It’s no secret that I love music. Music plays a part in every book I write mainly through the tracklists I make for each book, but I frequently use musical and lyrical references in my books and some of them are about musicians of one type or other. In Laid Bare, Erin Brown is a hard rocking woman. She’s strong and has lived through a lot. She’s a bass player and something of a wild child. She’s also one of my very favorite characters so how about a snippet from the opening of the book?
LAID BARE by LAUREN DANE
Copyright 2009, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, The Berkley Publishing Group
Seattle, The Off Ramp, Ten Years Ago
Music, raw and hard like sex, pulsed through the speaker stack, caught the people in front of the stage as much as it had her in its grip.
The bass line throbbed through her like a second pulse as the scent of beer and sweat settled into her system. Sweat slicked her forehead and slid down the line of her spine. The muscles in her forearm corded as she played, her fingers finding their way as they had time and again. A secret smile marked her lips as her half-lidded eyes focused on something not visible to anyone else.
Yes, it was a man’s world up there, but she’d kicked down the door with her Doc Martens and she wasn’t giving her spot to anyone else. She loved making music, and it fit her like a second skin, it made her alive.
Her dreds swung forward, partially obscuring her face, adding, she knew, to the overall effect. Her belly, glistening with sweat slid against the back of her bass where her shirt ended and her low slung jeans began.
Up there, under the blue lights, she didn’t have to work at it. She was. She was exactly where she wanted to be, a guitar strapped to her body, calluses on her fingers from playing. The muscles in her upper arms were well-defined because she hauled equipment around for gigs. There wasn’t any doubt, any self-consciousness. She lived the life she wanted.
Erin Brown had stopped apologizing for wanting things. She grabbed experiences with both hands and gobbled them down.
Even if the band never made it beyond small, local rock clubs, she’d be happy to just keep playing. There wasn’t much more you could ask for in life and Erin accepted her blessings quite happily and graciously.
Todd took a pull from his beer, one leg bent as he leaned against the window sill, looking out toward the street. There she was, getting out of her beat up van. He had no idea why the hell he did it, but since he’d moved to day shift he found himself at his window every night at six- fourteen to watch her make the walk from car to door.
She was so not the woman who usually caught his eye. Still, his fingers gripped the sill as he greedily took in the way she moved. Like she couldn’t care less if people watched. Or worse, got off on it.
Long and lean, her gait ate up the walk, her dredlocks swinging to her ass. A fine ass it was in those faded jeans. If he looked close enough, he saw the threadbare spots just beneath the pockets. Reflexively, he tightened his hands into fists as tension hummed through him. Anticipation and a sort of need filled his gut as he watched her.
He snorted at what an idiot he was being. Dredlocks. What woman wore dredlocks? Not his sort of woman, that was all there was to it.
Time stopped, along with his heart when she turned at her door and met his gaze with a smile. A smile that told him she’d known he watched. Surprised but rooted to the spot, he raised a hand in greeting. She paused a moment before tipping her chin at him. Briefly he relaxed as she turned back to her door but that slid away when she paused again, dropped her bag on the porch and turned back toward his place.
She was already on his doorstep by the time he’d put his beer down and opened the door to face her.
“Officer Keenan, how are you today?”
Her voice did things to him. Unwilling things. Low and smoky. It went with her eyes, a sort of brownish green, full of promises. Damn it, she was not what he wanted.
And still he couldn’t keep his eyes from dropping to take in her nipples straining against the front of her shirt.
“Erin, I’ve told you, it’s Todd.” Yanking his gaze back to her face, he stood in the doorway, fighting himself at the urge to invite her in. She put a hand on her hip and he caught the taut expanse of her belly exposed with the movement. And the glimmer of the ring she had there.
“I know, but I like calling you officer Keenan. It’s sort of sexy. Very in charge and authoritative.” She winked. “Anyway, I wanted to let you know we were having some people over later tonight. It shouldn’t be loud. You should come over if you’re going to be around.”
“Thanks for asking, but it’s really not my thing.” He shoved his hands in his front pockets before he did something stupid like reaching out to trace around the ring in her belly button or to test the texture of the dred hanging nearest to him.
She smelled of something unique, heady, smoldering and sweet all at once. Every time they came in close contact he had that scent in his nose for days.
“If it’s too noisy, come by and pound…on the front door.” She drew out the last bit and his cock jumped in his jeans.
He cleared his throat. He took scum down on the streets every fucking day and this woman had him on the ropes. What was up with that?
“I have a date. I won’t even be here. But thanks. Have a good time.” He stepped back and started to close the door and she actually smirked before moving away down the walk.
“Okay then, Todd. Have a good time.”
Damned if he didn’t watch the captivating sway of her ass as she went back to her own door and inside. And damned if she didn’t stop and wink at him before she disappeared from sight.
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