flipped at his sexy little smirk. He was deliberately poking at her, trying to get a rise.

“Ya know, Kim’s right.” Suzanne was watching Jon flirt with her friend and she was more than willing to help things along. “Fair is fair.” She dunked her sponge in her bucket and came up firing, slinging a wave of soapy water toward Jon’s bare torso. It impacted with a delicious splash, the cool water immediately beading on his heated skin.

“Hey!” Jon turned and shook a finger at Suzanne. “You don’t play fair!” He grinned as he scolded the sassy blonde.

“Nope, I don’t.” Suzanne shot Kimberly a meaningful look. “Kim, I think this guy needs some help. Look at him. He’s all soapy.”

Kim’s eyes dropped to Jon’s chest and her mouth watered. Little peaks of foamy white bubbles were nestled in the thick mat of his chest fur. Two pendants, one shaped like a large claw and the other a silver crescent moon, dangled from their chains in the valley between his hard, bronzed pecs. A small rivulet of sudsy water skirted around the edge of his nipple before snaking downward to the washboard ridges of his abdomen.

 A naughty smirk curled Kim’s lips as she raised her twinkling hazel eyes to meet Jon’s “Yeah, I think you’re right, Suze.”

Jon realized what was coming and he recoiled, his abs bunching impressively as he shrunk back away from Kim’s hand. He wasn’t fast enough, and the cold blast of the hose caught him square in the chest. He yelped, then laughed. “Ohhhh, you’re in for it NOW, Little Girl…” he warned teasingly.

Kim snorted at his mock threat. “Little Girl My Ass. Bring it on, Rock Star.” Her eyes sparkled with challenge as Jon leaned forward, stretching for the hose in her hand. “Nuh uh!” Kim extended her arm out behind her, holding the hose’s nozzle out of Jon’s reach. She grinned triumphantly.

Jon laughed at Kim’s cocky smirk, then in a swift motion swept his arm forward.  He slid his hand across her back and around her side, his hand hooking around her bare midriff. Thinking Jon was lunging for the hose, Kim squealed and leaned forward, trying to extend her reach and keep the nozzle away from him. She bent at the waist with the movement, turning her back to Jon.

Seeing his opportunity, Jon jumped to his feet and leaned down, wrapping his other arm around Kimberly’s midsection and locking his grip so she couldn’t escape. Leaning back, he effortlessly pulled his would-be tormentor from her feet and hauled her up over the side of the convertible.

Kim shrieked with laughter and waved her arms as she felt herself being man-handled. Her struggle caused the hose to spray wildly across the scene before Wendy jerked it out of her hand. Kimberly vaguely heard peals of laughter from her friends and the other men as she found herself sitting on the back of the convertible, leaning back against Jon’s chest as his arms remained locked around her waist.

Kim’s heart jumped into her throat as she felt the full contact of Jon’s wet, warm, bare chest with her back. She suddenly became hyper-aware of his sinewy, corded arms around her torso, the palms of his hands resting against the taut skin of her abdomen. She could feel his breath stirring her hair, and she realized he was breathing as heavily as she was. She wondered if that was from the exertion of their brief struggle or whether Jon was panting for the same reason as she was. When she looked over her shoulder at him the answer was clear.

Jon was as turned on as she was.

July 17, 2010

Chapter 4


Kim stared at Jon for a moment as she tried to formulate a response.  To say his question had caught her off-guard was an understatement.  She couldn’t have heard him correctly… could she?

“Ummm… what?”  When her stunned brain finally prompted her vocal chords, Kim’s voice came out in hoarse half-whisper.

“Why don’t you flaunt it?”  Jon repeated.  “ ‘Cause I can see, you’ve got it.  Lots of it.”  His smile gentled at her blush as he repeated her words.

“Ummm…” Kim still didn’t know how to reply.  Her whole body was tingling with surprise and delight… was he flirting with her? 

“Kim, you’re up!” Kimberly snapped from her daze at the sound of Marie’s voice and the feel of a hand jostling her arm. 

“Oh!  Ummm…. Okay.” Kim dragged her gaze away from Jon’s smile and turned toward her friend.  “Here.”  She pulled her sunglasses from her face and handed them to Marie.  She couldn’t resist giving Jon another glance before she walked away.

Jon felt a bolt of arousal in the split second Kim’s gaze met his.  Her hazel eyes were beautiful, fringed by dark, lush lashes that needed no cosmetic embellishment.  In her fleeting glance he could see she was flattered by his attention.  Jon’s smile widened.

Jon watched Kim as she listened intently to Mark’s directions and nodded.  Her dark hair swung gently with the movement, then swirled in the breeze as she turned to face the camera.  When the photographer stepped behind the tripod Kim threw another look in Jon’s direction before a smile curved her pretty lips.

Jon felt his heart beat a little faster.  He watched silently as she spent the next few minutes posing for the camera, first smiling then adopting a serious expression.  As her soft lips drew together in a sultry pout Jon felt another surge in his groin.  He groaned softly in appreciation.  Jesus, she looked hot now… he couldn’t wait to see her all soapy and wet.

“Nice, huh?” Richie noticed Jon’s hungry stare and sidled up to his pal.  “She’s your type.”

Momentarily startled, Jon shook his head defensively.  “They’re all my type.”  He tried to mask his interest in Kim with the macho comment, but he knew he wouldn’t succeed.  Richie knew him too well.

“They sure are.”  Richie chuckled.  He could see Jon wasn’t receptive to his teasing right now, so he backed off.  “Me, I’m thinking that Nicki might be just the nice, soft thing to break my fall.  Repeatedly.”

That wisecrack elicited a dirty grin from Jon.  “Yeah, Man.  She’d do.”

“I’m sure she will.”

Jon snorted softly but didn’t reply.  His eyes stayed locked on Kim as he considered how she would react to Richie’s comment.  She had been quick to defend her friend when he suggested Nicki was a stripper.  Jon liked that.  He could appreciate that kind of loyalty.

Yeah, she was something else.


Kim finished her turn in front of the lens and moved across the lot to stand beside Carmen, Wendy, and Nicki while Suzanne stepped up for her shoot.  She couldn’t stop herself from sneaking glances at Jon as she pretended to watch her friend.  Each time she peeked at him she saw he was looking her way, a little smile ghosting his lips.

“Think maybe they’re playing somewhere tonight?”  Wendy asked.  Like the other girls, she had been unable to keep her eyes off the musicians since their return.

“Not likely.”  Carmen shook her head.  “They’ve been all over the world.  Why would they be back here playing some shitty little club?  If they were at the Pony or the Convention Hall we woulda heard about it.”

“True.”  Wendy frowned.  “Man, now I wish I had paid more attention to these guys before.  I just wasn’t that into music.”

“Bet you will be now,” Nicki chuckled.  She was leering openly at Jon, her indecent thoughts written in her hungry expression.  “Damn, Jon is HOT.  Gawd, look at all that hair.”

Carmen chortled her agreement.  “He’s got a nice ass too.  Though God knows where he’s keeping his dick hidden in those tiny little cutoffs.”

“Maybe there’s not much to hide,” Wendy giggled.  “All the good-looking ones have some shortcoming, you know.  They’re stupid, or jerks, or have little pricks.”

“I’ll let you girls know tomorrow,” Nicki slid her tongue suggestively across her bottom lip. 

Kim snorted.  “Yeah, sure you will.”   She surprised herself with the possessive edge in her voice.

Nicki turned to look at Kim.  “What, you think I can’t fuck him?”  She smirked and adjusted her breasts.  “Trust me, after this shoot gets a little wet and wild, I’ll have Rock Star over there panting and begging.”

“Whatever.”  Kim rolled her eyes.  Nicki was always making comments like that; it shouldn’t bother her now.  But Dammit, Jon had been flirting with her.  Of course, once Jon figured out Nicki was eager to climb into his bed he would probably focus all his attention on the easy score.  He was a man, after all.

Kim frowned slightly as she snuck another look at Jon.  He was still smiling in her direction, but then again, she was standing beside Nicki.  And he had asked Kim about her.  Shit, maybe she had misread Jon’s comments earlier.  Or maybe he flirted with everybody.

Kimberly sighed resignedly. That was probably it.  He was just being nice, maybe trying to suck up a little after she had given him that cold answer about Nicki.   Jon would probably end up as another notch on Nicki’s bedpost.  Oh well.  It’s not like anything would have come of Jon’s flirting anyway.  Kim was sure he was one of those guys who wouldn’t call the next day.  Hell, he was a singer in a semi-famous rock band.  He probably had a different girl – or two – every night.

Kim watched silently as the other girls completed their turns in front of the camera, half-listening to her friends’ chatter and trying not to look at Jon.  She was relieved when Mark called all the women back over to the cars.  Unable to stop herself, she glanced again at Jon before following the girls over to where Mark stood.  This time she thought she saw his smile widen just a bit when she looked his way.

“Okay ladies, time to get down to it.”  Mark grinned enthusiastically and clapped his hands together, then rubbed them palm-to-palm.  “I’m gonna get you positioned where I want you, then we’re gonna have a little car wash.  Now we want this to look authentic, so by all means get into it, but try not to get drenched.  The drowned-rat look ain’t the sexiest thing in the world.”

“You mean wet t-shirt, good; wet hair, bad?” Suzanne quipped. 

“Bingo,” Mark laughed, wagging a playful finger at Suzanne.  “I like you.  You’re no-nonsense.”

“Yeah, no shit, no games,” Carmen agreed, draping an arm across Suzanne’s shoulders as she chomped her gum.  “Suze tells it like it is.”

“Umm, Mark?” Nicki fluttered her hand in the air, attracting his attention.  “Could you maybe put on some music? That would really help me get into it.”  She smiled beguilingly. 

“Sure.” Mark turned to his assistant.  “Joey, why don’t you crank up the radio in the van.”

“Oh, you don’t have any songs from this album?”  Nicki pouted slightly.  “I mean, maybe we’d be able to capture the look you’re going for a little better if we know what the music sounds like.”

Mark smirked at Nicki’s attempted manipulation.  She just wanted a sneak-peak of the record, to be sure.  Probably so she could brag to whomever would listen that she had already heard it, once this shoot was done. 

Shaking his head slightly, Mark turned to call across the lot.  “Hey Jonny, you don’t have a tape of this record handy, do you?”  He knew the answer, but he asked just to humor the pushy blonde.

Jon sauntered over to Mark and the girls.  “Nope.  Why?”  His eyes went straight to Nicki, who was smiling coyly at him. 

“I just think we’d be able to really get into this if we were listening to the songs that are gonna be on the record.”  Nicki tossed her head slightly and braced her hands on her hips.  “You know, so we can give you what you want.  That authentic Jersey Girl attitude.”

“Sorry, Doll.” Jon answered.  “Can’t do it.  I don’t have a tape here anyway.”  He anticipated her pout, rolling his eyes behind his sunglasses at her play-acting.  “Why don’t you turn on the radio or something?”  Jon directed his last comment at Mark.

“That’s what I told Joey to do,” Mark replied, exchanging a grin with the singer.  This wasn’t Mark’s first shoot with this band; he and Jon understood each other well.  He could tell from Jon’s expression that they were sharing the same thought:  What a Pain in the Ass.

Jon’s eyes moved to Kim.  She was standing a step behind the rest of the girls, her arms crossed over her midsection, looking a little bored.  Feeling his gaze on her, Kimberly looked up and again their eyes met.  Jon’s lips curved into a sexy smile as a surge of electricity coursed through him at their connection.  He gave Kim a long look before turning back to Nicki.  “But you know what, Sweetheart?”

“What?” Nicki immediately perked up from her pout as she realized she had Jon’s attention.

“I don’t think you’re gonna have any trouble giving us what we want.  In fact, there’s a song on the record that could have been written about you.”  Jon gave Nicki a dazzling grin to soften the sarcasm in his tone.  “It’s called ‘You Give Love a Bad Name.’  And I think you’re nothin’ but trouble in that department.”

Jon’s gentle zinger was met with snorts and chuckles from Mark and the girls.  Nicki responded with her own girlish giggle, but her smile wilted just a bit.  Jon turned back to Kim and saw that she was smiling, but it wasn’t that pretty, shy smile she had given him earlier.  He hoped he hadn’t stepped on it again with his barb to Nicki, but for some reason he felt the need to put that chick in her place.  He wasn’t interested, and he didn’t want to be distracted by her little games. 

“What station you girls want?” Joey’s voice floated across the parking lot as he stood beside the open driver’s-side door of the van, reaching in for the radio dial.

“WXRK!” Marie shouted back.  Almost immediately the air was filled with the bluesy bump-and-grind beat of an old Aerosmith tune.

Glad the topic was closed, Mark turned back to the girls and clapped his hands together.  “Great. Let’s get to work.”  He ignored the slightly miffed look on Nicki’s face and pointed to Carmen.  “Okay, you, over there….”

Seeing his input was no longer needed Jon turned to head back to the other guys.  He hesitated for a moment, then turned back around and walked over to where Mark was positioning Carmen next to the black convertible’s fender.  Jon leaned in close to the photographer and murmured quietly to him, then wandered away.  He took a circuitous route toward his post, moving behind the group of girls awaiting their instructions.

Jon smiled as he neared Kim, seeing her hazel eyes shift sideways to follow his approach.  Jon slowed as he strolled behind her, discretely reaching out to give her hand a little squeeze as he passed by.  He couldn’t see her reaction, but he heard a soft gasp as she inhaled at his touch.  His own pulse jumped as his fingers trailed gently over hers, then slid away as he continued his path back to the guys.  The brief contact left him craving more.

A lightning bolt shot through Kimberly’s synapses at Jon’s touch.  When he had nonchalantly wandered behind her Kim’s senses had jumped to alert, his nearness overwhelming her calm and causing her heart to beat wildly.  Then came the brush of his hand, the gentle squeeze a surreptitious confirmation that she hadn’t misread their earlier exchange. 

It wasn’t Nicki.  It was her.   

July 13, 2010

Chapter 3


Thirty minutes later the girls were gathered in the cracked concrete parking lot of a run-down beach apartment building. They had packed up their belongings and stowed them in their cars, then followed the two musicians across the street to the location of the shoot. There they met the photographer, his assistant, and the three other members of the band. After introductions the band members abruptly disappeared, leaving the girls to watch the photographer set up his shots.

“Are we just gonna stand around all day?” Suzanne grumbled. She let out an impatient sigh and crossed her arms across her chest.

“I was kinda hoping we’d get this over with in an hour so we could get back to the beach,” Wendy agreed. “This is my only day off this week. I don’t wanna spend the whole thing standing around in some parking lot.”

Nicki chuckled as she chomped her gum. “Ain’t no way this is gonna be over in an hour.” She turned to look at her friends. “I betcha it takes at least three. Maybe four.”

“What makes you think that?” Carmen asked. “All the guy wants to do is take pictures of us soaping up some cars.”

“Oh, it’s not that simple,” Nicki replied loftily. “You see…”

“Okay, Ladies…” Joey the photographer’s assistant thankfully chose that moment to approach, stifling Nicki’s lecture before it began. “We’re just about ready for you. Time to get you dressed.”

“Dressed?” Kim gave the young man a confused look. “I thought we were washing cars in our bikinis. That’s what Jon said when he convinced us to do this.”

“Well, yeah,” Joey grinned. “But we need some sort of visual tie-in with the album logo. So…” He pulled a hand from behind his back, revealing a fistful of white fabric. “We’re gonna have you wear band t-shirts.”

T-shirts?” Nicki sneered. From her tone it was apparent that was the most ridiculous idea she had ever heard. “You want us to cover up all this…” she swept a hand downward, indicating her barely-clothed body. “With that?” She flicked her pink-tipped finger at the wad of shirts in the assistant’s hand.

“Well…” Joey hesitated for a moment, realizing the stupidity of the plan. Here they had six beach beauties in skimpy bikinis and Mark wanted them to wear t-shirts? “Maybe you can tie them up short or something.”

“Gimme.” Nicki reached out and snatched the shirts from Joey’s hand. Startled, he blinked for a moment before deciding not to challenge her. Nicki pulled a t-shirt from the clump and handed the rest to Marie. “Hmmm.” she mused, holding up the garment for inspection.

Marie passed around the rest of the shirts before looking at hers. “They’re all smalls?” She slipped her arms inside the tee, stretching it before lifting it over her head. Marie tugged the soft garment down over her torso, pursing her lips with the movement. “Yeah, I don’t know. Seems kinda stupid. Why would you wanna wear a shirt when you wash your car? It would fuck up your tan.”

“Yeah.” Nicki turned back to Joey. “Go get some scissors,” she commanded.

Joey started to ask why, but again realized he should keep his mouth shut and do the blonde’s bidding. He hurried over to the white van parked next to the building and rummaged around in a container in the back of the vehicle. Seconds later he returned and handed a pair of shears to Nicki.

Without thanks Nicki grabbed the scissors from Joey and turned to Marie. “Hold still.” Tossing her own t-shirt over her shoulder to free up both hands, Nicki raised the shears toward Marie’s torso. Working quickly, she slashed through the thin cotton, separating a sleeve from the tee in a matter of seconds. With a few more frenzied snips and tears she removed the second sleeve, the neckline, and half of the t-shirt’s length.

“Turn around,” Nicki directed her friend. With another snip she separated a thin strip of fabric from the scraps, then gathered the shorn bottom of the tee around Marie’s midsection, pulling it tight under her breasts. With a quick flourish she knotted the fabric strip around the handful of excess fabric at Marie’s back, creating a snug cropped tank top over Marie’s bikini top.

“There,” she pronounced, turning Marie back around to evaluate her handiwork. “You can still read the logo but it don’t look like some stupid record-store freebie. Now it’s sexy.” Though she was speaking to Joey she didn’t turn to look at him, knowing he was watching and listening.

Without waiting for a response Nicki took the scissors to her own t-shirt. She again slashed the length, sleeves, and neck, then slipped it over her head and turned to allow Marie to tie it up at her back. As soon as the fabric was pulled snug against her torso Nicki handed the shears to Marie. She reached up behind her neck and untied the hot pink strings of her bikini top and tugged upward. The bow at her back gave way and Nicki yanked her bikini top out of the neck of her new tee-tank. Her unfettered breasts spilled against the thin cotton, her peaked nipples on prominent display.

“Hmmm,” Nicki mused, looking down. She reached again for the scissors and raised them to her chest. Another careful snip opened a small hole in the fabric between her breasts, and a tug of her fingers enlarged the opening until an enticing peephole was created. That done, Nicki turned to face Joey.

“This work?” she asked, not caring whether he thought it did or not. She could tell by his expression that he wasn’t going to argue with her; he was just going to leer at her breasts and nod breathlessly.

“Good.” Ignoring Joey again, Nicki turned back to her girlfriends. “Who’s next?”


“Christ, look at ‘em!” David rubbed his palms together and grinned. “Good find, Jonny! And there’s six of ‘em?” He chuckled dirtily. “Who gets two?”

“Who do you think?” Richie drawled. He pointed the thumbs of both large hands at his chest and grinned rakishly. “King of Swing, Man!”

“Fuck that,” a deep, Latin-tinged rumble responded. “This ain’t Vancouver, Man. You’ll be lucky if one of these chicas gives you the time of day.” Tico grinned through his tease; he had no doubt Richie would find some way to get at least two of these girls in the sack. Probably simultaneously.

Jon snorted at his bandmates’ exchange. The men were standing at the second-floor railing of his apartment complex, looking down on the parking lot. Jon’s gaze swept over the setup for the photo shoot, noting the green garden hoses and buckets of soapy water next to the cars. Several yards away the girls were standing in a close group, tugging at each others’ clothing. Jon’s lips curved into a smile as he saw they were all wearing the band’s white logo t-shirts. Well, sort of.

“C’mon. We gotta get this shit done before the Manager gets pissed at me for blocking the driveway.” Jon moved for the concrete stairs at the end of the balcony and descended to ground level. Leading the pack, he wandered nonchalantly over to the girls’ huddle.

“Nice shirts.”

The sound of Jon’s voice sent a shiver up Kim’s spine. She wasn’t sure what had happened earlier, but some sort of spark had ignited inside her. Jon had barely spoken to her as she packed up her beach bag and slipped into her shorts, but somehow just his presence was stimulating. Kim turned her head toward his voice and her breath caught in her chest.

He was still wearing the cutoffs and ripped-up tee from the beach, but now Jon looked like a bona-fide Rock Star. His eyes were again masked by the mirrored aviator glasses, but she knew they were sparkling bright blue behind their shield. A grin stretched his soft lips across gleaming white teeth, dimpling his cheeks. Kim realized Jon was now clean-shaven; on the beach his angular jaw had been shadowed by dark stubble. And now his thick honey-toned mane tumbled across his tanned shoulders, flowing with the brisk breeze off the ocean.

Fuck, he was gorgeous.

“You like?” Nicki pirouetted in front of the men then stood with her hands on her hips, automatically posing for their appraisal.

Richie let out a low whistle. “Yeah, we like.” Like the other four men, his eyes were immediately drawn to the hole in the center of her tight t-shirt, right under the word Wet. “You ladies look great.”

“Good enough to eat,” Alec added, his dirty subtext obvious.

“Shit, I thought those shirts were ugly as hell until just now,” David wisecracked, grinning at the women. “Now I think we’re geniuses for having them printed!” His comment was rewarded with musical female laughter.

After a brief glance at Nicki’s display Jon’s gaze found Kim. She was standing calmly beside Carmen, smiling at him from behind her white-framed Ray-Bans. Jon’s pulse kicked up a beat as he let his eyes wander over her trim, tanned body. Kim was still wearing her short-shorts over her bikini bottoms, and her tucked-up t-shirt revealed her taut abs and a hint of cleavage. She wasn’t voluptuous by any means, but Jon found her girl-next-door wholesomeness alluring.

This girl was definitely not like the parade of bimbos he had dallied with recently. This one was something else.

“I think we’re about ready to go.” Jon’s eyes were still on Kimberly as he spoke. “Mark talk to you about the money yet?”

“Nope,” Carmen replied. “But he will before we step in front of that camera, right girls?” Her statement was more a demand than an answer.

Jon chuckled at Carmen’s tough-girl attitude. He liked her, even if she did come across as a ball-buster. With a little grin at Kimberly Jon turned to call over his shoulder. “Yo! Mark! You gonna pay these ladies or what?” His bark was playful, but it was obvious he expected immediate action.

The dark-haired photographer finished talking to Joey then strode over to the group. “Hey. Yeah, sure.” He gave the women a friendly smile. “Sorry, ladies… I get a little involved in setting stuff up. Kinda forget there are other people around.”

“It’s okay,” Nicki purred sweetly, stepping forward to extend her hand to the photographer. “I know how an artist can get all wrapped up in his work.” She gave him a little wink.

Nicki’s blatant attempt to suck up earned a snort of laughter from Wendy and smirks from the other girls.

Mark chuckled and shook Nicki’s proffered hand. “Yeah, well… sorry.” He looked at Jon, then back to the girls. “Anyway, I figure it will take us about two hours to get this all, both group shots and individuals. Scale is fifty an hour. I pay cash, at the end of the shoot. That okay with everyone?” He looked from face to pretty face.

“That’s fine,” Nicki answered confidently, ignoring her friends’ shrugs and nods. She turned to look at Suzanne. “See, easiest hundred bucks you ever made, right Suze?”

“Probably, but it ain’t done yet.” Suzanne didn’t want to agree, but shit… Nicki was right. Playing with some soapy water and good-looking guys was one Hell of a lot easier than waiting tables for eight hours.

“I don’t know, Mark…” David’s sarcastic voice caused all eyes to turn his way. “I’m awful pretty. I usually get paid way more than scale.” He playfully tossed his head, shaking his shaggy mane back away from his face.

Mark chortled at David’s posturing. “Shut the fuck up, Davey. You don’t get paid a dime.”

“Shit, Man… you should pay the photographer to let you be in the picture,” Jon added with a grin.  "I think you mean pretty awful, not awful pretty."

Kim chuckled at the men’s playful banter, feeling butterfly wings flutter in her stomach at Jon’s throaty laughter. Damn, everything about the guy was sexy.

Mark turned his grin back to the women. “Okay girls, ready to take some real rock-and-roll pictures?”

“Hell yeah!” Marie grinned, stepping forward beside Nicki. “Where do you want us?”

Mark led the group over to the convertibles parked in the driveway. After consulting with Joey for a minute he turned to regard the girls. The photographer pursed his lips in concentration as his practiced eye slid over each of his subjects, then he decided. “You.” He pointed at Carmen. “Let’s shoot you first.”

Carmen threw Nicki a smug grin before she strolled over to the spot Mark indicated, next to the red car. Kim couldn’t contain a small chuckle at Nicki’s pout at not being the first girl chosen to show off for the camera. She loved Nicki like a sister, but DAMN could she be a Diva.

“I thought you said you didn’t want any posing shit?” Suzanne’s question was directed at Jon as he stood watching Mark position Carmen against the convertible.

He shrugged in response. “He always shoots solos. It’s his way of warming up. Sometimes he uses them for the liner notes, singles sleeves, stuff like that.” Actually Jon had no idea why Mark was wasting time shooting individual shots of the girls, but he wasn’t about to admit that.

The group watched Carmen smile for the camera, the girls calling out encouragement and the guys grinning at the girls. Jon and Richie exchanged a look as they realized they had made the right call.

The bandmates had endured their share of photo shoots and were used to being around scantily-clad women. Usually the models’ brains were as skimpy as their clothing. But this group was different. These girls were smart and outspoken and, well, fun. Jon had definitely been right to demand local girls for this project. Even to Jon’s and Richie’s untrained eyes it was apparent a little Jersey attitude would find its way into the finished product.

After Carmen finished her shots Mark called Wendy over. She giggled and posed her way through the session, then it was Nicki’s turn. Popping her gum, the buxom blonde strutted confidently over to the black convertible, striking a pose for the camera the second she stopped moving.

Kim jumped at the soft chuckle near her ear. “So, what’s Nicki’s deal?” Jon had moved up behind her while she watched her friend start her session. His voice was soft and low, smooth as satin. It sent another tingle racing through her senses.

Kimberly turned slightly toward him. “What do you mean?” As she asked she felt a little stab of disappointment. But she wasn’t surprised that Jon was interested in Nicki. All the guys wanted Nicki. She was just that kind of girl.

“I mean…” Jon gave Kim a conspiratorial little smirk and tipped his head toward Nicki as he dropped his voice. “She’s a stripper, ain’t she?”

Kim’s lips parted in surprise as her eyes first widened, then narrowed behind her shades. “No. She’s NOT a stripper.” Her voice was calm but held a hard edge. Sure, Nicki may act like a tramp, but nobody but her girls got to call her that. Or anything like it.

“Oh. Uh…” Jon was taken aback by Kim’s defensive tone. He looked down at the ground, then returned his gaze to Kim’s displeased expression. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. I just thought maybe, because she’s just, well… she’s kind of an exhibitionist.”

Kim couldn’t hold in a soft chuckle at Jon’s choice of words. She couldn’t have picked a better descriptor for her friend if she tried. “Well…” Kim gave Jon a little smile. “Yeah, she can be.” She felt another flutter in her stomach as he returned her smile, one corner of his mouth twisting a little more crookedly than the other. “Her motto is ‘if you’ve got it, flaunt it.’ And as you can see, she’s got it. Lots of it, in fact.”

Jon nodded slowly. “Yeah, she has some… assets. And she’s definitely not shy.” His smile widened, his lips parting to reveal gleaming white teeth. “Gotta say, I agree with that philosophy.” He paused for a long moment, smiling at Kim. When he spoke again his voice was softer, almost seductive.

“So, Kim… why don’t you flaunt it?”

July 9, 2010

Chapter 2


“Oh fuck, here they come,” Wendy sounded slightly panicked as she quickly dropped from her elbows to her back.

“Wen, what the fuck are you worried about? They’re just guys for Christ’s sake,” Marie replied. “You sound like some stupid junior high twit.”

“Yeah, just ignore them.” Nicki’s smirk was evidence that she intended to do anything but.

“Well…. Hel-LO, Ladies.”

Kim raised her head at the silky, bluesy voice. It held a friendly, playful note. Propping herself up on her crossed arms she squinted through her sunglasses at the dark-haired man with the sparkling smile.

Without bothering to look at their visitors Carmen raised her right hand, middle finger extended and toward the sky. “Fuck off.” She continued to recline on her back, eyes closed, otherwise ignoring the men.

Her order was met with a husky chuckle, this time from The Watcher. “Nice to meet you too.”

Kim’s gaze shifted to the shorter of the two men. Like his friend, he was taut and tan and carried himself with calm self-assuredness. Since he was standing just a few feet in front of her, Kim was practically eyeball-to-kneecap with The Watcher. She let her gaze slip up his lean leg to where the frayed strings of his denim cutoffs mingled with the soft, thick fur blanketing his muscular thigh. Jesus, those things were almost as short as the Daisy Dukes in her beach bag.

“We saw you over there by the dune, staring at us,” Marie challenged.

“Yeah, you think we sent you some kinda invitation or somethin’?” Suzanne chimed in, rolling to her side and propping herself up on one elbow to give the men a long stare.

“Sorry, Darlin’,” the Dark One answered. “My friend here was just waiting for me to catch up. You can’t blame the guy for taking in the scenery.”

“Like what you see?” Nicki raised herself up from her belly onto her forearms and gave the men a coy smirk. She pressed her upper arms inward, squeezing her barely-concealed breasts together.

“Sure do, Darlin’,” the Dark One drawled, his gaze dropping obviously to her chest. “In fact, we have a little proposition for you girls.”

“I just bet you do.” Carmen had lowered her hand but her retort made her opinion of the men and their intentions quite clear.

Carmen’s response caused the corners of Jon’s mouth to twitch upward. These girls were exactly what he was looking for. His gaze traveled to the brunette closest to him. Though her eyes were shielded by sunglasses he could tell from the slight tilt of her head that she was studying him curiously.

“How would you girls like to be on the cover of a record?” Jon asked calmly, still looking at the brunette.

His query was met with snorts of laughter. “Yeah, RIGHT.” Suzanne chortled. “You ain’t got a better line than that?”

“Yeah,” Marie rolled her eyes and popped her gum. “You wanna take our picture, huh? Lemme guess: back at your place? Clothes optional?” Her pink lips curled into a sneer as she fluttered a hand at Jon. “Puh-LEASE.”

“What do you mean?” Nicki loudly interrupted her friends’ derision. “A record?”

Richie grinned. He had pegged the blonde the second he saw her. She was the show-off. “A real rock-and-roll record,” he replied enthusiastically. “Our new record.”

“You mean, like… model for it?” Nicki completely missed the Dark One’s boast. “ ‘Cause I’ve done some modeling, in the City.”

“You have, huh?” Richie’s grin widened as his gaze traveled lower, into the recesses of Nicki’s considerable cleavage. In his mind he could see her tight, nude body stretched across a skin magazine fold-out.

“Our band just finished recording a new album.” The Watcher spoke again, finally pulling his gaze away from the brunette. “We need some girls for a photo shoot for the cover art.” His voice was calm and confident, as if the deal had already been sealed.

“Sure. And just where is this ‘photo shoot’?” Carmen finally took the bait, rolling onto her stomach and fixing the men with a doubtful stare. “I don’t see any cameras.”

“Across the street,” Jon replied evenly. “If you go back over there...” He tipped his head toward the dune. “You’ll see the photographer setting up in the driveway of that red brick apartment building. Next to the sports cars.”

“And what do you want us to do?” Nicki asked eagerly. She pushed herself up to kneel on her towel, purposely posing for evaluation. “Lay across the cars or something?”

“Any Putz can set up a camera in a driveway,” Carmen argued before either man could respond to Nicki’s question. “How do we know you’re really in a band, and not just some Schmucks who want to take jiggle-pics of us?”

“Yeah, can you prove it?” Marie echoed.

The Watcher let out a little growl, so soft only Kim heard it. The sound rumbled through her senses, sparking a feminine reaction in her core. When he turned his head to look at his buddy, Kim saw the man’s angular jaw and the thick honey-and-caramel ponytail at the nape of his neck. Damn, he really looked familiar. And that voice…

“We could sing something for you,” Richie suggested. “One of our hits.” He continued to grin at the flirty blonde. Richie could see she was chomping at the bit to play; maybe she could convince her friends to come along.

“You have hits?” Suzanne replied doubtfully. “From where?”

“From the radio.” Richie elbowed Jon in the side. “Hey Man, these ladies think we’re blowin’ sunshine up their backsides. Show ‘em who you are.”

The Watcher dropped his chin to his chest and shook his head slowly, a little smile creeping to his pouty lips. Damn, these chicks were really gonna make him work for it. But then again, he wanted Attitude…

“I know who you are.”

Jon’s gaze flicked back to the brunette at her quiet statement. His smile morphed to a smirk as he regarded her. “Do you?”

“I think so.” As soon as she saw that crooked little smile something in her brain clicked. Kim had been a part-time barmaid in the Jersey Shore clubs for several years now, and she had seen a lot of bands come and go. The man before her was definitely a musician, but she hadn’t seen him around in awhile. Now she realized why. He had been off playing his music around the world.

“It’s hard to tell when I can’t see your face,” Kim added, second-guessing herself just a tiny bit.

Jon stared at Kim for a long moment before slowly raising his hand. He slid the mirrored aviators from his face, dropping his chin so the brim of his ball cap shielded his eyes from the sun’s glare. He continued to look at the brunette, searching her expression for a reaction.

“Who is he?” Wendy asked, breaking the brief silence.

Kim’s gaze locked with The Watcher’s ice-blue stare. A little electric charge shot through her as she confirmed her identification. Those eyes were unforgettable. Kim suddenly felt uncomfortable, like he was reading her mind, daring her to reveal some secret. She quickly averted her gaze.

“He used to play at some of the clubs.” Kim turned to look at her friends. “With a couple different bands. He played our prom a couple years ago too, I think.” Kim looked back to The Watcher. “John, right?”

Jon nodded silently, his smirk remaining.

“Oh My GOD!” Nicki’s recognition bubbled out in a loud gasp. “Shit! You’re Bon Jovi!”

“In the flesh, Darlin’.” Richie raised a hand to slide his Wayfarers to the tip of his nose. His chocolate eyes sparkled merrily as he peered at Nicki over the top of the frames.

“Oh My God, you’re RIGHT!” Wendy sat up, gaping at the two men. “I saw you guys open for ZZ Top at The Garden!”

Jon chuckled. “Yeah. That was us.” His mood was quickly improving, his hangover misery diminishing somewhat as he realized he may be able to get this photo shoot over with today after all. Being recognized by a half-dozen bikini-clad girls didn’t hurt either.

“No shit,” Carmen breathed quietly. She recognized him now, too. But she still wasn’t sure whether these guys were being up-front about their proposition. “If you’re such a big-time rock band now, how come you don’t already have models for this so-called photo shoot?”

Marie nodded along with Carmen’s question. “Yeah. I remember when you made that video on the Boardwalk last year. Suzanne and I were in the crowd for the concert scenes.” She looked at her friend, then back at Jon and Richie. “But all the girls in the rest of the video were models or actresses or something.”

“That’s right,” Jon agreed with a little nod. “But this ain’t a video. And I want authentic Jersey Girls for this shoot. Not some New York wannabe actresses who have never spent a day down the shore.”

His candor seemed to surprise them. Jon waited patiently as the girls looked at each other, silently asking with their exchanged glances if they should trust this minor local celebrity. Jon heard Richie chuckle softly beside him but he didn’t react.

Nicki was the first one to speak. “Well Honey, it’s your lucky day,” she purred. “I’m an authentic Jersey Girl AND a model.”

“Christ, Nicki, give it a rest,” Carmen muttered, rolling her eyes. “You posed for a couple J.C. Penney ads. It ain’t like you were in Vogue.”

“That was a real modeling job!” Nicki protested. “And I was in that car calendar!”

“That’s true, she was,” Wendy agreed. “She sat on the hood of a car, wearing bikini. She’s obviously qualified.” Her sarcasm was thinly-veiled.

Richie chortled at the girls’ catty remarks to their boastful friend. “Sounds to me like you’re qualified,” he flirted. Again his eyes traveled over her ample chest. Nicki noticed and gave him another coy smile.

“Listen, we’re not looking for any of that studio posing shit,” Jon interrupted the banter. “Here’s what we want. The record is called ‘Slippery When Wet.’ Our art guy came up with a concept of girls washing sports cars. You know, wet, soapy, slippery…”

“Basically you wanna use T & A to sell your record,” Suzanne interrupted, getting straight to the point.

“Bingo.” Jon appreciated her directness. “Specifically, we wanna use your T & A.”

“And you can make a little money doing it,” Richie added. “We have a professional photographer, and you’ll get paid scale for your time.”

“What’s scale?” Wendy asked. She didn’t really care; this sounded like fun. But a little cash wouldn’t hurt, either.

“It’s the basic pay rate for models who aren’t under contract.” Nicki answered for Jon. “It’s usually negotiated based on the type of job, but in this case I’m sure there is a scale rate for recording industry shoots.”

Jon’s eyebrows arched in surprise at the blonde’s precise description. Maybe there was more to that one than a nice rack and an easy lay. “Yeah.” He couldn’t explain it any better.

“Probably a hundred bucks for a couple hours?” Nicki asked, her eyes narrowing slightly as she looked at Jon.

“I don’t know. Mark will take care of all that.” Jon stared back at the blonde for a long moment before looking around at her friends. “So, whaddya say, girls? Wanna help us out?”

“Sounds fun,” Wendy agreed. “I’m in.”

“Me too,” Suzanne added. “I got nothin’ better to do today.” Marie and Carmen also nodded their assent.

“Excellent!” Richie grinned. “Well, since Jonny here couldn’t be bothered to introduce me, I’m Richie. And your names are?” He looked around at the group as each of the five volunteers introduced herself in turn.

Jon’s gaze turned back to the quiet brunette. “How about you…?” Again her eyes met his through her shades, and he thought he saw her cheeks flush slightly. He felt a little twitch in his groin as she smiled shyly.

“Kimberly.” Her voice was soft and even. “Sure.”