Can Kara achieve her dream? Can Richie help?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Chapter 17

Kara woke sometime later the room bathed in darkness now, the only light was from the moon streaming in the windows and reflecting on the piano. She eased off the couch and slipped his shirt over her shoulders. She walked out of the room in search of the bathroom.

When she came back Richie was still asleep, though he had stretched out a bit more on the couch now that he was alone on it. Kara was once again drawn to the piano. She ran her hand over the glossy finish before turning to look out the window.

She sighed as she thought about what had transpired earlier and what she knew in her heart she could never have. I'm not as good as Richie thinks. I know I'm not. It was all Greg ever told her. That's why there were only four songs on the CD. That's why he left and never came back. She just wasn't good enough. No matter how hard she tried, she just didn't have what it took.

She sighed and moved back across the room to the couch. Richie was lying on his stomach, one arm draped over the side, resting on the floor. Kara sat down, her back against the couch. She picked up Richie's arm and laid it across the front of her, kissing his shoulder before resting her head on the cushion, a tear escaping and sliding across and into her hair.

Richie woke at the movement, "princess? Why are you on the floor, are you all right?" He kissed the top of her head.

"I'm fine. I got up to find the bathroom and when I came back you had taken over the couch."

He slowly and deliberately slid his hand across the front of her as he moved to sit up "sorry about that. How about we move upstairs?" She wiped her face, the motion not going unnoticed by Richie, before she stood.

"Princess, what's wrong?" He stood, pulling her close, stroking her arms lightly.

Kara sighed, "I'm just trying to figure some stuff out Richie, I'm fine, really." I need to talk to Jen she thought. He took her hand, "you can talk to me you know."

As they headed out of the room, Kara turned and looked at the piano one last time, "I know Richie, but I just need a little time to sort it all out."


Kara was quiet for most of the ride back to Jack and Lucy's the next day. Richie kept stealing glances at her as he drove. She had been restless during the night but she wouldn't talk to him. He wanted to know what was bothering her, wanted to help her but he couldn't get her to open up, didn't know how to.

"Did I do something to piss you off?"

Kara turned to look at him, "not at all. Why would you think that?"

He stopped at the red light and looked at her, "other than 'good morning' you haven't said a thing to me today. I was just curious." He looked away as the light changed, "I meant what I said last night, you can talk to me Princess, really."

She rubbed her hand over her forehead, trying to soothe the tension there. "I know Richie and I will, but I can't just yet."

When he pulled up to Jack's he turned to her again, seeing her rubbing her forehead, "take some aspirin and go lay down. You didn't sleep much last night did you?" She shook her head, "no. I'm sorry if I kept you up."

He reached across and took her hand, kissing the back of it, "don't be sorry. I just wish you would tell me what's bothering you."

She looked up at him, wanting to change the subject, "will I see you tonight?"

He sighed; clearly he wasn't going to get any answers now. "I don't know yet. I'll call you, okay?"

Kara leaned across the console and kissed his cheek, "okay. I hope Ava is feeling better." She pulled back and reached for the door, purse and gift bag in hand "thanks again for my gift." She got out of the car and watched him drive away before pulling out her phone and dialing as she headed into the house.

"Jen" she said as the phone was answered on the other end, "I need to talk to you."

Chapter 16

Kara didn't want to talk about it anymore. Jen was the only one who truly knew what went on and she wanted to keep it that way. No one needed to know what a failure she had been and she didn't want a repeat performance of that time in her life, ever. "Could we talk about something else?"

Richie glanced at her, the turmoil evident on her face.
"Just one more thing and then I'll drop it." For now.

She sighed, "what?"

He set his now empty cup on the table, turned to Kara and took her hand, "sing with me?"

Her eyes widened, "you've got to be kidding."

He stood, "do I look like I'm kidding?" She studied his face, he was dead serious.

"I don't know about this Rich. I'm so not in your league. You have an amazing voice."

He tugged her up off the couch and looked at her in surprise "how do you know I have an amazing voice?"

He moved over to the piano as he waited for her to answer. He looked at her "well?"

Kara was studying the floor, hoping it would open up and swallow her. "I have one of your CDs. I listened to it the night before you took me to dinner the first time."

She looked up to find him smiling, "you surprise me Kara. I didn't think you knew who I was when we first met and you don't act like a fan."

Kara shook her head, "I didn't know, well at least I didn't put it together right away and I'm not a fan. I know some of Bon Jovi's songs, but I don't own any of them. The only reason I have yours is because of my friend Jen. She's been a fan for as long as I've known her."

Richie sat down on the piano bench and ran his fingers over the keys, "which album did she give you?"

Kara moved closer to him, "Stranger in this Town. She gave it to me figuring it would be more to my liking than your other one."

He played a scale, "and?"

Kara smiled softly, "I liked it, a lot."

He slid over a little and patted the spot next to him "have a seat."

"So," she started as she sat down, "what are we going to sing?"

Richie looked at her thoughtfully, "you mentioned a faculty event coming up, what songs will you be singing? I could help you practice."

She smirked, "you want to help me practice singing? Why don't I believe you?"

He batted his eyes at her, "you think I'm lying?"

She rolled her eyes and smiled, "I think you have an ulterior motive, but let's give this a shot."

Kara thought for a minute and let her hands move on the keys. The song was familiar to her; she had been practicing it for a while now. The melody for the Eagles classic Desperado flowed into the room and Richie sat and let her play. He sang the first verse; Kara came in on the second, her voice pure and true. They sang the chorus and finished the song together.

The room still held the echo of the last notes of the song when Kara opened her eyes. She found herself looking into the deep brown of Richie's. "What?" She whispered, not wanting to disturb the mood that had settled around them. He leaned in and captured her mouth with his. He felt something while they sat there singing with her that he hadn't felt before. Something about being there with her had touched him in a way that nothing else ever had. Forgotten for now was the conversation they had been having, the only thing that matter now was the two of them, in that room, at that moment.

As their mouths dueled, Richie pulled Kara off the bench and onto his lap. His hands slid under her top, pushing the cami and sweater up and off all in one fluid motion. His mouth moved down her neck and across her chest, leaving a trail of hot kisses in his wake. Kara's hands slid up his powerful arms and into his hair as his mouth closed over one hardened nipple. Her head dropped back as he moved from one to the other, groaning her delight.

Richie stood with Kara wrapped around him and moved them back to the couch. He set her on her feet and slid her jeans down and off. As he was taking in the sight of her he felt her hands at the button of his pants.

There was not a word spoken as Richie laid Kara down on the couch. He stroked her from shoulder to knee, his touch feather light up the inside of her thigh. When he slid two fingers into her, Kara breathed out his name on a sigh. He rose over her, his lips brushing back and forth over hers as he slid into her, groaning her name as she took every inch of him. He moved in her slowly, urging her closer to release with every slow thrust of his hips and every pass of his mouth on her skin.

Kara's hands played across his skin and he felt her fingers twine into his hair as their mouths met. She tugged his hair gently and let her hands slide down his chest, teasing the hardened male nipples before caressing down and stroking his ass as he moved in and out of her. She shifted her hips and he slid in slightly deeper, finding that spot that drove her over the edge. "Richie" she cried out as the tremors started to overtake her. She shuddered almost violently as the orgasm washed over her, taking him with her, his groan mixing with her cries.

Richie lay down next to her, pulling her close, her head cradled on his chest. Their breathing was slowing returning to normal. He pulled the blanket from the back of the couch, covering them as they lay there, trying to slow their racing heartbeats. "Richie?" His name was a quiet question off her tongue.

He looked down at her, feeling a tear fall onto his chest. "Princess?"

She looked up at him, "that was like nothing I've ever experienced before."

He kissed her forehead, "me either princess, me either." He felt her breathing even out and, looking down, she had fallen asleep. He lay there trying to discern what exactly had come over them. The connection he had felt after they finished the song had carried over into their lovemaking and that was something that hadn't ever happened to him before, ever.

Chapter 15

Pulling up to the door, Kara was still amazed by the expanse of house in front of her. Richie looked over at her, her gaze trained on the house. “Penny for your thoughts” he teased.

Kara turned to look at him, “I was just wondering if I was actually going to see the house this time.”

Richie laughed, “come on, I’ll give you the fifty cent tour.”

Kara grabbed her purse and her gift and followed Richie up the walk. He ushered her in and as he shut the door behind him she turned to him with a smile, “this is the foyer, right? I remember it from last night.”

He laughed, and held out his hand “come on smart ass, let’s go.” Kara set her things down on the entry table and took his hand.

He led her through the house, pointing out certain things that he was quite proud of. They stopped in the kitchen and Richie started the coffee and they moved to the room he loved most. His music room. Guitars lined the walls, there was a piano and several other instruments and music stands scattered around as well. Kara was drawn to the gleaming piano. She ran her fingers lightly over the keys, running a scale as she stood there.

Richie watched her, “I thought you didn’t play an instrument.”

She looked up at him, “I don’t anymore. I used to when I was young but I stopped my lessons and focused on my singing. I can run the scales and pick out a few songs, but I don’t really play.”

Somehow Richie doubted that. “You can read music right?”

Kara nodded, “yes.”

He moved closer to her, “well if you can read the music and know the keys on the piano, I am sure you can play. Wanna give it a shot?”

Kara swallowed, did she really want to do this, try to pick out a song on the piano in front of him? “I guess I could try. I have to practice for an upcoming faculty evening anyway. What do you have for music?”

Richie opened the piano bench; it was full of sheet music. “Why don’t you rifle through here while I go get us that coffee.” Kara watched his retreating back and turned to the piano bench. She sifted through several pieces of music before settling on one she had played a few times before. She was sitting at the piano when Richie came back. He stopped in the doorway and just listened and watched.

It's a little bit funny this feeling inside
I'm not one of those who can easily hide
I don't have much money but boy if I did
I'd buy a big house where we both could live

If I was a sculptor, but then again, no
Or a man who makes potions in a traveling show
I know it's not much but it's the best I can do
My gift is my song and this one's for you

And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it's done
I hope you don't mind
I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world

Richie moved into the room and set the coffee cups down, never taking his eyes off of her. Her eyes were closed and she was totally immersed in the music. He was sure she didn’t know he had come back. Her voice was clear and emotion-filled as she continued on.

I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss
Well a few of the verses well they've got me quite cross
But the sun's been quite kind while I wrote this song
It's for people like you that keep it turned on

So excuse me forgetting but these things I do
You see I've forgotten if they're green or they're blue
Anyway the thing is what I really mean
Yours are the sweetest eyes I've ever seen

When she finished, Kara opened her eyes to find Richie’s intent on her. “What, was it that bad?” He hadn’t said anything and Kara was beginning to feel like she really didn’t want to know what he thought.

Richie looked at her; she needs to be on stage, not hidden way in an elementary school. He crossed the room and sat down on the piano bench next to her. “You’re a liar Kara.”

Her head snapped up, eyes indignant, “I am not.”

He shook his head, “yes you are. You told me you couldn’t play and that was just amazing. You should be performing, not hiding.”

Kara got up off the bench and picked up her coffee before speaking. She couldn’t believe he had said that. She turned to him, eyes blazing, “first, I didn’t lie, I’ve played that song before so I knew it to begin with. Second, I’m not hiding, I like my job and it pays my bills. Third, I already told you once that performing wasn’t in the cards for me anymore. Why can’t you understand that?” She sipped her coffee and paced.

Richie sighed and got off the piano bench, “Kara.” She didn’t look at him. He put his hand on her arm, “Kara.” She looked up at him, “you have a gift Kara; you just need to believe in yourself.”

Richie picked up his coffee and sat on the couch. That damn fucker Greg really did a number on her. Kara sighed sat down next to him, angling herself so she was facing him. “Richie, you haven’t told me anything tonight that I haven’t heard before, but really, I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I can’t follow some pipe dream. I have responsibilities, I have people that depend on me. I can’t turn my back on that. No matter how much I may still want to she didn’t tell him that though. The more time she thought about all she had wanted and where she was now the more she hated Greg. He had ruined everything for her.

Chapter 14

As they walked out of the house Kara looked to the driveway, expecting to see the huge black hummer. She was surprised to see the sleek silver Aston Martin instead. “Hummer out of gas tonight?”

Richie chuckled as he opened the door for her, “nah, this one was getting jealous so I thought we’d take her out tonight instead.”
Kara laughed as he helped her into the low slung car.

Richie rounded the front of the car and got in, “I almost forgot” he said as he reached behind him, “this is for you.” He set a small bag on her lap and started the car.

She looked down at the bag and then back at him, “what’s this?”

He shook his head and smiled, “now what fun would it be if I told you what it was? Go ahead and open it.”

Kara pulled the tissue out and reached inside the bag, her hand encountering something soft and silky. She pulled it out and just as quickly dropped it back in the bag. She blushed to the roots of her hair, “you bought me underwear?”

He looked over at her and had to laugh, her cheeks were red and her eyes were wide, “well I seem to recall ruining yours last night so I thought I should replace them. I couldn’t decide on a color so I bought you one of each that they had. I hope that’s all right.”

Kara just shook her head, “thank you, but you didn’t have to do this you know.”

Richie reached over and took her hand, “I know I didn’t have to princess, I wanted to.”

She set the bag on floor between her feet, twisted a bit so she could look at him and brought their joined hands to her mouth, kissing the back of his. “Thank you. Now, where are we going?”

Richie took her to the Spark Woodfire Grill in Huntington Beach. They were seated at a table near the patio so they could look out over the ocean. The view of the sunset was breathtaking. As they were waiting for their meals they chatted about the rest of the weekend and the upcoming new year.

“So” Kara looked over at Richie, “what are you going to do if you can’t have Ava with you for New Year’s?”

He shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t know. I didn’t make any alternate plans.”

Kara reached across the table and took his hand, “well if you end up alone, please come to Jack and Lucy’s. They have a small get together and I’m going to need someone to save me from all the bad lawyer jokes.”

He squeezed her hand, but kept it in his, “I’ll keep that in mind princess.”

The waiter came with their dinners and the conversation ebbed and flowed as they enjoyed their meals. Kara looked up to find Richie watching her, a thoughtful look on his face. “Are you okay?”

He smiled at her, “I was just thinking about where you said you work. Do you know Jon?”

Kara thought for a moment, trying to figure out the best way to answer the question. “I assume you mean Jon Bon Jovi?”

Richie grinned and nodded, “yep, that would be the guy.” He loved that she was oblivious to who they were.

Kara smiled, “his son Jake is in one of my classes and while I have seen Jon at school functions, it is usually Dorothea who I see for any parent-teacher meetings. So I guess the answer to that question is yes and no.”

Richie smiled at her answer, “that sounds like Jon. Always wanting to be involved but never having enough time in his day for everything.”

Kara smiled, “there are a lot of dads like that. I’m just grateful that at least one parent is willing to come in when they need to. That brooks a question for you though.”

Richie raised an eyebrow, “oh?”

Kara nodded, “Yeah. How do you find time for school functions or parent-teacher meetings?”

He took a sip of his drink before answering. “My schedule isn’t as bad as Jon’s all the time, only when we are touring so I am more available for school functions, meetings, stuff like that. If I can swing it, I come back here during the tour too if there is something going on that Ava wants me to be at. I just do my best.”

Kara was impressed. “I don’t know many normal working guys that would do that let alone someone in your shoes.”

Richie tried to shrug it off, “she’s my daughter and I love her. I would do anything for her.”

Kara took his hand again and smiled softly at him, “she’s a lucky girl.”

Richie stroked the back of Kara’s hand and looked over at her, “are you finished, do you want to get out of here?”

She nodded, “I’m ready if you are.”

Richie paid the bill and they headed back to his car.

As they settled and buckled their seatbelts Richie looked over at Kara, “can I interest you in coming back to my house for coffee?”

Kara winked at him, “I thought you’d never ask.”

Chapter 13

When Kara opened her eyes again the sun was streaming in the windows. She turned her head and nearly yelped when she saw what time it was. She and Lucy were supposed to go to lunch and then shop in an hour. Shit. She crawled out of bed, biting back a groan at the delicious ache between her legs. It had been a long time since she had had that much activity. She looked over at Richie and smiled, he was laying on his back, an arm across his face shielding his eyes from the sun. Kara turned to head to the bathroom when a soft groan had her turning back.

"You awake?"

Richie ran a hand over his face, "reluctantly. I told you mornings aren't my best time."

Kara smiled. "yeah, I seem to recall you saying something like that, but its nearly afternoon now. Do you mind if I use your shower?"

He cracked open one eye and saw that she still had his shirt on, "you can use anything you want princess."

Kara walked around the bed to stand next to him and leaned in to give him a kiss "last night was amazing. So was this morning."

He cupped her face with his hand, stroking her cheek with his thumb "can I see you again?"

Kara nodded her head, "absolutely, but right now I need to grab a quick shower and get going. Lucy and I are supposed to go shopping and have lunch today."

Richie released her, "yeah, I need to go see Ava today." He got out of bed and followed her to the bathroom, "can I share the shower?"

After dropping Kara off Richie headed to Heather's. He spent the afternoon by Ava's side, reading to her, helping her with her lunch. They started to watch a movie, but Richie ended up watching it alone as Ava had fallen asleep. Her fever wasn't as high as it had been, but she was still a fairly sick little girl. He shut the movie off, tucked the blankets up around her shoulder and pressed a kiss to her warm forehead. "I love you baby girl, feel better soon" he whispered before leaving the room.

Driving back home he glanced at his watch, he made a stop on his way home and made a mental note to call Kara and ask her to dinner.

"Okay, spill!" Lucy was dying to know all about Kara's night with Richie. Being a fan she knew all the rumors and wanted to know now if they were true.

Kara laughed, "All I'm going to say is that it was amazing. That's all you're getting." Lucy cajoled and pleaded, threatened and nearly begged but Kara wasn't going to give up any details. It was too private.

"Can you tell me one thing, just one thing?" Lucy was dying to know. Kara put her out of her misery, sort of. "Well, I can tell you" Lucy leaned in, not wanting to miss a word, "yeah, go on."

Kara looked around before going on, "he's tan all over."

Lucy rolled her eyes at Kara, "you're so bad Kara. Here I thought you were going to give up something good."

Kara laughed, "nope, those are secrets I will never tell." They were still laughing as they paid the bill and went on to the next shop.

Kara dumped her bags in her room and laid across the bed. She was tired. Her late night the night before and then shopping all day with Lucy had worn her out. She had just closed her eyes when her phone started ringing. She grabbed it from the night table and, checking the window, answered with a smile. "Hello."

Richie smiled at the other end, she sounded a little sleepy and a whole lot sexy, "hey princess how was your day?"

Kara told him about shopping and lunch and then asked about Ava. "How is she today? Feeling any better?"

Richie sighed, "she's about the same. I stayed with her for a while, read to her, had lunch, but she fell asleep not too long after that."

Kara could tell he was missing his little girl. "Maybe she will be well enough to be with you for New Year's Eve."

He sighed again, "maybe, we'll see. Anyway, I was calling to find out if you would like to have dinner tonight."

Kara thought for a minute, they didn't have anything planned, "I'd like that Richie."

He smiled, "good, I'll pick you up at 8, is that okay?"

Kara glanced at the clock, she had three hours, "that sounds good. See you then."

When Richie arrived at 8 Kara wasn't quite ready. She had fallen asleep after they had talked and she was now running late. Lucy let him and tried to make small talk but she was still star struck around him. Jack intervened and they were able to have an entertaining conversation. Kara had opted for jeans again and was glad she had when she saw Richie.

"Sorry to keep you waiting."

They all turned when Kara spoke, "that's all right princess. It was worth the wait." Richie looked her up and down approvingly. She wore her dark jeans with a dark pink cami and a black cardigan sweater. Her hair hung down her back in silky dark waves. She looked over at Jack and Lucy, "you sure you don't mind me going out?"

Jack waved her off, "go, have a good time."

She looked up at Richie and held out her hand, "are you ready?"

Chapter 12

Kara woke the next morning, the sun was just starting to filter through the expanse of windows at the other end of the room. She tried to move, but Richie's arm was flung across her, pinning her under it. Carefully, Kara lifted his arm and slid away from him, inching her way out of his bed. Padding across to the bathroom she stopped and picked up his shirt, slipping it over her shoulders.

As she was washing her hands, Kara studied herself in the mirror. She wondered what had come over her last night. She had been on a few dates since Greg, but hadn't slept with anyone since him. None of the guys she had been out with had tugged at her like Richie had. None of the guys she had been out with could hold a candle to Richie. Maybe it was because he was older and more experienced? Maybe it was the fact that he actually listened when she talked? Kara sighed, I don't know, but I hope whatever this might be, it isn't just a passing fling.

She shook her head at that thought and then smiled, thinking of Jen. She was going to shit when she found out about this!

Walking back into the bedroom she looked over at Richie and grinned, it appeared at least one part of him was awake. "Morning princess, what are you grinning at?"

Kara started at his voice, "I thought you were still asleep." She walked over to the bed and climbed up next to him.

"Come here" he tugged her close to him, "I was having a rather interesting dream and you weren't next to me when it woke me up."

Kara ran her hand across the expanse of bronze chest that was showing above the sheet, "what were you dreaming about?"

He took her hand, "you."

She pulled her hand from his and let it skim across his chest and then slipped it under the sheets, grasping him and stroking lightly. "Want to tell me about this dream?"

Richie sucked in a breath, "how about I show you instead?" He pulled her hand from him and rolled her over, unbuttoning the shirt, following his fingers with his mouth. When his tongue encountered the ring at her navel again he paused, remembering. He lightly traced the skin there, dipping the tip of his tongue into her navel. Kara gasped, "Richie." He continued, alternating between tugging lightly on the ring with his teeth and tracing the soft skin with the tip of his tongue.

Goose bumps had broken out across her skin and Kara could feel a familiar tingle starting, just from his tongue on her skin. She started to move restlessly and he moved lower, running the tip of tongue down over her stomach, through the soft curls and, finally, tugging lightly on her clit. She was so close, if he would just... "harder Rich" she begged. He backed off, not wanting her to go just yet. Kara lifted her head looking at him in disbelief, "what... why'd you stop?"

He grinned wickedly at her, "this was my dream, remember? I want you to beg me for it."

Kara dropped her head back down on the pillow in frustration and watched as he knelt between her legs. When he touched her again she the feeling of relief she had was short-lived. He kept her right on the edge, straining for release. He looked up at her, "princess?"

She trained arousal-hazed eyes on him. She had wanted to hold out but she couldn't fight the need anymore. "PLEASE RICHIE, I NEED YOU NOW!"

When he heard the words he plunged into her with one hard thrust. She screamed as she clamped down on him, the orgasm ripping through her. He waited her out, pulling almost all the way out and slamming home again over and over, not letting up. Kara couldn't fight her way out of one orgasm before another overtook her. All she could do was lay there and take everything he gave her. When he lifted her leg to his shoulder he slid in just that much deeper and her scream mingled with Richie's as he emptied himself deep inside her.

Richie rolled off of her not wanting to drop his full weight on her. Kara curled up next to him, "that was a hell of a dream baby."

Chapter 11

Kara didn’t say anything; she just climbed onto his lap and straddled him as best she could with the steering wheel at her back. She cupped his face with her hands and lowered her mouth to his, kissing him with an intensity that surprised them both.

Richie reached for the door and pushed the button to slide the seat back, giving them a little more room, allowing Kara to settle more fully on his lap, allowing her to feel just how much he wanted her. As their mouths dueled Richie’s hands roamed finding a slice of bare skin at her lower back where her shirt had ridden up. Kara felt the jolt of his fingers on her skin and she pulled back from the kiss and scanned his face, “can we at least go inside?”

Not wanting to break the contact they had, Richie wrapped his arm around Kara’s waist and held her to him as he opened the door and got out of the car. She wrapped her legs around him as he carried her to the house, kissing and nibbling at his neck all the way. Reluctantly, Richie had to let her go when they got to the door and as she slid down his body he couldn’t hold back the groan. “Jesus Princess.” He opened the door and practically dragged Kara into the house. His mouth was on hers again before the door clicked shut.

Kara eased back from him, “do I get to see the house?”

Richie kissed her and took her in his arms, “you get the full tour later, right now there is only one room I want to show you.” He swung Kara up into his arms and headed up the stairs. He set her on her feet when they entered his bedroom and she wandered further not the room, trying to take it all in. The room was huge, the end wall being entirely made up of windows. It seemed as if she could reach out and touch the stars. Turning she saw the giant bed at the other end of the room.

Richie watched as Kara slowly moved around his room. He started to shift restlessly as he watched her run her fingers lightly over the comforter on the bed and he crossed the room to her, taking her hand, kissing the fingers and resting it on his chest. He wanted her and he wanted her now. His mouth found hers in a kiss that woke up every part of Kara’s body.

As Richie’s mouth was stealing her senses, his hands found the hem of her shirt and dragged it up her body. He let her mouth go long enough to pull the shirt over her head before dropping it to the floor. As Richie’s hands worked the clasp of her bra, he left a trail of hot, open-mouthed kisses down her neck and across her shoulder. As her bra fell to the floor, his tongue circled the hardened rosy tip of her breast, earning him a sigh and a gasp.

Kara felt Richie’s mouth and hands move from her breasts and slide lower as he dropped to his knees in front of her; his breath a whisper across her stomach, and then stopping at her navel. The ring there intrigued him. He had always found navel piercing sexy and was surprised to find that Kara had one. He ran his tongue around it, tugged gently with his teeth and was pleased to see goose bumps rise on her flesh and feel her hand fist in his hair.

“Richie” Kara breathed out.

He looked up at her, “you like that?” He did it again, smiling to himself when he felt her hand tighten in his hair. His deft fingers made quick work of the button and zipper of her jeans, sliding them down her legs and helping her step out of them.

Richie’s gaze raked over her as he stood, “you’re beautiful princess.” She didn’t say anything, just reached out to him and pulled his mouth to hers. Her fingers worked the buttons open on his shirt and felt her small hands on his skin. Her light touch tightened his nipples into hard points and left his muscles tight. She felt his stomach tighten as her hands roamed to the button on his jeans.

Kara slid her hand slowly over the bulge in the front of his jeans, realizing then just how big he was. Can I handle him? She let the thought go and continued until Richie pushed her hand away with a growl, “princess if you don’t stop that I won’t be held responsible for my actions.” She was driving him crazy and she didn’t even know it.

With a gentle nudge he pushed her to the bed and dropped his jeans and underwear to the floor. Kara’s eyes widened at the sight of him and then she smiled up at him. “You find something amusing princess?”

She shook her head as she reached out for him, “not at all. I was just thinking how lucky I am tonight.”

Richie crawled up the bed and stopped, reaching for her panties, “how attached to these are you?”

She shrugged, “not all that, wh…?” Her reply was cut off when she felt the tug and pop at her hip.

Richie tossed the scrap of blue silk to the floor and kissed and nipped his way up Kara’s inner thighs, his tongue encountering her readiness before hitting his mark. Her warmth and sweetness drew him in, teasing, tasting her, making her writhe against him. When he slid a finger past his mouth and into her, Kara flew apart, sobbing out his name.

He pulled his mouth from her and crept up her body, holding himself over her, the head of his cock just nudging her entrance. He slid into her slowly, watching her reaction as she took every inch of him. Kara sighed out his name at the exquisite feeling of fullness he gave her. When he slid out and drove home again she arched up off the bed, her orgasm shuddering through her.

Richie held her to him, feeling her arms wrap around him and her fingers digging at his shoulders. As the tremors subsided Richie lay her down on the bed and, bringing her knees up to his hips, Richie drove into her, again and again, driving her up the edge and falling over with her.

As their hearts settled and their breathing calmed, Richie shifted off of Kara, pulling her close and dragging the blankets up over them. As sleep started to overtake them, Richie heard Kara whisper “is the rest of the house as exciting as this room?”

Chapter 10

Sliding into the chair across from him she didn’t say anything, she just looked at him. He reached across the table and took her hand, “that’s a hell of an instrument you got there princess.”

Kara felt her face heat up, “thanks. What are you doing here?” She caught his eye as she asked and could see something going on. “Are you okay?”

He toyed with his glass, “I’m here because I was lonely and no, I’m not okay.”

She squeezed his hand, “do you want to talk about it?”

He looked across the table at her, they had only known each other a few days and already he wanted to tell her everything. “I talked to Heather and she told me Ava is sick. So it seems I will be spending my weekend alone.” He finished his drink as she let his words sink in.

“Is Ava okay?”

Richie studied Kara for a moment; she was honestly interested and, unlike the last woman he was with, she actually seemed to care. “She has the flu, but I am sure she will be fine.”

Jack and Lucy were watching from the other side of the bar, wondering who Kara could have known here. Jack looked at Lucy, “don’t you have to go to the ladies room or something?”

She smirked at him, “you just want me to walk by and see who Kara is with, don’t you?”

Jack laughed and shook his head, “you know, I think we have been married too long. You know me too well.” Lucy was about to get up when Kara looked their way and motioned them over. Lucy looked at Jack, he shrugged his shoulder, grabbed their stuff and they headed across the bar.

As they got closer to the table, Lucy’s grip on Jack’s hand tightened. “Jesus Luce, you’re going to break my hand.”

She got right up behind him, “do you realize who your sister is sitting and talking with?”

Jack looked over at the table and then turned to Lucy, “is that Richie Sambora?”

Lucy nodded her head, “it is. How the hell does she know him?!”

Jack shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t know but we are about to find out.”

Kara saw them approaching and got up and slid into the seat next to Richie. “Hi guys” she smiled as her brother and sister-in-law got to the table. “Have a seat.” Kara turned to Richie, “this is my brother Jack and his wife Lucy” she motioned to each of them.

Jack held out his hand, “nice to meet you.”

Richie shook his hand, “you too man.”

Richie turned his attention to Lucy. He could tell right off that she was a fan, so he turned the charm up a notch. He smiled, took her hand and kissed the back of it, “it’s nice to meet you too Lucy.” Kara watched her sister-in-law, waiting to see if she was going to say something. Jack nudged Lucy under the table and she found her voice, “it’s a real pleasure to meet you too Richie.”

As they sat and talked, Jack watched Kara and Richie. It was obvious to him that there was something going on there. He didn’t miss the little touches, the near lack of space between them where they sat, the look on his sister’s face as she described how they met and what happened in the days that followed. She looks happy Jack thought. He knew what she had been through with her last relationship and, try as he might, even he couldn’t find the guy that had hurt her. He was glad to see her smiling again and he hoped that whatever she and Richie had wouldn’t turn out like the last.

Jack nudged Lucy, “I think I’m ready to call it a night, what do you think babe?”

She looked at him and realized what he was trying to do. “I guess so.” She looked over at Kara, “how about you?”

Kara looked up at Richie and then back at Lucy, “I think I’d like to stick around a bit longer.”

She felt Richie move and put his arm around her shoulders, “I’ll make sure she gets home.”

Jack nodded, “are you sure Kara?” She eyed her brother, “I’m sure.”

After Jack and Lucy left, Richie turned to Kara, wondering what it would take to get her to come home with him, “want to go for a ride?”

She nodded “sure” and they left the bar.

He helped her up into the Hummer, “where are we going?”

He just smiled, “you’ll see.”

They drove in companionable silence, the music from the stereo surrounding them. When they turned into a driveway Kara gazed out the window, in awe of the huge house in front of her. “This is your house isn’t it?”

He pulled the car around by the door and shut it off before turning to her, “it is.” Richie urged her to look at him, “Kara.” She drew her gaze away from the window to look at him, his gaze intent on her.


He reached across the seat and pulled her to him, bringing his mouth to within a whisper of hers. “I need you princess. Stay with me tonight?”

Chapter 9

When they pulled up at her brother’s, Richie laid his hand on Kara’s arm, stopping her from getting out of the car right away. “Can I call you?”

Kara looked out at the house and then back at Richie, “sure, but I thought you were spending this time with Ava.”

He slid his hand up her arm to cup her cheek, “I am, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make time for you too princess.”

Kara put her hand over Richie’s, turned her head and kissed his palm, “thank you for everything today. You made what could have been a very long boring travel day,” she hesitated, looking for the right words, “quite interesting.”

With his hand still on her cheek, he pulled her close, “its about to get even more interesting.” He traced her mouth with his tongue and kissed her lightly. Her hand dropped from his as he deepened the kiss, letting it slid up his thigh.

Reigning in his desire for her, Richie eased back from the kiss. He had felt her hand on his thigh and he wanted nothing more than to move it higher, to let her feel what she did to him, but it wasn’t the right time.

In a post-kiss daze Kara reached for the door handle and pushed the door open. “Thank you again Richie. I really do appreciate all the trouble you went to for me today.”

He took her hand and kissed the back of it, “it was my pleasure princess. I’ll call you.” She nodded and got out of the car. He watched as she walked up to the door and found the key. After she had the door opened she turned and waved as he drove off.

With a sigh Kara set her suitcase down in the guest room and flung herself across the bed. Rolling onto her back she closed her eyes and Richie’s face swam in front of her. Even just thinking about him had her all out of sorts. It was never like this with Greg. That thought sobered her. Maybe I should give Richie a chance. She sat up, suddenly hoping that Richie would call sooner rather than later.

A few blocks away Richie was having similar thoughts. He was sitting on his couch staring out the window into his backyard, phone in hand, wondering if he should call her now or wait. She had really gotten under his skin in a very short period of time. He couldn’t remember ever feeling like this before, not even when he had met Heather.

Kara was so different from the women he had been with. The best part though he thought, was that she wasn’t a fan. She truly was interested in him for him and that was the important part. He looked at his phone again and decided to wait until the next day to call her. He didn’t want to rush her into anything. He called his other favorite girl instead.

“Hello.” The voice was decidedly not elated to hear from him. Richie was surprised to get Heather on the other end of the phone. Usually when she saw it was him calling she let Ava answer the phone.

“Hi Heather, I called to talk to Ava, where is she?”

Heather huffed out a breath, “she’s in bed.”

Richie glanced at the clock; it was only 8, still early for her to be in bed. “Why is she in bed so early?”

Heather sighed, “you’re not going to be able to have her this weekend Richie. She’s sick.”

The disappointment hit Richie hard, “how sick is she and when did she get sick?” He figured this was just a way for Heather to piss him off and he wanted to make sure she was telling him the truth.

“She woke up not feeling well this morning and she’s been running a fever all day, chills, sick to her stomach, the works. The doctor says she has the flu and needs to stay in bed.” She was telling the truth, Richie knew she wouldn’t like about something like this now that he heard all the details.

“Okay, when she wakes up tomorrow tell her I will be over to see her.” They said their good byes and Richie dropped the phone on the table. Damn. He stood and paced the room, it was too quiet, had been ever since he had moved back here alone. He stopped pacing and stared out the window, he needed to get out of here. He grabbed his phone off the table and fished his keys out of his pocket and headed to the car.

Ten minutes later he parked his hummer at his favorite local hangout. Glancing around he noticed a few more cars than he would have liked, but he kept his head down and headed to the bar. He ordered a club soda with lime, found a booth in the back and sat down. Someone was singing and he looked toward the stage. Oh great, it was karaoke night at the bar. He shook his head and smiled, hopefully this won’t be too painful. He took another sip of his drink and looked around the bar.

Jack, Lucy and Kara sat at a table on the other side of the bar. Lucy had cajoled both Jack and Kara into singing at least one song each and their selections had been handed back to the operator. They sipped on their drinks and got caught up. Lucy was telling Kara about the emergency when her name was called.

Richie was just coming back from the men’s room and hadn’t heard her name, but he glanced up in time to see her back as she moved to the front of the bar. Is that…? When she turned around and he saw it was her, he settled back, smiled and waited. He knew this was going to be good.

Kara scanned the faces in the bar, noticing someone trying to hide in the shadows near the back. She looked away and then back again, oh shit, he’s here. Why did I pick this song? The music to the Celine Dion song she had chosen started and she started to sing

Don't know much about your life.
Don't know much about your world, but
Don't want to be alone tonight,
On this planet they call earth.

You don't know much about my past, and
I don't have a future figured out.
And maybe this is going too fast.
And maybe it's not meant to last,

But what do you say to taking chances,
What do you say to jumping off the edge?
Never knowing if there's solid ground below
Or hand to hold, or hell to pay,
What do you say,
What do you say?

Richie sat up a little straighter as he listened to the words she was singing. He watched her intently, wondering if she had chosen this song for a particular reason.

I just want to start again,
And maybe you could show me how to try,
And maybe you could take me in,
Somewhere underneath your skin?

What do you say to taking chances,
What do you say to jumping off the edge?
Never knowing if there's solid ground below
Or hand to hold, or hell to pay,
What do you say,
What do you say?

And I had my heart beating down,
But I always come back for more, yeah.
There's nothing like love to pull you up,
When you're laying down on the floor there.
So talk to me, talk to me,
Like lovers do.
Yeah walk with me, walk with me,
Like lovers do,
Like lovers do.

Kara scanned the room as she sang. Locking eyes on Richie she continued, wondering if he would understand what she was trying to say.

What do you say to taking chances,
What do you say to jumping off the edge?
Never knowing if there's solid ground below
Or hand to hold, or hell to pay,
What do you say,
What do you say?

Don't know much about your life
And I don't know much about your world

When she finished he applauded right along with the rest of the bar patrons, she clearly had been the best they had heard in there in quite a while. He watched, wondering if she would go back to her table or come to his. She hesitated momentarily before heading toward him.

Chapter 8

Kara was all ready the next day when Richie arrived. The driver put her suitcase in the trunk and as the warmth of the car welcomed her, a pair of strong arms pulled her close. "Good morning princess."

Kara smiled at Richie, "don't you mean good afternoon? It is after 12 already."

He chuckled, "I suppose you're right, but I've only been up for an hour, so its still morning for me."

Kara shook her head, "I forget you don't keep normal hours."

Richie laughed, "princess, one thing you should know about me, I hate mornings."
Kara laughed with him, enjoying the easy banter.

As their laughter subsided, Richie brought up their conversation from the night before. "So princess, have you thought about what we talked about last night?"

Kara nodded, "I have." Before he could say anything she spoke again, "why do you keep calling me princess?" No one had ever given her a nickname or pet name before and this had her curious.

Richie smiled warmly at her, "I call my female fans darlin' or babe and that just won't work for you. I call Ava sweetie, baby girl or honey. I was running out of options. Does it bother you?"

She thought about it for a minute and smiled at him, "no I guess not."

"So," he started again, "about what we talked about, I was serious, I want to get to know you Kara."

She looked past him and out the window, watching the cars go by, "how could this work Richie, you live on the other side of the country from me. I don't know if having a relationship over the telephone would work for me."

Richie sighed, the airport was fast approaching and he wanted them to be able to enjoy the flight so he wanted to get this talk out of the way. "Look Kara, I didn't say it would be easy, but I am willing to try if you are. I am in Jersey a lot and you can always come visit me in California."

Kara looked at him, she wanted to believe this could work, but Greg had really done a number on her. "I don't know Richie, I just don't know."

The car came to a stop before they could continue talking; they had arrived at the airport.

At the check-in counter, Kara waited as the clerk checked her flight information. "Ms. D'Angelo, you need to go to the first class check in. It's over there." She motioned to an area down a little ways from where they were.

Kara looked confused, she hadn't booked herself in first class. "I don't understand, I didn't book my flight first class."

The girl checked her screen again, "it says here you're in first class ma'am."

Kara sighed, "okay, thank you." She started to walk away and found Richie waiting for her, a hint of a smile on his face. Kara studied him, and it dawned on her what must have happened. "Did you move me to first class?"

The hint of smile broadened to a grin, "I just thought since we were on the same flight, why sit alone?"

Kara shook her head and smiled back at him, "thank you. That was very sweet of you."

He took her hand and they walked toward the check in counter, "besides, I may need someone to open my peanuts for me. You know, rock star and all, I can't do anything for myself." Kara couldn't contain the laughter; he was something else.

The flight was uneventful. They stopped over briefly in Chicago before heading on to LA. As they were exiting the plane Kara's phone rang. "Hello."

"Kara, its Jack." Richie took Kara's free hand and they walked toward the baggage claim. "Hi Jack, how are you? Are you waiting out front for me?"

He was supposed to be there to pick her up and take her back to his house. "That's why I'm calling sis. Can you get a cab? I'm on my way to court and Lucy had an emergency at the clinic. I'm really sorry."

Kara sighed, "I’m sure I can find a ride; is there a key for me to get in?"

Jack felt bad, "the key is in the same place as always, under the pot on the front step. I'll see you soon sis. I really am sorry." As Kara hung up Richie had just grabbed their bags. He could see that she was upset.

"What's wrong? Who was that?"

Kara looked dejectedly over at Richie, "that was Jack, my brother. Apparently I need to find a cab because he is tied up at work and Lucy, my sister-in-law, had an emergency at the clinic." She rolled her eyes, "it just figures."

Richie picked up their bags, "come on princess, I'll get you where you need to go."

She looped her arm through his, "thank you. Lead on."

Chapter 7

When Kara woke the following morning she lay in bed and ran through the events of the previous night. When she got to the part where Richie kissed her, her fingertips grazed her lips, remembering. His lips had been soft and gentle and the kiss itself had been butterfly light. Kara sighed and rolled out of bed, he was going back to LA on Friday and she would probably not see him again. After making her bed and dragging her suitcase out from the closet, she went and made herself a cup of coffee and started packing.

After she finished, Kara was sipping a second cup of coffee when her phone rang. “Hello?”

“So, how was it, I want all the details.”

Kara smiled; at least Jen had waited until a decent time in the morning to call. She took a sip of her coffee before answering, “well good morning to you too. We had a very nice time last night thanks for asking.”

Jen laughed, “you can’t blame a girl for being happy for her friend, now can you?”

Kara shook her head, “no I suppose not. What else do you want to know?”

Jen settled in on the other end of the phone, “everything, spill it girl.”

Kara told Jen all about their evening, dinner, the walk on the beach, the conversation at her place later. The kiss. Jen was surprised that Kara had opened up like that to him, she hadn’t told anyone other than her what had happened.

“What did he say?”

Kara hesitated, “he didn’t say anything really, he just listened until I told him I had sworn never to go out with anyone in the business again.”

Jen nearly dropped the phone, “you told him WHAT?! How could you tell him that? What did he say?”

Kara sighed, “he asked me why I went out with him if I felt that way.” Kara couldn’t see her, but she knew Jen was shaking her head in disgust.

“I hope you didn’t run him off Kara. You need to move on sweetie. I know you thought Greg was the one, but we both know he was an ass and now its time to get out there again and...”

Kara interrupted her friend’s tirade, “Jen, stop. I told him that I felt something and decided to take a chance. That was when he kissed me.”

Jen didn’t say anything for so long that Kara had to make sure she was still there, “Jen, are you all right?”

“He kissed you?” Jen’s voice was nearly a whisper, “holy shit. Richie Sambora kissed you.”

Kara waited, “are you done?”

Jen nodded her head, “yeah. Do you know how happy and jealous I am right now?”

Kara laughed, she loved her friend. “Thanks I think.”

“Oh come on, you know I’ve fantasized about that man for nearly forever. You’ve gotta cut me a little slack.” She had a thought, “is he still there?”

Shocked by the question Kara was trying to say something when there was a knock on her door. “Jen, there is someone knocking on my door and no, he’s not still here.”

“Damn” Jen sounded disappointed. “Look go answer your door, have a great time with Jack and Happy New Year.”

Richie could hear her voice so he knocked again.

Kara hurried her good bye, “bye Jen Happy New Year to you too and I’ll call you when I get back.”

Kara hung up and went to answer the door, catching sight of her reflection in the window. “Oh God.” She tucked the falling strands of hair from her clip behind her ear took a deep breath and opened the door. “Hi, can I…” she trailed off when she found Richie standing on the other side.

Richie took in the woman in front of him; clearly he had caught her at a bad time. She wore red flannel pajama pants with, were those snowflakes all over them? Her tank top was red and the hoodie she had pulled on was falling off one shoulder. Her hair was clipped up at the back of her head, several strands shoved behind her ear. Richie wanted to pull the clip from her hair and run his fingers through the dark silky mass.

“Richie, what are you doing here?”

He brought his gaze back to her face, glasses, she wears glasses? He cleared his throat, “sorry. You forgot these in my car last night so I thought I would return them and see if I could take you out for lunch.” He was holding her gloves in his hand.

She reached for them, “come on in.”

Richie followed her into the living room, “did I catch you at a bad time?”

She shook her head “no I was just on the phone with my girlfriend.” He watched as she tried to fix her hair and then just gave up and took the clip out, running her fingers through it and letting it fall down around her shoulders. His remembered how her hair felt when he pulled it up out of her coat the night before, and he curled his fingers into his palms to keep from reaching out and touching it.

“So, how about lunch today?”

Kara glanced at the clock, it was after 12. How did it get that late? “I’d like that, but as you can see, I’m not dressed yet.”

He grinned at her, “yeah, I can see that, cute pajamas by the way, and I don’t mind waiting.” She smiled, “Okay, give me 20 minutes? Make yourself at home, the remote for the TV is on the end table. I packed this morning so it’s going to take me a few to find something to wear.”

As she started to leave the room he stopped her, “packed? Are you going somewhere?”

Kara realized then that she hadn’t said anything to him the night before. “I’m going to LA tomorrow to visit my brother and sister-in-law for New Years.” She didn’t give him a chance to react before she left the room.

As Richie made himself comfortable on the couch he couldn’t stop the smile from spreading across his face. She’s going to be in LA too. He had wondered what would happen when he left, if she would want to see him again whenever he could get back here, but now, he had a few extra days to try to figure this all out.

True to her word, twenty minutes later Kara was ready to go. He took her to one of the many New Jersey diners that seemed to be on every corner and they enjoyed a leisurely lunch. They talked and he managed to find out that she was on the same flight as him the next day. An idea started to form as they talked and he made a mental note to call his assistant when he had a minute.

The sun had started to set by the time they got back to Kara’s apartment. She invited him in. “I can’t stay long, I promised to have dinner with my mom” Richie said as he stepped in behind her. She turned to him to take his coat and he took her hand and pulled her to him instead. “There’s something I’ve wanted to do all day.”

She looked up at him, “what’s that?”

He lowered his head, “this” and his mouth was on hers. He moved his mouth over hers, waiting for her and, tentatively, she parted her lips and their tongues met. The heat rushed through the both of them at that first touch. Richie wrapped his arm around Kara and dragged her against him, kissing her more intently. Her arms slid up and around his neck, drowning in the taste and scent of him.

Slowly Richie kissed his way away from her mouth, “Kara” his breath was soft and warm against her. Her breathing was labored as she tried to talk; “wow” was all she could manage. Richie rested his forehead against hers, “that about covers it.” He hadn’t felt anything like that from just a kiss ever before.

Without breaking their hold on each other, Richie lifted Kara slightly and walked them both the living room. He settled himself on the couch, Kara straddling his lap. He kissed her again, letting his hands roam over her back, slipping under the sweater, caressing the soft skin he found there. Kara could feel him growing hard underneath her and when she felt his hands start to slide up her sides, she pulled back from him. “Richie” she panted, “wait.”

He opened his eyes and, looking at her, let his hands fall to his sides. “What’s wrong?”

She climbed off his lap and sat down next to him, “I’m sorry, I don’t know what got into me.”

He chuckled, “nothing yet darlin’.”

Kara shoved him with her elbow, “that’s not what I meant.”

He nodded, “I know, just couldn’t help myself.” She rolled her eyes at him, but she was glad that he had lightened the mood. He wanted to hear what she was going to say, “are you going to tell me what just happened here?”

She looked up at him, her blue eyes stormy, clearly her body and mind were at war with each other. “Its just, well, we really don’t really know each other and … um…, I’m just not a one night stand type of person.” She tore her gaze from him, staring blindly out the window across the room.

Richie sighed, now he remembered why he had liked being married, none of this touchy feely ‘new relationship crap’ to have to deal with. “Kara.” She didn’t look at him. He moved to sit on the coffee table in front of her so she had no choice but to look at him. “Kara.”

She met his eyes, “what?” He picked up her hand, “if I was looking for a one-night stand I would have made the move last night.”

Kara sighed, “but what if we never see each other again?”

Richie brought her hand to his mouth, kissing it gently, “is that what you want?”

She shook her head “no” and Richie was relieved. “Me either. I like you Kara and want to know you, all of you, but obviously now is not the time.” He glanced at his watch, “I have to go. Look, since we are both on the same flight tomorrow how about sharing a ride with me? We can talk more then.”

Kara nodded, “I think I’d like that.”

She walked him to the door and he kissed her again, “see you tomorrow darlin’.”

As Richie walked to his car he pulled out his phone and dialed his assistant, “Ang, I need you to do something for me.”