Hell beamed. His hand landed on Brent's knee and squeezed. "I enjoy talking."
For a moment, Brent didn't hear him. His brain scrambled at the heat of that small hand on his leg. Then he finally interpreted Hell's words. He mustered control and turned toward the cherub, tilting his head forward so that the man could see the skeptical look in his eyes over the rim of his glasses. "Now that I believe."
Hell laughed, a joyous sound that wasn't unlike some of the melodies he coaxed from his Roland.
Brent's heart leapt into his throat when Hell's hand slid further up his thigh. He stared at the elegant spread of those fingers, watched the gold chain over the back of Hell's hand glimmer as those fingers slid toward a tickle that was burning now in Brent's testicles.
He shivered at the sultry note in the cherub's voice. Oh, God! Say something. Stop this! But, for the life of him, Brent couldn't do anything but watch that hand slowly massage its way higher.
The cherub shifted closer. "I--"
The sound of the window between them and the driver distracted them. Brent looked up as the tinted glass slid down. Hell snatched his hand back, but he remained kneeling on the seat, facing Brent, turning only his head toward the driver The bodyguard in the passenger seat--Russ was his name--twisted around to look at them.
"I hate to say this--" he said.
Brent's heart sank.
"--but we just found out that the back entrance to the hotel has been blocked by an accident. We're going to have to take you guys through the front."
Brent froze. The front. Immediately, he conjured up the sight of the front of the hotel when they'd left that morning. What seemed like hundreds of Heaven Sent fans had been camped out on the sidewalk. There had even been police tape and officers present to help make sure that traffic kept flowing. This morning was the worst crowd yet since the fans knew for a fact that the band was playing at the hotel that night. "You're shitting me."
Russ shook his head. Brent noticed that he had one of those Bluetooth receivers in his far ear. He tapped it. "Got it." He looked back to Hell and Brent. "We've notified security at the hotel that we're just a few blocks away. They're going to get the police to help them clear the way, but we need to go through the front."
"Can't we just drive around for awhile?" Brent asked.
Hell's hand returned to Brent's knee and squeezed. "We'll be fine." He spun his head around to meet the cherub's gaze. Calm and centered and too damn beautiful for words. Brent could see that even in his panic. "It's only a few meters."
Brent collapsed back into the leather seat, eyes closed. "Fuck."
He didn't respond. He pushed fingers up under the lenses of his glasses to rub at his eyes.
"Mr. Rose, should we drive around?"
He snarled. He knew damn good and well that it would make him look like the pussy that he was. Like Hell said, it was just a short way. "No," he snapped. "Let's just get this over with."
He remained tucked back in his seat as they approached the hotel. Yep, there they were. Milling bodies, mostly teenagers, filled the sidewalks. The traffic was crawling. Brent cursed the people who'd gotten into the accident at the back entrance. He cursed Gretchen for sending them home too early. He cursed Johnnie and Tyler for buying a hotel right where someone was going to have a fucking accident. He creatively cursed anything and everyone he could think of as the teenagers discovered the limousine. A number of them swarmed the street, surrounding the car. They didn't even know who was in it. They just assumed that a limousine meant one of the band members. Whose idea had it been to actually stay at the Weiss? It was such easy deduction that, if they were playing there the next night, Heaven Sent must be in residence.
"Will you be all right?"
Brent spun around and was again lost in huge purple eyes. Eyes that had widened in concern. For him.
Shit. Brent tried to pull himself together, but it was useless. Photo shoots were bad. Press conferences were worse. Interviews were agony. But this? This was ... well, this was Hell of the fire and brimstone variety.
Brent rubbed a hand across his forehead, through the sweat that now beaded his hairline. Shit.. "Yeah. I'm fine." A little louder, "Are we there yet?"
"Almost, Mr. Rose."
Long, warm fingers threaded through his other hand, and he froze, eyes wide and on the hand that was now entwined with Hell's.
"They're only people," Hell murmured.
Brent barked a laugh. "Save your breath, Hell," he advised, thinking he should extricate his hand but somehow not doing it. "They've all tried to get me through this. Nothing works."
Hell nodded, accepting that. "We'll run."
"Oh, fuck yeah, we'll run. At least I will."
Hell squeezed his hand, then let their fingers slide apart. "You'll be fine."
Brent really wished everyone would stop telling him that.
The limousine stopped at long last in front of the hotel. Brent stared in agony at the revolving glass doors that stood back from the sidewalk. Security and police had cordoned off a narrow walkway. A very narrow walkway. Brent wasn't going to get through that one without someone touching him.
"Should I go first?" Hell asked.
Brent gulped, staring.
"Yeah." Brent heard his voice, very soft, very trembly. "Please."
Strong fingers squeezed his shoulder.
Up front, Brent heard Russ talking but couldn't make out the words. Outside, he watched three security guards trot down the narrow aisle toward the car.
Then the screaming started.
Hell squeezed his shoulder again, hard enough to make him gasp. His eyes went wide as Hell surged over him, pushing him back into the seat. "Hell, what--?" But his confused words were cut short by warm lips slamming up against his. Too shocked to close his eyes and enjoy, he stayed stock still as Hell's tongue swept his mouth briefly before the cherub pulled back.
Gaping, Brent stared as Hell shone with an impish grin.