Ryder

By: Chantal Fernando

Chapter 1


Ryder

The door buzzes and I stifle a grin. It must be the girl I met last night at the club. Shania? Shanae? Something like that. Performing there has its benefits, and women throwing themselves at me is definitely at the top of the list. She couldn’t have arrived at a better time because I could definitely release some tension right about now. I glance over at the couch, maybe we’ll start there. I pick up my jeans from the living room floor, not bothering to button them up, and answer the door. The sight that greets me douses any sexual thoughts or ideas I may have had.
“Well, isn’t this a surprise,” I drawl.
My cousin Tenielle raises her finely arched brow. “Nice to see you, too, Ryder,” she says sarcastically.
I grin, already moving forward to embrace her.
“Come here, give me a hug. When did you get back from Europe?” I ask her.
“A couple days ago,” she says as she jumps in my arms and hugs me tightly. When she pulls back, I notice two things. One, she has her suitcase with her, and two, she’s not alone. I glance over at the girl she's with and realize that she’s fucking hot. Her amber colored eyes are currently staring at my bare chest and I think she likes what she sees. I’d be lying if I said the feeling isn’t mutual. She also has a much smaller suitcase with her, bright pink and covered with black skulls.
“Ryder, this is my friend, Lexi. Lexi, this is my cousin Ryder,” Tee introduces. I glance over at Lexi and take her in. Honey coloured curly hair, golden almost cat-like eyes, and a body made for sin. She must be about 5’6, shorter than my cousin who I know is about 5’10, and she has the perfect hourglass shape figure.  Her lips are painted a bright red, but the rest of her face is makeup free. She’s wearing a snug pair of denim cut offs, a black strapless top, and pink converses. She looks... cute.
“Are you gonna stand there staring all day, or are you gonna invite us in?” Tee asks dryly. I step back to let them pass, catching a delicious cherry scent when Lexi walks by me.
I glance over at my cousin’s bags, then back at her. She gives me her best charming smile, the one that gets her anything she wants.
I know how this one works.
While Layla makes you want to protect her, her older sister, Tenielle, makes you want to hide your valuables and cup your balls. She’s one of the hardest girls in my life to protect because she’s so damn independent. It frustrates me, but it also makes me proud as hell. She’s wearing baggy ripped jeans with a white net top. Black combat boots with lots of buckles are her shoes of choice, and from the looks of it they are the same ones I saw her wearing before she left for Europe a few months back. Her long hair, which was previously black, is now dyed blonde. She has a hoop in her nose, a tongue ring, an eyebrow ring, and various tattoos scattered all over her body. Most people would look at her and think that she’s a musician or something, but no, this crazy woman is a lawyer. Yes, a lawyer. That being said, she’s yet to find employment in her qualified field. She’s too busy travelling the world and breaking hearts.
“So, dad said you just bought a new apartment when I spoke to him last,” she glances around, and smiles like she approves. “Lexi and I need a place to crash for a week. Please, Ryder? You won’t even notice we're here. Thanks, cuz!”
“I didn’t say yes, Tee,” I tell her dryly, but I already know my resistance is futile.
“Yeah, but we’re family so you can’t kick me out.” She grins and bats her eyelashes at me. The woman is evil.
“You could stay with your parents? Or Layla?” I suggest in a hopeful voice. I love my cousin to death but living with her may drive me a little insane. I know she wouldn’t want to stay with her parents, she and her mother don’t exactly see eye to eye. Tee is a free spirit but her mother would rather she stayed in Perth, close to family. I really wouldn’t mind her friend spending a little time in my apartment, though.
“I’m avoiding mum and her lectures, and I don’t want to interrupt Layla with that man of hers. I haven’t even met him, so it would be awkward! That means that you’re the lucky one who gets me.”
Saying that, she walks off and starts exploring the apartment. I look at Lexi, who has a slight smile on her face, clearly amused by Tenielle’s sass.
“Is it okay if we stay? I assumed Tenielle had already asked. Which is apparently not the case,” she says dryly.
Fuck, her voice is sexy. Husky and just a little rough. I clear my throat, realizing that I have been standing here staring at her for a few moments too long. 
“No worries, of course you guys can stay. You’ll have to share the guest room, though.”
“That’s fine. We’re going to start looking for places straight away,” she says simply.
“It’s no problem, really,” I tell her. My eyes stray behind her, where I notice a guitar case on the floor next to her suitcase.
“You play?” I ask, intrigued. She nods slightly, ducking her head. “I’m impressed. You’ll have to let me hear you sometime,” I say excitedly. Women that play instruments are sexy.
“I’ve heard about your band. Tee says you’re ‘the shit’,” she tells me, her heart shaped cupid bow lips turning up.
I smile smugly. “You should come by and listen to us.” I would love showing her what I do best. Well, what I do second best.
“I think I just might do that,” she says as she absently toys with a lock of her hair. I’m so turned on by that husky voice, it does things to me.             
“Do you sing, too?” I ask, curious. She blushes, but I have no idea why. “I guess I’m alright, but I don’t like to sing in public.”
I nod, remembering my own first time on stage. I was nervous as hell but that only lasted for the first song.  “Stage fright?”
She shrugs. “Something like that. I’d rather be in the background, playing an instrument. I get nervous as hell singing in public. I did it once, and never again.” She shudders like she’s remembering the moment.
“I’d love to hear you sing, if you’re not too shy. I’m only one man,” I say with a grin. She rolls her eyes and scrunches her nose, which I find completely adorable.
“I’ll think about it,” she says thoughtfully.
“I’m very patient, Lexi,” I say, my eyes not leaving hers.
We both just stare at each other in silence for a few moments. I notice her amber gaze stray to my nipple ring and her breath hitches. Oh yeah, she definitely likes that. I unconsciously take a step closer to her and I watch as she does the same.
“This is going to sound weird, but…” she starts to say, but a knock on my door interrupts her. I throw a scowl in the direction of my door, annoyed by the interruption.
 “Hold that thought,” I say quickly. She nods. I walk the few steps to the door and pull it open, hoping to get rid of whoever it is. I take a step back when a scantily clad blonde jumps into my arms and fuses her lips to mine. I detach her from me as soon as I can, but by then the damage is done. Shit. I totally forgot about the girl coming over. I glance behind me to find Lexi gone. Fuck.
“What are we waiting for, Ryder?” Shania or whatever her name is purrs in my ear. Instead of getting me excited, the sound makes me cringe.
“Change of plans, my cousin is over, so you need to leave,” I tell her in a whisper, gently pushing her towards the door, and closing it shut after she’s past the threshold.



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