Locked and Loaded (Bullet, #6)

By: Jade C. Jamison

Chapter One

ZANE CARSON TRIED to roll over on his back. He had a crick in his neck and all his joints were stiff, but there would be no stretching in this queen-size over-soft hotel bed. One of the girls he’d brought back with him the night before was scrunched up against his back, her arms wrapped around him as though she were seven years old, carrying her art project home through sinister gales and the threat of hail.

Not quite but close.

All the groupie girls—all of them—seemed to hold out hope that they’d suck his dick so expertly and look up at him through their sweet but hollow eyes that Zane wouldn’t be able to help falling in love with them. He’d never understood what fueled those unrealistic dreams. Lack of self-esteem? Unrealistic expectations? Living in a fantasy world? No brains and too many drugs?

He had no fucking idea. He often felt bad about taking advantage of whatever it was driving these girls to seek sex with famous rock stars, but it was something he couldn’t help. And he justified it by telling himself that the women got something out of it, even if it wasn’t a ring or a promise.

They got to brag to all their friends that they’d fucked a rock star.

Yeah...there was that old joke that the bassist wasn’t important to a band, but Zane and his band Fully Automatic knew better. The bass added richness and depth to his band’s music that just wouldn’t be there if it were simply two guitars and a drum. He knew of bands who didn’t care about the bass as much or didn’t utilize their bass man fully...and they suffered for it. They were usually nobodies.

Groupie women knew the bassist was important too—even if they sometimes preferred lead guitar.

Zane felt the girl’s lips on his back—or what he’d thought was her lips, and in a way it was. She was drooling on his back, and he figured it out for certain because he heard a slight snore-like sound as she sucked in air through her open mouth.

Fuck it. Time to get up.

It was difficult unwrapping her arms from around him, because she was holding on tight. Her mouth might have been slack, but her limbs were hanging on for dear life. Jesus Christ. Handcuffs had never felt this constricting. He used his fingers to pull her arms off his body even while they clung like magnets, and then he sat up, swinging his legs over the edge of the bed and running one hand through his dark, shoulder-length black hair.

God, he felt like shit. Utter, complete shit.

It wasn’t just the aching joints and the sour stomach. It was a deep down empty feeling that had only two cures. Those remedies weren’t working much anymore. Well, that wasn’t entirely true. It just took a lot more of them to work. Not simply one girl sucking his cock, but two. Not just a single bottle of Southern Comfort but a couple...and whatever fucking pills he could swallow along with the liquid peace of mind.

He sucked in a slow breath through his nose and surveyed the part of the room within his view. The drapes were pulled wide open, not that it mattered. They were on the ninth floor, and he had a vague memory of looking out on the city lights early morning while one girl took care of him in the front and another girl worked him from behind. And a third girl? Maybe...but it was fuzzy. He focused his eyes as he pulled in another deep breath. There were clothes all over the floor and furniture, making it look like the inside of a clothing donation bin for a thrift store.

Except for the sexy black panties.

But even those weren’t doing it for him today.

Zane let out a small cough to clear his lungs and reached for the almost-empty bottle of Comfort on the nightstand, screwing off the lid with the same hand he held it. He wasn’t even thinking about it as he chugged down what remained of its amber contents, swallowing it as though it were a glass of water.

But as he stood and felt the familiar-as-a-friend warmth flow down his chest, he wondered how the fuck he’d gotten here...once more. It had become almost like clockwork, that rapid decline down to the fucking bottom. He almost snarled thinking about it, just waiting for the alcohol to do its thing, but he knew good and well what he’d just put down wasn’t nearly enough. Maybe he still had some pills in his jeans to chase the booze with.

He shook his head and turned around. Yeah...it was three girls, not two, and damned if they didn’t all look like carbon copies. All blonde, all thin. When he and Ethan would party back in the day, his friend was all about the boobs, so they never fought over who got which ones. Zane liked breasts to be sure, but they didn’t need to be the size of volleyballs. Ethan didn’t care if they were fake so long as they were big and perky (Val and Jenna seemed to be the only exceptions—and that was probably because Ethan liked them even when he was sober). Zane, though...he had a consistent type, and these three fit it perfectly. They reminded him of the one woman he couldn’t live without but definitely couldn’t fucking live with...

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