Romance

Eyes on Us

Rebeca Ruiz

Laney has sex with the most famous rockstar in the world, Ace Flanagan, at her sister’s wedding, never expecting to see him again. But when Laney discovers she’s pregnant, both her and Ace’s lives are changed forever...

Age Rating: 18+ (Traumatic Birth)

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Eyes on Us - Book cover
Romance

Eyes on Us

Rebeca Ruiz

Laney has sex with the most famous rockstar in the world, Ace Flanagan, at her sister’s wedding, never expecting to see him again. But when Laney discovers she’s pregnant, both her and Ace’s lives are changed forever...

Age Rating: 18+ (Traumatic Birth)

1: Rock 'n' Roll Wedding

LaneyAddie, help
LaneyThere’s blood everywhere
Addie?!??!?!
Addiewhat are you talking about?
LaneyWhat if it’s the baby
LaneyIt’s too early
LaneyI’m freaking out
Addieyour gonna be ok, sis!
Addiei’m calling an ambulance rn.
LaneyI cant see straight
Addielaney, stay calm.
Addiecall ace.
Addiehe needs to know.
LaneyNO
LaneyAnyone but Ace
Addielaney.
Addiehe’s the father.
LaneyI thinaasdk im’ gokjn to faintt
Addielaney!
Addielaney?!?!
Addielaney!!!! answer me!!!!

I’ve been preparing for this moment for the past six months. But it wasn’t supposed to happen like this.

Instead of my water breaking, I’m lying in a pool of my own blood on a creaky staircase.

Instead of nine months, it’s only been seven and a half.

Instead of having the father by my side, I’m completely and totally alone.

I’m terrified. Black dots obscure my vision. I don’t know if it’s the blood or something else, but I can feel my consciousness slipping.

I can’t believe it’s come to this. What if my baby doesn’t make it? What if our baby doesn’t make it?

I think of Ace, I think of how we met, I think of how we made love and, in turn, made this inevitable future unfold. And I think, as my eyes roll back…

Would Ace care if we lost it all?

What is one baby to the biggest rockstar in the world?

Where are you, Ace Flanagan, father of my child?

Where are you?

***

LANEY

SEVEN MONTHS EARLIER

So, this is how a rockstar marries a supermodel.

I’m hiking up a small trail, following fifty guests to a private reception in the California mountains. Even in October, the weather is sweltering. Way too hot for a Chicago girl like me.

I worry I’m going to sweat right through this bridesmaid’s dress. But for Addie? For my twin sister? I’ll do anything.

When we finally reach the clearing, my mouth drops in awe. Shimmering lights hang from the towering redwoods all around us, illuminating the tree line with a pink glow. An altar decorated with hundreds of flowers waits at the end of an ivory-blanketed aisle.

If ever there was a fairy tale wedding, this must be it.

When Addie told me the wedding was going to be private, I didn’t realize she meant this private. The cost of being famous, I suppose.

I see Melody, Addie’s personal assistant, best friend, and maid of honor.

“Melody, everything looks amazing!”

“Thanks, Laney,” she says, grinning nervously. “I just hope Addie is satisfied. It really should be you giving the toast, not me.”

I shrug, bashful. The truth is, I’m beyond grateful Melody is taking that responsibility. I’ve always suffered from stage fright. Shied away from the spotlight. That kind of attention?

It’s just not for me.

Which is funny, considering my sister’s face is plastered across magazines, internet gossip blogs, and entertainment news 24/7. She was famous before she got engaged to Eric Flanagan, lead singer of Vagabond, America’s biggest rock band. But now?

The two of them can’t go anywhere without someone snapping their photo.

That’s why they’re having their wedding here, in the middle of the forest, with only fifty guests. Still, even this kind of celebrity wedding, with movie stars and singers and influencers left and right, is a lot for an introverted artist like me.

As I sit down in the front aisle, I find myself dreaming of my Chicago studio and the paintings I’m dying to finish. Which is when I hear his Brooklyn-accented voice for the first time beside me.

“Mind if I sit here?”

I turn to see a dark-haired, muscular, drop-dead gorgeous specimen of a man with a slightly reddish beard and eyes so deep and blue, you could swim in them.

Somehow, his voice and face strike me as familiar. But how? I’m not sure.

“Go ahead,” I say, realizing I’m staring.

He sits down beside me in his fitted black suit, and I can’t help but admire his figure. Tall, fit, the kind of man who gets whatever he wants, I can just tell.

“Do you know the bride or groom?” he asks.

I look into his eyes and see how they wander over me, from my short, black lace dress to my bare legs to my pink suede ankle boots.

“Well,” I say, “Addie and I are very close.”

“How close?”

“So close we actually shared a womb… We’re twins.”

He looks surprised, so I elaborate a little bit. “Fraternal.”

A lot of people give us that look when Addie and I say we’re twins. With her brown hair, green eyes, and tall supermodel body, and my strawberry blonde hair, grey eyes, and curvy hourglass body, we couldn’t look more different.

Now, I find myself curious about this handsome stranger beside me. How does he know the bride or groom?

“You must be a friend of Eric’s?” I ask.

“You’re joking, right?” he responds, taken aback.

“I’m sorry?”

“I’m in Vagabond with Eric,” he explains, grinning. “I play lead guitar and sing backup mostly, occasionally lead vocals.”

That’s how I recognized him. ~Of course~. I’ve been so behind the times, barely watching TV, listening to the radio, or using my iPhone for anything but making calls and taking photos, I didn’t notice.

I blush, embarrassed. “I’m sorry. You must think I’m a complete idiot.”

“Not at all,” he says. “It’s refreshing. To actually meet someone.”

“So, you’re…”

“Ace Flanagan, Eric’s cousin.”

We shake hands, and at the feel of his calloused fingertips, I can tell how dedicated he is to his craft. I wonder what else he can do with those hands.

“And your name is…?”

“Oh, I’m Laney,” I say, suddenly feeling self-conscious. “Laney Michaels.”

“Laney Michaels,” he says, testing it on his tongue. “Has a nice ring to it.”

He’s flirting. That much is obvious. But, for some reason I can’t fathom, I don’t mind. I know I should tread carefully. Rockstars have their reputations for a reason. And yet…

“So, you know what I do,” he says. “What do you do, Laney?”

“I’m an artist.”

“Anything I’d know?”

I shake my head. “Probably not. I do a lot of murals for schools and other buildings around the area where I live.”

Something about this answer seems to light up his eyes. It’s hard to stare into them for too long. Like staring into the sun.

I look away just as a bell is rung, and we turn to see Eric, the groom, walking down the aisle.

“Here we go,” Ace says.

I let out a deep breath, grateful the wedding has interrupted our conversation. As much as I’m enjoying talking to Ace, something about the way he carries himself, his fame—it intimidates me.

And I’m not here to be intimidated. I’m here for my sister. I’m here to be her only family on the day she’s about to marry the love of her life and start a whole new kind of family.

As Eric walks down the aisle, he looks every bit the rockstar, even in a tux. His blonde hair, slicked back, his brown eyes sparkling with mischief. He winks at me as he walks by, and I wonder how it is I’ve never met his cousin, Ace, before now.

Then, I see my sister walking down the aisle and my heart feels like it’s going to burst I’m so happy for her. In her white designer dress, a mix of retro and chic, Addie’s never looked so beautiful. The smile on her face is one of pure joy.

Holding her arm, walking her down the aisle, is Michael, our social worker from when we were kids. That difficult childhood, full of foster homes after our mother left us outside the firehouse with nothing but a note, feels so far away now.

Were it not for Michael and his kindness, who knows if we would’ve ended up here?

At last, as Addie takes Eric’s hand, the ceremony begins.

It feels like it goes by in a flash. Before I know what’s happening, she’s leaning in to kiss Eric, they’re husband and wife, and it’s over, just like that.

I can’t believe it.

“God damn, those two are beautiful,” I hear that Brooklyn accent mutter to my left.

I turn to look at Ace Flanagan. To my surprise, the man has tears in his eyes. A rockstar, crying at a wedding? I never thought I’d see the day.

I hand him a tissue from my purse, and he laughs, shaking his head.

“I must look ridiculous.”

“Far from it,” I say. “Like you said. It’s refreshing.”

“To see a grown man crying?”

“To see someone not afraid to show emotion in public.”

“That’s what I do for a living, Laney,” he says. “That’s what we both do. We’re artists.”

“I suppose that’s true.”

I turn back to look at Eric and Addie holding onto each other, grinning like there’s no one in the world but them. He spins her around, and I feel my heart flutter.

I wonder if there’ll ever be a man who looks at me the way Eric looks at Addie.

Which is when I realize Ace Flanagan is still staring at me.

I turn and meet his gaze. It’s at that moment, as I stare into the blue eyes of one of the biggest rockstars in the world, I realize my life is going to change forever.

I don’t know how, but instinct tells me, by the end of this wedding, Eric and Addie won’t be the only ones making love.

Ace Flanagan, I wonder. ~Do you feel the same?~

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