The Rock Hard Roots
Author: C.M. Stunich
Books: “Real Ugly” & “Get Bent”
Tour Presented By: B3 Tours
Turner Campbell is an asshole.
I f*cking hate him.
But I can't get enough either.
He sings like an angel and f*cks like a devil.
If I could, I'd run away and never look back because to tell you the truth, I think this man might be the death of me.
Naomi Knox is a bitch.
I can't f*cking stand her.
But I can't stop thinking about her either.
She looks like an angel and plays like a devil.
If I could, I'd f*ck her good and forget all about her, but to tell you the truth, I think this woman might be my last saving grace.
"REAL UGLY" (BOOK 1):
EXCERPT IS 18 AND OVER DUE TO CURSING AND SEXUAL THEMES.
All text © C.M. Stunich
Through my sunglasses, I see a face just offstage, hiding in the shadows with a smirk.
Turner. Turner fucking Campbell is watching me screw this crowd with my axe, and I can't breathe. For a moment, I'm afraid my fingers are going to slip, and I'm going to blow this whole gig, but the inner me, the one I dragged out, turns up the notch on my smirk and slides my tongue across my lips. Oh my god! What the hell am I doing? I flick it out and suck it back in, melding into Wren, sliding against him like we're screwing back to back. And I don't even like the guy. I don't like either of these guys, but I can't stop myself. The music's taken over me, and will do what she fucking pleases.
I watch Turner watching me, and see that his brown eyes are glittering dark, like a night sky filled with stars. It's so off-kilter with his personality that it really throws me for a loop. Once again, I find myself having trouble hating him. Seem to be having a lot of trouble with my loathing abilities as of late. Guess when I get onstage, I am just fucked.
Our duet ends and Wren pulls away leaving me cold. And in the middle of an impromptu solo. Shit.
Luckily, Amatory Riot has functioned as a unit long enough for the others to follow me, modifying our song right then and there. The crowd goes fucking wild, and the air escapes my lungs. The lights overhead shift and I find myself bathed in color. My eyes shift to search for Turner again, and I'm glad I'm wearing these shades. If he knew I was looking for him, I'd never live it down.
A gasp goes up on my right and Turner appears out of nowhere, snatching my mic from its stand and grabbing Hayden around the waist. He makes a little come on gesture at me and then leans forward and grabs my lips with his.
I don't stop playing; I can't. Even if I wanted to, I couldn't stop the burst of fucking power that's just taken hold of me. I'm both a victim and a master to it as it draws my hands along the neck and plucks strings with a violent fervor that both scares and amazes me. Hot wet heat takes over my mouth and pulls the rest of the inner me out, and then I'm kissing Turner back hard and fast and furious while the world's most intense riffs are just pulled straight through me, cutting me up and bleeding me over the stage.
When he pulls away, our eyes lock tight, and I know he can see right through my shades, through my head, and straight down into me. It's a trick; it's gotta be. I want to remember the way he spoke to me on the phone, the way he left that poor girl half-naked over the PA speaker, but I can't seem to grab any memories that haven't been made right here, on this stage. What else is there? my soul asks me as Turner uses the cord of the mic to spin it in a circle and snatch it back in one tattooed hand.
My solo comes to a natural end, and I fall right back where I left off, taking the band with me, opening my ears up to Turner's voice as it slides into the microphone. It's unbelievable – my words from his lips. I step back and Hayden moves up beside him, doing her best to out sex her colleague.
It doesn't work.
I don't think it's even possible to out sex Turner Campbell.
He grabs the hem of his shirt and slides it up, flashing his taut belly and a sea of tattoos against pale, sweaty flesh. His fingers rub the dark hair above his jeans and then drop the fabric back into place, much to the dismay of the crowd.
“Tearing me up, shredding me inside; my walls are coming down in flames.” Hayden's voice slides in alongside Turner's and for a split second there, I'm jealous. Of what and who and why, I have no idea, because I fucking hate them both, and they deserve each other, but … I brush the feeling aside and slam my axe to bits with my pick. “If you break me, baby, be prepared to pick up the pieces.”
Three. Two. One. And the song is over, and my pick is flying out across the crowd and landing in greedy hands. Sweat pours down my face in sheets and my body is wracked with violent trembles. Turner spins around and grins at me as the crowd explodes into a riotous fervor that makes the bouncers nervous.
Naomi Knox is missing.
I don't even f*cking know whether she's dead or alive.
What I do know is that she's the air I need to breathe.
She's my redemption, an all consuming fire that burns in my blood.
And I'll do anything to find her. Anything. Even if means the end for me.
& & &
Turner Campbell is searching.
But he has no f*cking clue what it is he's searching for.
There's darkness all around and enough secrets to choke.
There are angels, and there are devils. It's impossible to tell them apart.
Light needs to be shone on the truth, but there's no one left to hold the torch. The line between life and death is blurred, and the players are all thoroughly entrenched in the game. The question is: am I still one of them?
GET BENT (BOOK 2)
EXCERPT IS 18 AND OVER DUE TO CURSING AND SEXUAL THEMES. THIS SEQUEL EXCERPT CONTAINS SERIOUS SPOILERS
All text © C.M. Stunich
I tap the vein in my right arm with two fingers and check the rubber tourniquet that's wrapped around my sweaty flesh, making sure it's pulled tight. I'm trying to set up a good injection site, so I can take the syringe I've got clutched between my teeth and shoot up. It's the only way I'll get through this. The only fucking way.
“Turner! What the hell is going on in there?” I slump against the wall and ignore Treyjan's hoarse shouting. He's been out there all damn morning, screaming his friggin' head off. I don't want to hear it anymore. He's driving me nuts.
I pull the syringe out of my mouth and slide the needle into my skin, hissing at the rush of white hot pain when it punctures my vein. I press the plunger down and wait. A few seconds later, I feel it in the back of my throat. It tastes like fucking victory, like accomplishment, like I'm king of the fucking world. I yank the needle out unceremoniously and toss it into the trash can. It lands on top of a mountain of used condoms and tissue paper, and it's probably unsanitary as shit, but I don't care. I don't care about anything right now except Naomi.
“Turner, get your fucking ass out here now!”
I rip the tourniquet off next and lay it on the counter, clutching the sides of the sink as I lean over and cough. Good meth always makes you cough. And it makes you feel so fucking good that even a nightmare like this starts to look like a dream.
“Are you slamming meth in there, motherfucker?” Trey screams, and he sounds like he's about to burst a damn vein this time. I lift my eyes up and stare at myself in the mirror. It's not a pretty sight. I look like shit. Jesus Christ. Have I been walking around like this for three days? My eyes are bloodshot and ringed with purple, and my lips are pale and cracked. I look like a Goddamn zombie.
“Don't get your panties in a wad, bitch,” I call out to him, standing up and sniffing, letting my eyes fall closed for another minute. At least now I don't have to worry about how I'm going to get through another day. The drugs will take care of that for me.
I reach over and unlock the door.
Trey doesn't waste any time opening it and throwing me a death glare. I ignore him in favor of putting on some eyeliner. We have a show tonight, and I want to look good. Hell, I have to look good or I'm not getting onstage. My pain is private, not something to hang out for all to see. I'm not on display here.
“You got a hard-on for me or something?” I ask him, pretending that everything's alright, that my life has not just gone from bad to worse, that the breath has not just been suctioned out of my fucking lungs. “I can't even shit in peace anymore?” Trey looks down at the garbage, up at the tourniquet and sneers.
“You're just gonna get high everyday now?” I shrug, applying black around my eyes, making sure it's thick enough to hide the circles. Women love eyeliner on guys anyway. Or at least the women at my shows do, the ones with the piercings in their noses and the tattoos on their hips. I want to pick one of them up and fuck away the pain, but I can't do that to Naomi. For the first time in my life, I can't even imagine screwing another woman.
I look up at the ceiling as my brain seizures with false pleasure, misplaced hope, fatal courage.
“What are you now, Mother Theresa? We've gotten high everyday since we were sixteen.” I pretend not to notice that Trey is wearing Travis' cap. Or whoever's cap. Still haven't figured that mystery out. There seem to be a whole shit ton of them floating around right now, and that's kind of the least of my worries.
“Not like this, Turner. Not fucking like this. What are you doing? You're gonna kill yourself.” I don't tell my best friend that I don't care, that I'd rather die than live without Naomi Knox. I mean, how fucked up is that? Love sucks balls. Everybody always acts like it's the one thing worth living for, that spark in the fire that pulls you in, that strokes your hair back and lets you know that everything's going to be okay. Well now that I've fallen into it, nothing is okay. Nothing will ever be okay. I sipped from love's wine and now I'm drunk as shit without a place to lie down. My happy ending, my saving grace is lying dead in a morgue, cut up and fucked up, so mangled they can't even identify her damn body for sure. Oh, they say it's probably her because if not then, I mean, where the shit is she? Where? Where? Where the fuck are you, Knox? With your pretty blonde hair and your sunglasses and your fuck you all attitude.
NAOMI KNOX:Naomi Knox is hardcore. She has to be. Growing up without parents will do that to a person, especially when you're subjected to the horrors only a special type of foster family can provide … But she can play a mean guitar and she'll write music that'll make Beethoven weep in his grave. Just don't ask about her dirty, little secrets. Well, I suppose little isn't exactly the right word. Huge. Monstrous. Looming. Maybe those are better choices?
TURNER CAMPBELL:Turner is a special kind of guy. He grew up without respect, so he demands it, even if it makes him come across as a bit of an asshole. He's got piercings and tats for days, and a mouth with no filter. If you're expecting wise words woven into his insults, you're looking in the wrong place. Turner Campbell's searching; he just doesn't know what it is that he's searching for. But he does have tattoos on his … well, you know. Yep. All over down there. Bats and spider webs. Kinda cool, right?
C.M. Stunich was raised under a cover of fog in the area known simply as Eureka, CA. A mysterious place, this strange, arboreal land nursed Caitlin's (yes, that's her name!) desire to write strange fiction novels about wicked monsters, magical trains, and Nemean Lions (Google it!). She currently enjoys drag queens, having too many cats, and tribal bellydance.