Tiffany Reisz

It's Not Erotica Until Someone Gets Hurt

The character of Jesse Scott is the creation of ludicrously talented YA writer Miranda Kenneally. Jesse is the star of the as-yet unpublished novel Best. Day. Ever. I fell hard and fast for Jesse and wrote crossover fiction between Miranda’s world and the world of The Original Sinners.

I’m posting this story upon reader request. I don’t want to hear a single word from anyone about the underage sex in the story. He’s 16. He’s legal. Teenagers have sex all the time. That’s what they do. Also, this is fiction. You don’t have to read it if you don’t want to. We good here? Good. Happy reading. 

The Sweetheart

by Tiffany Reisz

(this story takes place approximately 2 and half years before THE SIREN and two years before THE METRONOME)

The limo had NOT been his idea.

Jesse Scott stared out the window of the limousine as it approached the Bridgestone Arena and the dreaded red carpet.

“Jess—what’s wrong?” His manager Brad asked as their limo joined the convoy of other limos waiting to drop off their celebrity cargo in front of the arena. “Nervous?”

“A little. And tuxes are so weird. I’m a country singer. I want my jeans back.”

“You’re a country singer who’s never driven a tractor or ridden a horse. You can have your jeans back the day you step foot on an actual farm. Fair enough?”

“Done.” Jesse leaned forward and yelled toward the limo driver. “Detour! Take me to a farm, please.”

Brad sighed heavily. Jesse knew Brad was likely ruing the day he’d taken on the job of managing him four years ago. Only twelve then, Jesse had been a country prodigy–the boy version of LeeAnn Rimes. His very first song ripped up the charts and set a record for the youngest singer to have a crossover number one hit in country music history. Even the pop charts had bowed at his young feet four years ago. There’d been naysayers back then. Everyone said as soon as his voice changed, he’d lose his winsome wholesome and other assorted some-types of appeal. Last year had been tough and Jesse had almost started to believe those naysayers. At fifteen his voice completely turned against him, and Jesse spent almost six months doing nothing but vocal work with his singing coach. Now sixteen, Jesse had survived that nightmare and had a brand new voice to show for it. And the new voice that had emerged wasn’t just deeper and stronger…it was better. His second LP dropped on Tuesday and tonight at the CMA awards he would debut both his new single and his new voice.

“It’s the CMA’s, Jess. You’ve gotta look the part. You can take off the pants backstage if you have to.”

“Good idea. Any cute girls gonna be backstage?”

“Jesse. Behave.”

“Why? I’m not even nominated for anything,” Jesse retorted. His new album would qualify for next year’s awards but not this year’s.

“You will be. After tonight, you’ll have everyone demanding you win Entertainer of the Year this year.”

Rolling his eyes, Jesse turned back to the window. A huge crowd of fans with signs lined the street. He saw his name on quite a few of the signs. One girl in particular caught his eye. Her sign read, “Jesse Scott! You are hott!” Not just cute, the girl was gorgeous and probably eighteen or nineteen years old. And she thought he was two-T hot.

“Jesse…” Brad said, noticing the object of Jesse’s obsessive staring. “No flirting with fans tonight. You gotta keep your focus.”

“I do nothing but focus,” Jesse said, sinking back into the leather seat. It was true. While famous Hollywood teenagers seemed to do nothing but have sex and get drunk all the time, Jesse had never had a drop of alcohol in his life or done more than kiss a couple of fans backstage at shows. He hated being a virgin. He wished his virginity was something like a Band-Aid, something he could rip off fast just to get it over with. But as a celebrity he had to be insanely careful. One leaked story or photo could ruin his career. Of course, he’d had a few chances to have sex. He just always seemed to pull back and walk away before he could go all the way with a girl.

Their limo was now the second in line at the red carpet. Jesse strained to see who was getting out in front of them. Whoever it was much be really famous as the crowd roared at the sight of him.

The crowd parted just enough for Jesse to get a glimpse of a petite blond girl in a shiny silver dress and high heels.

“Brad, look!” Jesse said and pointed. “That’s Sheridan Stratford.”

Brad didn’t even glance up from his cell phone.

“Yeah. She’s doing a duet with Vince Gill tonight. Some charity fundraiser.”

“I didn’t know she could sing,” Jesse said. Sheridan Stratford was the star of the only TV show he ever bothered to watch—Empire City.  Set in New York, Sheridan played the innocent pampered daughter of a vicious crime lord. It was a dark drama that pitted Sheridan’s virginal main character Angelica against her wicked lust-driven power-hungry sister Alexa. Jesse couldn’t even remember the name of the girl who played Alexa. She was naked in almost every episode while Sheridan made headlines for never doing a single nude scene. The one episode where she’d worn a bathing suit had made national news.

“She was discovered on Broadway, I think. Supposedly she sings even as well as she acts.”

“God, she’s pretty,” Jesse said, his face almost pressed to the glass of the window to get a better look at her.

“If you say so,” Brad replied. Jesse knew Brad was gay and couldn’t care less. But he wouldn’t mind every now and then having somebody he could talk about girls with. “You’re up.”

Jesse sighed and picked up his cowboy hat. For tonight, he’d gotten a black cowboy hat to match the black tux. Brad had gone with him to pick out the tux. He’d wanted something super modern and chic to show that Jesse was New Country. Jesse had disagreed and instead picked out a three-piece tuxedo with an old-fashioned pinstriped vest. He got hot easily and wanted to be able to shed the jacket whenever possible. With the vest on and no jacket, he thought he looked a little like Doc Holliday. Tombstone was one of his favorite movies after all.

Someone came up and opened the door for him.

“See you backstage,” Brad said and Jesse was left to walk the carpet alone.

Fans squealed as he emerged from the limo. Waving shyly he made it down the carpet as fast as he could. Security was extra-tight tonight and he couldn’t get near anybody to sign any autographs. What was the point of the red carpet if he couldn’t even shake some hands or give hugs? That girl who thought he was two-T hot, she probably needed a hug…

As soon as he entered the arena, his escort found him and led him through the crowd. As a perform on the broadcast, he’d scored his own sweet dressing room. His record company had sent him a gift basket and his uncle had sent him all kinds of candy. Candy? Did uncle Bob think he was still twelve? He ripped open a pack of M&M’s and dug out the green ones.

“Nice,” Brad said, coming into the dressing room. It was nice. Seriously nice. Almost two-i or three-I niiice. It almost looked like a mini-apartment with the chaise lounge chair big enough he could have stretched out on it and fallen asleep, a bathroom with a shower, soft lighting, and elegant decor. It was decidedly un-country.

“Too nice. I may not leave,” Jesse joked. He and his parents had been going through some rough patches lately. Enough rough patches that Jesse had already decided that if his new album sold decently he’d take the money and buy his own house.

“Yeah, my first apart-” Brad began but was interrupted by a loud, insistent banging on the door.

Brad opened the door and a sheepish, terrified looking man rushed in.

“Jesse, so glad you’re here. Mac Walls,” he said by way of introduction.

“Mac, good to meet you,” Brad said, shaking the man’s hand. “Jesse, Mac runs the show around here.”

Jesse shook Mac’s hand while Mac dug a handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped his sweating forehead.

“We’ve got a big problem, Boys,” Mac said. “I hope you can help me.”

“What’s wrong?” Jesse asked.

“Vince Gill is sick. Really sick. Stomach flu. Can’t even stand up straight. Supposed to do a duet with Sheridan Stratford tonight. She flew in all the way from New York. You think you can fill in?” Mac asked, looking at Jesse with beseeching eyes.

“Fill in for Vince Gill?” Jesse asked, his eyes going wide. “Those are some big boots to fill.”

“They are, but we’ve gotta have somebody and you’re about the only one who can hit the high notes like he can. Since you’re opening the show, Jesse, I thought if you did the duet, you and Sheridan would have an hour and a half to rehearse together. She and Vince were the last act.”

Jesse couldn’t believe his luck. His favorite actress, his one and only celebrity crush was not only here, but needed him to sing with her. Best. Day. Ever.

“Poor little Sheridan’s a nervous wreck right now,” Mac continued. “This song is supposed to raise money for the Nashville flood victims. Will you do it? I’m not sure who else to ask.”

“I’ll do it,” Jesse said, resolving in the very moment he would give the performance of his life.

“Great. God bless you,” Mac said. “I’ll take you to Sheridan. You two can talk for a few minutes. But watch the time. You’re on in fifteen.”

“Want me to come with you, Jess?” Brad asked.

“No, I’m good,” Jesse said, following Mac from the dressing room. Good? He was amazing.

As they raced down the crowded corridor, Jesse saw nothing but country music stars wherever he looked. But he didn’t take the time to talk to them. He was on a mission from God.

They came to a door with Sheridan Stratford’s name on it. Mac knocked gently and a man the size of a planet ushered them inside. Jesse’s breath caught in his throat as he saw Sheridan Stratford, the girl of his dreams, pacing the dressing room in her little silver dress and her shiny strappy high heels.

“Miss Stratford, this is Jesse Scott,” Mac said. “He said he’d be happy to sing your song with you.”

Sheridan stopped her pacing and turned to face him. A smile as sweet as Easter morning crossed her face.

“That’s wonderful. Thank you, Jesse,” she said and came to him. She held out her hand and Jesse shook it. Her fingers felt so tiny in his grasp. She couldn’t weigh more than a ninety-five pounds. He’d read somewhere she was about twenty-one or twenty-two but she didn’t look that much older than him. And God, she was so beautiful. Her long blond hair was up in a sexy messy ponytail like some sort of sixties movie goddess and little curls and wisps of her hair were artfully arranged around her perfect porcelain face. She had wide sky-blue eyes that radiated innocence. The press was always calling her “America’s Sweetheart” because she was always doing charity work and wouldn’t take her clothes off on TV. But Jesse had a feeling the real reason they called her that was because she was the sweetest thing on the face of the earth.

“I didn’t even know you sang,” Jesse said, trying not to let nervousness creep into his voice. “I watch your show. You never sing on it.”

She grinned shyly at him. “They want me to. But I feel so silly. There’s no real reason to sing on the show. They’d only put it in the script just to show I can.”

“Reason enough,” Jesse said. “So what’s the song?” he asked, trying to sound businesslike and professional.

“It’s called ‘After the Rain.’  Vince wrote it. It’s really beautiful. All the proceeds go to the Nashville flood victims and the Red Cross.”

“That’s great,” Jesse said, honored to be a part of such a good cause. A lot of people he knew had been effected by the flood. His Uncle Bob had lost everything in his basement and he’d been one of the lucky ones. “Anything in the song that oughta worry me?”

Sheridan laughed a soft tinkling laugh. It sounded like a carillon of bells when she laughed. Church bells. Jesse wondered if Sheridan, like her character on Empire City, was a virgin too. As wide-eyed and innocent looking as she was, he could believe it.

“A few high notes but nothing too bad,” she said. “Can you still hit your high notes?” she asked and then blushed. Jesse blushed too, not because she’d accidentally referred to his rather well-publicized battle with his changing voice, but because Sheridan Stratford blushing was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen in his life.

“I can. Not the real high ones unless you kick me in the right spot at just the right moment. Which you can do if you think the song needs it.”

Sheridan laughed again and covered her face with her hands. Jesse couldn’t believe it. He’d made the most beautiful girl in the world laugh so hard she was covering her face.

“Jesse, you’re on soon,” Mac reminded him. “Like now.”

“I gotta go,” Jesse said. “I’ll meet you right back here and we can rehearse. I learn fast but it might not hurt to put the lyrics on the teleprompter.”

Mac nodded. “Done. Ready?”

“Ready,” Jesse said and felt like he was ready for anything.

“Good luck, Jesse,” Sheridan said coming over to him. Even in her high heels she was a good four inches shorter than him. She put her hand on his shoulder and pressed a little kiss on his cheek. “You’ll do great. I’m going to hide behind the curtain and watch you.”

“I’ll sing it just for you,” he said before he could stop himself. She grinned and blushed again and Jesse decided he needed kicked in the balls just so he could stop flirting with this famous actress who he knew was no more interested in him than Brad was with her.

Mac and Jesse raced back to his dressing room and Jesse endured the usual hair and make-up silliness. He headed for the stage and a stage crew guy gave him his guitar. Jesse strummed a few bars and made some minor adjustments to the tuning. Walking out onto the stage, Jesse turned his head and saw Sheridan watching from the edge of the stage left curtain. He doffed his hat at her, faced front, plugged in his guitar, and took a deep breath as the curtain raised.

A wave of applause hit him right as the music started. He glanced once more at Sheridan and saw her wink at him. And in that wink he saw something he hadn’t seen before. A secret maybe…a dark little twinkle. Dark? Surely there wasn’t a thing dark at all in Sheridan Stratford. But whatever it was he felt privileged to have seen it. He stepped up to the mic, opened his mouth, and blew the roof off the arena.

The wave of applause that had greeted him was nothing compared to the one that carried him off stage once his song ended. It wasn’t just applause this time. It was hooting and hollering and a standing ovation. Brad wiped a tear out of the corner of his eye just as Jesse made it backstage again.

“Brad, seriously,” Jesse said, secretly touched that Brad had been moved to tears by both the song and the audience’s reaction.

“Sorry, Jess. Just thinking about all the pairs of shoes I’m going to get out of that one performance.”

Jesse laughed. Brad was always joking about Jesse buying him a new pair of shoes. “Get in the studio, Jess. Brad needs a new pair of shoes.”

“Yeah, well, I’m going to buy some new shoes too, and a house to keep them in.” If the audience reaction was any indictor, Jesse’s new album was going to debut at number one and stay there for a long time.

“Better go rehearse now,” Brad said. “You’re not done yet.”

“Right. Gotta go rescue my damsel in distress.”

Brad rolled his eyes as Jesse ran off to Sheridan’s dressing room. He knocked on the door and this time it was Sheridan herself who let him in. She’d apparently gotten rid of her entourage. Her dressing room was even nicer than his. She also had the chaise lounge chair, but hers was big enough for two people. She had twice the flowers he had too. Nashville wanted to show this little New York beauty that they knew how to treat a lady.

Sheridan threw her arms around his neck as he came into her dressing room.

“Jesse, that was amazing. You sounded so good. I think that’s my new favorite song,” she said, kissing him on the cheek again.

“Thanks,” he said, nearly dying from the touch of her body against his. “I woke up in the middle of the night six months ago, wrote it, fell back asleep, and by morning I’d almost forgotten all about it.”

“I do that too,” Sheridan said, pulling away from him. “I have these ideas for scripts and stuff for the show. And I wake up in the middle of the night and think about them and as soon as I wake up, they’re gone. Nora keeps telling me to write them down as soon as I have them. But I always just roll over and go back to sleep. Doesn’t matter anyway. The writers never listen to my ideas. Nora said I have to make them.”

“Who’s Nora?” Jesse asked secretly agreeing with Sheridan. He couldn’t imagine Sheridan making anybody do anything. She was just too sweet. “Friend of yours?”

Sheridan blushed again and nervously played with her hair.

“Yes. A friend. She writes novels. Anyway, should we practice?”

“Definitely. Got the song?”

Sheridan handed him the sheet music. Jesse scanned the page, hearing the song in his head as he looked at the notes and key changes. It was a beautiful song…classic Vince Gill style. Plaintive, a kind of torch song, something Vince was great at. Jesse did more rock n’roll style country, but he could break a momma’s heart with his version of Amazing Grace. It wasn’t his usual fare but he knew he could do the song justice.

“Full band?” he asked.

“That was the plan. Why?”

“This is a real easy simple song,” Jesse said. “I could just play solo guitar or even just piano. That way the words will stick out more. I think the simpler, the better.”

Sheridan nodded. “Let’s try it.”

They ran through the song without music first. Then they ran through it again, Jesse alone on guitar. Sheridan had a lovely voice…a big voice. Now he could believe that she had Broadway roots.

“Wow, you can really belt it out,” Jesse said. “You must have six-pack right there,” he said pointing at her stomach.

“You’ve got a much stronger voice than I do,” Sheridan demurred. “You must have abs of steel to hold those notes for so long.”

“No, just a vocal coach from hell.”

They laughed and ran through the song two more times. By the final time, Jesse felt like he could sing the song in his sleep.

“You’re right. Guitar only,” Sheridan said. “That’s perfect. Nashville lost so much. Less is more on this.”

Jesse nodded his agreement.

“One more?” he asked. Sheridan shook her head.

“I can’t. Gotta conserve my voice. I don’t sing as much as I used to so I have to be careful.”

She took a deep breath and started pacing the room again. She stopped by an ice bucket and pulled out a bottle of champagne.

“Want a glass?” she asked as she popped the cork and poured a glass for herself.

Jesse squirmed a little.

“No thanks. I’m underage,” he said, grimacing.

“Something wrong?”

He shook his head.

“No. My parents would just freak out if they knew I was around somebody who was drinking. Even one glass of champagne. They’re real strict.”


“Big time,” Jesse said.

“My friend Nora’s very Catholic. And Catholics drink. Jesus turned water into wine, didn’t he?”

Grinning, Jesse nodded. “That’s true. My parents must have skipped that part of the Bible.”

Sheridan walked to the bathroom and poured the champagne out.

“Just so you’re more comfortable, I won’t drink it.”

“You didn’t have to do that. I don’t judge you for having one glass of champagne,” he said, unable to believe someone as famous as Sheridan Stratford could be so thoughtful. “But I will say it’s not the best thing for your voice.”

“What do you recommend?” she asked, sitting on a chair and crossing her thin but shapely bare legs.

“Wait here. I’ll bring you something.”

Jesse left her dressing room and made his way back to his. Brad’s one job on nights like this was to keep Jesse swimming in hot tea with honey. A simple recipe but it helped sooth his voice.

“How’s it going?” Brad asked.

“Great. Great song, and she can really sing. We’ll be fine. How much time do we have?”

“Another hour,” Brad said. “This may go down in history as the longest CMA’s in history.”

“Tonight,” Jesse said, as he left his dressing room with a mug of hot tea, “I am not complaining.”

Jesse returned to Sheridan’s dressing room and handed her the mug of tea.

“This is great, thank you,” she said and sipped delicately at her tea.

“It’s saved my voice on many a night.”

“I’m really honored you’re singing with me,” Sheridan said. “I’m a big fan.”

“You’re a big fan of me? No way. I’m a big fan of you. I watch your show every week. Never miss an episode.”

She grinned broadly.

“I wish you wouldn’t. It’s so silly. Over-the-top melodrama.”

“It is,” Jesse said, unable to disagree. “But you make it seem real. You play Angelica just right. Like this angel with a secret. You’re a great actress.”

“Angel with a secret…It’s not really acting,” she said and sat her mug aside. For a moment her eyes narrowed and the innocence in her face momentarily disappeared.

“I don’t believe that,” Jesse said, shrugging out of his jacket. He noticed Sheridan watching him as he hung the tuxedo jacket over the back of his chair. “You’re all angel.”

Laughing, Sheridan looked up at the ceiling and shook her head.

“Ah, Jesse, what I wouldn’t give to be as innocent as you think I am.”

“Trust me, innocent’s overrated,” Jesse said and studied the tile on the floor. “Innocent sucks.”

He looked up and found Sheridan staring at him.

“What?” he asked. “What’s wrong?”

“Are you a virgin, Jesse?” she said calmly and sounded much older now than she had before.

Jesse groaned and rubbed his forehead.

Sheridan walked over to him and put her hands on his shoulders.

“You can tell me. It’s okay. I won’t make fun of you.”

“Yeah…” he admitted. “I am. Not by choice. I’m watched constantly. Brad, my parents…the press.”

Sheridan nodded. “I understand. Trust me. I…I’m seeing someone. And I really like this person and this person is really important to me. But if the press found out we were seeing each other…it would be bad.”

“Is he married or something?”

Sheridan shook her head. “A lot worse than that. Well, the press would think it was a lot worse. I’d lose my America’s Sweetheart badge really fast if they find out what we did together.”

Jesse looked up at Sheridan. She was rubbing the fabric of his vest. On impulse, Jesse reached out and touched the shiny silk of her dress. As his hand made contact with her hip, Sheridan closed her eyes.

“Jesse…” she breathed. “You should probably go. If you stay something’s going to happen and a sweet kid like you deserves a really special first time. Not some quick romp in my dressing room.”

“Do you want me to go?” he asked.

“No. That’s why you should go.”

Sheridan pulled her hands away from him. She took a few steps back and turned away from him.

Jesse stood up. He felt a knot of need and desire form in his stomach.

“You’re seeing somebody?” he asked as he headed for the door.

“Yes, but it’s not, you know, exclusive.”

“It’s not?” Jesse asked as his hand touched the door knob.

“No. I can see whoever else I want. In fact, the person I’m seeing has sort of encouraged me to.”

“I like this person,” Jesse said, turning back to give Sheridan a last smile before he left.

“I like you, Jesse,” Sheridan said, turning back to him.

Jesse looked down at the doorknob. He could open. He could do that. But he didn’t open it. Instead, he locked it.

He took a step toward Sheridan and she raised her hand. He stopped in his tracks. His heart was torn in half at that moment. Part of his prayed she’d tell him he really had to go. Part of him prayed she’d make him stay.

“What do you want me to do, Sheridan?” he asked, his nervous hands clenching into fists.

Sheridan didn’t answer. Instead, she reached behind her back and unzipped her dress. Slowly she brushed the straps off her shoulders and it fell to the floor like quicksilver.

“Oh my God,” Jesse breathed. Before him stood Sheridan Stratford completely naked. Under her dress she’d worn nothing. No panties, no bra…nothing. And now she stood in her high heels with her hair still perfectly styled and a diamond choker around her neck and diamond earrings hanging from her pert little ears.

“You have to keep your clothes on,” she said. “Don’t ask me why. I just need it like that.”

“Right. Sure. Anything,” he said. Slowly on feet he barely felt, he walked to her. He put his hands on her hips and brought his mouth down to hers.

The kiss was slow and sweet and he couldn’t get enough of her pale pink lips. As they kissed he ran his hands up and down her sides. He was painfully hard and when Sheridan pressed her naked body against his hips, he knew she could feel how much he wanted her.

“Sorry,” he said. “I’m just really-”

“Don’t apologize for that,” she said, grinning at him. “It’s the reason we’re doing this.”

“Do all New York girls wear nothing under their dresses?” he asked. He couldn’t believe this entire time she’d been running around with no underwear on.

“Even thongs give you panty lines. Not something you want on national television.”

“Good tip. I’ll never wear boxers on camera again.”

Sheridan laughed as she reached between their bodies and unzipped his pants. He groaned as her fingers found him and wrapped around him.

“God,” he breathed.

“Go ahead and come,” she said stroking him. “Let’s get the first one out of the way so we can go slow for the real thing.”

“Are you sure?” he asked. He knew his body. Even if he came right now, he’d be hard again in a minute or less. Especially with her.

“Yes,” she said and pulled away from him. She laid down on the chaise lounge chair and motioned for him to join her.

Jesse held himself over her as Sheridan stroked him. When he couldn’t take it anymore, she raised her hips and guided him inside her. As soon as felt her warm wet walls surrounding him, he came with a fierce spasm.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t even get a condom.”

“It’s okay,” she said as he pulled out of her. “I just got tested for everything and I’m good. Plus, I’m on birth control. And you’re a virgin. We’re okay.”

Still panting, Jesse brought his mouth to hers again. This time the kiss wasn’t slow or sweet. It was raw and hungry.

“Do everything you want to me,” Sheridan whispered against his lips. “Anything and everything. Don’t be shy. Don’t hold back. Everything.”

His body felt like somebody replaced his blood with gasoline and thrown a match into him. Almost frantically he kissed her, kissed her lips, her neck, and then dropped his head to her breasts. He took one of her nipples into his mouth and sucked on it.

“Jesse,” she breathed as his hand found her other breast. Her breasts were small like a young girl’s but perfectly formed. He couldn’t stop touching them and kissing them. He pinched at her nipples, licked them, teased them with his fingers and tongue.

He knew he was being too rough with her but she wasn’t complaining. For some reason, the rougher he was, the more she seemed to like it.

She spread her legs wide and rested them open over each arm of the chair.

“Touch me,” she begged. Jesse didn’t have to ask her where.

He sat up and put both hands between her legs.

“Do you all New York girls shave down here too?” he asked. She was completely smooth and hairless between her legs. He wasn’t complaining. It gave him a better look at possibly the sexiest thing he’d ever seen in his life.

“It’s a sub thing,” she said.

“Sub?” he asked.

Sheridan laughed and shook her head. “Nevermind.”

Carefully, not wanting to hurt her, Jesse lightly opened her folds with his fingertips. He ran a finger up and down her and nearly groaned out loud at how wet she was–wet from her and wet from him. He’d never had sex before tonight, but he knew wet was a very good sign. And he didn’t need anyone to tell him that her extremely swollen clitoris was a very good sign too. He put his finger gently on the tip of it.

“Jesse…” she breathed.

“I have no idea what I’m doing. You probably oughta tell me.”

“Put three fingers inside me.”

“Three? I don’t want to hurt you.”

“You won’t. Trust me.”

Slowly he pushed his fingers into her. He pushed and kept pushing needing to go deep inside her body.

“More, Jesse,” Sheridan begged and Jesse pushed even deeper.

“Now move your hand in me. Sort of in and out. Sort of in circles.”

Jesse did as he was told and was rewarded with Sheridan flinching and gasping in pleasure. It felt so good touching her inside. Without even asking if it was okay, Jesse dipped his head and kissed her clitoris.

Sheridan arched underneath and gasped his name.

He sucked lightly on the swollen knot of flesh and decided nothing–not champagne or strawberries or anything on the face of the earth–could taste better than Sheridan’s body.

“I need you, Jesse,” Sheridan said. “Now.”

Jesse pulled his fingers out of her and covered her nakedness with his body.

“Are you sure this is okay? You know…you said you were seeing somebody,” Jesse reminded her.

“It’s okay, Jesse,” Sheridan said between ragged breaths. “She doesn’t mind.”

Lose my America’s Sweetheart badge in a heartbeat if the press found out…

“You’re seeing a girl?” he asked, incredibly pleasant images flooding his mind.

“She’s not a girl. She’s a woman. And yes, I am.”

“That’s so hot,” Jesse said. “Sorry.”

He knew he sounded like the horny teenage boy he was.

“Don’t be sorry. It is hot.”

“What do I do?” Jesse asked as Sheridan wrapped her hands around him.

“Fuck me,” Sheridan said calmly. “As hard as you absolutely can.”

Jesse nodded. “I can do that.”

Sheridan guided him inside her. Jesse moaned as her hot wet body wrapped itself around him again. Her inner muscles squeezed him like a hand.

He started slow at first but Sheridan’s petite hips goaded him on harder and faster. He held himself up on his hands and pushed into her over and over again. Underneath him Sheridan’s small body writhed like a cat in heat. She’d said to do it as hard as he could. With all his strength, Jesse began pumping his hips into her, snapping them roughly against hers. She hadn’t been kidding. The harder he thrust into her, the more she writhed and moaned and gasped.

Sheridan ran her hands all over him–over his embroidered tuxedo vest, down his back, over his hips and thighs.

“I love your tux,” she moaned. “It’s amazingly sexy.”

“I love your body,” he said between thrusts.

Jesse gripped her hips and his fingers dug in. For some reason the act seemed to be what Sheridan needed. She arched back and came hard. Her climax ripped through her and into him. Her inside muscle twitched and spasmed all around him. Jesse came hard inside her and collapsed on top of her.

For a minutes they did nothing but catch their breaths. Finally Jesse pulled back and sat up.

Sheridan rolled up and sat primly next to him. She pulled her legs to her chest covering her naked breasts.

“Jesse,” she said and looked at him with wide scared eyes. “You won’t tell anyone about this, will you? You won’t tell anyone I’m like this, will you?”

“Like what? Beautiful?”

“I’m…” she began. “I’m not America’s sweetheart. I’m not anybody’s sweetheart. I’m not like people think I am.”

“I think you’re a sweetheart,” he said. “You can have sex and still be sweet.”

“Obviously.” Sheridan unfolded herself and straddled his lap. “That must be true since you just had sex and you’re still sweet.”

“God, I did just have sex, didn’t I? Nice to not be a virgin anymore.”

“It is nice. I lost my virginity when I was fourteen. I didn’t miss it.”

“Fourteen?” he asked, shocked. “Wow.”

“Even bigger wow. He was thirty-six. And my dad’s best friend.”

“That’s crazy.”

“Crazy sexy,” Sheridan said. “That stuff he did to me would blow your mind. And I loved all of it.”

“What would he do?”

“Stuff you can’t even imagine.”

“You liked that?”

Sheridan bit her bottom lip and nodded.

“Loved it.”

“I must seem real boring in comparison.”

She shook her head. “Taking the virginity of a teenage country superstar in my dressing room at the CMA’s? You think that’s boring?”

“No, I think that’s perfect.”

“What do you think this is?” Sheridan asked, wrapping her hand around him and guiding him inside her again.

“I think that’s a very good idea.”

Sheridan started moving on top of him, raising and lowering her hips to take him into her. Jesse ran his hands up her back and sucked on her nipples again. He couldn’t get enough of her breasts, of her skin, of her hips, of her body. His third orgasm was on its way when he heard a sharp rap on the door.

“Jesse?” he heard Brad calling his name. “How’s it going?”

“Okay,” Jesse called out and prayed his voice wouldn’t betray what he and Sheridan were doing. “We need a few more minutes. My part is really hard.”

“It’s extremely hard,” Sheridan agreed and then collapsed into quiet giggles against his neck. “We’ll be ready though.”

“You’ve got fifteen minutes before showtime.”

“Thanks, Brad,” Jesse said as Sheridan continued to move up and down on him.

“We can do a lot in fifteen minutes.” Sheridan lifted herself off of him and slid down to the floor.

“You don’t have to-” Jesse started but stopped as Sheridan wrapped her mouth around him.

She stopped and looked up at him.

“Put your hand on the back of my neck while I do it. It feels better like that.”

Jesse did as instructed and once again Sheridan took him between her lips. Her lips…petal pink and incredibly soft they fluttered up and down on him. He didn’t know if he could come again but that was fine. She could do that forever if she wanted.

His hand involuntarily tightened on the back of her slim neck and Sheridan moaned with obvious pleasure. He didn’t understand how grabbing the back of her neck made her feel better but who was he to argue with a beautiful girl groaning in his lap?

“You can come in my mouth, Jesse,” she whispered, looking up at him as she stroked him with her hand. “It’s okay. I like it.”

He shook his head.

“I don’t think I can do that.”

He could do it, but he didn’t want to. Just having her kiss him like that was beyond mortifying.

“Could you do something else for me?”

“Anything,” he said, relieved when she stood up. She took a few steps and toward the back of the chair and bent over it. She spread her high-heeled feet wide apart and arched her back. She turned her face to him and smiled at him over her shoulder.

“Get the hint?” she asked.

“Got it,” Jesse said as he walked to her. God, she was incredible. He could see her wet red lips between her thighs. Standing behind her he slipped his fingers into her again and was gratified to feel her shudder.

He took himself in his hand and pushed into her from behind. He gripped her hips and started thrusting.

“What happened to you?” he asked, noticing something that looked like welts on her lower back. He touched them gently with his fingertips.

“Nothing bad, I promise.”

“You really aren’t Angelica, are you?” he asked, pushing in harder and deeper.

“Disappointed in me?”

Jesse shook his head. “No.”

Careful of her welts, Jesse caressed Sheridan’s back as he moved in her. Another knock on the door alerted them to Brad’s presence.

“Almost time, you two,” Brad shouted out. “Meet you at the curtain.”

“Coming,” Jesse called back, and came inside Sheridan.

Sheridan stood up and raced over to her dress. She slipped it back on and Jesse quickly zipped it up for her. Made of an almost metallic fabric, it didn’t look a bit mussed or wrinkled.

“Run,” she said. “Go get touched up. I do my own stage make-up. I’ll meet you there.”

“Done,” he said, grabbing his jacket and racing from her dressing room. He made it back to his dressing room in record time and got a quick once-over from the hair and make-up person. He shoved his cowboy hat on his head, and ran to the curtain. Sheridan was already waiting with Brad, chatting amiably with him about the song and how much money they hoped to raise with it.

“They’ll record this as the live version,” Sheridan said. “If you sign off on it, we can put it on iTunes and give the proceeds to the foundation.”

“Yeah. Definitely,” Jesse said, trying to act perfectly calm around the woman he’d just lost his virginity to. Brad didn’t seem to notice anything was going on. The sound guy gave Jesse his guitar again.

Jesse looked out and Reba McIntyre of all people was introducing them. She made a joke about Vince getting sick off his wife’s cooking and told the crowd not to be too hard on Jesse. Sheridan giggled at the phrase “hard on Jesse” and Jesse grinned at her.

They were about to walk on stage when Sheridan reached out and took his hand. Jesse slung his guitar around to his back and hand in hand they walked out to the mic.

The crowd went wild and Jesse knew it was more for Sheridan than for him. When non-country types came the CMA’s, they were treated like royalty. And Sheridan certainly looked like a princess in her silver dress with her diamonds on.

“I’m Sheridan Stratford,” she said into her mic.

“And I’m Vince Gill,” Jesse said, pulling his guitar back around and taking his pick out of his pocket.

“And this song,” Sheridan said, her voice dropping down low and lonely, “is for Nashville.”

Jesse started playing the song and decided he’d send his old guitar teacher a thousand dollars just as a thank you for teaching him how to learn a new song fast. He and Sheridan really should have been rehearsing instead of tearing into each other like that did.

Sheridan started singing and Jesse joined it. In the big arena, their voices seemed to reach all the way to the ceiling before falling back down again and wrapping around the hushed crowd. Only once did Jesse have to glance at the teleprompter to remember the words.

The final note of the song played out and for a single moment a pure and perfect silence rang out through the entire area. In that one moment Sheridan looked at Jesse and Jesse looked back at her. In that one moment he knew after tonight he would never see her again. And he knew that was okay. He hadn’t gotten to play just one perfect duet with the Sheridan Stratford but two.

The silence shattered as the audience rose to their feet, stamping and shouting.

Jesse took Sheridan’s hand and they walked off the stage together. At the edge of the curtain stood half of dozen people waiting on Sheridan. He knew at a glance they were her managers and handlers. And he knew they’d take her from him.

“That was amazing.” He clutched her hand tight in his and she held his hand just as hard back. He knew the second they let go of each other, their separate handlers would pull them apart and that would be the end. He needed just a second more. Maybe two.

“All of it was,” she said and wrapped her arms around him. “Thank you, Jesse. You’re did great tonight.”

“With the song?” he whispered and laughed.

“With everything. You okay?”

“Best. Day. Ever.” He squeezed her hard enough she giggled before he reluctantly let her go.

“Bye, Jesse,” she said as her manager wrapped a coat around her slight shoulders. “See you on the charts.”

“See you in my dreams!” he called out and she blushed again and waved.

“See you in my dreams?” Brad repeated as he slapped Jesse on the back.

“What? It was a good line.”

“You’re a smitten kitten, Jesse Scott.”

“Can’t help myself,” Jesse sighed. “She’s such a sweetheart.”