Rachel Cross

Excerpts

From Rock Him Chapter One

Asher Lowe lay atop his buttery-soft, Egyptian cotton sheets, sandwiched between two women. The brunette on his right snored delicately into the pillow, exposing a booty so spectacular it was said to be insured by Lloyd’s of London. Last year’s Miss November, a stacked, all-natural blonde, was curled up to his left, hogging the covers.

Clubbing most of the night and living out every man’s fantasy into the wee hours was easier ten years ago. Well, the recovery from the all-nighters was certainly easier back then. The part in bed was easier then. Getting women into bed? Thanks to money, a wall full of platinum albums, and a couple of Grammys, that part was easier now.

Asher lifted his head and immediately regretted it. His head throbbed from all the damn Hennessy. Would he ever learn not to drink with rappers?

He glanced at the clock on the nightstand and did a double take. Eight a.m.? Why on earth was he up so early?

Bzzz.

Asher cringed. The headache reached nightmarish proportions and nausea rushed up as he broke out in a cold sweat.

More buzzing. What was that? Had some device been left on?

He sat up gingerly, moving to his knees, swallowing back bile, careful not to disturb either of the bed’s occupants. The brunette stirred and he froze. He didn’t have it in him for round three. Hell, he wasn’t sure he had it in him to make it to the bathroom.

Asher’s gaze swept the floor. Strewn about the plush, cream carpet was an assortment of satin underthings, an empty box of condoms, a pair of black thigh-high boots and a lacy, red thong. La Perla, by the looks of it. No vibrating paraphernalia.

He frowned. More buzzing. Coming from the corner of the room.

He inched his way to the bottom of the bed and stood. A wave of dizziness swept through him and he rested his hands on naked thighs, biting back a moan. Things were way worse vertical. Getting back to sleep would be impossible until he turned off whatever it was.

He spied his phone on the dresser, the telltale light coming on as the insistent noise started again. His brows went up. His phone? Who the hell would be calling at the crack of dawn? Must be a wrong number.

Only a handful of people even had his private cell number, and not one of them would call before noon.

The brunette mumbled something. Snagging his phone, he hustled to the bathroom. He put the phone down and rifled through the cabinets in search of some kind of hangover remedy. He tried a sip of water with a pink-stuff chaser. God. He had been here countless times over the years and it was never worth it.

Examining his reflection in the mirror, he saw the lines that marked years of exposure to the California sun and the inexorable march to forty. Bags and circles highlighted bloodshot eyes. Leaning against the vanity countertop, he cast a glance over his shoulder at the bathroom. Why were there towels all over the floor and a bottle of bubbles overturned, leaking clear goo—?

Oh yeah. The two in his bed had wanted to play in his hot-tub sized bathtub.

His phone vibrated on the counter and he picked it up to stare blearily at the display. Six missed calls and six voice-mail messages from a familiar Vegas number.

Asher’s mouth twisted. His father knew his cell number? Interesting. Finishing in the bathroom, he stumbled out to the bedroom where he hauled on last night’s jeans. Shutting the door carefully behind him, he padded to the kitchen.

Dealing with Sterling Lowe would require coffee—in vast quantities.

He set the phone on the counter and pulled out the beans. The phone vibrated again. With a glare that renewed the throbbing in his head, he picked it up.

“Yeah?” he drawled.

“Asher.” His father’s voice was raspy.

Asher tensed.

Sterling Lowe drew a ragged breath. “Asher . . . I . . . I don’t know how to tell you this. I . . . I hate to do it on the phone . . . ”

His hand clenched into a fist, a cold, hard knot formed in his stomach. “Are you sick?”

“It’s Delilah.”

Delilah—Dee—Asher’s half-sister.

His body grew cold. The hair on the back of his neck stood up.

“What?” he whispered.

His father choked back tears, voice rough. “She was killed by a drunk driver in a head on.”

Asher collapsed onto a barstool.

“Ella?” he asked.

“She’s here. I have her this weekend. Dee . . . Dee had a girls’ weekend . . . I . . . haven’t told Ella. I don’t know what to do.”

Some part of Asher could not believe his father had said that. Sterling Lowe always knew exactly what to do, or at least thought he did.

His father took a deep breath. “Can you come?”

“Of course.” He gritted his teeth. He loved Dee. God knows he had been a better brother to her than Sterling had been a father. It was on the tip of his tongue to say something caustic when he heard a muffled sound.

Asher pulled the phone from his ear and stared at it. Through all the divorces, the battles, in thirty-seven years, he had never heard his father weep.

He put the phone back to his ear. “I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

“The jet is fueled up and ready at LAX. I sent a car—”

“I’m on my way.”

“Wait. Asher?”

“Yes?”

“What do I tell,” his voice was thick with tears, “Ella?”

“Can you wait until I get there?” He knew exactly who to call.

The older man let out a long, relieved sigh. “Okay. Dee wasn’t supposed to pick her up until later today.”

“I’ll see you soon.”

Ella. With no father in the picture, what would happen to her? His lips tightened and his hands formed fists. He’d be damned if he let his father ruin another childhood.

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