Home > Rise (Rock God #1)

Rise (Rock God #1)
Author: Cassandra Robbins

 

For my loves,

 

Mark, Jack, and Sophia

 

 

She stands in the rain, droplets of water running down her face to her feet. The moonlight makes it seem even more ominous than anything the daylight could spread.

Her pain seeps out of her, almost as if her tears are the reason she’s wet, rather than the rain that has soaked the parking lot.

The pulse of rage pounds my temples along with my adoring crowd behind me. The stadium energy is alive. It vibrates through me as I watch her.

“Why?” she yells at me. Her long, wet hair sticks to her face.

The guitar solo behind me wails as they chant my name. I wonder if they know how much I need to hear them?

This is the moment I die and become reborn.

Her grief will heal; mine will fester and ooze. It’s poison, growing stronger daily until my heart will not beat for her anymore.

She is, was, my anchor. My fucking lifeline to the real me.

I watch her beautiful face in the moonlight, her pale skin never looking more striking at this moment, until she backs away from me, taking my soul with her.

Agonizing pain seizes my chest as I let her go.

I don’t reach for her.

I don’t stop her, though the pain’s so excruciating it’s as though I’ve swallowed a knife. The slow descent slices my insides.

The bike waits for her like a living creature. An angry, living beast, its exhaust fills the area. It rumbles and vibrates on the pavement, reminding me that no matter how high I rise, I’ll always be the man who hemorrhages grief.

She hesitates, her hand on his shoulder.

Time stops.

One. Two. Three.

I hear my heart pound and know it’s hers calling to me.

“I hate you, Rhys Granger,” she screams. Her thin body trembles as she swings one long leg over the seat and climbs on, clinging to the biker in front of her.

I can’t see him. Don’t need to. I know his rage, and I’d feel the same if the roles were reversed.

His dark bike shines, almost glows in the moonlight. The sky blasts an eerie white zigzag across the black night. The pelting, almost stinging rain burns my sensitized skin. I open my mouth to try to take back all that has happened, to make her stay.

But I stop myself.

I owe her more than that.

The guitar solo is almost over and the lights from the stadium lasers fill the wet night with color.

My followers never leave. They’re what I need to focus on. Even with Mother Nature sharing her grief for me, my people love me. They know I bleed for them, and in return they give me their undying devotion.

The bike, like a dark demon, speeds away, the red taillight illuminating the two figures who seem to evaporate into the wet night.

For a second, I move as if I can actually catch up with the lead horse. I rip off my soaked shirt as if to shed my skin, or at least her scent, but stop as I acknowledge the truth: this is it.

She’s mine and she’s gone.

I’m not good.

All the people I love end up getting hurt.

The rumble of the crowd stops me, calls to me. Like a junkie with his addiction, I slow. We never had a chance.

Timing. The one thing you never escape. Our past formed our future.

Tossing the wet shirt to the ground, I reach for my heart, then look up into the rain-filled night and let it wash away my guilt.

Betrayal stings like a bitch, and no amount of Mother Nature’s cleansing tears can rid me of who and what I’ve become.

I’ve lost my muse, the one love of my life.

The crowd chants my name. I embrace it, let it fill me, build me up, the adrenaline of their screaming love allowing me to accept who I am.

Rock God.

As if the universe agrees, it lets out a loud, explosive crash of thunder.

She’s gone and taken my heart with her but this… I still have this.

I start to walk, but the water weighs me down. Hands touch me, and someone passes me a bottle as I make my way up the stairs.

It’s chaos.

Mayhem.

The crowd roars as if my very presence has brought them to life.

I lift my fist to the sky and close my eyes.

I am home.

I am the Rock God.

 

 

GIA

Present – Twenty-five years old

Paris, France

 

“Are you going to fall asleep at the table, or can I order us something to eat?” Sebastian kicks my crossed leg, causing my eyes to snap open and my leg to drop with a thud.

“Stop it,” I hiss, straightening up. “I’m jet-lagged already.” I breathe in and look around, mostly for a waitress. I need coffee. Wealth and entitlement bounce from one table to the next as I roll my neck and try to focus.

“Get your shit together. The day just started.” He smirks and leans back in the comfortable chair as his eyes scan my face.

I cock my head and stare right back, but let’s be honest—he has an unfair advantage. The jerk slept the entire plane ride from Los Angeles to Paris. I think he woke up once for some water and a warm cloth for his eyes, then went back to sleep. While I stayed awake, torturing myself for eleven hours, worrying that at any second this might be my last. I have a flying phobia. It started years ago. Maybe I’ve always had it. I can’t pinpoint when it started to be out of control. I guess it kind of crept up on me slowly, one flight after another until Bam.

I’ve tried everything: yoga, counseling, hypnotherapy. You name it; I’ve tried it. But no matter how Zen I am, as soon as I board the plane and smell that recycled air, all meditation is gone.

It’s irrational, but the plane could go down. The thought of having to go through those last seconds…

Sebastian, on the other hand, orders a screwdriver, pops some Valium, and is out in minutes. Meanwhile, I sit in silence, fighting myself not to jump up and scream for the pilot to make an emergency landing.

Which is why I’m exhausted. I need coffee, or a ten-minute nap, not Sebastian’s stare.

“Damn it.” I don’t look away but grab my purse from the floor. Obviously, my appearance is lacking.

“I don’t know why you never listen to me. I begged you to take a Valium or Ativan.” His voice keeps bugging me.

“Because I hate relying on them. I’m stronger than that,” I snip right back at him. He continues giving me the stare. I take a deep breath because I want so badly for it to be true. Unfortunately, this time he might be right. I’m exhausted, physically and mentally, and we do have a full day ahead. I give him a giant eye roll as I pull out my makeup bag.

“And I hate that stare,” I say dramatically, opening my compact to assess myself. He throws back his head and laughs as I blink at my reflection in the small mirror.

I’ve got the smoky-eye thing going on, but I’m rolling with it. It’s fashion week, after all, and with the eleven hours of panic I’ve been through, I’m shocked I look this good. My lips are still stained red from the matte lipstick, and my hair has held up well.

I bring the mirror away from me so I can see more of myself. What the heck? I look pretty damn good. Sebastian has no reason to give me his infamous stare.

“You’re strong, Gia. But even Wonder Woman needs a little help sometimes.” His beautiful brown eyes are serious.

I run my hand through my hair. “Fine. You’ve made your point.” I glance over at the cute, dark-haired waitress who’s approaching and mumble, “I’ll take ten Valium on the way home and swallow them down with a bottle of vodka. Happy?”

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