Authors: Shari Copell
Copyright © 2013 by Shari Copell.
All rights reserved.
Editor: Tara Chevrestt
Cover: Kerry Jesberger
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is a work of fiction. Names, places and incidents are either the product of the
author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to locales,
events, business establishments, or actual persons—living or dead—is entirely
book is dedicated to anyone who has ever loved a musician.
always, my gratitude to Kerry for the wonderful covers she delivers.
to my husband, the best bass player I know, who has taken me on my own wild
ride for the past twenty-nine years. Thanks so much for helping with the
and Tara Chevrestt? You rock!
a work in progress. I suspect that will always be true.
own every single one of my lousy choices in the same way that I own my greatest
accomplishments. My epic failures sit on the same shelf as my victories.
is like that, isn’t it? A blend of shining-star triumphs and major fuck-ups.
Moments of weakness sprinkled with strength you had no idea you possessed. It’s
messy and it’s ugly and it hurts like hell sometimes, but I wouldn’t want it
any other way.
just really glad to be here.
was musing over the colors of a soap bubble when Scott Dreyfus, my boss’s son,
walked up behind me.
Chelsea washing dishes! What’d you do? Draw the short straw?”
glanced back at him. I must’ve looked a sight, up to my elbows in soapy water
and dirty beer glasses, with my hair falling into my eyes. “No short straw
drawn. I volunteered to wash glasses tonight. I like it back here.”
was typically a waitress at Tapestries, the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania bar where
I’d spent nearly every day for the last five years of my life. Tonight, though,
I had an ulterior motive for wanting to wash dishes in the back room. I’d miss
out on the tips, but it was worth it.
was “the” place to play for local bands. It was not unheard of for incognito
agents from the recording industry to put their butts in our chairs. Just the
year before, a local band by the name of Brass Monkeys was signed to a rather
lucrative contract. The bands fought to get on our stage; we were booked solid
from Thursdays to Saturday nights for the next three years. No one ever
cancelled a gig at Tapestries.
I usually put the prettiest girls out to serve?” Scott’s eyebrows drew up to a
peak in the middle of his forehead. I turned away so he wouldn’t see me roll
my eyes. What a jerk.
tell you, Scott. I don’t make the rules around here.” I bit my lip. The less
said to this asshole, the better.
Scott Dreyfus never seemed to work for me. He stepped closer and ran his hands
over my ass. I knew the drill. This would end with him attempting to grind his
cock against me. I was one of only a few women at Tapestries he hadn’t slept
with yet, and I had news for him. It. Was. Never. Going. To. Happen.
guess he thought he had me trapped because my hands were in soapy water. I
half-turned and said as calmly as I could, “If you touch me again, I’m going
to smash one of these glasses over your head.”
jumped back as if I’d pulled a knife on him. “I’ll have you fired!”
big loss. Like there are no other bars in Pittsburgh who wouldn’t love to have
an experienced waitress.” He didn’t need to know I was bluffing. I liked my
job at Tapestries and didn’t want to lose it.
lips curled as he glared at me. Being shot down was a new experience for him.
“I bet your cunt is as icy as the rest of you.” He picked up the partial bag of
frozen hamburger patties he’d dropped on the floor and launched it at me.
“Here. Put these back in the freezer. You’ll be right at home there, bitch.”
yanked my hands out of the water and snatched the burgers out of mid-air. He
spun on his heels and stormed toward the door, but turned back at the last
said you know the guitar player for the band tonight? Asher Pratt? They say
he’s going places.”
is wrong. I don’t know him.” I dropped the bag of hamburgers on the sink next
to me and plunged my hands back into the warm water.
was lying through my teeth.
Scott left, I blew out a breath and turned my attention back to the soap
truth was, I
know Asher Pratt, lead guitar player for the band Dirty
Turtles. Intimately. It was why I’d begged to do dishes in the back room.
relationship ended five years before. I have never been able to put my finger
on just why Asher affected me the way he did. I’m not even sure I can describe
what he did to my insides.
had a carnal vibe about him, an inherent maleness that was so compelling, even
older women stopped to stare when he passed them by. I’d craved his presence
when we weren’t together. Too bad I ended up being just another pathetic moon
orbiting his alpha-male planet.
family moved to Pittsburgh from Rochester, New York in my junior year of high
school. I guess I’m pretty enough—long, dark hair, round blue eyes, tall and
thin, yet curvaceous. No different than a lot of girls out there, but you know
how guys sniff around the new girl at school no matter what she looks like.
first locked eyes with Asher Pratt eight years ago. I was sixteen, and he was
eighteen. He was walking down the middle of the hall by my locker, in slow
motion it seemed, as everyone scattered out of his way. I caught a glimpse of
long legs encased in tight jeans, mid-length brown hair trailing out behind
him. His chin was dropped in determination, his gooey caramel eyes fastened on
mine in high-predator mode. I would later find out the bulge in his pants was
real. He oozed sexual promise. I couldn’t look away.
coming for you, Chelsea. It won’t do you a bit of good to run from me.
Ha! I nearly went to my knees in front of my locker.
Take me. Take me
don’t get it. Do they have to
at having that effect on women? Or
is it in their DNA? Some type of primal breeding instinct that assures them
the pick of the best females? Whatever it is, it’s fucking poison.
won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say, I was swept up in Typhoon
Asher, taken high into the sky in a delirious whirlwind of emotion and sexual
bliss, and slammed hard to the ground after a ridiculously brief amount of
was a high school senior, already a guitar rock god, a legend in the Pittsburgh
music scene. “You should feel lucky he noticed you,” they said. “He only
dates the hottest girls.”
didn’t feel much like luck. In hindsight, it seemed as though I’d made the
choice to commit slow suicide by falling in love with Asher Pratt.
line: young rock gods are not monogamous. Ever. Their life is a buffet of
female flesh. They have only to smile and bat their eyes to taste the bounty.
plucked my innocent heart from my chest, shredded it with one woman after
another, then shoved it back into my ribcage. When it started beating again,
when I finally started getting to my feet, I’d been a thousand kinds of fool
and given him tacit permission to do it again.
miss you. There’s no one like you. No one understands me the way you do,
The water was warm on my hands, but I shivered. Nothing good had ever come from
reliving my past with Asher. It never brought me peace. There were so many
wanted to believe you, you bastard. I did believe you!
Pratt had been a drug for me, and I wasn’t sure I wasn’t still addicted. I
certainly wasn’t going to test it. Never again would I allow myself to be the
stupid moon that orbited his planet. If he was going to be present at
Tapestries that night, I was going to stay as far away from him as possible.
nights at Tapestries were always busy, but this particular night was chaos.
When I wasn’t washing dishes, I was scrambling around getting supplies for the
cooks, doing prep work in the kitchen, and just generally trying to be useful
without going out into the dining room and stage area.
Dirty Turtles began their set at 10:00 p.m. They really were a good heavy
metal, eighties-cover band, throwing in a few original songs here and there.
More than once, I started bopping to their songs in the kitchen. I felt ripped
off that I couldn’t go out and enjoy them properly.
usual band sluts showed up to pay tribute. I could see them when I walked past
the half-door into the bar on my way to the kitchen. Couple of visuals for
you: tight black tops, short black skirts. Oh, and massive tits. Get the
picture? I knew Asher and his Turtles were getting a good eyeful, based on
some of the outfits I was seeing.
I found myself gritting my teeth, clenching my fists, and thinking about a
certain guitar player, I knew it was time to go back to washing dishes in the
slammed the door behind me, relieved that it muffled the music and the
boisterous shouts of the crowd. Someone had redrawn soapy water in the utility
sink for me. There were several large tubs full of glasses sitting beside it.
There was at least an hour’s worth of work, and I was glad. By the time I was
done, the Dirty Turtles would be finished, torn down, and gone, and my life
could go on as scheduled.
gaze fell on the plastic bag of hamburger patties that Scott had thrown at me,
still sitting on the edge of the sink.
I’d forgotten to put them
away. They’d be half-thawed by now. I would just hide them in a lonely corner
of the large walk-in freezer down the hallway behind me until they were
pulled on the handle of the freezer and went in, letting it close behind me. I
tucked the bag of patties behind several cases of frozen French fries, wiped my
hands on my skirt, and walked back to open the door.
pulled on the handle; it wobbled in my hands. I heard a sickening, metallic
as something broke inside the handle mechanism.
door did not open.
handle flopped uselessly in my hands—it was no longer engaged with the hardware
that opened the door. The freezer was old enough that it didn’t have any of the
newer safety features. I held my breath as I realized what that meant.
was trapped inside a walk-in freezer set at twenty-eight degrees Fahrenheit
wearing only sneakers, a very short skirt, and a thin Tapestries T-shirt.
set in. I pounded on the door. I screamed until my throat was raw. I pounded
some more. I threw things at the door. I did all this for at least half an
hour. No one could hear me over the band playing. No one would find me unless
they needed something from the freezer, and they were just about done cooking
for the night.
pried at the door with a knife that someone had left on one of the crates of
rib-eye steaks. The blade bent then broke. Turning around, I let my gaze play
over the contents of the freezer, foolishly hoping to see an axe or a crowbar.
Needless to say, there was no reason for either of those things to be in a
took one last stab at screaming and pounding on the door before I pulled my
skirt down a little to protect my legs and sat on a case of kielbasa. As I
rubbed my arms and shivered, I tried to think of a way to save myself before I
froze to death.
only thought that came to me was this: it wouldn’t be long until my cunt really
as icy as this freezer.