Here is the first chapter of “Need Me” in A Glory Days Finale. I hope you love Gabe as much as I do. He’s twined himself into my heart and will never let it go.
Look for Need Me to be release the first week of September!
Everyone was off with their wives and here I was…alone.
Ever since Liana, my beloved sister, had been violated by that monster, I hadn’t been myself. The spunk that used to power me died when she was hurt. In her worst times, she found love with my best friend and Glory Days bassist, Reed Sullivan. When I wasn’t enough to heal her, Reed stepped up to the plate and did the unthinkable. He loved her enough to bring her out of the shadows, away from her demons.
She didn’t need me anymore. Liana had Reed.
All I’d ever known was to take care of her, no matter where I was in the world. Liana had always been my top priority, even over Glory Days. I’d promised our mother, on her deathbed, that I would let no harm come to my little sister. I’d failed the two women in my life. My sister when she was attacked and the simple promise to my mother.
I inherited my nurturing side from her. We didn’t have much growing up, but we were loved nonetheless. When we found out she was dying, I stepped up and took over. I became the man of the house before I was even old enough to drink.
Finding Ash and Glory Days, was my way out of the slums, out of poverty. Those first few years, we busted our asses to get noticed and it wasn’t long before we were signed. My mother died before we’d hit number one on the charts. It was hard, but I knew, somehow, that she was looking down on me and smiling happily at my success.
I used my portion of the money we made to buy Liana a place away from the poor area we grew up in. She went to college and moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where she lived up until a couple of years ago when she fell in love with Reed.
I made it my life’s mission to provide for my little sister, pay for her college, and to protect her. She needed me and now…she had overcome so much pain and anguish, to get where she was with Reed.
I also paid Eric a ton of fucking money to keep tabs on my father. Yeah, I hadn’t seen him since I was a small boy, but I knew exactly where the son of a bitch was. Didn’t matter anyway, we didn’t need him. We didn’t want him. After being let out of jail – too soon if you ask me – for molesting those little girls, Kevin Miller was working construction in a tiny community in the panhandle of Florida. He never had attempted to contact me, or Liana, and I wanted to keep it that way.
I was on my own – for once in my life – and I was clueless as to what to do with myself. I was too damn old and too much of a public figure to party. The paparazzi were always watching us, waiting for one of us to slip up. We were smart, not giving them any reasons to put us on the front page of any magazines.
Now, I was just alone and pathetic. I came to this place because it was secluded and the photographers couldn’t get within a hundred feet of the place. The windows were tinted, where one could see out, but no one could see inside. The food was amazing and so was the view.
A beautiful view that I had the pleasure of meeting once, but never had the balls to ask her out. I found myself remembering her in my sleep, imagining things that would probably get me arrested, but damn, I couldn’t get the memory out of my head.
Yeah, that’s what I was. Totally infatuated with the owner of the restaurant I was currently sitting in. Cordeau’s was owned by the amazingly beautiful Brooklyn Cordeau. Cajun French cuisine that was made with a spin, since it was located in Los Angeles.
I’d only met her about a year ago, when the place first opened. She’d been at the door on opening night. I’d heard about the grand opening and decided to stop in, because I was pathetic and had nothing else to do. Why I came in here every chance I could, I still had no idea.
Well, I did have an idea. The woman with the long brown hair and big brown eyes mesmerized me more than any woman I’d ever laid eyes on. She looked to be a little older than myself, but not by much. I’d recently turned twenty-nine and the sexy chef couldn’t be older than thirty.
She was the most beautiful woman I’d ever laid my eyes on. She was from New Orleans and the Cajun twang to her voice sent the blood straight from my head to my dick. Her curves, yeah well, I could write a million number one hits to her body alone.
“Mr. Miller,” my waiter, Thomas, said as he approached my secluded table, a white cloth was draped over his arm. “So nice to see you again.” The man was tall and very well dressed. His dark skin and Cajun accent told me that he wasn’t from Los Angeles, either.
“Thank you,” I replied and set my menu down, thankful my waist was under the white tablecloth. Just thinking about her caused me to sport a rock hard evidence I didn’t want anyone to see, except her.
“What will you be having today,” he inquired.
“Same as usual,” I smiled and raised a questioning eyebrow. “Any chance that Ms. Cordeau is available for a moment?”
“I’ll be happy to extend the invite to the lady,” Thomas smiled.
Maybe this time she’d be willing to at least let me introduce myself. Honestly, I just wanted to hear her amazing accent up close, see her plush lips part in a heated sigh. I didn’t know if I’d be able to touch her, even for a handshake. The idea caused my body to tremble like a crazed fan. I had to tamp down the overwhelming urge to barge into the kitchen and demand her presence.
I was toast. This woman got under my skin. Hell, I didn’t even really know her in person. My fantasies formed her in my mind. Long days and nights on the road would make a man do that. There were plenty of empty hours to get lost in your own, wicked thoughts.
I checked my phone as I waited for Thomas to bring my wine and gumbo. Kane had texted me, saying that we were going to postpone tomorrows writing session, because Delilah was sick and he didn’t want to leave her side until she was better.
That man had changed in the last year, for the better. Delilah had taken our best friend, straightened him out and brought together his family. Now, he was expecting twins! His anxiety was all but vanished from his existence. It took fear of losing the love of his life to snap something in his brain, making him right for once.
I stifled a laugh, because Kane Maddox wasn’t completely right, on a normal day. His anxiety had changed directions, though. Now, he was an overprotective father-to-be, but at least he was focused on his future. I still made fun of him for fainting, not once, but twice! I had no idea how he’s going to handle the delivery, when that time came.
“Ms. Cordeau asked me to advise you that she will be out shortly,” Thomas winked.
“Thank you,” I jerked upright in my chair. She was going to join me. Deep breath, Gabe.
I had one shot at impressing her. If I fucked this up, there was no way in hell I’d ever forgive myself. There was just something about her that screamed she needed to be mine.
“Brook,” my head waiter Thomas smiled as he peeked around the corner where I was stationed in the kitchen. “Your sexy-as-fuck guitarist is here.”
My face flushed red and heat pooled between my legs. That “sexy-as-fuck guitarist”, Gabe Miller, was in my restaurant every time he was in town. I’d denied meeting him for a second time since opening the restaurant, because…well, look at him! That man was tall and muscular, but not overly bulky. His black hair was cut short in the back, but his bangs were long and covered the most bluest of blue eyes. I’d dreamt of those eyes, the ones that were so sexy they should be illegal. Tattoos adorned his arms and that man’s ass could fill out a pair of leather pants like they were custom tailored for him. His lips were always in a perfect pout and he didn’t even have to try to look like a sex god. It just came naturally.
I couldn’t hide from him forever. We’d had a small introduction on opening night, back a year ago. I’d been so overwhelmed by him, that I used some lame excuse and got away from him as soon as possible. Third time must be the charm, because I couldn’t put him off again.
Gabe Miller had a presence about him that made everyone in the room notice him walk through the door. He looked one thousand percent rockstar and he worked that look like a damn supermodel. He was also an idol of mine, being as I played guitar a very long time ago as a job. Now, I only pick it up when I have a chance, which wasn’t very often. He was here and asking me to come to his table, again. It was one of the hardest things I’d ever done. It was time to pull up my big girl panties and go out there to have a decent conversation with the most famous guitar god that ever lived.
As I cleared the service entrance to the kitchen, the dining room was full, but my eyes landed on him…his profile, because he was half-turned away from where I was standing. I watched as Gabe Miller held a glass of red wine up to his full lips and tilted the liquid back, just enough to allow a small amount to touch his tongue.
My knees vibrated and it was difficult, but I walked forward. My head was held high as people greeted me when I passed. He still hadn’t noticed that I was coming toward him. I was glad for the moment to study him before our eyes met.
I was only a few feet away when he turned his head as if he sensed my presence, a breathtaking smile lit up the corner of his mouth. He’d brushed his bangs off to one side and his face was finally in full view. As I approached, he set his napkin on the table and rose to his full height.
He wasn’t the tallest man I’d ever met, but he still towered over me. The top of my head was level with the top of his shoulders. He was dressed nice, for the visit to my restaurant. The sexy rockstar had paired his tight, black leather pants with an untucked, pale yellow button down dress shirt. The yellow was so pale that it looked white, the sleeves were rolled up to his elbows. On his feet, he wore a pair of laced up leather boots. My mouth watered and I had to swallow down my need to drool as I held out my hand.
“Mr. Miller,” I rasped. Damn! Did my voice just have to do that? I sounded like a lusty tramp. “Thank you for coming tonight. It’s my pleasure to have you here.”
“Thank you,” he smiled. The blue in his eyes sparkled and I locked my knees in place to keep from falling. When he touched my hand, it was like a raging fire burned through my veins and into all of the places my body wanted him to possess. My nipples beaded in my bra and my sex pulsed with the idea of him ravishing my body. “Would you like to join me?”
“Actually,” I paused, the look on his face broke me. He looked like I was about to tell him I killed his puppy, or something. “I’d love to sit with you.”
“Thank you, Ms. Cordeau,” he said, coming around to pull my chair back so that I could take the seat to his right. The boy had manners. That was for sure! Definite points in his favor.
“Please,” I laughed. “Call me Brooklyn.”
“Brooklyn,” he smiled, my name fell from his lips like velvet and a promise. What that promise was, I was afraid to find out. Being Gabe Miller, he was more than likely used to getting whatever girl he wanted. For the tiniest of seconds, I wanted to pretend that the sensual way he said my name meant that he was thinking of me, on a deeper level.
Get a grip, Brook!
Gabe Miller was not my type, anymore. Long gone were my days of rock and roll. I was already thirty and it was time to be an actual adult. I had bills to pay and partying was out of the question. It had been for the past seven years.
Thomas swooped in and brought me a glass of wine, along with two bowls of gumbo. Thomas was my life saver on most nights. I’d had him around for so long that the man knew my thoughts before I actually had them in my own head.
“So,” Gabe began, bringing me back from my rambling mind. “How long have you been a chef?”
“Oh,” I cleared my throat. My body leaned forward as a response to his deep voice, like a damn moth to an open flame. “My mother taught me to cook when I was just a little girl and I never went to school to learn. I found that I liked it and was pretty good at it. Plus, my friends basically told me I was wasting my talent at home and should open a restaurant. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I took the plunge and opened this place.”
“You are an amazing cook,” he smiled and took a sip of his wine. His full lips pressed against the glass and my legs tightened underneath the tablecloth.
“Thank you,” I blushed. “It was the best decision I ever made.”
“I agree with your friends,” he nodded. “True natural talent is hard to find nowadays.”
“You’re pretty talented yourself,” I blushed. Damn, why did I say that? Can I just stand up and beat my head against the wall now? Please?
“So you listen to us,” he smiled, a little smugly. Just a lift to the corner of his beautiful lips. When he smiled, the corner of his eye – that I could see from his bangs – crinkled in the most adorable way. Hell, not adorable! There was nothing but sexy, rockstar rolling off of this man. He was…perfect, handsome. Desirable.
“Actually,” I nodded. If I was going to blurt stuff out, might as well be honest. At least that’s what momma always said. “I used to play guitar.”
“You did,” his eyebrows rose in wonder. “Why did you quit playing?” His expression changed from seriousness to complete excitement at my mentioning of the guitar. I guessed that if he started talking about cooking Cajun food, I would’ve had the same reaction. This was Gabriel’s element. Why did I just call him Gabriel? Is that his full name? He looked more like a Gabriel than a Gabe.
“Long story,” I shrugged. “Just got older, more responsibilities. Now, I have this place. There really isn’t enough time.”
“Well,” he rose an eyebrow at me. “You should play. It helps you get away from it all, every now and then.”
“True,” I smiled, remembering the times I was on stage, playing with my little band. It did take away the worries, the stress. When I played, it was…my safe place. My happy place. Until my life had taken an unexpected turn.
“Hey,” he said, bringing me back from my past. “I would like for you to come see us at Rosie’s this weekend. We are playing there, kind of getting back to our roots. Will you be my guest?”
“Oh,” I blushed. “I couldn’t.”
“Please,” he pouted. He looked so hurt at my words, it make my heart clench. I wanted to stroke the long, black hair that had fallen over his beautiful eyes so that I could look into them fully. Why did he hide them from the world?
“I…yes,” I nodded. “Sure, I’ll be there.”
“Good,” he smiled. It was beautiful…he was beautiful. “I’ll put your name on the guest list. Just give them your name at the door.”
“Thank you,” I laughed. “I haven’t been to a concert in awhile. I don’t get out much.”
“You’ll have fun,” he assured me and I believed him.
“Ms. Brooklyn,” Thomas said from my side. “I hate to intrude, but you are needed in the kitchen.”
“I’ll be right there,” I nodded toward my friend. “Gabe, it was a pleasure to finally meet you.”
“The pleasure was all mine,” Gabe smiled and stood up from his seat, holding his hand out to help me out of mine. I had to lock my knees together to keep from swooning and losing my balance. He really was a gentleman. “I’ll see you Saturday, Brooklyn.”
“Thank you, Gabriel,” I purred. His hand squeezed my fingers when I said his full name. If his name wasn’t Gabriel, I was sure he would’ve said something to correct me. But he didn’t.
The fire that bled off of his skin and into mine was full of promise and unbridled passion. When he lifted the back of my hand to his lips, as a silent goodbye, I smiled so hard that my face hurt. His lips…they were soft against my skin. His hands were calloused from years of playing the guitar, but the two sensations together were more appealing than I ever thought they could be.
I suddenly couldn’t wait for Saturday night.
Once I handled the panic stricken chef in the kitchen, I returned to the dining area and felt a loss at Gabe’s table being empty. I saw Thomas clearing the dishes and wine glasses when he picked up a card. He smiled to himself and looked up toward the kitchen. The slight wink told me that Gabe had left something personal.
Automatically, my feet were moving in the direction, my curiosity getting the better of me. “What did he leave?”
“Here,” Thomas laughed, handing me a small business card. It was his own personal one, with his e-mail address and a P.O. Box. The name Glory Days was across the top and his name was in smaller letters just under the band’s name. I turned the card over and smiled when it read:
The gumbo was delicious, but the company was even better.
Below was a phone number…his number! Followed by:
If you ever just want to pick up the guitar again.
Was he telling me we could play together? Holy…freaking…shit! Gabe Miller, the number one guitarist in the world, wanted to give me lessons?
If the dining room was empty and the place was closed, I would’ve squealed like a little kid! I had to compose myself until I returned to the back room. Leaning on the wall in the kitchen, I ignored the raised eyebrows of my employees and clutched the card to my chest, smiling like a damn fool.
The night soon came to an end. I left the restaurant in the hands of my crew and headed home. It was still early and he probably was still awake. So, I hoped that I had a few minutes to spare and he wasn’t already asleep, before I had to curl up in the bed.
I was still smiling like a fool when I reached my little townhouse, not far from Cordeau’s. The lights were still on, so I bound up to the door with a smile on my face.
“Honey, I’m home!” I said as I opened the door.