For Ike Clanton, having competition means winning. Best at the guitar, biggest ride, highest hair, most tattoos. Until he meets Tallulah. She's nothing like he wants, but she's everything he needs -- he just has to figure it out.
Tallulah never wanted to join Glow. She's there as a favor, and not to Ike. An Earth elemental and a rock star shouldn't mix, should they?
Add overzealous greenery and a heaping helping of ego to this mix and shake wildly. Maybe being down to earth isn't such a bad thing after all.
Down to Earth
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Copyright ©2012 Megan Slayer
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"Which moron belongs to the monster truck?"
Tallulah shoved a lock of hair from her eyes. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't catch her breath. Some damned fool had driven over -- not beside but over -- her bike. Like it wasn't even there. She fisted her hands on her hips. Her dress swirled around her legs, sending a shiver through her body. Why the hell had she worn a dress when it was so freaking cold? At least she had pants in her bag.
"Guys, who belongs to the behemoth truck?" Her voice cracked on the last word. Damn it.
Wide-eyed, Zac "Ice Man" Frost and Luc Moline stared at her. Neither spoke, but a roar of laughter erupted on the far side of the recording room.
Gritting her teeth, Tallulah turned her attention to the cackler. A shred of her anger dissipated -- but not much. The laughter belonged to none other than the object of her desire and frustration, Ike Clanton. Six feet of solid muscle, wrapped in tattoos, muscles and leather. His hair, fixed in neon green spikes, added another six inches to his height. Compared to her five foot two, he was damned massive. When he played, he wowed arenas. Women literally fell at his feet, wanting a piece of the punk rock guitar god.
Almost every woman.
Sure, she'd wondered what it might be like to tangle herself up in his arms, but the moment he opened his mouth all bets were off. Abrasive was a mild way to describe him. Always with a wisecrack or caustic comment. He might have the mouth of a jerk, but was he always destructive?
He couldn't possibly be the fool that trashed her bike. Zac and Luc had so much more sense than to associate with someone so Ike-ish. Any other words failed to describe him.
"Don't park a bike in a parking spot. Those are for the real vehicles." Ike shook his head and placed his guitar back in its stand. "There's a couple of poles I can think of that need decorating. We could put your bike there as folk art." He chuckled and stood. "Seriously, what's she doing here? I've got the solos down just fine."
Tallulah fumbled with her words. She had every right to be there. Zac had personally asked her to play the mirror line on "Crumbled." Luc wanted her to do some dulcimer work for "Every Little Piece." She glanced at the fresh flowers sitting in the vase on the piano. The blossoms opened wider, with brighter colors. Oh, Goddess. Who the hell was her element reacting to?
"We arranged for her to be here." Zac sighed. "I didn't want to double track. She's adding color to a couple of the songs. Got a problem with that?" He stood and folded his arms.
Although he drove her berserk, of the two Tallulah preferred Ike. He had an air of raw sexuality. Zac was hot, no doubt, but his attention was hyper-focused on his wife, Atria. Not that Tallulah minded. Once she got to know Attie, she loved the fire elemental like a sister. But to see Zac go toe-to-toe with Ike was indeed interesting.
"The only pussy in this band was Slash. What the fuck?" Ike glanced in her general direction, and his lips curved down into a sneer. "God damned changes."
Zac nudged Ike out of Tallulah's earshot. Whatever he said, Zac's steely expression never changed. Ike's ears burned a bright crimson, and his fingers flexed on his belt loops.
Great. Make him hate me more. Tallulah groaned and sat down on the nearest stool. I just wanted to play music, not join the damned band.
"He's under a lot of stress ever since he saw the play list last week." Luc plopped down beside her and crossed his ankles. "He won't say what's pissed him off, but we know he's not being himself."
"How can you tell? He's an asshole as usual." She snorted. "Never mind. It's none of my business."
"Actually, it's very much your concern." Luc folded his arms and dropped his voice. "We need the line on "Piece" to match exactly. No variations, no little jaunts. I love Ike like he was my blood, but I have a precise vision for this song. He's been hesitant to go along with it because I think he's afraid to be outdone. Oh, and he hates being double tracked."
Hated double tracking? Good grief. Afraid to be outdone? She shrugged. "Whatever. He made the cover of Rock Monthly three years straight as Guitar Hero of the Year. I am no competition. I'm no one."
"Whatever." Luc yawned. "It's the ones you don't see coming that knock you down the fastest." He snapped his fingers. "Dude. Zac." Scampering off the stool, Luc stood. "I've got the line."
Before she knew what was happening, Luc streaked over to the piano. Zac strode to his side and leaned on the piano lid. Whatever they were in the middle of, no one in the room mattered to them. Fine by her. Maybe she'd be able to slip out to call the bike shop to fix what was left of her mountain bike. Anything had to be better than being in a room with Ike, the truckloads of hate he had for her, and the irritating way her element reacted to him being there.
Tallulah smoothed a lock of her hair between her fingers, then clicked her guitar case closed. Forget this. She didn't need the headaches. Case in hand, she strode into the foyer and stared out over the city. Plumes of smoke wafted from the steel yards. Lights flickered on the skyscrapers as the rest of the world worked hard. The sun cast purplish light over the landscape. March snow fluttered past the window in tiny flecks. She might have grown up in Cleveland, but there were moments she longed to run away to the country, to run through open fields and not see a tall building for miles.
To have a natural landscape... impossible.
Being an earth elemental wasn't what it was cracked up to be. Environmental disasters bothered her more than physical harm. Hell, it felt like physical harm. Atria and Zac tried to understand. More than most, Zac got her pain. His element was in constant flux. But still. Understanding meant zilch if he wasn't the person intended to be her counterpart. Unlike Zac, Attie, and Tay, she hadn't found her counterpart, and the way things went for her, he wasn't likely out there anyway.
Too bad Ike was such a dick. Probably didn't even remember the concert when he'd pulled her on stage. A shiver skated up her spine. Just the thought of him left her hot and cold. She knew his reputation and the way he held himself on stage. What would it be like to get lost in his arms? To feel his breath on the back of her neck as they tried every position in the Kama Sutra? Dear Goddess, it would feel like heaven... unless his actual persona matched the stage reputation.