Rock Star Baby

By: Erin M. Leaf

Chapter One

“You did what?” Bardulf asked his little sister, trying to make sense of what she’d just told him. Her silky blonde hair slid over her shoulder and across her cheeks as she made a pouty face at him. Bardulf resisted the urge to tuck it behind her ears. She was sixteen now and would probably bite him if he tried it. Sometimes he forgot she was growing up. And sometimes I want to pretend she’s still that little girl with the pigtails who drove me crazy when I was a teenager. Her being grown up makes me feel old. He pushed his mug of coffee toward the center of the old wooden table. The caffeine he’d already drunk sloshed in his stomach uncomfortably.

“Well, Dad went all Alpha on me and wouldn’t let me go to the concert, so I put your name on the prize form instead,” Faylen said, bouncing a little on her heels. “He said I didn’t have enough control of my wolf form yet to not lose it if I get excited.” She rolled her eyes. “As if I’d shift in front of humans! In an arena! Ugh. Dad can be such a fossil.” She flung herself down into the chair next to him and tossed the envelope she’d carried into the room on the table. “He’s been impossible lately. I heard him yelling at Mom this morning. Again.”

Bardulf rubbed his forehead. When that didn’t ease his newly blooming tension headache, he gave her a stern look, not that it would do much good. For such a small person, she certainly knew how to create giant problems. “You want me to kiss Ryan Oakley, lead singer of Bad Oak, because you won some fan club contest? At a concert? In front of a thousand people? Are you crazy?”

“It’s backstage, not in front of the audience, Bardulf.” Faylen poked at his arm. “And if I can’t go, you’re the next best thing. You’re gay, so you won’t mind kissing a guy. Plus, you’re Alpha-Heir, so Dad can’t forbid you to go.”

Bardulf choked back an incredulous laugh. “Dad is still pack leader. If he says jump, I jump. Doesn’t matter if I’m heir, little wolf.” He ran his hands through his short hair, then rubbed his face again.

“Don’t call me that,” she grumbled.

“That’s what your name means,” he said, hoping that the change of subject would work. No such luck, he realized as his sister opened her mouth again.

“Yeah, well yours means ‘bright wolf’, but you don’t see me calling you stupid names, even if your hair is super-blond.” She poked him in the arm again, harder this time.

Bardulf winced and grabbed her fingers. “Stop that.”

She ignored him, pulling away from his grasp. “It sucks that you got the pretty hair, and I got this ordinary light-brown stuff.” She lifted a shining strand from her shoulder and wound it around her finger. “Also, don’t think I can’t tell you’re trying to change the subject.”

Bardulf shook his head. “I’m not going to a Bad Oak concert. And your hair is gorgeous and you know it. It’s only a little darker than mine. Stop fishing for compliments.”

Faylen dropped her hair and grabbed the manila envelope from the kitchen table. Obviously, she’d decided to cut to the chase. “Yes, you are going.” She shoved the paper against his chest. The corner poked through his sweater into his skin, and Bardulf shifted his weight irritably. His inner wolf was beginning to take notice of Faylen’s antics, and he wasn’t amused.

Predictably, his sister brushed off his growing annoyance. “The itinerary is all there. You just have to show up at the back door.” She grinned widely. “Ryan Oakley is super hot. Kissing him will be awesome, and you know it. The only reason you don’t want to go is because you’re getting old and crotchety.”

“I’m only twenty-three, Faylen. Give me a break,” Bardulf growled, automatically catching the papers when she let go. “I hate New York. It’s smelly. And there are too many people there. Too many humans. It makes me want to bite things.”

“It’s only a couple hours from us, sheesh. Stop being such a baby.” Faylen rolled her eyes at him.

He glared at her, tipping back in his chair. “I can’t drop everything just because you won a silly contest.”

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