Drive Me Crazy - Tracy Wolff
There were goldfish in her bathtub. Goldfish. In her bathtub. Goldfish. IN. HER. BATHTUB.
For long seconds, Elise McKinney could do nothing but look around the small hotel bathroom she was standing in, as if the pale green walls held a clue as to why—and how—someone had turned her bathtub into a fishpond—two hours before she was supposed to take the stage for the biggest competition of her life.
Not that she really needed any clues to figure out who had done this. No, she thought, as she watched almost two dozen goldfish glide around her bathtub, I know exactly who snuck into my hotel room and pulled this latest prank.
Quinn frickin’ Bradford.
And if she didn’t need desperately to take a shower before she went on stage in front of ten thousand people, she’d probably be impressed with his ingenuity. After all, it wasn’t like she hadn’t known a prank was coming. Not after she’d snuck into his hotel room in Brussels and sown shut the flies of every single pair of his boxer briefs.
With a muttered curse and a promise to herself to get back at Quinn if it was the last thing she did, Elise bent over and stuck her head under the sink faucet. He was so going down for this.
Ninety minutes later, she was repeating that vow to herself as she walked into the greenroom at the performance venue and saw Quinn lounging negligently on the couch, his long, lean body sprawled out like he owned the thing. His hair looked perfect, she noted resentfully, as did his custom-made tuxedo. While she felt like the punch line of a bad joke.
The sink thing hadn’t worked—it was way too shallow to actually wash her hair in it—and she’d been forced to scrape her hair back into a tight bun that made her look like a schoolmarm…or a dominatrix. She was about to go take the most famous stage in Paris to perform the second movement of Schumann’s “Kreisleriana,” one of the sexiest pieces ever written for the piano, and she looked like she should be carrying a paddle and a whip. The long, clingy black dress she was wearing only added to the look.
It so wasn’t fair. He should know better than to mess with a sixteen-year-old girl’s appearance before she went on stage. Seriously, everyone knew that, didn’t they?
Of course they did.
Narrowing her eyes into the most threatening look she could manage, she stalked toward Quinn with every intention of going for his eyes. She’d just had her nails done and was sure she could do some damage before they pulled her off of him. But he turned his head just as she reached him and she noticed for the first time that someone had beat her to it. Quinn had a dark bruise on his jaw and a cut on his cheekbone, right under his eye.
“What happened to you?” she asked, concern for him cutting through her fury. They might be enemies of a sort, but they were also friends of a different sort. Hard not to be when they’d been on the performance circuit together for nine years, ever since they were seven years old—two piano prodigies growing up together. This wasn’t the first time she’d seen marks like that on him and though he always had an excuse, in her mind they were starting to wear thin. Especially since Quinn usually blamed the bruises on clumsiness, and he was the least clumsy guy she’d ever met.
“Ran into the wrong end of a fist,” he said with a wink and a grin that didn’t quite meet his eyes.
Her stomach clenched. “I can see that. Whose fist was it?”
“Some random guy’s. He wasn’t all that impressed with me trying to pick up his girlfriend.”
Her concern disappeared in a flood of disgust and something else she wasn’t comfortable analyzing. “You got in a fight over a girl?”
“Can you think of anything better to fight about?”
“You could have hurt your hands!”
“But I didn’t,” he answered with a shrug. “Besides, it’s not like I started the fight.”
She rolled her eyes. “I swear, I don’t know how you have the time to find all the trouble you do.”
“Just lucky, I guess.” He looked her over then, his eyes lingering in places that had her hands trembling and her breath catching in her chest. “I have to say, I like the new look. It’s very—”
“Don’t even say it!”
“Say what?” His midnight eyes were a little heavy lidded and a lot wicked as they