Temper The Fire (chapters 4 And 5) Read Count : 53

Category : Adult

Sub Category : Adult Romance
     Adam had his hand on my lower back again, guiding me through the crowd and waving people off with the expertise of a bodyguard. I kept a small polite smile on my face, nodding my thanks as I heard the raised voices shouting compliments.
     "Sounds like your band was an absolute hit tonight. Everybody wants to talk to you. I feel like i should be asking for an autograph." Adam pitched his voice low, not slowing as the flash of camera's added to the confusion and the push of the crowd.
    "Great." The word came more as a sigh and I ran a hand through my hair in agitation. The headache was starting already, a sign that I had worn myself down too much. The last week had been packed full of meetings, planning, phone calls, arguments and rehearsals in preparation  for tonight. Exhaustion was mixing with the whiskey and I didn't have enough care in me to come back with a witty response. 
    "If doing all this takes so much out of you why do you insist on doing it?" It wasn't the question that alarmed me, it was the concern and absolute confidence that he knew what i was feeling that made my spine stiffen. 
    "It's who I am. I perform, I find it generally enjoyable most nights." The door opened in front of me, a blast of hot summer air catching my hair and blowing it back as I took a deep breath. It smelled like rain, there was a hell of a storm rolling in. The thought flicked through my brain and I half smiled as the irony hit me. Cold fronts and warm air always made for a long loud night.
    "Well that's an interesting smile. What is going through your brain?" The hand on my back moved upward following tense muscles until the fingers were on the nape of my neck, starting a slow rub.
    "Nothing. Just enjoying the weather. I'm sorry, but can you not do that? I am a firm believer in personal space." His hand stilled but I couldn't tell if it was because of my protest or because we had reached his Jeep.
    "You're fucking tense Tana, I can see it in the way you walk, hell I can hear it in your voice." He stepped ahead of me, opening the door as he looked down, those cold grey eyes sending another shiver over me even though it had to be at least eighty five. "I'm  sorry baby but I can't help it. You gave too much of yourself tonight, I know I can't fix it but I can alleviate some of it if you'd just let me." He shut the door before I could respond, looking at me through the glass while I felt the weight of his words. 
    "Shit I can't do this... what am I thinking?" My fingers were on the door handle, instinct taking over as I felt an unfamiliar urge to give into him go through me. I wasn't sure what to do, and my hesitation cost precious seconds as the drivers door opened. 
    "Stop freaking out Tana. I don't expect an instant relationship or even an instant bond. I just want to get to know you, have a conversation or two. I don't think that's too high of an expectation." He threw his seat belt on and started the car, country music playing as he reached over and turned down the stereo. 
    "I do not 'freak out' first of all, and there will definitely not any bonding. I'm sure that you're a really great guy, and I'm super happy for my sisters but I'm not the white fence, big house, settling down type." My fingers were still curled around the door handle, and he looked down at my hand pointedly. 
     "Say it without the wide panic stricken eyes and maybe I'll believe you. We have yet to have a three minute conversation, it's a touch early for the easy let down isn't it?" He sounded somewhere between amused and conversational. And the combination made me scowl.
     "I'm too tired and too strung out to deal with another person right now." He was staring expectantly at me and I put my seat belt on before rubbing my temple, trying to alleviate the building pressure. 
    "Pain killers in the glove box. Should at least kill your headache by the time you get home." He kept his eyes on the road, but reached down, handing me his water as I sighed. "Take the damn pills Tana. I'm not being nice, I want your headache to go away so I can force you to have a conversation." He sounded all gruff and male, he was trying to be an ass and I smiled at the effort.
    "Thanks... I guess I'm not used to human interaction, Morgana tells me all the time my social skills need work. I guess she's right." I took one of the over the counter pills, chasing it with a sip of water.
    "With a voice like yours, and part owner of a restaurant I'm kind of surprised you're not more of a social butterfly. You were amazing tonight by the way." His voice stayed even, not giving anything away and I settled against the seat, looking out at the road as the rain started. 
     "I would be, but there's too many stupid people out there for me to want to be social." My answer pulled a startled snort of laughter from him and I felt my lips twitch. 

    We fell into an easy truce, he didn't ask anything personal, I answered him without being a bitch. I started to enjoy myself as my headache eased up, the deep timbre of Adams voice lulling me into a relaxed state.
    My phone had been buzzing nonstop since we had left ten minutes ago. Not unusual after a band performance, and I hadn't even pulled it out of my bag to check it. I desperately needed a night off and i made a mental note to shut the stupid thing off when I got home. I yawned, stretching and closing my eyes as Adams phone chimed quietly. A startled intake of breath was my only warning before Adam hit the breaks and swerved onto a back road, his foot pushing down on the accelerator. I felt the mood change from a relaxed contentment to one of hard edged anger laced with fear and my heart stumbled as my stomach flipped at the whiplash change.

Ch. 5
    "What the fuck? What's wrong?" There was an edge of fear to my voice as I sat up straighter.
    "How long have you had a stalker, and how long has he been making threats?" He handed me his phone and I felt my stomach drop as I looked down at a picture of Adam escorting me back to the stage, leaning down to whisper in my ear as I smiled. Under the picture was a text promising pain and death for attempting to steal me away.
    "It's been off and on for years,  Adam I'm so sorry I never thought they'd start in on you...." I grabbed for my bag, ripping through it to find my phone and my heart sank.  I had almost twenty texts, each one progressively worse. They started by telling me how beautiful and amazing I was tonight. Anger blossoming at speaking to Adam,  promising to forgive me for flirting. I was halfway through, reading about what a slut I was when Adam pulled the phone out of my numb fingers.
    "Who is it?" There was a dangerous edge to his voice that demanded an answer, but the lump of bile and fear kept me from answering. He was already dialing his phone, putting it on speaker when Cam answered. "Tana has a stalker, it's bad. I'm taking her back to my place, don't let her sisters out of your sights tonight. Whoever he is he's pissed and making threats." There was no preamble, just a short clipped description.
    "Understood. We'll start working on it first thing. Stay safe little brother, we'll be close by if you need us. First light we'll secure her house and go from there." Cam ended the call as abruptly as it had started, and I forced my foggy brain to work again.
    "I need to go home, if I can end this I need to take the opportunity to do it now." My voice shook slightly but I forced myself to stay calm. Sweat beaded my forehead, the stress pulling my element to the surface against my will.
    "Fuck that, you're staying with me where it's safe. Who is this guy baby, talk to me." He never slowed, never took his eyes off the road, but his hand found mine without hesitation. I realized a moment too late my walls were down. In a second our emotions flooded each other, his ice cold fury sliding through the lava in my veins. I felt his sharp intake of breath, felt the world tilt, self-preservation telling me to take my hand back. "You're not just a fire element, you're a conduit. That's why you hate being around people." Adams fingers tightened automatically against my need to withdrawl. I nodded, unable to say anything with his emotions bouncing through me, I took a long slow breath, sliding the wall into place in my head. Blocking him out hurt, my element recognized his and she fought to keep him there. It was nature's way to find balance in every situation; and fighting nature was a war doomed from the beginning. 
    "I can't stay at your place. I can't Adam! It's not safe there, I've already put you in the line of fire. And not just from my stalker. I can't even keep my walls up what if..." Visions of my control slipping played through my mind. The panic was rising, my mind racing as I struggled to breathe properly.
    "Breathe darlin' come on baby breathe in and out for me, that's it long slow ones." Adam radiated an icy calm, his cool hand squeezing mine tightly, struggling to keep me anchored. I rolled my window down feeling the damp hot air surround me like an old friend. I was still struggling to process everything, panic digging in with vicious claws when he hit the  brakes, pulling over and undoing my seat belt. He was out and moving while I fumbled with the door. "Damnit woman you're killing me." He pulled me out into the rain, yanking me close as his mouth found mine with a hard brutal kiss. I thought I heard steam hiss around us, the thought pulling a hysterical giggle dangerously close. I felt the pop of fire and ice coming together and I shoved hard against Adams shoulders. The impact didn't even rock him as the rain soaked through my dress and my makeup ran. His lips explored mine, forcing the panic and paralyzing fear back; allowing something far more dangerous in its place. Mere seconds passed before he pulled back, looking down at me as I shoved against his chest again.
    "What the hell? You couldn't just slap me out of it like a normal person?" I ran a hand through my wet hair, looking out into the dark woods around us. Embarrassment creeping in as I realized how  my dress clung too closely to my curves.
    "I won't ever hit you, but I guess I should have found a better way. That was selfish, so was getting you outside in the rain." He slid his hand over my cheek, rubbing at the mascara with a thumb as he moved close again. "You're coming back to my place, I can help you keep your barriers up, and tomorrow we'll figure out who is threatening you." 
    "Adam I know who it is, he gets off on scaring me, that's all. I'll probably have flowers on my doorstep tomorrow. It's fine. Take me home. I can handle that better than I can a night with you." the admission slipped out as easily as a sigh; my face heating as my gaze focused on Adams chest. 
    "Shut up and get in the car Tana, I never imagined you'd be such a chicken." His hand was still on my cheek, unblinking eyes missing nothing as he waited for an answer.
    "We're both getting soaked like idiots. I don't have anything I need for tonight, I have to go home." I was trying for a calm and  authoritative tone, using my most reasonable argument. Adams only response was to pull his jacket off, wrapping it around me like a blanket.
     "You can borrow some clothes for tonight." His tone was final, and he moved closer; his large body  crowding me. "Please get back in the vehicle Tana?" It was an order that ended in a strained question. 
     "Fine Adam... if you're that worried I can get a hotel room." I turned to get back into the Jeep, suddenly weary and drained beyond words. Adams low growl told me that my compromise hadn't even been considered before he rejected it.  Still, he was gentle helping me back into the seat of the Jeep and putting my seat belt firmly into place before shutting the door. The rest of the ride was silent except the sound of the rain and the rumble of the engine. I knew he wasn't taking me home, or to a hotel and we'd just argue in circles if I opened my mouth so I closed my eyes and let my head rest against the seat


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