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Ross 03 Leave Me Breathless(12)

By:Cherrie Lynn

“For what?” Mark raged.

“I’m going to tell him if he’s not here and straight Saturday night, he’s getting bounced.”

“He’s had way too many chances—”

“Agreed?” Ghost’s voice overrode Mark’s as he looked around at the other guys. “Last time I checked, this wasn’t a dictatorship.”

Randall and Eddie nodded, their gazes fixed warily on Mark. Mark huffed and turned his back for a second, then whirled back around. “You’re wasting your time on him. I can have someone else here with one phone call.”

Yeah, I bet you could. It was a commonly held belief that Mark would love to have his little brother positioned at the other end of the stage from Ghost and would jump at any chance to get him up there. The kid had talent, but Ghost had way more respect for one of the founding members of this group, even if the guy was having some issues.

“See you Saturday, then.” Ghost slammed his way out the door and strode through the chilly twilight to his car. He’d just reached it when the door opened again and Mark called across the yard to him.

“Hey! Did Raina talk to you?”


“What do you think?”

In reality, he couldn’t give two flying fucks what Raina and Mark schemed up. He wouldn’t let it affect him in any way whatsoever; he didn’t want to give them the satisfaction. But the thought of them making plans around him made him seethe. “It’s not cool with me, man.”

“Aw, c’mon. We’ll talk about it; it’ll be fine. We’re gonna fuck it up, dude!” Mark yelled, throwing the metal horns in the air and doing a wolf howl. Ghost dropped into the driver’s seat and shut the door on his caterwauling.

Well, one thing was for damn sure. He couldn’t wait to bury his troubles in Macy’s sweet, warm body tonight. She’d made him the happiest damn guy on planet Earth earlier today when she let him know she was still with him on this thing. He definitely planned on showing her his gratitude. He didn’t want to think about anything else.

Friggin’ life and its interventions. He wished he could already be with her. It had been a draining day; he’d called his nana, and she’d basically called him by every name except his own. His sister had called him bitching about their brother, Scott, who was being his usual douche-bag self, having not seen Nana in months and apparently having no plans to. Because he just couldn’t face it. Whatever. Couldn’t be bothered to give a shit was more like it.

Some days he couldn’t face it either. To see someone as strong and independent as she’d been…

He wouldn’t think about it. That was what he’d come home for: to get a breather, to get time away, see his friends, do some work, play some music. Recharge his batteries, because he knew he’d have to go back soon. He didn’t want to miss out on any good days she had left, but the good days were getting fewer and farther between. Days when Nana managed to maintain her mostly sunny disposition and didn’t cut him any slack with her lightning-fast quips.

Macy was certainly helping matters. He hadn’t talked to her on the phone yet today, so he didn’t know how hungover she’d been or how mortified she was over what they’d done last night. And there was no question there would be some mortification; he knew her that well at least.

He would reassure her she’d gotten him through the day. If not for her soft, sleepy voice echoing seductively in his head, he might have broken something by now. Probably over Mark’s head. Her whimpers and moans had haunted his restless dreams all night, and his one release hadn’t been nearly enough—he’d had to take matters into his own hands again in the shower this morning to be able to walk normally.

He clung to her image like a kid with a security blanket, because who knew what sort of mess he would find at his friend’s house. Hopefully not one that involved a morgue. Gus had been spiraling dangerously out of control for a while now, and things were already way past serious. All Mark and the other guys saw was the effect it had on the band. They seemed to have forgotten this was their friend. Their brother. And the yin to Ghost’s yang, musically. He wasn’t ready to give up on him yet. Or ever.

The simple frame house appeared dark from the street, the driveway empty of both Gus’s truck and his girlfriend’s Jeep. Ghost parked and killed the engine, then sat in indecision.

This most likely had been a wasted trip. He should just call Macy now, go be with her and forget about everyone else’s fucking problems. He got out anyway and strode to the front door, pounding on it hard enough to wake the dead. And hopefully no one fitting that description was inside.


The neighbors were probably going to come out shooting. He battered the door a few more times, rattling the three small squares of glass at his eye level. Peeking inside one of them revealed nothing but darkness in the living room. Impulsively, he gave the knob a twist, surprised when it gave and the door creaked open.

Well, this was probably wrong, but something told him to do it anyway. He hit the switch and flooded the room with sickly pale light, as all but one of the bulbs in the overhead ceiling-fan kit were burnt out. But that light was enough to disturb the snoring heap on the couch. Gus flopped over away from the disruption.

The breath left Ghost in a relieved rush. His friend was here. Not in jail, not lying in a ditch and, apparently, not dead. But the smell of alcohol was strong even from his position across the room. Hell, that was a good sign. Drunk he could deal with.

“Dude,” he bellowed, striding across the room and yanking him over onto his back. “Wake your ass up.”

Gus’s eyes flew open, so bloodshot he could’ve had a double case of conjunctivitis. “Huh? The fuck you come from, man?”

“I’ve only tried to call you about a dozen times to explain. And so have the guys, because we wanted to put together a jam session tonight.”

Gus’s bleary gaze tracked over to the clock on the bookshelf, taking a moment to focus on the time. “Shit.”

“Shit is right. You’re in a world of it if you don’t pull it together. They’re ready to toss you, kid.”

Gus pressed the heels of his palms into both eyes. “I don’t even care anymore.”

“Don’t say that. Where is your truck?”

“Wrecked it.” He burst out laughing. It was a terrible, almost frightening sound, and it turned into a coughing fit. Ghost took a couple steps back in case he started spewing vomit. Once he subsided, he lay back and grimaced. “Wrapped it around a tree, totaled that fucker.”


“Two nights ago.”

“Were you drunk?”

“Hell yes.”

“What are you trying to do, man? Kill yourself? Or somebody else?”

“Naw. That bitch ain’t worth that.”

Ah. It all became staggeringly clear. “Great. When did she take off?”

“Fuck her.”

“Okay. But will you look at yourself? It’s no wonder she split. I want to leave you too, and I don’t even have to live with you.”

“So leave.” Gus flicked a hand at him, turning his face toward the back of the couch again and throwing his arm over his head. “I don’t give a shit.”

This scene was so damn familiar, Ghost’s hands began to shake. Except he had been the one in his friend’s place. Brian had been the one trying to drag him kicking and screaming, fighting and cursing, back to the world of the living.

He had to turn away, fighting to fill his lungs with air. Old wounds he’d thought long since healed threatened to rip open and ooze again. Words he didn’t want to remember ricocheted in his brain, replacing Macy’s sweet sounds of pleasure that had been echoing there all day.

Brooke explaining to him over the phone why she’d left him. Her fucking weak-ass excuses. Each one of them an insult after the sheer magnitude of what she’d done to him.

It had been so long ago, it shouldn’t have still been so close to the surface. But it was. It could be triggered by the simple sound of a particular voice…and not even hers. He hadn’t spoken a single word to her in six years.

No other woman had ever fucked with his head like that. Not Raina. No one. No one ever would again. He’d all but sworn it in blood.

“You gotta get over this shit, man,” he said, hearing the tremor in his own voice. Who was he to give that advice?

He was someone who knew how the guilt, the I-should-haves and the raw sense of betrayal could eat a guy alive, if he sat around and let it fester.

“I don’t even know what she did,” he went on, “and I don’t care. Let it go.”

“It’s not even about—”

“Don’t dick me around. I know exactly what it’s about. You do this every time. I’m just amazed you’re coherent.”

“Give me time.”

Oh goddamn. Did he have to go and say that out loud? Ghost turned around and shoved his boot down hard on the couch cushion Gus was lying on. “Look, if I have to haul you back to my place and sit on you until you dry out, I will.” And you really have no idea how much I don’t want to do that. I’m supposed to get spectacularly laid tonight. He could already feel the anticipation draining away…until a miraculous flash of inspiration struck him. “Or better yet, I can dump you out at your dad’s.”