Temper The Fire ( Chapters 1-3) Read Count : 30

Category : Adult

Sub Category : Adult Romance
"It's just another gig. Fucking charity shit, it's no different than you playing it last year. Get a grip." I paced across the length of the house, five inch heels clicking out my irritation at myself.  The pep talk wasn't working, my stomach was in knots and the nerves refused to go away. It wasn't the thought of being on stage, missing a note, people hating me, I knew he would be there. Adam had been trying to casually come around since the first week he had been in town. The only problem was when you're six foot four, with wide shoulders, every muscle toned and defined, there was no casual. I wanted him, but I knew better, there were secrets in those intense grey eyes. He had the cool calm of a jungle cat, a predator inside and out, and I had a distinct feeling he thought of me as prey. The problem was I had my own secrets, and I wouldn't be an easy target for anyone again.

Ch.1

    I was the holdout. All three of my sisters had given into the Drefan men so far, and I stayed as far away as possible. Aura had fallen first, Cam kept her grounded, showing her that there was more than darkness to her. In return she had taught him how to dream, and that he wasn't so scary. Demi had gone next, she hadn't even tried to resist Jared. Their elements had clicked from the moment she had bumped into him in the store. My rule loving sister had tamed the reckless beast in record time, and he had started to make her.... fun. Rusty had claimed Morgan with an astonishing speed considering her stubborn fighting nature. He matched her, both physically and intellectually, something I had never imagined was possible. I didn't begrudge my sisters happiness, I wanted that for them, as much as I wanted to be left alone.
     I checked my reflection one last time, I hated how I looked which meant it was perfect. I actually rolled my eyes as I smoothed the material, I had exchanged my normal hard rock leather for a softer, classy dress. The off the shoulder straps showed off my clevage, and my collection of colorful tattoos. The silk hugged my curves, the hem almost brushing the floor even with my heels. I left my hair down, an act of rebellion, it was a black tie event and I had made sure to re-dye my hair bright red. It came just above my shoulders, the layered messy locks giving me the wild child look my sisters hated. I did make sure to balance it out with classic makeup, a dark smoky eye, red lips, a light blush showing off my high cheekbones. My phone went off and I growled, silencing the alarm and grabbing my keys as I headed off to tempt fate one more time. 
    "Tana! Oh my god, you need to dress like this more often, you're beautiful!" Demi swept in, hugging me before pulling back to look again. I made a sour face at the compliment and I heard Jared chuckle. 
    "Thanks Dem... I only thought about crashing my car three times on the way here!" I used a sugary sweet fake voice as I forced a smile.
    "Well, there's a positive ray of sunshine if I've ever heard one. Tan, they already did a sound check, try to go the next half hour without killing yourself... I mean this is for charity." I flipped Tom off over my shoulder without even turning, and waved at my gathering sisters before heading to the bar.
    "My best friend for the next few hours, thank you for working tonight Abby." I slid a hundred across the bar with a wink as the older woman shook a bottle of whiskey at me. "you always did know the way to my heart." 
    "What's going on Tana? You usually love being on stage, right now you look like like you're being tortured." She slid the drink at me, concern clouding her normally happy features. "You can't fight destiny sweetheart, it'll only make you miserable." 
    "If I'm going to be miserable anyway i might as well be miserable from the start." There wasn't any use in trying to bullshit her, she knew me too well. I raised my glass in a mocking salute, turning away from the bar to survey the quickly filling room. There was no sign of Adam, and I took a calming breath as I made my way to the stage. Three hours, that was how long I had to make it. After that the dj would take over and I could enjoy myself. 
    I slipped around the curtain on the stage, locking my nerves away and falling into my roll of a cocky rocker. "ready for this boys? We've got a whole night of easy listening ahead of us." I surveyed my bandmates, all of them were dressed for the occasion, well as much as they could. They each had a black suit on, black shirts, but their ties were a bright blood red, all askew in a show of solidarity with my own rebellion. "Looking good, now let's see what we can get away with tonight shall we?" I moved to the center of the stage, hand out while one by one they joined me. I nodded at Tom while we bowed our heads.
    "One two three fuck 'em" It was our version of a prayer, one most people never saw for a reason. But once a year Tom led us in it, enjoying the honor as we took our places and he slipped through the curtain. 
    "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the eighth annual charity auction night. As you all know we spend a year gathering, begging, planning in the hopes of helping two or three very worthy causes. We want to give a huge thank you to all of the local businesses who have made sure collections stayed going the last twelve months. The count is still going but as the numbers go up we will keep everyone informed. In the mean time we have a silent auction going in back, we'll have a live auction later on at nine, and between now and then help me in welcoming le stelle sono morti. The curtain opened and I stepped forward blinking in the bright lights.
    "Good evening everybody, we are The Stars Have Died, and we're happy to be here with you all tonight." The applause was genuine but reserved and I turned, walking back to my starting point mouthing for my drummer to kill me even as the song started. We kept it easy and mellow, slowly people filtered out onto the floor to dance. I let myself get lost in the music for the first hour, feeling the energy ebb and flow around me as the music changed. On stage was the only place I felt at peace, I was a part of something yet by myself. The perfect balance of being around people and not having to talk to them. The music had been picked out for us, what Tom thought would be a fun mix for everyone. I was already on auto pilot, faking the appropriate tone and body language, pretending I was singing along in the car. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't my style and everyone knew it.
    "Thank you! We hope you're enjoying yourselves, we're going to take a short break, don't forget to check out those auction items!" I probably had the tone of a bored housewife trying to sell Tupperware, but I didn't care. I walked off the stage, trying to side step Tom and failing. 
    "You're not very good at faking it are you? Anyone who knows you will realize..." I was already walking away, all I wanted was a drink and instead I was getting a lecture. I shook my head as Aura cocked an eyebrow, I was bored and restless, dangerous for a fire element. 
    "Abby, I need a refill in the worst way." I sat down, thumping my head on the bar while she laughed. 
    "You're not playing that bubblegum shit all night are you? I put my good suit on just to see you." The gravely voice had me lifting my head up and looking over as someone sat down. The smile was immediate and genuine, and I threw my arms around the old man. 
    "Herb! You said you wouldn't be here. What the fuck are you doing?" He chuckled, patting my arm as he looked around. "I was promised a pretty girl on stage doing what she does best, but I seem to have been lied to. What is that shit?" 
    "The music was picked out for us, we were told our typical music wasn't crowd friendly."
    "The hell with that." He turned, looking at me with the wisdom of someone too old to care what others thought. "I'm requesting better music, play it or I'm revoking my donation." He winked at me and stood up, slowly making his way to the tables where my sisters were. 
    "He's right Tana. Besides, this event was started by you girls, your bar donates the most money out of any business every single year. They can't do it without you girls, you might as well act like Frank and do it your way." Abby had that mom tone and I gave her a sly smile.
    "Are you encouraging me to misbehave at a charity event while I'm drinking whiskey and you're severely overpouring?" She shrugged and I laughed, suddenly energized as I formulated a plan. 

Ch 2.

    "Hey everyone, we're back and there is a small change in the donation program. Most of you here know the music we normally play, and this isn't it." A round of laughter went through the crowd and I smiled. "But here's the deal, I'm bored. So this next set is going to be what we normally play. If you don't want us to play it, round up a group of people and raise five hundred dollars, you hit that number and we'll go back to the pop music from the 90s. However.... if Abby over at the bar hits a thousand first, we keep playing. Tom are those acceptable terms?" I looked down at the poor guy who was visibly cringing. I felt bad putting him on the spot, but I knew he wouldn't be able to say no.
    "I've got a hundred dollars towards the band playing their shit." Herb stood and yelled waving the bill around as everyone cheered. Tom nodded, a defeated look on his face as he threw his hands up in the air and walked through the crowd.
    The next hour flew by, the dance floor stayed packed, and I enjoyed my time on stage. My only complaint was my damn  dress kept limiting my normal movements, so I poured my emotions out into my voice instead of moving around like I always did. I knew the second Adam walked in, I felt a chill slide over me and involuntarily my eyes went to the door. He looked like he could have stepped out of a movie. That wasn't just a suit, that was a one of a kind suit.  I realized I was still staring  at him as the song finished. I had already announced it was the last song of the set, and I cursed his timing as I replaced the microphone. I busied myself on the stage, looking at the Playlist we had hastily hashed out. I waited until I knew he was sufficiently side tracked by his brothers before I slid off the stage, picking up a refill on my way out the back door. 
    "You look awfully irritated for someone who pulled off a hostile music takeover. Let me guess, the playboy showed up." Tom handed me a pack of cigarettes as he looked at me. When I nodded he grinned and shrugged. "It's good to see karma can act so fast sometimes."
    "How much did that stunt raise us?" I ignored his topic of conversation  entirely as I inhaled deeply, letting the nicotine do its job.
    "Two grand. So I guess I can't be too pissed about it, but seriously did it hurt you that badly to sing shit instead of screaming?" He gave an over exaggerated shudder and against my will I laughed. "Want me to get all manly and territorial and chase him away?" The offer was genuine, but not the conversation I wanted to have.
    "I think that might be easier if you didn't have a husband Tom. But thanks, it's not a huge deal, I only have to be here for another hour."
    "You're not staying for the Bachelor auction? We can put the playboy up there and you can buy him just to make him leave you alone." He winked at me and I laughed again and shook my head.
    "Auctioning people is barbaric at best, and I'm sure he will make some woman very happy,  but no thank you. I just want to smoke this, get the next set done and go home where I can wear real clothes." Tom smiled and gave me a sympathetic pat on the back before going back inside, leaving me alone for the moment. 
    I closed my eyes for a second , but all I could see was Adam. The 50's style suit had fit him perfectly, I wasn't the only woman who had been staring at him. I was willing to bet there wasn't one thing out of place on him, but what had made my heart stutter was the deep red tie that had been around his neck. I didn't believe in coincidences, but I hadn't told anyone my plan for the night. I had a small buzz starting between the whiskey and the cigarette and I carefully put the one out in the ashtray. Taking a deep breath and fixing a smile in my face I breezed back inside. 
    "You look good." Adam gave me an appreciative once over as he stepped in front of me, halting my movements. I was right, he looked perfect, tall and handsome, any woman would have been delighted to talk to him. 
    "Thanks, umm you too." I nodded politely, stepping to the right and almost growling when he stepped with me. "Excuse me, I have something I have to take care of before the next set starts." I kept my voice firm but polite, clamping down on my temper as I moved again.
    "I was hoping to get a dance in with you tonight, I figured this would be my only chance. Unless you stop avoiding me like a deadly disease sometime soon." He was still in front of me, the wall he called a chest blocking me from view and I sighed as I looked up at him. 
    "It's hard to dance when you're the entertainment, but thank you for the offer. And it's not that I avoid you, I have a very busy life with no time for...." I shrugged and moved my hands in between us. "For whatever you seem to expect this to be. Now if you'll excuse me?" There was a sparkle in those cool grey eyes, and he smiled in amusement. As he stepped to the side, he turned, left hand on my lower back as he escorted me towards the stage. I could smell his aftershave, feel the warmth of his hand burning through my thin dress. "You're pushing the limit of my manners." I had a smile fixed to my face, the words slipping out through clenched teeth.
    "Nobody pushes your limits enough Tana, if they did you wouldn't be in your own head all the time." He had leaned in close to whisper in my ear, to an outsider it must have looked like an intimate moment. To be honest it was the longest conversation we've had without me telling him to fuck off.
    "I promise you that you will never know exactly where my limits end." I smiled up at him, letting my voice drop to a seductive tone before I moved back to the safety of the stage. My heart was racing, and my hands shook a little as I set my glass down. I wanted pretend it was all anger, at least that way I could hate him without feeling like it was unjustified. But the truth was he was the first man in a very long time I found myself attracted to.  I squashed that thought and tried to focus on what I was supposed to be doing. 

Ch.3

     Tom was on the microphone again, rattling off numbers and trying to be heard over cheers and applause. It had apparently been a very good year for raising money and I couldn't help the surge of pride that went through me. We had started this event eight years ago never imagining that it would become this big. We had just wanted to get the restaurants name out there, helping people was basically a plus in my book. "OK boys, he's almost done why don't we skip the first song on the list, I think it's a little too slow to play after an introduction like that..." I looked around for confirmation, surprise slapping me when none of them seemed to agree.
    "It's not that slow, and it's one of our best ones we've come up with. The vocals themselves are the best way to show your range, not to mention it's actually musically complicated. They'll love it." Bobby crossed his arms, drumsticks in hand as he looked around. He didn't speak out often but I saw the agreement go through our small group. "You put part of you into that song, that's the reason you're bitching out." Xander nodded as he picked up his guitar.
    "It stays. No use in messing up the order. Bitch out later when you leave early to avoid having to be around people." He softened his words with a smile and a wink, letting me know he understood.
    "Mutiny isn't cute when it's not directed at Tom. Fine. It stays in, let's get this over with." I knew I sounded petty, just like I knew they were right. The lights dimmed a little, the guitar started long mournful notes and I mentally braced myself. Everything in me stilled, I locked away all of my feelings, letting the music take me away as I closed my eyes.
    ''Before you get too close to me,
Before you try to stay,
Before I leave you wondering while I move away
Let me tell a story of the girl I used to be
And explain why your love would drive me insane.
    I could offer you my body
    A couple nights of fun
    The fire would consume us both
     You couldn't save me if you tried
I was young and stupid 
walked with the devil by my side
There was a fire that consumed me 
only he could hold it back
In return I showed him how to feel 
I wish it could have been enough
   I could offer you my body 
   A couple nights of fun
   The fire would consume us both 
   I couldn't leave before you burned 
The devil's never far behind 
When he feels you're in his debt
Be careful who you give your heart to
Love blinds you to the truth
Heed my words of warning
Walk the other way 
Because yes I could give you my body
But the devil has my soul
I gave it as a favor now the fire fills the hole''

   My voice soared over the guitars and the drums, I couldn't see the crowd but I could feel their captivation, the intense concentration on the song. Their energy flowed around me, brushing past me and leaving a tingle on my skin. I motioned for the next song immediately as the ending came, mentally breathing a sigh of relief when they responded without hesitation. I didn't want to hear the crowds response, I felt like a bandaid had just been ripped off. Open and vulnerable weren't emotions I let touch me so I moved past them the only way I knew how. Total denial it had ever happened in the first place. The rest of the set ended in a blur, we gave them everything we had, living in the high like drug addicts. 

"Thank you! Goodnight!" We bowed and the curtain closed, doing nothing to muffle the cheers and applause as we stared at each other for a moment.  The adrenaline was still rushing through all of us, and we wasted no time in packing everything up as fast as possible. Tom was back on the microphone, chattering away and we laughed and joked quietly among each other. 
    "You staying or going? I planned on sticking around for an hour or so but if you need a ride..." I looked over as Xander trailed off, staring over my shoulder as I stood. Fuck... I knew what that look meant. I ignored it and grabbed my bag off the edge of the stage.
    "I'm good, I have a getaway car all ready to go. I plan my shit out in advance. Besides I've had enough of people for a while. Thanks again for being fucking amazing as always guys." I saluted them and moved to the edge of the stage, running right into a hard wall of all male muscle. I squeaked in surprise as I wobbled and I felt arms wrap around me to keep me from falling.
    "Hey, sorry Tana I didn't mean to scare you. I just wanted to see you before you ran away." He was looking down at me, eyes alight with laughter, arms still wrapped around me as his fingers rubbed back and forth. 
    "I'm good. Just leaving, shows tire me out." My words were clipped, but my voice had a soft feminine sound that gave away how much he affected me. Cursing silently I stepped back away from him, goosebumps forming where his fingers trailed over the bare skin on my arms.
    "Well I also came to offer you a ride, cab company left a message while you guys were playing, they're delayed for a while yet." He had a good poker face, but I felt the lie and raised an eyebrow. 
    "Uh huh I see. I'm good. I can catch a ride with Herb, he never sticks around long." Adam smiled, a boyish grin like he knew something I didn't and I felt my eyes narrow. "Let me guess he magically had to go too?"
   "Yep so you're stuck with me as a chauffeur. Sorry baby." He slid my bag out of my hand and offered me his arm, looking like he fully expected me to take it. 
    "I don't do pet names, you're an ass, and for the record? Super weird that you went through that much trouble to get me in a car with you. Like borderline serial killer red flags popping up just so you know." I crossed my arms as I spoke, hoping that with enough insults I could anger him enough to leave.
    "No pet names, I'll try to remember that darlin'." His eyes had drifted down to my cleavage as he spoke, and I yanked my arms down when I realized I was showcasing my tits. "I'm not a serial killer, but I am an ass. And I wasn't the mastermind behind this just so you know, you can thank your sisters."
     "Fucking great, I'm being driven home by someone who is probably a Bundy in training  who doesn't know where my eyes are, and it's all because of my meddling siblings." I grumbled the words as I left the stage, leaving behind the muffled laughter of my bandmates.

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