Bent is broken in body, mind, and spirit. Complications of an injury plague Angel Fire’s legendary bassist. He’ll never play again. Never take the stage with his bandmates. Never soak in the intoxication of the crowd. Music has abandoned him.
At least that’s what he’s told his overly persistent physical therapist, Piper. The woman is petite and vivacious, a pixie with red hair and a spitfire attitude. She doesn’t know when to give up, or when to shove her perpetual positivity into the deepest, darkest hole.
He’s fired her more times than he can count. She should leave him to his misery, but the woman won’t take no for an answer. She challenges him. Pushes him. She never lets up. The fiery pixie is turning his entire world upside down, and that’s pissing him off.
Bent desperately needs Piper to leave him alone—especially since the infuriating woman is now invading his dreams and stirring up his darkest fantasies. But how does someone get rid of a perky pixie?
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“Time to get up, Mr. Growly Bear.”
An overly energetic voice sang the annoying nickname with far too much enthusiasm. Bent cringed and prayed he’d remembered to turn the lock on his door. His perpetually positive physical therapist had returned like a bad STD.
He kicked her out. She came back.
He fired her. She showed up the next day.
He locked her out and she was back for another round.
“Go away!” His deep bass rumble did nothing to dissuade the energetic Piper Raines. The wench was like crack on a stick, one perky, nonstop ball of energy.
He hated perky, unless they were tits.
“Not happening!” The lock to his door clicked and the knob turned.
When the fuck did she get a key?
“Forest!” No one else but Forest had a key to his room.
“Forest isn’t here, Mr. Growly.” Her lilting sing-song voice grated on his nerves. Like an ice pick to the eye, her perpetual positivity made him want to punch something.
“Did Forest give you a key?”
“How else was I going to get in?”
“You don’t get to get in. I fired your ass.”
“And Forest hired me right back. It’s for your own good.”
She opened the door and held a bag easily half her size in her arms. The petite redhead hip-checked the door, closing it behind her with a thud. She scanned the room and then frowned. Her pert nose turned up as the corners of her lips curved down.
“Phew! When’s the last time you took a shower?”
About three days ago when she’d chased him into the bathroom and forced him to climb inside the shower. The little wench had even threatened not to leave until she was satisfied he was at least attempting to accomplish the ADL.
Now those were three foul letters. He hated them. Activities of Daily Living are what they stood for, and he failed at most of his ADL tasks. Piper took that as encouragement to subject him to even more torture.
Sharp and grating, her voice hit the high notes with her crystalline pipes. Ash’s wife, Skye, called Piper’s voice angelic. He had another word for it. Her unusual voice stabbed at his skull and exacerbated the pain of his hangover.
He could use a drink right about now.
Drugs were no-go territory for the band. After Ash’s rehab several years back, the band had sworn a pact to never touch drugs, but alcohol remained firmly on the menu. Ash was the only one who didn’t drink, but the rest of the band had no problems tossing back one or two, or more. He’d tossed more than a few back last night.
“You saying I stink?”
“No.” She dropped her bag and placed both hands on her hips. “I’m saying this whole place reeks. You’re just the worst offender.”
“How can you smell me from way over there?”
“Because you reek! Please tell me you’ve showered since Friday?”
He wouldn’t do that, because he wasn’t a man who lied, especially to beautiful women, even ones as obnoxious as Piper. And he hadn’t showered because—he ran a hand through the dirt and grime of his hand—because it was too damn hard. ADL his ass.
He glanced at his hand: a puny, little freak hand.
That’s what his hand looked like and it was attached to an even worse horror. A pale, skinny appendage had somehow joined itself to his body. The offensive thing had replaced the thick muscles of his forearms and biceps and destroyed all the definition in his arm.
The arm was a foreign looking thing. He refused to accept it as his, and it worked for shit. He couldn’t grasp a bar of soap, brush his teeth, tie his shoes, or hold a damn fork. Thus, no showering since Friday.
Pitiful. Weak. And ruined.
That arm epitomized everything wrong with his life and made a mockery of all that he’d worked for. Like his career.
“Your silence speaks volumes, Mr. Growly.”
“Stop calling me that,” he said with a growl.
“Riiiiight!” Her laughter tinkled like bells. “Because there’s nothing big, scary, and growly about you.”
“I’m not scary.”
Being weak didn’t sit well with him. Not when he’d always been one of the strongest, tallest, and fiercest men. With the exception of Forest, who was nothing if not a reincarnation of a Norse god, Bent towered over other men.
Ryker Lyons, Angel Fire’s stand-in bass player-recently separated from the Air Force-met him at eye level. But even Ryker’s intensive physical conditioning couldn’t match Bent’s bulk. The rest of his bandmates looked up to Bent, and while ripped, they had lithe frames when compared to the badass of the band. The man who took two, three, or more women to bed with him every night. And that wasn’t an exaggeration. Bent’s brawn elicited respect. His presence commanded attention. And he’d been blessed with above average good looks. Not to mention, he was a fucking rock star. Sex on a stick is what women called him.
He was a man people noticed.
Bent’s muscles bunched upon muscles. Women drooled when presented with his staggering physique. They eagerly ran their hands up and down his powerful arms and fluttered their fingers across his broad shoulders. Invariably, they worked a steady path down the rippling terrace of his abs to discover what lie beneath the Adonis V of his hips. It was there where they worshiped him, sucking at the glory that was his impressive cock.
Or, at least they had.
Before the accident.
Before his arm had literally been bent in two.
Bent blinked at tiny fingers snapping in front of his face. Piper had to practically stand on tiptoe to get his attention, and she stood too damn close. Smelled too damn good, like roses and pixie dust, she was an intoxicating combination.
He took a step back.
“You were spacing out again,” she chided. “It’s rude to ignore someone when they’re speaking to you.”
A downward glance gave him the perfect view of Piper’s twin perky assets. The girl’s body was tight, toned, and fucking hot, and she never wore a bra. The creamy expanse of her breasts filled out her tight tee, lifting the fabric away from her chest and giving him one hell of a view. Her tits weren’t large. A generous B cup, or maybe tiny C’s. Didn’t matter, because he didn’t want anything to do with Piper or her perky tits. Except maybe…
He shook his head and back-pedaled, placing distance between them. But Piper followed. Insistent wench.
She took his lame arm and ran her fingers over the scars. Three operations over the past four months had placed metal and screws into the bones, straightening his arm out, but damage remained. Perhaps, permanent nerve damage.
That had been what his Ortho doc had thought at the last visit. They were to give it another six months. They? He laughed. Like they were a fucking team. It was his damn arm. His fucking hand that refused to work. His fingers which twitched and could barely grasp a cup, let alone finger a guitar or a woman.
He ripped out of her grip. “Stop that.”
“It’s my job, Growly.”
“It’s my fucking arm.”
“Well, no shit Sherlock. Now that we have that established, let’s talk about why you haven’t showered.”
“I don’t want to talk about that.”
“At least we agree you have not in fact showered. Now, why is that?”
“Cause, I spent my weekend fucking and drinking.”
Only one of those was true. She didn’t take the bait. Wench simply changed the topic with a beautiful smile and arch of her brow.
“I’ve got something I want you to try.” She said. “We’ll work on holding the soap later. If you won’t do it, I—”
“How many times do I have to say it? You’re not helping me in the shower.” Except she’d helped him shower more times than he cared to remember.
“Like I’d want to get near any of that.” She made a vague gesture at the rest of his physique.
If he didn’t regain the use of his hand by his next checkup, a visit to the neurologist was in his future. And if he didn’t regain use of his arm, the rest of his body would slowly follow. It was impossible to keep up with his demanding gym regimen when his arm didn’t work.
She flashed her cornflower blue eyes at him, fluttering her lashes over the high ridges of her cheekbones. Damn, but why did her eyes have to be the one color he couldn’t resist?
Because God hated him. That was the only answer that made sense.
“Now that’s a lie,” he said with a rumble.
“What’s a lie?”
“That you don’t want a piece of me.”
“Right, because egomaniacs are my go-to kind of guy. Don’t worry Bent, I am most definitely not interested in any of that.”
After the abysmal failure of last night, he couldn’t handle another rejection and countered.
“Don’t knock it ‘till you try it.”
Secretly he hoped she jumped at the chance. Women were all the same. Eager cunts who only wanted one thing from a rock star.
“Considering I don’t know where that thing’s been, I don’t think I’ll be knocking that…that…” Her face reddened with frustration. “That thing anytime soon.”
“What’s so damn funny?”
“That thing?” he parroted back. “What’s wrong Piper? Afraid to say the word dick?”
She rolled her eyes, but then her gaze slipped, and landed right on his crotch. Exactly where his dick had taken notice and was now standing proudly at attention.
Fucking Piper could be fun. Except the thought of a meaningless fuck with her twisted his stomach. Now that was new.
Where had that come from?
“I’m not going to discuss your thing,” she said. “Unlike the brainless groupies who think you’re God’s gift to womankind, I know better. And I have no interest in your…your dick. What I do have an interest in is my job and your future. That begins, and ends, with aggressive physical therapy.”
He didn’t care about the damn future. He cared about right now. About the heavy ache in his balls which hadn’t been released in far too long.
With the pale, withered excuse of an arm attached to his body, his dick hadn’t been getting the workout it was used to. The groupies drew back. Shock, horror, and worse—revulsion—showed in their expressions. Girls no longer crawled to his feet, or fell to their knees before him. Bash, Spike and Noodles hogged all the attention, while he suffered through unsatisfying fist-fucking, forced to jack off with the wrong damn hand. And he’d tried with the bad hand. God how he’d tried. But how was a man supposed to chase his release using a hand that didn’t work?
His gaze cut to the unused guitar sitting in the corner of his room. He’d tried to play it once, well over a month ago, right after his cast had come off. The arm had revolted him then, but he’d had no idea how broken he really was.
Bent and Broken. Now wasn’t that the worst joke?
It wasn’t funny at all. There was nothing funny about broken dreams.
Piper spun on her heels and headed to the bathroom. A few seconds later, she had the shower turned on.
“You have ten-seconds to start your shower.” She popped her head out the doorway, her red pixie hair stuck out in all directions and her long bangs framed the fierceness of her baby blues.
She lifted her phone. “Or I call for back up.”
“You said Forest was off gallivanting around the globe.”
“He is, but Ryker is just itching for my call. I can’t wait to watch him toss you in the shower.”
Knowing Ryker, he wouldn’t just toss Bent in, he’d crank on the cold water first, then shove, and hold Bent under the frigid stream. Ryker was used to going without the creature comforts in life.
Bent tilted his face to the ceiling and closed his eyes. “Fuuuuuck!”
His pixie didn’t play fair.
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