Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
E-book release date: May 4, 2010
Print release date: April 5, 2011
Second in the Ross siblings series
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Loving him couldn’t be worse than losing him. Could it?
Candace Andrews has had enough of pleasing others. In an act of birthday rebellion, she sets out to please herself—by walking into the tattoo parlor owned by her cousin’s ex-boyfriend. All she wants is a little ink, and Brian’s just the guy to give it to her.
As soon as she submits to his masterful hands, though, the forbidden attraction she’s always felt for him resurfaces…and she realizes the devilishly sexy artist could give her so much more.
Sweet, innocent Candace is the last person Brian expected to see again. She’s everything he’s not, and her family despises him. He doesn’t need the hassle, but he needs her, and this time no one is taking her away. Not even those who threaten to make his life a living hell.
Backed into a corner, Candace faces the worst kind of choice. Cave in to those who think Brian is a living nightmare…or hold her ground and risk it all for the one man who rocks her world.
Warning: This book contains explicit sex, naughty language, tattoos aplenty, family drama, a hot rock concert…and a bad boy hero who’s pierced in all the right places.
5 Kisses from Sin at Two Lips Reviews: “Rock Me by Cherrie Lynn is one hot read…a great story that touches on the prejudices of family and the constraints they place upon their members…I loved this story and would recommend it as a priority read.”
4.5 Books from Tiger Lily at Long and Short Reviews: “You want a story that’s hot from the word go? Then you very much so need to read Rock Me… This is one for my keeper shelf.”
4 Tea Cups from Clare C at Happily Ever After Reviews: “Stories that suck us in and make us have emotional reactions to the characters and their decisions are my favorite kinds. Cherrie Lynn’s style and her expert use of voice draw you in and her great story keeps you there.”
5 Stars Creme de la Creme Pick from Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews: “[Brian Ross] is every good girl’s wet dream.”
Inside, it seemed someone had cranked the air conditioning up to levels more appropriate for the dead of summer than mid-spring. Three tattooists glanced up from the clients they were working on without interrupting their stream of chatter. Candace naturally zoned in on the one girl who appeared to be in a bit of distress while getting a butterfly colored on her inner ankle. Her face looked pained, her teeth gnawing her bottom lip.
Candace swallowed thickly, trying to buoy her flagging courage. She’d been prepared to run straight to Brian’s side, but he wasn’t anywhere in sight.
“What can I do for you ladies?” the guy tattooing the butterfly asked, barely looking up from his work. He was bald with a pointy goatee and a large plug in the earlobe Candace could see from her angle.
“Is Brian here?”
“He is, but he’s not, know what I’m sayin’?”
The guy still didn’t look up from filling in the butterfly wing with hot pink. It was going to be really pretty when he was done, and she felt a jolt of excitement despite her jitters.
“He’s not seeing clients tonight.”
And just like that, her heart sank. It had taken every ounce of courage she’d mustered to walk in here, and there wouldn’t be any left to work with later on. This was a one-shot deal. “Oh. Well, I know him, I mean, do you think I could talk to him for a second?”
Mr. Goatee shrugged and turned his head toward the rear of the building. “Hey, B! Some people here to see you.” He went back to coloring without giving Candace or Macy—who had stood frozen during their exchange, her eyes darting around fearfully—any further notice.
She could say one thing for Brian’s employees: they were intent upon their work. As she took a seat in the waiting area near the door with Macy following her every move, she was impressed with the neat, shiny appearance of the place. The walls weren’t papered with flash like in some of the places she’d seen, but with abstract art and posters of rock bands and Kat Von D. A music video played on a couple of plasma screens, one at each end of the room. Because some of Brian’s taste for the darker stuff had rubbed off on her while he was dating Michelle, she recognized it as Nine Inch Nails’ “Deep”.
“This is…different,” Macy muttered, her gaze on one of the screens. She was more accustomed to Toby Keith.
“Yeah, this is a good one.”
“Didn’t realize you were into them.”
“I got into a lot of different bands because of Brian. He would let me borrow CDs.”
“Well. Learn something new every day.”
Candace shrugged. “If I broadcast the fact that I like rock music, even some heavy metal, you and my family would be convinced I was worshiping the devil or something.”
“Oh, I would not.” Macy’s voice pitched lower. “Michelle dated the guy. No one said anything about her.”
“Are you kidding?” Candace whispered as loud as she dared. She was pretty sure the sultry beat of the music, the buzzing needles and the jokes flying fast and furious drowned out their conversation. “It drove her parents insane. And mine, even. She liked Brian a lot, but she never really got into his scene.”
All the parental units would have been ecstatic over Michelle dating someone from Brian’s family if she’d only chosen the right brother. Candace had always thought it a cruel trick of fate on all of them that Brian had been stuck in the middle of an affluent family who expected the children to become doctors or lawyers. Among his siblings—his brother Evan the lawyer and his sister Gabby, who would soon start med school—he stuck out like a zebra among sheep, and by all accounts, he seemed to like it that way.
“Somebody better be dead or dying…”
She’d been so caught up in her thoughts that she missed his emergence from the door behind the counter, but that deep voice slid down her spine like caressing hands. Whether it was gentle or teasing or harsh, it always seemed to flow over her skin, manifesting itself in skitters of gooseflesh.
He froze mid-step when he saw her. It might have been wishful thinking, but she could’ve sworn his face lit up. “Or just sitting there looking pretty,” he finished with a heart-stopping grin.
She lost her breath. It had been months. Six, to be exact. Much too long to go without feasting her eyes on the only real object of desire she’d ever had. But she wasn’t here for that. At least, that’s what she had to keep telling herself.
Given that smile, she could sympathize with Michelle’s heartbreak over losing him soon after their trip to Hawaii for Evan’s wedding. The details of their demise were fuzzy, but it didn’t matter. Candace would weep oceans to lose a guy with a smile like that. It was infectious, and she was on her feet and crossing the room toward him almost before she realized it.
Brian folded his arms on the countertop as she approached. “Hey, sunshine. What brings you out?”
Whatever the reason he often called her that, it made her giggly as a teenager. “Guess.”
Brian’s gaze flickered over to Macy, who had somehow mustered the courage to follow her to the counter. His smile intensified. “Bringing your friend in for a tongue ring.”
Candace laughed as Macy blanched and stepped back in horror. She grabbed the other girl’s arm before she could bolt for the door. “God, no. She’s a weenie.” And so am I, truth be known. Why in the world was she acting so tough? One touch of the needle might cause her to dissolve in hysterics.
“And you?” Brian asked, one dark eyebrow raised.
“I was kind of hoping for a tattoo.”
“There’s no ‘kind of’ to it, girl. You get it or you don’t.”
“I know that.” She tried to keep her gaze from straying to his arms resting on the counter. He was wearing a form-fitting black shirt with sleeves so long they almost covered his hands, but she knew that underneath it, the flesh of both his arms was a riot of color from his shoulders to his wrists.
Pity that it was all hidden from her sight now. She thought his ink sleeves were beautiful, and always struggled not to stare…actually, on second thought, maybe it was best he was covered. After going so long without seeing him, she might have very well embarrassed herself. How often had she fantasized about running her fingertips along all those lines and patterns and hues, deciphering all the meandering shapes, exploring the statements he’d found profound enough to mark on his skin for all time?
Plenty of times. She’d felt horribly guilty about every single one. But now Michelle was out of the picture, and in a happy relationship. Besides, it didn’t hurt to simply admire the scenery, did it?
Tonight, from head to toe, Brian looked quite subdued. For him, anyway. She was tempted to ask him what was going on. His hair was its natural lustrous black—she’d seen it every vivid color in the rainbow—worn a little long so that it fell into his face. Not shaggy or messy like she so hated to see on guys, but silky and gorgeous and touchable… Okay, down, girl, stop right there.
Even his eyebrow rings were MIA. Normally he had two side-by-side in his right eyebrow. Something was definitely up in his world.
Maybe he had a date later. Some ultra-gorgeous conservative type he desperately wanted to impress. Maybe she wouldn’t appreciate his body art. The very thought, speculative as it was, made Candace seethe. Brian was Brian. If he had to change for someone, anyone, he didn’t need them.
She cleared her throat, trying to chase the images away. “I do want a tattoo. It’s my birthday and I’m feeling rebellious.”
His perfect lips quirked at one corner. “You want me to do it, don’t you?”
She nodded and tried her best not to pout. “But they said you weren’t seeing clients tonight.”
He tugged up one shirtsleeve and checked his watch. She caught a flash of his vibrant skin and felt her heart plummet to her toes. “I have an hour or so.” So he does have some place to be. “I can get it done unless you want something massive.”
Candace laughed and held up her hands. “Oh, no. Nothing like that.” Now, where she wanted it was another matter…
Excerpt #2 — Warning: Explicit! 18 and over only, please.
Candace closed her eyes as Brian’s finger traveled gently up her nape, raising gooseflesh on her arms. “Maybe you had a point, as far as how my parents are going to react to you. Maybe it’ll always be that way.”
“Does it have to be?”
“How else could it ever be? There’s no changing my situation.”
“Sweetie, there’s no way to say this without sounding condescending, but you’re young. Right now this is all you can see, but trust me, this won’t always be your reality. Pretty soon you’ll be able to make your own way in the world no matter what they think.”
“You don’t know them very well, do you,” she said flatly.
He cupped the back of her neck in his hand, bringing his other over to tilt her chin toward him. Trapping her for the kiss she knew was coming if she didn’t do something fast. But he just held her that way, stroking her cheek with his thumb, his gaze searching hers as if all the answers were inside her somewhere.
If only that could be the truth.
“I don’t. But I think I have a pretty good handle on you. You’re going to be okay.”
He stared at her so intently. His eyes were a dark, turbulent ocean, and she wanted to drown in it. Suddenly she became aware of the aching fullness of her lips and the weight of her breasts pushing against her bra.
This skirt was so short, and she’d chosen it for that reason alone, but maybe it had been a huge mistake. Reaching under it and her black G-string would take absolutely no effort on his part. Not good, though she wanted that so, so badly, she couldn’t resist rubbing her bare thighs together as his gaze continued to melt through all of her defenses.
Just when he knew she was about to go up in flames or melt right there in his truck, he leaned in. Warm lips slanted over hers as a breathless cry rushed from her mouth into his. She brought up her hands, clenching his shirt in her fists as his tongue stole past her teeth and plundered her mouth. His was the kiss she had dreamed of all her life, deep and somehow as fierce as it was gentle. It opened the gates to a flood of emotion and erotic sensation that had her almost writhing against the seat.
His hand finding her breast seemed the most natural thing in the world. Even through two frustrating layers of fabric, she could feel his heat as he palmed her and circled the tight bud of her nipple with his thumb, forcing it to pull even tauter. When he pinched it, she moaned into his mouth, clasping his wrist in her hand. But not to stop him. To make sure he didn’t stop. The little jolts of pleasure/pain sent lightning zipping all through her body, striking at the juncture of her thighs. Her skimpy underwear was no barrier to the growing wetness there. She began to fear making a mess on his seats.
She pulled away from his mouth to breathe, and he attacked her throat with his lips, his heavy breathing the sexiest sound she had ever heard. He was shuddering as hard as she was. His teeth raked her throat and an involuntary “Oh” slipped out before she could stop it. It seemed to only enflame him further, and he plunged a hand under her top, pushing up the cup of her bra as he finally brought his fingers flesh-to-feverish-flesh with her aching nipple.
She had no anchor, nothing to buffer her from these insane sensations. The worry of getting caught was only a minor flicker in the back of her mind…they were in the back of the lot, it was dark, and his windows were tinted. She turned into him as much as she could, trying to bring her right leg over his, to straddle him. If he would only pull her into his lap so she could grind against him…
He got the hint. Almost before she could cry out in frustration, he pulled his hand out of her shirt and plunged it beneath her ass, yanking her hard over him as if she weighed nothing. The new position, legs splayed over him, pushed her skirt the rest of the way up over her hips. She was bare except for a scrap of fabric he could easily rip. Instead, he ran both hands down the small of her back, allowing his fingers to become entangled in the strings as he cupped both her bare cheeks in his palms.
“Jesus Christ, Candace,” he groaned, leaning his forehead against her shoulder as his hands massaged, soothed, played and tantalized. It felt so good, so good…
“Oh, God.” The words were a shuddery sigh. Spread open this way, with his fingers only inches away… “Please.”
She ground her pelvis into him hard, so that her clit barely rasped across the fabric of his jeans. She couldn’t get close enough. His hands continued tormenting her, squeezing her ass, tugging her panties, but making no move to address the need burning hot and wet at her center. “Touch me.”
“Where? Let me hear you say it.”
He didn’t have to ask twice, but her mouth—so squeaky clean until she’d started hanging out with him—tripped over the word she didn’t think she’d ever uttered out loud in her entire life. “My…pussy.”
Pressed cheek-to-cheek with him, she felt him smile. He ran one fingertip lightly down the crease of her bottom, reaching under her until he found the source of all her torment. His other hand wandered up to her breast again, still bare under her shirt.
She wrapped her arms tight around his neck and sobbed as two of his fingertips trailed through her wetness, finding her entrance and nestling there until she wiggled and pushed down against him. He evaded her, chuckled maddeningly. She was caught, and it was torture. Did she push back and give him easier access to her slick channel, or lean her hips into his and grind her clitoris against him?
“Hasty little thing. I’ve got to teach you to slow down and savor this.”
She didn’t want to savor it. Not now. He couldn’t understand. She’d denied herself this for so long, too long. She’d bought this skimpy freaking underwear dreaming of the day some guy would rip it off her in crazed lust. Her pent-up frustration had her running in the red, and she was about to burn down.
He had mercy on her, snuggling his fingers into her tight passage as she let her head fall back, groaning as loudly as he did. He withdrew and reentered, slicking through her, soothing the sting that was briefer and much less intense than it had been last night. She rocked her hips gently against his hand, bringing her head forward again to kiss him and struggling to open wider to his invasion of both her mouth and her pussy. He thrust his tongue between her lips in the same rhythm that his fingers plundered her body, and she nearly flew apart. “Ohhh, Brian.”
His answering sigh formed into the most beautiful words she’d ever heard. “Candace. Come home with me right now and I’ll give you everything you need, sugar. Everything you want. If it takes all night.” His fingers plunged deep, as if to show her exactly what he meant, and she cried out.
But Samantha’s earlier words were somehow filtering through her frenzied thoughts, making her want to scream. Make him sweat. Then Macy’s, telling her how insane she was. Her mother’s haughty, disapproving face.
Michelle’s expression softening with yearning and traveling a million miles away at the memories of him.
All at once, she was barraged with all the voices of reason in her life, every one in direct opposition to what her body was begging her to do right now.
“I can’t,” she whispered, pulling away from his lips to cram her face into his neck. Praying he would understand, but that he wouldn’t stop. Selfishly trying to claim what she couldn’t have.
“I feel how wet you are,” he murmured sinfully in her ear. “How much you need this. To hell with everyone else. Let me give you what you need.” His tongue flickered against the soft shell, and she moaned as his talented fingers continued to work their magic. But he was slowing his pace, touching her too shallowly, holding her teetering on the edge of a devastating orgasm. Trying to make her give in. And she couldn’t. “No one has to know,” he cajoled.
“Please don’t do this to me,” she cried, fearing the dam stopping up her emotions was about to burst. She couldn’t let it, couldn’t do this. And Brian froze, pulling his hands away from her as if she’d seared him.