Excerpt: Shine Forever

“Jet, put your goddamn pants back on, or I swear to god I will castrate you with this spoon. Nobody wants to be threatened with your McDuck this early in the morning.”

Jet snickered but grabbed his pants from where he’d thrown them over the back of the couch he’d fallen asleep on. Half-dressed, he raked his hair out of his face and padded over to the kitchenette of their hotel suite and stole the cup of coffee Dai had just poured. “You know, most people enjoy themselves when they’re in Florida.”

“Most people don’t put on a five hour concert two days after flying back from Kyoto. Shut up until I’ve had coffee.” Dai poured a second cup, then dropped down into the nearest seat with a groan, letting his head thunk on the table while he waited for the coffee to cool enough he could guzzle it without burning his mouth. “What the fuck time is it?”

He heard Jet yawn, then pick up something on the table. “Just coming on noon.”

“Too fucking early,” Dai said with another groan. “When do we get time off again?”

“Soon, but not soon enough.”

Ugh. Sitting up, he pulled his coffee close and took a cautious sip. Blech. “We need to get coffee that doesn’t taste like ass.”

“There’s a decent shop maybe two blocks from here, if I recall correctly,” Jet said, drinking his as though oblivious to the taste. Which, given his rumpled, got-laid state, he probably was. It was a good bet he was only two-fifths awake. “Put clothes on, we’ll go.”

“You put clothes on—and maybe wash up. You smell.”

“Fuck you,” Jet said with entirely too much cheer. He finished his coffee and rose, then vanished into his bedroom.

Dai dragged himself back into his, abandoning the shitty coffee on the kitchen counter. A quick shower woke him up a little bit but not nearly enough. He fumbled through his suitcase and pulled out jeans and a green tanktop that did not even remotely match his pink and orange hair. Whatever, it was Florida. Coordination of bright colors was not required. Shoving his feet into sandals and grabbing his wallet from where it had fallen on the floor, he snatched up sunglasses and head back out into the main room.

Jet appeared a few minutes later dressed in white skinny jeans and an electric blue t-shirt that hurt to look at. “You have to turn the lights on when you get dressed, Jet.”

In reply, Jet just flipped him off. “Come on, buttercup, let’s get you caffeinated before you do something rash, like commit murder or makes friends with Hard Play.”

“Ha!” Dai replied, sliding his sunglasses into place. Nikko and his goon squad could kiss his ass. Not that he had to tell Jet that; he and Nikko were going to kill each other one day. Assuming Dai’s brother, Jason, didn’t kill Jet first, especially after the last bit of televised nudity.

They lapsed into silence as they walked to the coffee shop, which was busy but not anywhere as nuts as Dai would have expected for a place within spitting distance of the beach. He ordered a regular coffee for him and a mocha with an extra shot for Jet, then carried the drinks to the window counter and slid into the vacant seat next to Jet. He removed his sunglasses and tucked them into the collar of his tanktop. “So what the hell do we have to do today?”

Jet took a sip of his drink and folded his arms on the counter. “Not a whole lot. Interview with a magazine in like three hours, but they’re coming to us at the hotel. After that we’re going to scope the place for that private show we’re doing Wednesday, and then it’s just dinner with Cassidy and Malcolm. Oh! That reminds me…” He dug his phone out of his pocket and flipped through a bunch of texts. “Apparently some other friends of theirs are in town, so they’re gonna join us. Uh… his text says ‘Names are Jake Hallow and Cooper Stone… hope you like country, lol.’ What does that mean?”

“Jake Hallow is lead vocals for Shine the Moon,” Dai said around a yawn. “I got a couple of their songs. Other guy is probably part of the band; the name sounds vaguely familiar.”

“Well, it could be worse than country I suppose,” Jet said with a grin.

Dai snorted and focused on his coffee. When his brain was mostly operational, he asked, “Do we need to be dressed up for this interview? Is it the whole band or just you and me?”

“You and me, and no, they’ll use promotional shots. The reporter is just darting in quick like before she has to go do something else. It was catch us here briefly or wait until next month, and I don’t want us interrupted while we’re doing fuck nothing.”

“Amen to that.” Dai finished his coffee and got up to throw the cup away. “I’m going to wander around a bit. I’ll be back in time for the interview.”

Jet grunted something in reply, attention mostly on whatever he was rapidly typing on his phone. Rolling his eyes, Dai headed out, sliding his sunglasses back on his face. He should have remembered to bring along his headphones. He wandered down the street, grateful for the general chaos of meandering tourist and hassled locals, because it meant he was unlikely to be recognized. God he just wanted to be home, sleeping until all hours or sitting in his breakfast nook jotting down music until it was time for an afternoon nap in the gazebo.

He paused as he came to a bookstore and peered through the window at what looked like a cute little shop that, bonus, also looked practically empty. Ducking inside, he breathed in the scent of books as he removed his sunglasses. Jet said he was full of crazy and had obviously inhaled too much frigging dust, but what the fuck ever. Jet had paid someone thousands of dollars to cover him in tattoos of cartoons. He could shut the hell up.

Dai wandered slowly through the shelves, poking and prodding, hanging on to a couple of history books about the middle ages that looked fun before looping around to see what fantasy had to offer. He’d gotten caught up reading a book about living dolls in a medieval-type setting when a laugh jolted him out of the pages like he’d been burned. Jeez, a laugh shouldn’t be that sexy. It was all smoke and brown sugar. Dai wanted to taste it. He swallowed, shook his head, but snapped the book shut and went to sneak a peek.

“Hey, loser, what are you doing? We ain’t hauling your damn books on the plane. We’re already gonna be overweight with all the crap Henry and Callie are buying.”

“It ain’t like I’m gonna buy out the damned store. I just want the last book in my trilogy.”

Dai shivered and swallowed again, ’cause that voice talking was even better than when it was laughing. He scooted up to the end of the row, standing so he could peek around the corner without drawing attention to himself. Ugh, what the hell gave the man the right to look that hot?

He was huge. Like, he was probably a foot taller than Dai’s measly five three and those shoulders, ugh. His hair was short, but long enough to show it had some wave to it, and was a soft, light brown that made Dai want to touch. Briefly, right before he went right back to digging his nails into those shoulders and begging for a ride.

Those jeans weren’t super tight, but they weren’t terribly modest either. And the snug t-shirt just put all the focus right back on those shoulders.

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