Rock Hard

By: Olivia Cunning

Chapter 1

 Jessica was the happiest woman on the planet. Life could not have been more perfect. She snuck up behind Sed, wrapped her arms around his neck, and kissed his ear. “Hey, baby, guess what?”

 “What?” he said absently.

 She peeked around his shoulder to find him scowling at a stack of invoices.

 “I got in!”

 His scowl deepened in confusion. “You got in? Got in what?”

 She pulled the acceptance letter from her back pocket and snapped it open in front of him. This would wipe the scowl from his gorgeous face.

 While he read, she gazed at her recently acquired engagement ring. After all her hard work in school, her dreams were finally becoming a reality. Having a hunky rising-star rock vocalist as her fiancé was the frosting on her Pop Tart.

 “Law school?” His deep voice rumbled through his back against her chest.

 “Yeah. Isn’t it great? I’m so excited. We have to go out and celebrate.” She kissed his temple and squeezed him. “I’ll go put on a skirt. We’ll go sightseeing. I want you to make love to me on a crowded street. Maybe Rodeo Drive. Or Hollywood Boulevard. What do you think?”

 “I can’t afford to put you through law school, Jess. I can’t even afford to fix the transmission in the fuckin’ tour bus.” He tossed her acceptance letter on his stack of invoices.

 “Don’t worry.” She pulled out a second letter. Her financial aid award letter. “Scholarships, grants, waivers. I only have to come up with $3,000 a semester.”

 Sed shoved his chair away from the table and went to open the banged-up refrigerator. Finding it empty, he closed it again. “I don’t have $3,000, Jessica.”

 He didn’t get it. This was her dream. He was encouraged to pursue his. Why wasn’t she? Even though Sed’s band, Sinners, would probably never make it as big as their front man envisioned, she believed in him. Was it so much to ask that he believed in her, too?

 “I don’t expect you to pay for it, Sed. I’ll find a way. I just want you to be happy for me. Congratulate me. Something. This is the most important thing that’s ever happened to me.”

 He leaned back against the counter and crossed his arms over his chest. For a second, she was struck by how attractive he was. Those broad shoulders, bulging muscles, narrow hips. Black hair, blue eyes. A face that belonged in movies. And then he opened his mouth. “I’m the most important thing that’s ever happened to you. And you aren’t going.”

 “What do you mean I’m not going?”

 “You’re not going to law school. You’ll be far too busy keeping me entertained in the bedroom. When that gets boring, you’ll pop out five or six kids and take care of them while I tour with the band and make us all rich and famous.”

 That was his big scheme for her life? Was he fucking kidding her? “I’ve dreamt of being a lawyer since I was a little girl, Sedric. I am going to law school. And you’re not telling me how to live my life.”

 “If you want to be my wife, you’re not going. I forbid it.”

 She stared at him in disbelief. “You did not just say that.”

 “Yeah, I did.”

 “Then I don’t want to be your wife.”

 He scoffed, looking amused. “You don’t mean that.”

 That cocksure attitude of his—the one that had attracted her to him in the first place—made her grit her teeth. She yanked the ring off her finger and flung it at him. It hit him in the chest and he caught it against his body with his hand.

 “There! Go hock that cheap piece of shit, fix your precious tour bus, and make yourself famous with your stupid band, you asshole.”

 He stared at her in disbelief.

 “We’re through, Sed.”

 His blue eyes widened. “You’re breaking up with me?” For the first time in their four months together, Jessica saw a dent in his armor of self-assurance. “No one has ever broken up with me. Ever.”

 Fuckin’ A, he totally missed the point. “What did you expect? That I’d be happy as your little toy?”

 His cocky grin returned. “Well, aren’t you? You never complain in the bedroom.”

 She had no complaints in the bedroom. Their bodies were made for each other. Their sexual appetites perfectly in sync. It was everything else that didn’t work between them. “I’m leaving, Sed.”

 She hesitated. This was his last chance to make things right between them. All he had to do was admit he was wrong to try to control her life. Wrong to think of her as an object instead of a person. A person he supposedly loved enough to be his wife.

 She waited. Wanting him. God, she always wanted him. As overbearing and arrogant as he was, she wanted him. She did not, however, need him.

 “I don’t think you will.” He chuckled. “You’re not strong enough to leave me.”

 Jessica snatched her acceptance letter off the table and proved him wrong.

Chapter 2

 Jessica’s confident smile faded as the grade on her final paper burned its ugly red image onto her retina.


 An F?

 She gulped air.

 An F! Failure. Failurino. Failurocity. Failtacular. Failpendous. Epic… fail.

 The note scrawled beneath Jessica’s inconceivable grade read, Perhaps next time you will consider completing your paper as assigned, Ms. Chase.

 “Check it out,” the guy seated next to her said. He leaned way into her personal space and tapped his paper with the back of his fingertips. “The Ice Queen gave me an A minus. What did you get, Wonder Brain? The Pulitzer prize for best final paper evah?”

 Jessica hurriedly stuffed her failing (failing?) paper into her leather folio. “They don’t give Pulitzers for that.”

 “Duh. That was a joke. So, are you tired of rejecting me yet?”

 She climbed from her chair, her knees shaky. An F? How? How? There had to be some mistake.

 She headed toward the podium at the front of the room where Dr. Ellington stood. Ellington always looked perfectly put together. Her sleek blonde hair, cut in an ear-length bob, swayed slightly as she placed papers into her briefcase. Her trim navy blue skirt suit was worth more than Jessica’s car. Ellington might have been considered pretty if she didn’t look so shrewd. And intimidating.

 Jessica gripped her portfolio tighter.

 Someone grabbed Jessica’s arm. She turned to find the guy with the A minus looking down at her hopefully. Handsome and neat in his blue Polo shirt and Dockers, he raked a hand through his sandy brown hair. “Join me for coffee?”

 “No, thank you.”

 “A movie? Dinner?”

 “No, uhh…” Her eyebrows drew together. “What’s your name again?”

 His pretty-boy face fell. “Doug. I’ve sat next to you for four months and you don’t remember my name?”

 Well, lots of guys sat next to her. She couldn’t be expected to remember their names when she had zero interest in them.

 “Sorry. Doug. I can’t talk right now. I need to speak to Dr. Ellington about something important.”

 “I’ll wait for you.”

 “Not interested.”

 “Of course not. You’re never interested in anyone. You only date assholes, am I right?”

 Her ex-fiancé’s image flittered through her mind’s eye. Sedric Lionheart definitely qualified as an asshole. But they’d split two years ago, so she no longer dated assholes. Or anyone, for that matter. “What kind of question is that?”

 “Nice, smart, and beautiful.” He ticked his words off on three fingers. “The recipe for a woman who only dates assholes.”

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