Home > Love You Like That (Excess All Areas #4)

Love You Like That (Excess All Areas #4)
Author: Scarlett Cole





Alex King, percussionist and second drummer in Sad Fridays, woke to the sound of his alarm. A Brazilian jazz samba, played on the drums, with a syncopated surdo played on the bass and hi-hat. He took a deep breath as fleeting images of a beach in Ipanema burst into his consciousness along with the realisation the heat he felt had more to do with the man pressed up against his body than the sunny music playing from his phone.

“Are you going to turn it off?” Ollie turned in Alex’s arms, attempting to kiss him.

“It’ll turn itself off in a minute. I like it. But it also means you have to go.”

Ollie pouted. “Can’t we stay in bed just a bit longer? It’s so early.” His hands slid over Alex’s hip, gripping it firmly.


The front door slammed. Must be Jase, his cousin and the band’s lead singer, returning from his girlfriend, Cerys’s house, just down the street. Which meant he really did have to get up and get moving. “Things to do. People to see. The tour starts today, and I need to finish packing.”

He threw back the covers and climbed out of bed to drag on a pair of loose sweatpants. Ollie groaned as he followed suit, tugging on clothes that had been hastily abandoned on the floor the previous evening. Something that, in hindsight, had felt a little desperate on Ollie’s part. He couldn’t decide if Ollie had just gone overkill on fuck-the-rockstar role play or wanted to leave some kind of lasting impression before Alex went on the road for the next six weeks.

Alex hoped Ollie knew better than to ask to stay for a shower or breakfast or, well, anything. It was the fourth time he’d stayed the night in the last month, something Alex realised he needed to put a stop to. Ollie had become a little too starstruck for it to be real, their relationship convenient rather than special.

Special was something Alex wanted desperately, even if his whole life was built around the image he didn’t.

“I know the tour is super important to you, but I wondered if there was any room for me in it all. Like, I’d love to share it with you and be backstage with the rest of the band. Meet the opening acts. A VIP pass would be so extra if you could get me one,” Ollie said, as if reading his mind.

Alex stepped up to him, cupping the back of his neck firmly. “It was fun, Ollie. But it’s done.”

Eyes the colour of sea glass studied him earnestly. “I thought we had a connection.”

“We did. We wouldn’t have fucked otherwise. But that’s all it was. Sex. Fun.”

Ollie’s shoulders sagged. “I figured you might say that. I wanted to share your rise with you.”

Alex tried not to frown as Ollie’s words confirmed his suspicions. “Not going to happen, Ollie. You’ll make someone a great partner.” He wanted to add something about dropping the slight neediness but didn’t.

“Just not yours?”

Alex huffed. “Not mine. I don’t want a partner. Never have,” he lied.

And therein was the dichotomy.

He’d seen a so-called loving marriage up close. It looked like his mum flinching every time his dad stood up to go take a leak. He saw his friends dip their toes into relationships. Matt, their songwriter, bassist, and Jase’s brother, had hooked up with their drummer, Luke’s, little sister, Iz. It had brought nothing but strife to the band, and they’d almost lost Luke because of it. Hell, at one point, he wasn’t sure the band would even recover. Matt had proposed to Iz on the one-year anniversary of their first kiss.

Luke, who’d been pissed at Matt, had fallen for Willow Warner, the Shamaze app star who’d used one of the band’s songs in one of her videos, catapulting them to their current fame. Now Willow was only a couple of months from giving birth to a baby Luke was now crazy about. Cletus, he called the poor thing, though the baby’s official name would be Zale. But even that brought its own problems, with Luke reluctant to be on tour so close to the baby’s birth.

Then there was Jase, who had met Cerys while they’d been recording their album in Detroit. Even their relationship hadn’t been smooth sailing. No relationship ever seemed to be.

Plus, his own experiences of finding the one had always ended in such dire failure, he honestly didn’t think his heart could take another beating. Better to keep what was left of it protected in metaphorical bubble wrap.

Only his brother, Ben, and he were still single. Well, arguably Ben wasn’t, because Chaya was always around.

They were all trying to make love and monogamy and life and dreams work in a stifling straitjacket.

Plus, he wasn’t sure his perfect person existed. Someone independent in life yet willing to submit in bed. Someone who could shift to accommodate his ever-changing needs and moods. Domineering one day, sensual or playful the next. Someone willing to try new things.

A loud hammering on Alex’s bedroom door made Ollie jump.

“Let’s go, lovers,” Jase shouted from the hallway. His cousin was loud but had always been his biggest cheerleader, allowing him a safe space to express who he was.

Alex tipped his head in the direction of the door.

“Okay,” Ollie said. “But you have my number, right? In case things change.”

“I do. Keep safe, yeah?”

He stood in place until he heard the front door slam, then he stretched his hands over his head, before reaching them down to the floor. Sex followed by a solid sleep always made him feel better. The shitty morning farewells, not so much.

His bedroom door burst open, and Jase danced in. “Mornin’. Are you packed?”

“Are you ever going to knock?”

“I heard the door slam. Knew lover boy had left. Saw the weeping, pitiful look on his face as he trudged down the stairs.”

“A. Not lover boy. B. He was not weeping. C. Knock on the fucking door so you don’t catch me doing something neither of us would want you to see.” He untied the black silk currently wrapped around his bedposts. Two. One for each of Ollie’s wrists. He tossed them into the laundry pile. He’d save cleaning up the sex toys and putting the lube away until Jase had gone.

Jase shrugged. “I’ve heard most of it. The walls in this place are as thin as Liverpool F.C.’s defence.”

Alex laughed at the analogy, not that he cared as much for football as his cousins and brother did. “Yeah well, hearing and seeing are two different things. It would be solved if you persuaded Cerys to move in with you.”

The house was technically rented by Alex, but Jase had moved in several years ago. In hindsight, he’d never asked. Just showed up one day with his shit in boxes and asked if he could stay. He’d never moved out. But when they’d been broke, him working as a barista and Jase working behind a bar, it had helped them make rent and pay bills.

Now, they had more cash than they needed.

“She doesn’t want to bail on Zoe. I’m hoping now Zoe’s got this new job, Cerys won’t feel so bad moving out.”

Zoe, Cerys’s best friend and former college roommate, had been lost of late, unsure what to do with her career after she’d walked away from the one thing she’d always wanted to do. “Zoe got a new job?”

“Yeah. She stopped working as a temp and now has some virtual assistant gig.”

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