He was arrogant.
He was beautiful.
He was to be her one night fix.
She was gorgeous.
She was haunted.
She was to be his temporary muse.
Millicent Valentine isn’t looking for much when she walks into The Brew Cycle for a night out with friends. She isn’t after love. Why risk the heartache when one night of unbridled passion will do the trick? Any handsome, willing male will do just fine. When she is introduced to the lead singer of Mountains & Men, she can’t seem to take her eyes off of him. He’s an arrogant little shit—but it’s only one night, right?
Sage McCoy is always on the prowl, knowing he can get just about any girl in the room after a night on stage. When he’s introduced to Millie, there is no doubt in his mind that he has to have her. But when he gets her alone, she makes his heart sing and he’s convinced one night will never do.
When morning dawns, the knowledge that comes with the sun has Millicent kicking Sage to the curb—but he knows what he wants and he’s ready for the chase.
His one night stand is worthy of an encore.
I hear Henley and Carter before I even make it to the front door. I let myself in without knocking and see the two of them running around, their little bare feet clapping against the hardwood floor as they squeal with excitement. I can’t tell if Maestro is chasing them or if they’re chasing Maestro, but they all look happy. They don’t even notice me as I walk inside and find my way to the kitchen. Pepper is standing with her back to me, leaning against the counter as she watches them.
“You really should get them a dog,” I tell her before pressing a kiss on top of her head.
She jumps and then turns around to smack me playfully in the middle of my chest. “God, Sage, don’t sneak up on me like that!” She wraps her arms around me and I return her embrace before she pulls away. “And no. They don’t need a dog. They have Maestro.”
“Maestro is my dog,” I say with a chuckle, looking over at my black, french bulldog as he slides across the floor.
“And therein lies the beauty. He visits, they play, and then you take him home and take care of him. The last thing I need is someone else to take care of.”
“Can’t argue with you there.” It’s then that Maestro hears my voice. His head pops up and he barks once before he comes racing toward me. Henley and Carter follow and then catch on to who he’s after when they see me.
“Uncle Sage!” cries Henley.
“Unka Sage!” mimics Carter. At two, he’s still struggling to get his l’s out. Even I have to admit, it’s pretty damn cute.
I drop to my knees to greet all three of them. “Hey, guys, what’s happenin’?”
Henley speaks first, giving me the rundown of just about everything that his four-year-old brain can remember since I last saw him yesterday afternoon. I pet Maestro absentmindedly as I listen. It’s not hard to admit, my nephews are a couple of my favorite people.
“Where’s Sophia?” I ask them.
Carter’s eyes grow big as he brings a finger to his mouth and shushes me. “Aunt Wose has Sophia.”
Pepper chuckles from behind me and I look up at her with a grin. “She’s in the living room. Good luck prying Sophia away from her.”
I give her my best oh, please expression as I stand and head into the next room. Pepper has done a damn fine job of making their house extra homey, and the living room is everyone’s favorite place to chill. Rosy is being swallowed by one of their big, over-stuffed, brown armchairs. She’s got a textbook open in her lap and Sophia is nestled in her arms. Guessing by the small smile that lights her face, I’d say she’s not getting very much studying done. She looks up when she hears me approach.
“Hey, big bro. When did you get here?” she asks before puckering her lips.
I lean down and she kisses my cheek. “Just got here,” I murmur, admiring my niece. She’s sleeping, as if she knows the raucous her brothers are making is her reality and there’s nothing she can do about it. Rosy sniffs and I jerk my head back to look at her.
“You smell like a bar. And sex. And—” She sniffs once more. “Vanilla.”
“How the fuck do you know what sex smells like?” I ask, scowling at her.
She returns my scowl with one of her own before she smacks her little hand against the top of my head. “Language, Sage!”
“Answer my question, Rosemary.”
She rolls her eyes, which makes me think of Millie, and then she speaks. “I’ve smelled it on you and the guys enough to know, dummy.”
I look into her eyes for a moment, searching for the reassurance that that’s the only reason she knows. I nod when I’m sure she’s telling the truth.
“You’re such a hypocrite.”
“Wrong. I’m the guy any douche has to get through before he’s allowed between my sister’s legs.”
She groans, lifting Sophia away from her and towards me. “You’re the biggest pain in my a-s-s. Here. Take your niece.” Before I can reach for her, Rosy changes her mind, hugs Sophia close, kisses her cheek, and whispers, “You’re so screwed, baby girl. With your dad, and your brothers, and your uncle—you’ll never get laid. Don’t worry, though. You’ve got me, too.” She kisses Sophia’s soft, chubby cheek once more. “And ignore the smell. Uncle Sage is the best, I promise.”
I playfully rub my knuckles against the top of Rosy’s head and she ducks away from me before I gently scoop Sophia into my arms and make my way to the couch. Pepper catches my eye as she enters the room and shakes her head in disbelief. I chuckle, amused that she’s surprised.
The three of us are pretty close, always have been. Granted, it didn’t always look that way, what with all our bickering and arguing growing up, but we wouldn’t trade each other for anything. That said, Rosy and I have always been really tight. Besides the fact that we’re closer in age, Pepper was out of the house and married by the time I was sixteen. Pep is the sensible, wise, motherly one—she’s our rock; but Rosy is my best friend, and I hers.
That is, when I’m not trying to keep guys out of her pants.
It’s a fucking hard job to do, but someone’s got to do it.
“So, who was the unlucky lady who had the misfortune of waking up after being ditched by the likes of you?” Rosy asks as I stretch out on the couch with Sophia.
I let out a long sigh, gazing down at the sweet little girl bundled in pink against my chest, and then mentally replay my morning. I remember the way it felt to hold Millie in my arms; how she wrapped herself around me when I kissed her; the sound of my name on her lips…
I’m yanked from my thoughts when I look down and see Pepper pulling my shoes from my feet. “I can only imagine where these things have been; they do not need to be on my couch,” she tells me before she sits and drops my feet into her lap. “Also, judging by the look on your face, Rosemary’s question requires an answer. What groupie has your head so foggy the afternoon after?”
“Not a groupie, sis. Not even close.” I free another sigh, propping my head against the back of the couch. “God—she was amazing. I have to see her again.”
“What?” gasps Rosy, tossing her textbook onto the floor as she curls her legs up underneath her. “Now I’ve got to know! What’s her name? What does she look like? Did you get her number? Are you going to call her? You hardly ever call!” She gasps again, cutting me off before I can even utter a single syllable. “Is she why you didn’t answer Pepper’s call? Were you still with her when you told Pep you were busy? Is that why you still smell like last night in the middle of the afternoon?”
“Jesus, Rosy—take a breath!”
Pepper pinches my ankle and I jerk my foot out of reach with a frown. “Language,” she mutters.
“Do you not remember how long it took me to get Henley to stop saying s-h-i-t every other minute? That was totally your fault.”
I chuckle and she smacks my leg. “Alright, alright, stop with the abuse.”
“Stop stalling!” Rosy insists. “I want to know about this girl. She came to your show, right? Is she going to be at the next one? Can I meet her?”
I sit silently as I stare at her, a blank expression on my face, waiting for her to stop. “Are you done?” She gestures with her hand that she’s zipping her mouth closed, and I wait another second before I continue. “Her name is Millicent.”