Arwen Grayson stood off to the side of the ice rink in her skates and watched her skater prepare to execute one of the harder jumps in her long program. When the skater landed it perfectly, Arwen smiled and gave her a thumbs-up.
"Nice work, Jenny," she said when the young teenager pumped her hand in the air.
Jenny skated over to where Arwen stood. "I nailed it again."
"I knew you would. You should be able to do a perfect landing practically all the time now."
"It helps that I have a great coach."
"And it makes my job easier to have a great skater to train," Arwen said with a smile. "Let's call it quits for today. I'll see you tomorrow bright and early."
"Have fun at the concert tonight. I wish I could go with you. And take some pictures."
"I'll try. Now get out of here before I end up being late. Your mom should be waiting for you."
Arwen watched Jenny skate off the ice. As an individual competitive figure skating coach at the Kalamazoo Skate Club--one of many clubs in Michigan--she got a lot of satisfaction out of seeing kids like Jenny excelling at the sport. And one day she hoped to see one of her skaters go further than she had.
At one time, it had been Arwen's dream to go to the Olympics, but that fell through once she'd qualified for some of the bigger competitions. Out on the ice, knowing what the stakes were, she'd choked. All the hours she'd put into training, nailing all her jumps, had meant nothing when competition day had arrived. Unable to overcome it, she'd had to give up her dream and took the road to becoming a coach. Totally leaving the sport had been out of the question. She loved it too much to just walk away because she'd failed.
It was her commitment to the sport that had ultimately led to her not having much of a social life, not that Arwen found it too much of a hardship. The last relationship she'd had was the year before, and it had only lasted six months. It had ended because her then boyfriend hadn't liked the hours she had to keep for her job. When he forced her to make a decision between him or her coaching, she'd picked the latter.
Now her life had fallen into a regular routine. By day, she coached, and by night, she returned to her apartment condo to spend it alone with her TV. But tonight was going to be a break from that routine.
Crossing the rink and skating off the ice, Arwen walked to her office. She hurriedly unlaced her skates, took them off and dried the blades with a rag before putting on the guards. She slipped on her runners and collected her purse out of her desk. The last one at the rink, she turned off all the lights and set the alarm. She then locked the club's entrance door behind her.
Arwen glanced at her watch. She was still on time. Her best friend, Natalya, had been the one to talk her into going to the rock concert at the Wings Stadium to see the band Soar. A huge fan since their first CD had been released two years before, it hadn't really taken much convincing for her to say yes. And with seats a few rows back from center stage, she would have been crazy to give up the chance to see her favorite band perform live. That they were actually going to be in here in The Zoo, the city where she lived, was a coup in itself.
Since she lived fairly close to the skate club, it didn't take Arwen very long to drive to her condo. She parked her Kia Rio into her assigned space in the underground garage and didn't waste any time getting into the elevator. Pushing the button for the fourth floor where her apartment was, she watched the numbers light up above the doors as the elevator car moved upward.
At her floor, Arwen walked down the hall to her apartment door and let herself in. She had fifteen minutes to get changed before Natalya showed up. Inside her bedroom, she stripped out of the athletic pants and long-sleeved t-shirt that were her normal coaching wear. After she pulled on a pair of black jeans, a pale pink t-shirt and a dark grey hoodie, she dragged a brush through her long hair. Next, she put on a small amount of eye shadow and mascara. Never one for wearing a lot of makeup, it would have to do.
Arwen managed to slip her runners back on just as her buzzer went off. Glancing over at her bedside clock, she shook her head before she went to answer it. It had to be Natalya, early as usual.
She pushed the answer button on the console next to the door. "I'll buzz you in, Natalya."
"How did you know it was me?" her friend asked through the intercom.
"Well, I'm not expecting anyone else, and you're earlier than you said you would be. Come on up." Arwen hit the button that would allow Natalya through the secured entrance.
A few minutes later, Natalya knocked on her door. Arwen pulled it open and waved her in. "I'm basically ready." She held her arms out from her sides and did a small spin. "Do I pass muster?"
Natalya looked her up and down, her blue-green eyes narrowing as she did so. "You'll do. At least you're wearing jeans instead of those ghastly athletic pants you always have on." She flipped her long black hair over one shoulder.
Her best friend was forever complaining about the clothes Arwen wore. Natalya--always dressed in whatever was currently in style--used every opportunity to try to get Arwen to dress better. Arwen personally didn't think there was anything wrong with her sense of fashion, or lack of it. Being at the skate club most days, she didn't exactly have to worry too much about a dress code. She was more comfortable in her athletic pants and long-sleeved t-shirts over fancier clothes, anyway.
"I'm glad you approve," Arwen said with a chuckle. "Shall we go, or do you want to hang here for a little bit longer?"
"We can go. Earlier the better, as far as I'm concerned. I'd rather have to line up at the door than be late."
"We're hardly going to be late. I'll just grab my purse and keys."
After retrieving said items from the kitchen table where she'd left them, Arwen rejoined Natalya at the apartment's door. A few minutes later, they were outside and getting into Natalya's cherry red Ford Mustang.
"So are you looking forward to seeing Gannon live and in person?" Natalya asked once they were on the road.
Her friend had known for a little while now that Arwen had a big crush on Gannon, the lead singer of Soar. She'd also used that knowledge to persuade Arwen to go to the concert.
"Yes, I'm looking forward to seeing the band perform," she said nonchalantly.
"Come on now, Arwen. You can tell me the truth. You're going to spend the entire concert drooling over Gannon."
Arwen shook her head and laughed. "Okay, maybe I will be doing a little of that, but it isn't as if I'm actually going to be able to get up close and personal with him. Even with our good seats, I doubt he'll notice me out of the thousands of people who are going to be there."
"You never know," Natalya said. "Maybe your eyes will meet, and he'll be so taken with you he'll drag you up on the stage."
"That scenario is even more doubtful."
They arrived at the stadium, and Natalya cursed under her breath when she moved into the line-up of cars waiting to claim parking spots. "Crap, I knew we should have left earlier. We're probably going to have to park so far away from the stadium it will be a major hike just to get to the building."
"Hardly," Arwen said with a laugh. "You're just lazy. That little bit of exercise surely won't hurt you." Natalya had always been like that. Even in high school she'd tried to get out of gym class with any excuse the teacher would accept.
"Exercise is overrated," Natalya replied with a sniff.
After finally pulling into an empty spot, they got out and headed for the stadium. It wasn't that long of a walk. Arwen moved into the line-up of people slowly filtering through the doors with Natalya at her side. Once they presented their tickets, they found their seats and sat down to wait for the concert to begin. Not that she thought she would be doing much sitting once Soar performed.
Forty-five minutes later, the opening act came out on stage. It was a band Arwen hadn't heard of, but they weren't bad. When they finished their set, the energy of the crowd rose to a fevered pitch. By the time Soar took the stage, almost all the females in the audience were shrieking. Arwen had to put her finger in her ear as the teenager on her right practically screamed into it. At twenty-five, she had a little more control of herself, even though seeing the band members walk out had her heart beating a little faster.
As bright lights flooded the stage and the first notes of music blared through the speakers when Soar began to play, Arwen focused her gaze on Gannon, unable to look away. All six band members were drool worthy, but she thought Gannon was the best looking of the bunch. Now that she saw him in person and not just in a picture, she found him even more attractive. She would love to run her fingers through his shoulder-length blond hair. From this distance, she couldn't see the color of his eyes, but she knew they were turquoise.
Arwen ran her gaze down his six-foot-four muscular frame. She'd seen pictures of Gannon with his shirt off so she knew his chest and abs were cut. The number of times she'd fantasized about running her hands--along with her lips and tongue--over all that enticing bare skin was too many to count.
Halfway through their set, Soar played their latest hit--a love song. It was one of Arwen's favorite songs from their CD. Watching Gannon sing it, his gaze looking out over the audience, she sucked in a quick breath when it came to land on her, and didn't pull away. Even though it was ridiculous to think it, she couldn't help falling into his gaze, feeling as if he only sang to her. A wave of awareness washed through her.
The crowd around her seemed to disappear until only she and Gannon existed. The combination of the lyrics he sang and his intense gaze kicked her libido into high gear. In reaction, her nipples grew taut beneath her t-shirt, and a dull ache pounded deep inside her pussy. God, how she wished she could climb up on that stage and kiss Gannon until neither one of them knew their own name. But with her unspectacular looks, Arwen knew full well she wasn't the type of woman to draw a famous rock star's attention. Not when there were plenty of younger and gorgeous women in the crowd willing to throw themselves at him.
When the song ended and Gannon's gaze shifted away, Arwen let out a deep sigh. Whether it had actually happened the way she thought--Gannon singing the love song to her and her alone--she figured the experience was well worth the price of the concert ticket. And would be one she wouldn't soon forget.
Gannon watched the last song of the band that had opened for them from backstage. The concert had been sold out. Being around so many people, it only brought home how he and his band mates, Jalen, Keiran, Malik and Trae, weren't like them. The humans had no idea what they truly were.
They were the last of their race--the Alte. For thousands of years their people had lived alongside humans without them knowing about them. A few chance encounters though had the humans calling the Alte angels because of their wings and ability to fly to great heights.
Now all that was left of the Alte race were the members of Soar. Over a thousand years ago, an illness had swept through their people, killing everyone who became infected within a few days of contracting it. For some reason, he and the others survived. Their bodies had fought off the sickness, but not without the illness changing them. No longer were they mortal as the rest of their kind had been. With their new heightened senses that enabled them to manipulate the elements and eyes that had changed to a bright silver, they had become a new breed of Alte. It also hadn't taken them long to realize they could hide what they truly were to allow them to walk among humans for the last thousand years.
Gannon looked over his shoulder at Trae when he came up behind him, which wasn't too hard considering Trae was six-foot-six. "Are you ready to be screamed at by a bunch of women?" he asked.
Trae smiled. "At least I have you to block any who should happen to make her way onto the stage uninvited." He twirled his drumsticks in his hands.
He turned to face his band mate. "Thanks," he said sarcastically. "I guess we should get ready to go on stage. The opener just started their last song."
"We were only waiting for you."
Gannon followed behind Trae as they walked to the place they were to enter the stage. Since Trae usually performed shirtless, Gannon's gaze landed on the large black wings that looked to be a tattoo on his back. They all had the same mark, making the humans think it was a band tattoo. Little did they know the tattoo-like wings were the by-product of them hiding their real ones. At will, they could manifest them and use them to take to the sky as they had throughout their lives.
Reaching the rest of the band, Gannon let his gaze settle on each one--Jalen, the guitarist, Keiran, the bass guitarist, Malik, the keyboardist, and lastly, Trae, who played the drums.
"Let's give them a good show," Gannon said.
Each man nodded just as the opening band walked by, the sound of the excited crowd following them in their wake. It was their turn to perform. With a deep breath, Gannon geared himself up to step out onto the stage. Becoming rock stars hadn't been something any of them had planned. Their kind had always been artistic, and when rock bands started to become popular with the humans, they had formed their own, playing mostly for themselves. Soar was the fourth group name they'd come up with. Being discovered at a small venue, none of them had wanted to pass up the opportunity. Performing had also given them a new purpose to their lives that had been missing. They hadn't really thought about the potential fame that came with the job. Not that any of them were willing to give it up now.
Entering the stage with his band mates behind him, Gannon headed for the microphone set up front and center. He waved to the audience, giving the others time to get into place.
"Hello, Kalamazoo," he shouted into the mic. The audience responded with a resounding roar. "Let's get loud." Trae hit his drumsticks together to the beat of their opening song, then the others started to play.
While Gannon sang, he scanned the crowd, finding the usual screaming females. The price of fame had women throwing themselves at them, or trying to grope them. Sometimes some of his band mates would take what they were being offered, but they mostly liked to keep to themselves.
Given the volume and number of women screaming, it was obvious Kalamazoo would be no different from any other city where they'd played. He hadn't been very thrilled to find out they would be performing in this city. It wasn't exactly a huge one by any means, but it was at least the second to last stop on their concert tour.
At the halfway point of their set, he scanned the crowd once more, his gaze landing on a woman standing not too far from center stage. There was something about her, something that drew him. He couldn't take his eyes off her.
Using his heightened senses, Gannon drew in a deep breath, singling her scent from the many. With it filling his head, he found himself intoxicated while the rest of his senses zeroed in on her. Taking in her long, wavy light brown hair, light hazel eyes and pretty face, he burned it to memory. And when their gazes collided--her staring at him with the same longing he felt--his cock went instantly rock-hard.
Gannon had no idea why she affected him so intensely. He'd slept with women who had been prettier, but none of them had him feeling like this--desperate and aching just at the sight of her. He had to fight the urge to manifest his wings, fly out into the audience, snatch her up in his arms, and take her to some remote place where he could get her under him while he sank his cock into her pussy. But he couldn't do that, no matter how much he wanted to. He was stuck on the stage until the concert was over.
When the love song he sang ended, Gannon forced himself to pull his gaze away. He needed to pay attention to what he was doing, but knowing that didn't stop his gaze from straying back to her over and over again while he finished the rest of the songs.
As the final notes of the last song faded away and the audience cheered, Gannon sent his senses out, directing them to the woman he wanted to get to know. With them thoroughly centered on her, he memorized her energy mark--something each human gave off that he and his band mates could read. With it, he now could focus on it and be able to find her wherever she may be. That done, and satisfied that they would meet at a more appropriate time, he looked longingly at her one final time before exiting the stage with the others.