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Touch Me (One Night with Sole Regret #4)(4)

By´╝ÜOlivia Cunning

"Not all kids are awesome," Adam said. "Some are the spawn of Satan. But yeah, Jules is pretty awesome. Even if she is related to you."

Shade laughed and punched Adam in the arm.

Owen exchanged glances with Kelly. They both stiffened in preparation for an inevitable fight-Shade and Adam had gotten into one in the limo after their last concert-but it seemed the two over-inflated egos really were just goofing off and no one was at risk for an ER visit. Good thing. Adam would have been pissed if he'd had to room with his father. Apparently, his dear old dad had gotten his hands on bad drugs and landed himself in the emergency room the night before. Owen had been surprised that Adam had even taken him to the hospital. Adam resented the old man, whether they shared DNA or not. Owen couldn't quite wrap his head around the idea of hating one's own father, no matter what he'd done. Owen would be devastated if anything happened to any member of his family-including any of his seventy-one third cousins. 

"Have you heard from your dad?" Owen asked Adam.

"Yeah. He bitched me out on the phone less than an hour ago."

"Still in the hospital?"

Adam nodded. "And apparently they don't subscribe to his favorite TV channel."

"Well, fuck, Adam, you don't expect him to watch the Disney Channel, do you?" Owen said.

"That's the channel he was bitching about. Can't miss Hannah Montana."

Owen jerked back in surprise. "No shit?"

"Shit no," Adam said. "I swear, Owen Mitchell is a synonym for gullible."

"Adam Taylor is a synonym for asshole," Owen countered.

"Gabriel Banner is a synonym for let's get the fuck on the stage," Gabe said. "Isn't it already after nine?"

Owen turned to watch the crew standing around a bank of amplifiers on the stage. The head of their road crew, Jack, was squeezed behind the sound equipment, wiggling wires and garbling swear words around the penlight he held between his teeth. Owen moved closer and waved down one of the onlookers.

"What's the hold-up?" he asked.

"One of the new guys caught a cord with his foot and loosened some cables. Jack is fixing it."

"And he needs an audience? None of you has anything better to do five minutes after the show was supposed to start?"

The group scattered. In his earpiece, Owen heard Cash, their soundboard operator, say, "That's got it, Jack. Owen, we're ready when you are."

Owen was always ready to be on stage. He loved that he got to start every show-a few precious seconds to have twelve thousand screaming fans all to himself. Not many bassists got to stand in the limelight.

He gave the rest of the band the thumbs-up to let them know he was starting and took the steps up to the edge of the stage. In the near darkness, Gabe hurried to settle behind his massive drum kit, careful not to make a sound by bumping a cymbal with those long limbs of his. As soon as he collected his sticks, Owen began his bass riff. The crowd roared and whistled as the first sound thrummed. The curtain dropped and a blinding white light lit Owen from above as he sauntered across the stage playing the repetitive bass line of "Darker." He gave no indication that a surge of adrenaline had his heart galloping a mile a minute as he slowly made his way toward center stage. Owen lived for this shit. He couldn't believe this was his job. For the rest of his life, Owen would worship at the altar of rock god Kellen Jamison for sending him down the path of wickedness. Kelly had been the one who'd forced Owen to learn to play guitar in an effort to get him laid in high school. It hadn't worked then-chubby bassists didn't get the girls-but it worked like a charm now.

The crowd got louder and louder as Owen pretended to ignore them. When he reached his target-a white X taped at the exact center of the stage floor-Gabe entered the song with a wickedly rapid drum progression. Owen pivoted, beamed a smile at the crowd, and dashed toward the audience as the rest of the band entered the stage and the song.

The entire band was pumped tonight, which guaranteed an amazing performance. Shade was in a great mood and joked around with the audience and with Adam. The pair had talked out some of their problems that morning, but Owen had had no idea that a simple conversation would make such a noticeable difference in the feel of the show. Owen and Kelly always had a great time onstage; they were completely relaxed in each other's company and loved hamming it up for the crowd. Shade and Adam, on the other hand, had spent the last couple of years acting as if they were at war with one another both onstage and off. Owen couldn't believe how much the atmosphere had changed overnight.