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Laurel's Bright Idea
Author: Jasinda Wilder





I stood in front of the mirror in the powder room of Seven and Autumn’s house, fidgeting with my dress. I couldn’t get the cups to stay in place, and my boobs kept trying to escape, a condition I called wandering nipple.

Or, peek-a-boob.

Either way, not a good look for a backyard wedding for one of my best friends.

I mean, the dress was killer. Givenchy, custom-tailored for me. Off-the-shoulder, cut to emphasize my hourglass figure, which, of late, was becoming more focused on the lower portion than I’d like. By which I mean, my ass was taking over. I wasn’t, like, pear-shaped quite yet, but I used to have a true hourglass figure, with proportions Marilyn Monroe would’ve been jealous of.

No matter—I could just emphasize my cleavage with some nice supportive bras and no one would be the wiser, until they saw me naked.

Which, lately, has been a sadly lacking part of my life.

I’d never admit to it, even to my best friends, but I was…gasp…in a dry spell.

The worst part was, I wasn’t even trying.

Since I discovered boys at thirteen, I only had to give a male a look and they were mine for as long as I wanted to toy with them.

It was no different now. If anything, I had the look down to an art form. Pickup lines were for amateurs—I could pick up some fun for the night with a single look.

Of them, at me. If I gave them The Look, they’d be under my spell by the time we got to my Aston Martin DB6.

Yes, I drove a vintage sports car.

It’s very hot of me.

But lately, I just hadn’t been interested in the same-old-same-old cast of loser wannabes and vapid playboys.

I wanted a man.

I knew the girls had posted an ad, and I’d gotten a few bites, but simple cursory sleuthing had precluded me from going out with any of them. Maybe I wasn’t giving them a fair shake, but shit, none of them interested me.

I was lonely.

I was sad.

I was bitter.

But I had a reputation as an icy sex goddess to maintain, and I couldn’t let my friends down, so I put on the Face, the bright smile and the glittery look to my eyes, which were a pale blue that was nearly white.

My hair was perfect, coiled into tendrils of naturally platinum ringlets around my face, the top tied back, the rest loose.

The dress hugged my curves, supported my boobs—when they weren’t wandering out—and made my hips look like straight-up man-killers.

Which, TBH, they were.

See, the thing about this dry spell was, my heart and mind weren’t playing along with my body—which was every bit as borderline nymphomaniacal as ever.

It was my soul that was on a dry spell. My body wasn’t with that plan, and was doing everything it could to remind me that I hadn’t had sex in months.

And even my vibrators had been off duty for a couple weeks.

It was getting positively dusty down in my nether regions.

But, time to suck it up. Be a good girl for Autumn’s wedding.

Her wedding to the man I’d jilled off to every night and every morning for the past several years.

Not that that was connected in any way to my dry spell. No, no…

Not at all.


Totally unrelated.

Finally, with one last tug to make sure my boobs were firmly seated in the cups, I headed out.

And I saw God.

Or, a god, at least. Little “G.”

But if he didn’t deserve the capital “G,” I don’t know who would.

Tall, dark, and handsome, just the way I liked them. Only, this one took the cliche to sinful, devilish new heights. Six-six, if he was an inch, with naturally dark, swarthy, caramel skin tanned darker yet by the California sun. Long black hair in tight spirals hanging down loose around his back and shoulders. A short, neat beard framed a hard, rugged jawline. A silver hoop adorned the center of his lower lip. More earrings on his ears than I had, all of them heavy silver. Tattoos all over, colorful, masterful, of birds and tigers and guns and knives and angels and pinup girls and hands of cards and guitars and amps and I didn’t know what all.

He wore a leather vest, open, over a bare torso.

And fuck me, I’d never seen any man in real life as shredded as he was.

Eight razor-sharp abs, a V-cut peeking up out of his faded, ripped black jeans. Long lean hard arms with rippling cords of muscle—guitarist forearms, fingers glinting with rings.

Heavy black boots, shitkickers.

A rock star.

THE rock star.

Titus Bright.

The baddest bad boy in music. Front man for a long-lived hard rock band notorious for taking the rock star lifestyle to its wildest extremes. And then, when that band broke up following the sudden overdose death of the drummer, he’d done an about-face and started a new project, Bright Star, which did ballads and touching acoustic pieces with delicate melodies and haunting lyrics. Bright Star could rock out, but they were not a metal band of the same vein Titus’s previous band had been. Bright Star defied genre. They’d featured rappers, flamenco guitarists, cellists, accordionists, opera singers, gospel choirs, banjos…anything and everything, and every single song was a platinum hit.

Titus Bright was the mastermind behind it all, the musical genius who also happened to be the single hottest and most eligible bachelor on the planet, now that Seven St. John was marrying my best friend, Autumn Scott.

And he was here, in Seven’s backyard, setting up a rack of guitars.

He saw me floating, stunned and hypnotized, across the yard, and he paused. Froze, really. Slowly set the guitar down into the rack without looking away from me.

I’d never been looked at like that in my entire life.

Like prey.

Like something to eat, a helpless little bunny caught out alone in a field.

He was the wolf, prowling along the tree line.

His eyes were a tan so pale they were almost yellow, lupine.

He shoved his hands in his back pockets and met me in the middle of the yard, eyes narrowed, jaw flexing.

“Goddamn.” His voice was hoarse, raspy, guttural. “You’re even more fuckin’ stunning than I’d imagined you would be, Laurel McGillis.”

I blinked, swallowed, tried to breathe. “You…you know who I am?”

He shuffled closer. Towered over me, his presence imposing, powerful, primal. “Yeah, I do. I know you. Not as well as I’m going to, though.”

“I see,” I said, trying for the icy demeanor that had never yet failed me. Until now. “You’re sure of that, are you?”

He reached up with one hand, twisted a ringlet of my hair around his finger, brought it to his nose and inhaled. “Yes,” he murmured. “I am.”

“Awful confident of you, Mr. Bright.”

His eyes ravaged me. “You’re mine, Laurel. You may not know it yet, but you will, soon enough.”

I gulped, an audible gulp. “You can’t say that to me,” I whispered.

“But I just did.” He smirked. “What are you gonna do about it?”

I had not a single clue.

For the first time in my life, I felt as if I was at the mercy of a man, rather than the other way around.

This would either be the most fun I’d ever have, or…

It would utterly change me. Forever.

I turned on my heel and click-clacked across the lawn, away from Titus Bright. I ducked into the first doorway I came to—the laundry room.

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