Ophelia’s in for a birthday surprise that turns out to be a birthday nightmare as she’s reunited with hunky rock star, Trace Curtis. The pain of her defiance runs deep and he won’t leave Ophelia alone without an explanation. The more time they spend together, the more their passion grows. Ophelia knows in her heart she should tell Trace the truth, but will her secret drive him away?
Ophelia rushed into the first stall. Her nose wrinkled. She never understood how other women managed to pee on the rim of the toilet…or the floor for that matter. She was about to try the next stall when the restroom door opened, followed by a cloud of shouting and the click of high heels. Ophelia yanked the stall lock home and backed into the corner between the drippy toilet and the metal frame.
She managed to avoid the House of Blues for eleven months, twenty-three days, ten hours and forty-five minutes. But fate twisted a knife in her back one week ago when her friends surprised her with tickets to a Molten Silk concert for her birthday.
They didn’t know. She hadn’t told anyone. Now she wished she had.
This morning, her mind stooped so low as to consider telling her friends she was ill. But she couldn’t disappoint them. Molten Silk tickets were expensive and the girls had pooled their money together to make sure she had a great birthday.
Once the door swung closed, the tile amplified the click of the woman’s heels as she neared. “Ophelia, are you in here?”
Her breath hitched as she debated her next move. This is stupid. I can’t hide in the women’s bathroom all night. But she could try.
She squeezed her eyes shut. “I’m in here.” Damn it.
Ophelia glanced at the space between the stall and the floor as a pair of black stilettos came into view.
“The show’s about to start. Are you all right?”
She sighed and unlocked the stall door. It swung open to reveal the tall brunette. “I’m fine,” Ophelia smiled. “Just using the bathroom.”
“Well hurry up,” Alana urged.
Ophelia strolled to the sink and washed her hands. He won’t recognize me. It’s been almost a year. He probably has a real girlfriend now. Her chest constricted and she winced. How could she still have feelings for him after all this time?
Alana rolled her eyes. “Ophelia, I love you but if you move any slower I’m going to have to hurt you. Now let’s go!” She grabbed Ophelia’s hand and flung her out of the restroom into the crowd chanting “Mol-ten Silk! Mol-ten Silk!”
The venue was packed to the brim, muggy, and smelled like B.O. She wouldn’t have minded expect her friends had their hearts set on standing in the middle of B.O. central. The pair squeezed through the crowed until they caught up with the bubbly blonde standing alone in the center. “Oh good, you found the birthday girl,” Lizzy yelled over the demanding horde. She clapped her hands in excitement. Ophelia managed a small smile.
Alana stretched her neck and glanced around. “Did I miss anything?”
Ophelia looked too, taking note of the obese gentleman on the left. She could always duck behind him. She doubted anyone would notice. Although, with an energetic crowd of rough rock’n’roll fans, ducking of any sort could be suicide.
Lizzy leaned toward Alana and opened her mouth to speak, but the lights dimmed and the crowd erupted in cheers. Ophelia winced as her stomach did a flip-flop. She touched her fingers to her lips. I hope I don’t vomit.
Smoke spilled from the stage like a waterfall as the curtain lifted. Five male silhouettes stood in the dark. The one on the right strummed his guitar, earning shrill applause from the audience. Lights of every color illuminated the stage as the rest of the band joined in the performance. Ophelia’s gasp went unnoticed as her friends cheered.
Trace Curtis stood center stage, microphone in hand. His voice flowed in harmony with the guitar riffs. His black, unbuttoned vest accentuated his flawless chest and chiseled abs. His black curls were a bit longer than she remembered and hung over his baby-blue eyes. Ophelia’s throat dried and she struggled to swallow. “I’m going to get a drink,” she said to herself. She backed away from her star-struck friends.
Ophelia didn’t breathe until she reached the bar at the very back. Her breath rushed past her lips in a heavy sigh as she sat on the worn leather stool and ordered a beer. The bar tender winked at her as he handed her selection. Ophelia bit her lip. The old man remembers me after all this time…
The lyrics stopped. The microphone gave a squeal amplified to a glass-shattering pitch. Ophelia cupped her hands over her ears and turned in her seat without thinking. Everyone stared at Trace. His eyes were so wide, she saw the whites despite the distance and crowd. Everyone slowly turned to face her. Heat rushed to her cheeks. She faced the bar and pressed the neck of the beer bottle to her lips. Just keep singing, Trace. Please, just keep singing.