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The Tatted Crooner

The Celeb Hookups: Novella 1

By Stacey Haga

Published by Stacey Haga at Smashwords

Copyright 2017 by Stacey Haga

Cover Design by James, GoOnWrite.com

This book is a work of fiction. References to real people, events, establishments, organizations or locations are intended only to provide a sense of authenticity and are used fictitiously. All other characters, incidents and dialogue are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real.

All rights reserved.

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To all the celebrities who have inspired countless fantasies. May you never meet us and spoil the dream.

Chapter 1

That’s right! You just heard the song of the day! Caller one-hundred gets front row seats and the last backstage passes ever for Jackson Barstow’s concert tonight!” The radio DJ announced before playing another of the pop singer’s top hits. Jackson Barstow had four songs currently in the top ten, so it wasn’t far-fetched for KISS FM to play a couple of his songs back to back.

Camila Vaughn didn’t notice what song was playing, though. She was already on her fifth attempt to get through to the radio station. She had been trying all week to win the tickets and passes to the concert and this was her last chance.

It was actually everyone’s last chance for the backstage passes. Jackson Barstow announced last week he was going to stop giving the special access after his Progress Tour wrapped up with his final performance in Los Angeles.

“Come on, come on,” Camila said quietly as she looked over the cubicle wall to see if anyone was taking notice of her dropping everything to call in. As she suspected, no one in the advertising agency noticed.

Everyone had their heads buried in their work, creating the next ad campaign for Pepsi, Comcast or whatever company it was this week. As just a paid intern, Camila never knew what was going on until the eleventh hour when someone would ask her to edit a press release or proof an ad. Truth was, she had a feeling she was going nowhere fast with the agency. They never give me a real shot to show what I can do…

Her thought was interrupted by not a busy tone, but a ringing tone coming from her cell. Camila muffled a shriek of delight. “Yes!”

Camila waited with intense anticipation. The adrenaline rush she felt at that moment was unbelievable.

A person answered on the fourth ring. “Hey! You’re caller forty, try again!”

The line disconnected and Camila cursed under her breath and dialed again. She was so close, but yet so far away. She got a busy tone and hung up, immediately hitting redial again.

In actuality, she didn’t need to do this. Her dad was a top Hollywood movie producer and could make one phone call to the right person in his infinite black book to get her the tickets and backstage passes, but where was the fun in that?! For Camila, it was all about the chase, the chance, the game, the challenge. With prime seats and the last backstage passes for arguably the biggest name currently in pop music at stake, this was one contest she had to win.

Three more busy signals did nothing to deter her, she dialed again.

“Camila…” a voice said behind her. It was Travis, her supervisor at the moment. He probably had a mundane task for her to do. Camila turned her chair around, keeping her ear pinned to her cell phone. “I have…”

Camila shot a finger up, halting him from continuing when she heard the exhilarating sound of a ringing tone again. He stopped talking and waited patiently. Camila tucked one side of her long, angled bob behind her ear that wasn’t cradling the phone. She was on the edge of her seat as the phone continued to ring.

“Hey! Who is this?” A voice said on the other line. She recognized the voice immediately as belonging to the DJ and an enormous surge of excitement rushed through her.

“Camila,” she answered with a huge smile on her face.

“Well, Camila, I hope you are a huge Jackson Barstow fan because you are caller one-hundred!”

“Oh, my God! Yes, I am!” Camila jumped out of her seat and hopped up and down like a little kid. She didn’t care, 23-year-olds were allowed to act childish when they won such a cool prize.

Travis crossed his arms over his chest as Camila gushed to the DJ about how excited she was to go to the concert. She was almost as excited about that as she was about just winning the contest. She got such an incredible high from beating the odds. It was addictive.

After a few minutes of giving the radio station her information and receiving instructions on how to pick up the tickets and passes, she disconnected the call and wrote down the information on her notepad. She had forgotten Travis was waiting outside her cubicle until he cleared his throat.

“Oh, sorry. I totally forgot you were there!” Camila smiled brightly as she swiveled back around in her chair.

“Sounds like you won something,” Travis commented, his slight smile didn’t reach his eyes.

“Yes! Tickets and backstage passes to Jackson Barstow’s concert tonight! I can’t wait! I have to get ready!” Camila gushed excitedly, not paying much mind to Travis’ demeanor. He wasn’t the most social person at the ad agency. “Did you need something?”

“I did, but seeing you have more important matters to attend to, you can cut out early if you want,” Travis replied curtly.

Camila ignored his sarcasm and grabbed her tan Hermes Birkin bag out of the overhead compartment of her cubicle. He probably only had something for her to edit, which though necessary, it was not why she wanted to work at the agency. She wanted to be one of the people who assisted with filming commercials and bringing the ad campaigns to life with her vision. That’s what she was great at, not editing. Besides, whatever he was trying to give her on a Friday afternoon could wait until Monday morning.

“Thanks! I knew you’d understand,” Camila smiled as she walked past the disgruntled, middle-aged man and toward the elevators.

Once she was inside the elevator and alone, she pumped her fist in triumph. Her persistence this week paid off and big time! She couldn’t believe she was going to be one of the last people to go backstage at his concert. She caught her reflection in the shiny panel of the elevator and gasped. A tiny bit of her blond roots was peeking out from her scalp. The contrast with her deep-dyed raven strands was obvious. That would never do if she was meeting Jackson Barstow. She took out her cell phone and texted her hair stylist and friend, Britney Childs.

Camila: Hey! I got tickets to tonight’s concert and I need my roots touched up STAT!

In less than a minute, Britney responded. Her promptness was just one of the many things Camila liked about her.

Britney: Wow! I got you! How soon can you get here?

Camila: About 30 minutes. Thanks!

Britney: See you soon!

Camila had been going to Britney for the last five years. She was edgy, wild and pure genius with a pair of scissors in her hands. When Camila first told her she wanted to look as little like a California Barbie doll as possible, Britney chopped her hair into an angled, long bob, permanently straightened it, and dyed her flaxen hair the color of midnight. She loved the anti-Hollywood look so much, she’d kept it that way ever since.

The guys at UCLA used to flock to her at parties because her raven hair, dark brown eyes, and trendy outfits were so different than the blond-haired, blue-eyed bombshells that seemed to clone themselves over and over again in southern California. Of course, she always found herself chasing after the guy who wouldn’t give her a second glance, rather than settling for one of the boys who wagged their tongues at her like dogs in desperate need of some water. Maybe that’s why she was single most of the time, but she didn’t care in college. Once she had that aloof guy begging to fuck her… Yes! It was a game that was exhilarating to win.

Chapter 2

After a short drive made unreasonably long by traffic jams and road rage drivers, Camila arrived at the trendy salon on the outskirts of Beverly Hills. Several stylists were all busy with clients, but miraculously, Britney had a clean, empty chair waiting for her.

“I don’t know how you do it,” Camila smiled as she took a seat. Britney put a black smock around her to protect her clothes. She already had the dye mixed.

“Easy, I just threaten to kill off the client that comes between you and I. They run from here screaming and I have an opening for my best gal,” Britney laughed. Camila didn’t doubt Britney would cancel appointments last minute or shove a client off on a new stylist for her top customers. She had a few celebrity regulars. Camila wasn’t famous, but she was well connected and paid Britney generously for her services.

“Thank you, doll,” Camila responded as Britney began to touch up her roots with dye.

“There’s not much new growth, but this is Barstow we’re talking about here! I totally get it!” Britney commented.

“I know! I still can’t believe I won the last pair of front-row seats,” Camila grinned while looking at her friend through the mirror. Britney was a few years older than her, but you couldn’t tell by looking at her. Her skin was as smooth as porcelain and almost as white. This week, her long, wavy extensions were dyed a fiery red which complemented her pale green eyes beautifully. Needless to say, she didn’t prescribe to the blond bombshell look either.

“Front row?! Wow, that’s insane! Who are you going with?” Britney asked while smoothing a section of Camila’s now dye-saturated hair to the side.

“Backstage passes, too. You know… I have no idea!” Camila laughed, she was so caught up in the fact she won, she hadn’t thought about who she wanted to take with her. It needed to be someone fun, who also liked the well-known pop singer.

Britney joined her laughter. “Only you would dive in first before making sure the pool was full of water. I love that about you.”

“Yeah, I just had to win, you know? Plus, it’s Jackson Barstow. I’d go alone if I had to!” Camila commented. Britney nodded her head in agreement. “Do you like him?”

“Honey, I was probably one of the few people left who liked him when he went through his rebelling stage. In fact, I may have liked him better then. He’s still hot, though, in that reformed bad-boy way,” she answered as she continued to work on Camila’s hair.

“I liked him back then, too!” Camila agreed. “I actually thought he was so cute when he was younger, but since I was older than him and in high school, I had to act like I was too cool to listen to him.”

Britney laughed. “Yep, and then he hit puberty, chopped off the hair that made him famous, and started acting like he had a chip on his shoulder. Sexy fucker.”

“What is it about the bad boys?” Camila sighed.

“They’re fun,” Britney shrugged as she set the bowl down that contained the dye mixture.

Camila nodded as she looked up at Britney. They had hung out several times. She was her favorite shopping buddy because they had similar style. They had never gone bar-hopping or to a club, though. Camila normally reserved those nights for her old sorority sisters. Her first thought was to ask her good friend Jessica to go to the concert, but something told her Britney would be more fun backstage. Besides, what would Jessica do backstage anyway? She had a serious thing going with her boyfriend, Chad.

“What are you doing tonight,” Camila asked Britney, her brow scrunched in thought.

“Not a damn thing unless you’re taking me to the concert,” Britney chuckled. Camila was surprised she didn’t have plans on a Friday night. Not that it would have mattered, any self-respecting girl would break plans to attend the epic concert.

“You’ll go?!” Camila asked excitedly, she had a feeling tonight was going to be a night she’d never forget.

‘You bet that sweet ass of yours I’m going,” Britney mischievously grinned.

Chapter 3

With her hair perfect, Camila went home to get ready for the concert. Home was her father’s mansion in Beverly Hills. She knew she could move out whenever she wanted and get her own place, but she loved the estate too much. She had too many fond memories there of her mother before she passed away.

Her mother was the quintessential Hollywood wife. She graced the red carpet at her father’s side with enough plastic surgery to make her look half his age, but Camila still loved her more than anyone else in the world and missed her terribly. Her mom gave Camila such an exotic name because she wanted her to grow up to be an heiress like Paris, Nicky or Tori and embrace the lap of luxury like she had.

Camila wasn’t opposed to the designer clothes and luxury cars. However, she had no desire to have her photo taken every time she went out, so she avoided the A-list parties and red carpet. Camila’s parents never understood her anti-Hollywood attitude when she was growing up, but they didn’t force it on her either. Camila assumed they learned their lesson with her older brothers, who were much more opposed to fame and fortune than she was.

Her father was difficult at times and that’s largely why she didn’t ask him for much. Then again, she could use his black American Express card whenever she wanted, so she didn’t have to ask.

He was almost finished producing his latest film. It was a guaranteed blockbuster about a real-life assassin who published a bestselling, tell-all book about his secret work for the U.S. government. That meant her father was working more than 12 hours a day. She was hopeful she wouldn’t see him tonight before the concert. When he was in producer mode he could be unbearable to be around. He didn’t get the nickname “The Golden Globe Dictator” for being laid back and quiet on set.

After a quick salad for dinner, she headed up to her room to get ready for the concert. She showered and almost thought she was in the clear after she found the perfect outfit, a red silk mini skirt with a matching off-the-shoulder top, but then she heard her father’s deep voice downstairs. The tone of his voice as he talked on his cell phone told her he was in a less than happy mood.

Camila knowingly shook her head, walked into her large bathroom, and started applying her makeup. She was thankful he only had about a month left on this project. He was actually fun when he was not working, taking the family on elaborate trips and playing tennis with her. She was looking forward to a few matches with him in the back yard. She was just finishing up her winged eyeliner when her father walked into her bedroom.


“Yeah, dad?” She called out as she started to apply her mascara. He appeared in the doorway behind her and she glanced at him through the mirror. He had his sleeves rolled up on his expensive button-down shirt and his designer chinos had a few wrinkles. His short, blond hair was a little disheveled. He had been working hard, that’s for sure.

He frowned as he looked at her skimpy attire. He was always protective of his only daughter. “Where are you going dressed like that?”

“Jackson Barstow’s concert,” Camila replied, putting on a second coat of mascara. She wanted her lashes extra flirty tonight.

“I see,” he replied, scrutinizing her more. She could tell he was in producer mode, which meant this was going to be a difficult conversation at best. “Aren’t there better things you could be doing with your time?”

“Like what?” Camila replied in defiance. She put down her mascara and glared at her father through the mirror. Most parents wouldn’t tolerate that kind of behavior, but her father expected it. He didn’t raise weak children. He taught them all to be head-strong and driven.

“Like trying to make something of your college degree and that ad agency you insisted on working for,” he stated firmly.

Now she knew what this was all about. He accepted her getting a degree in advertising because it had a few parallels to the film industry and he knew she had a good eye for video production like he did. However, that acceptance ended more than a year ago when she took an internship at one of the top ad agencies in Los Angeles and stayed on even when they didn’t offer her a salary position after she graduated.

“On a Friday night? What could I possibly be doing job-wise on a Friday night?” Camila huffed and went back to applying her makeup. She wasn’t a workaholic like him. He needed to just accept that.

“Maybe looking for a real job would be a place to start,” her father fired back.

“And advertising is not a real job when you make even more money from it?” She argued back while applying her blush. He couldn’t deny the power of good advertising in his job, it helped make him millions every year and they both knew it.

“You are not in advertising, honey. You’re working part-time copy-editing in a cubicle when you should be on set, visioning, creating and making a name for yourself.”

He had a point, she just didn’t feel like giving him the satisfaction of agreeing right now. He was souring her good mood before the concert. She replied quietly. “It takes time to work your way up the ladder.”

He stared at her hard in the mirror and she wondered if he was going to walk off without saying anything else. It wasn’t in his character, but there was a first time for everything with him. She was applying her red lipstick and liner when he replied.

“If they haven’t noticed your talent yet, they never will,” he said quietly, but firmly. She knew that tone, it was the same tone he used when he told her that her mom didn’t beat the cancer she had been fighting for months. It was his way of masking the sadness he felt and it got her attention. She put her lipstick down and turned to face him.

“What am I supposed to do? They haven’t even let me go to one of the sets when they’re filming commercials.” She was venting her frustration, but part of her wanted his advice on how to get ahead at her job. He was a brilliant businessman.

“I could use you on set for my next film.”

Camila sighed in exasperation. She wasn’t going to get help from him on how to advance at the ad agency. He wanted her to work for him. How many times were they going to go through this? She didn’t think she could handle him in full dictator mode on the set of a film. He was bad enough at home.

“Dad, I told you….” She started to shoot him down immediately for the third time. The first two times were when she graduated high school and then when she finished college.

“Just think about it, because you’re going nowhere with that ad agency,” he replied gruffly and walked out of her room before she could respond. That was her father, he always got the last word.

Frustrated with her father dampening her mood, she grabbed her lipstick and shoved it into her studded, black clutch along with the tickets, passes, keys, credit card, and her ID. Shoving her petite feet in a pair of black Louboutin stilettos, she rushed out of her room and down the stairs to the large garage. She was getting out of the house before her father could attempt to further ruin her night.

Chapter 4

“Have I told you lately that I love your car?!” Britney beamed as she slid into the passenger seat of Camila’s red Aston Martin DB9.

“Not since I saw you last,” Camila replied with a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes. The conversation with her dad had plagued her mind during the drive to Britney’s apartment in West Hollywood. It left her feeling less than cheery.

“Are you ready to party tonight or what?!” Britney exclaimed as she pulled the hem of her short, black dress down after putting on her seat belt.

Camila noticed Britney’s dress was so short she could see a flash of her neon pink lace thong as she sat in the leather bucket seat. The dress was a little trashy, but perfect for the concert as it left little to the imagination with a plunging neckline of loose fabric that grazed Britney’s pierced navel. That, coupled with her long, scarlet locks and Camila’s provocative red ensemble, was sure to get them noticed in the front row by Jackson tonight.

“Yep,” Camila answered with lackluster as she pulled out into traffic. The purr of the car’s engine didn’t quite give her the thrill it usually did.

“Hey, what’s wrong? You were much more excited earlier,” Britney commented, looking at her friend with concern.

“My dad and I got into it while I was getting ready.”

“About what?”

“My job. He thinks it isn’t going anywhere and wants me to work for him instead,” Camila sighed as she navigated the congested lanes of traffic heading toward the Staples Center.

“Man, I don’t know if I could work for your dad. He scares the crap out of me. I’d rather work for the devil or that Hell’s Kitchen dude.” Britney shook her head.

The comment made Camila smile a little. Sure her dad was a tough cookie, but she’d rather work for him than Gordon Ramsay.

“He’s not that bad, just a bit of dictator.”

“Do you like your job?” Britney replied, asking the million-dollar question.

“I guess so… I don’t know,” Camila contemplated.

“Ok, that’s a no,” Britney laughed. This time Camila joined in. “Well, whatever. No one likes their job, except for maybe me, but it pays the bills. Your crappy job and angry father will still be there tomorrow for you to deal with, but tonight…. This insane concert is going down tonight!”

Camila nodded at her friend as she pulled up to a stoplight. “You’re right.”

“I don’t believe you, I don’t think you’re ready for this!” Britney said, turning in her seat to face her friend, her eyes wild with excitement.

“I’m ready for tonight,” Camila smiled, her mood lifting.

“I can’t hear you!” Britney called out loudly. “Let me hear it!”

“I’m ready!” Camila shouted with a laugh.

“Little bit louder now!” Britney yelled, rolling down the passenger-side window. “What are you ready for?”

“I’m ready for Jackson Barstow!” She yelled back, feeling the last of her frustration melt away. She picked the right girl to go to the concert with, Britney would not accept her having anything but the best night of her life.

“Yeah!” Britney screamed and high-fived Camila. She then leaned her head out the window and yelled at the car beside them. “We’re going to see Jackson Barstow! Woohoo!”

The middle-aged black man in the Cadillac Escalade next to them yelled back. “Shut up!”

Britney flashed one of her D-cups at the annoyed driver and yelled back. “Fuck you, buddy!”

Camila’s head tipped back as she busted out laughing. The light turned green and she punched the gas. Her scream of excitement was no match for the roar of the Aston Martin’s V12 engine. Britney squealed with delight and flipped everyone off as the car sprinted across the intersection. Yes, it was going to be a night they'd never forget.

Chapter 5

The opening act exited the large, multi-level stage as Britney and Camila hugged each other with excitement. This was the moment they and thousands of fans had been waiting for. Camila couldn’t believe the perfect seats the radio show had given her, front and center.

“Did I tell you how hot you look tonight?” Britney asked over the noise of the crowd as she played with a silken strand of Camila’s long bob. “Jackson is going to notice you for sure.”

Camila put an arm around her friend’s trim waist and hugged her excitedly. “He’ll notice both of us! You remind me of Jessica Rabbit in that sexy dress of yours!”

Britney tossed her long scarlet locks over one shoulder and gave Camila a sexy, come hither look. She knew how to work it, but before Camila could praise her the entire arena became bathed in darkness.

“Oh, my God! This is it!” Britney screamed.

The crowd was deafening when Jackson’s voice echoed throughout the place. His acapella rendition of the first words of one of his current hits showcased his vocal range. He could hit the lowest of the lows and the highest of the highs, but Camila loved the rich smoothness of his middle-range. She let out a loud whistle of appreciation.

She just wished the lights would come on so she could see him. It was so dark she couldn’t see five feet in front of her. It sounded like he was everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Like he was all around her, but yet so far away. The feeling was as haunting as his soulful crooning.

All of a sudden, a bright spotlight shined down on the stage in front of her and he was there, right there in front of her. She let out a shriek of shock as the crowd nearly broke glass with their high-pitched squeals of delight. Britney grabbed her arm in excitement. He was only about six feet in front of Camila and she felt like she could reach out and touch his hand as he extended his toward her.

Holy, crap! He was looking right at her as he sang about waiting his whole life for the moment when real love would be his. The audience of mostly teenage girls and twenty-something women continued to scream, but Camila had lost her voice. She was too awestruck by the man in front of her.

The singer had just turned twenty-two last month, but his bourbon-colored eyes told the story of a man who had experienced things way beyond his years. His frame was small, but the shape of his arms and shoulders came from lean muscle. His attire was simple, a long-sleeved gray t-shirt, black skinny jeans, and white sneakers, but she knew they were all designer. He was growing out his buzzed hair and a lock of platinum grazed one of his eyebrows as he sang.

She could have watched him stand in front of her and sing like that for the rest of the night, maybe even the rest of her life, but the music began in the second verse. The stage became fully illuminated as male backup dancers popped out of random spots on the stage. They rushed to the center and Jackson joined them as the music launched into an electronic dance beat.

“Oh, my God! That was crazy!” Britney shouted over the constant screams surrounding them. “He’s such an awesome dancer.”

“I know!” Camila shouted back. She then remembered she had her phone and took it out to video Jackson as he matched the dancers in thrusts, kicks and jabs.

Usually, there’s a noticeable difference between the style and skill of the backup dancers and the singer, who focuses more on the lyrics. Not with Jackson though. He bumped and ground his hips with them, driving all the women in the audience crazy with his superior dance moves.

Camila loved his smooth body movements followed by quick, punctuated transitions. He was in full control of his body, never giving less than 100 percent as he transitioned from the first song to the next. His control and stamina turned her on more than she wanted to admit. After the second song, Jackson stopped singing and walked back to the front of the stage.

Just a few feet from Camila and Britney screaming in excitement, he addressed the crowd. “How you doin’ tonight Los Angeles?!”

The crowd roared in response.

“I can’t hear you!” He smiled and put his hand to his ear. The crowd got louder and he nodded as he dropped his hand to his side. He paced back and forth on the stage, eyeing his screaming fans in the first few rows. When his eyes roamed over Camila and Britney he spoke again, his voice emanating a smooth sensuality. “So many pretty ladies in here tonight. You ready to have some fun?!”

“Yes!” Britney and Camila yelled in reply along with everyone else.

“I said… are you ready?!” He called out long and loud as the music started up again. It was his biggest hit from last year, “Ready to Fall.” Camila remembered not being able to turn on the radio without hearing it for months.

As he joined his female backup dancers on the second level of the stage, Britney leaned into her friend. “This is my favorite song!”

“Mine too!” Camila laughed. She loved the mix of the guitar with the electronic rhythm, it was so different and edgy, just like him.

As Jackson sang about being ready to fall for a bad girl, he occasionally reached out and grabbed his dancers as they sassily moved around him. Camila and Britney danced along to the beat and sang along. Camila wished she could dance with Jackson, he was so smooth and sexy as he ground his hips against a blond dancer.

Camila smiled knowing his provocative dancing was a middle finger to the people that complained his concerts were becoming too sexy for young girls. She took his side in the matter, he wasn’t a kid anymore. He should be able to act like an adult on stage – a suave, horny one, but an adult.

A couple of songs later, Camila could tell Jackson was getting hot dancing around. She could see beads of sweat on his forehead and his hair was damp. His long-sleeve t-shirt was beginning to cling to his torso as he walked around singing about summer time and summer loves.

She leaned over to Britney and pointed at the large screen above the stage. “He’s getting hot.”

Britney grinned wickedly. Apparently, she heard the stories, too. “You know what that means!”

Before Camila could respond, Jackson paused in the middle of the stage and whipped off his shirt. The screams were so loud, she swore every girl in the arena was going to pass out from lack of oxygen.

Fuck, he’s hot, Camila thought as he took the wadded-up material and rubbed it slowly down his chest. He was slim, but he had all the required muscles to make him a man and not a boy. If there was any question of him no longer being a kid, one needed to only look at his arms. They were covered in tattoos, most of which he got during his rebellious phase.

Camila wet her lips, there was just something about a guy who could sing the way he did. His voice was sensual and soulful, making him more attractive with every word he crooned to his audience. His smile was playful as he held out the shirt in front of him. Britney shrieked in excitement, bumping her friend and bringing Camila out of her daze. Britney reached her hand up toward the stage. Jackson teased the girls in the front row, who were going crazy wanting him to toss his shirt at them.

“Oh, you want this?” He asked a group of girls to their left. Britney vocalized her displeasure as he walked toward them. He laughed. “But these ladies want it over here.”

He pointed over to the right of the stage and started to walk to them. Camila and Britney screamed with all their might as he walked near them. Camila didn’t know who wanted the shirt more, her or Britney.

“Haha! Ok! Ok!” He toyed with the girls in the center. “Well…”

He seemed to think about it for a second and then tossed the shirt in Britney’s direction. She squealed with delight as she reached to her left to grab it. That’s when the girl next to Britney practically jumped on top of her and nabbed the gray shirt. Britney cursed and nearly fell over, but Camila grabbed her and adjusted her dress when a nipple slipped out. The girl who rudely nabbed the shirt was waving it around in triumph. Camila was vaguely aware of the scent of his cologne on the shirt, a woodsy musk, as she steadied her friend.

“You ok?” Camila asked Britney with concern. She kept an arm around her friend’s shoulder as she straightened back up and pulled the short dress back down over her butt.

“Yeah, I’m good. No thanks to that bitch,” Britney replied and shot daggers at the girl next to them, who was still basking in her ill-conceived victory.

“Are you ladies alright?” A security guard asked as he came up to them. Camila had noticed him earlier standing a little to her right. He was a big dude and his job was to keep crazy fans from getting on the stage.

“Yep, nothing a free t-shirt couldn’t fix,” Britney joked with the bald man. They all shared a brief laugh before the guard went back to his post a few feet away.

The brief scuffle was quickly forgotten as Camila and Britney turned their attention back to the stage where a now shirtless Jackson Barstow was dancing with all his backup dancers in an awesome routine.

“Damn,” Camila murmured. She was having a hard time not crushing hard on him. She’d always enjoyed his music and thought he was pretty cool, but seeing him in person was making her see him in a different, sexual way. Britney didn’t seem to hear her friend, she was probably just engrossed as she was, watching his every move as he made his way around the stage.

Later on, when Jackson Barstow sang a couple of his ballads, the audience held up their cell phones lighting the arena like an ocean of LED lights. Britney and Camila held theirs up too, signing along with Jackson. A couple of times, Jackson stopped singing for a couple of seconds and stood in awe of his fans and the sea of flashing lights surrounding him. His expression was one of pure amazement and appreciation. In those moments, Camila couldn’t help but smile at him, he was really living his dream. She wanted to feel that lucky as well.

“You are all amazing,” Jackson said after finishing his most popular ballad where everyone sang every other line back to him. His voice wavered ever so slightly with emotion. “Just amazing. Thank you… Thank you.”

After a small chuckle of disbelief in how enamored the crowd was, he was lowered down under the stage. Music played and the all the backup dancers danced around as Camila assumed Jackson changed under the stage. When the music changed after a couple of minutes, Camila listened to it carefully. It sounded so familiar.

“What song is this? I can’t put my finger on it, but I’ve heard it before,” Camila asked Britney.

“I know I was just thinking the same thing! It’s so familiar,” Britney agreed, tilting her head as she listened.

The lighting changed and started to dart across the stage quickly. The audience began to get a little louder and then the intense bass line came in and everyone erupted into cheers.

“Oh, of course! ‘Cry your eyes out!’” Britney exclaimed. The song was hailed as the hit that turned him from boy pop singer to a bona fide adult male artist. It showcased his ability to sing, rap and beatbox in one hit song.

As Jackson Barstow came back onto the stage, he demonstrated it was indeed his talent on the track, beatboxing in a gray suit and white sneakers as he made his way to the top of the stage.

Camila nudged her friend and Britney leaned in so she could hear her over the music. “Isn’t this about his ex? Whitney?”

“I think so,” Britney replied as Jackson performed with raw aggression.

The song was about being cheated on and he wasn’t willing to take the girl back. The crescendo of the song had the crowd screaming the words back at him, “Go ahead and cry your eyes out over me, cry your eyes out.”

He launched into his rap, his face inches from the camera that fed his mug to the jumbotron above him. His words flowed with so much emotion, it made Camila assume the rumors of Whitney, a past girlfriend, cheating on him while she was on tour overseas were true. When he finished his rap, he flipped off the camera to the roar of the crowd. They loved bad-boy Jackson.

Bad-boy Jackson didn’t last for long, though. After another ballad, he shed the suit jacket and was back to dancing around and showing off his tatted arms in a sleeveless button-down white shirt. After a few more songs, Jackson stopped to talk to the audience again.

“How’s everyone doin’? Still with me?” Jackson called out with enthusiasm. Camila, Britney and everyone else cheered their approval. Camila could watch him perform all night, but she was getting anxious about meeting him backstage. She wanted to see what he was like off-stage. “You have all been incredible tonight, this has been amazing for me. How has it been for you?”

Camila actually had to hold her hands over her ears, the high-pitched squeals were so loud, but she just shouted along with them.

“Alright. Well, all good things must come to an end,” Jackson paused as the crowd whined, he just shook his head and smiled. “However, great things must end with one last song.”

The crowd erupted into cheers again and after almost a minute, he continued.

“Ok, quiet down. I get it, I get it,” he smiled genuinely. “For this last song, I need help from a very special lady in the audience.”

Camila couldn’t help but feel her body shake with excitement as he glanced at her. He walked toward the front of the stage and walked along the edge, shaking everyone’s hands as he walked along. Britney was reeling with excitement when he reached out to them and held both of their hands at the same time. His gaze passed between them, his smile seemed to take on a carnal appeal. Camila swore she felt him start to pull her hand to come on stage, but then he released it, as well as Britney’s.

“No,” Britney pouted as he moved on and eventually pulled onto the stage a young blond, she had to be thirteen at the most, but that didn’t stop the insane streak of jealously Camila felt.

He took the girl by the hand to the middle of the stage and sat her on a stool. As he began to sing his ballad that was topping the charts at the moment, Camila grabbed Britney’s hand.

“Hey, let’s head backstage,” Camila encouraged, she had no desire to watch Jackson act innocent as he sang to the young girl. She knew he was anything but innocent after the look he gave Britney and her.

“Yes, let’s!” Britney agreed and they made their way through the front row of fans and to the side of the stage where several security guards awaited.

Chapter 6

Backstage was already crowded with a mix of Jackson Barstow’s staff, entourage and fans, who were eagerly awaiting him to come down the hall. Camila could hear the fans screaming after Jackson finished and said farewell on stage. All the fans with backstage passes were instructed to wait in the hall and were roped off to one side to allow the staff, backup dancers, band members and Jackson to walk by.

“So, here’s the deal,” Britney said excitedly, walking back to Camila after getting the lowdown from one of Jackson’s bodyguards, who hadn’t stopped staring at her legs and chest since they walked backstage. “Jackson spends time signing autographs and posing for photos out here, but he’ll ask some fans to join him in the back where he and his entourage hang out. We gotta get his attention pronto to have a shot at getting back there.”

Camila glanced around at the other fans lining the hallway. There was some definite competition, but many of the girls looked to be barely eighteen. “I think we can pull that off. Just have to play it cool.”

“Yeah, definitely cool.”

The hallway became loud as the backup dancers made their way past. Most of them high-fived the fans as they passed. Their energy was still high and it gave Camila a rush of excitement as she slapped hands with a few of them. Her chance was coming soon. She had one shot to get his attention and the odds were against her. That only made her more driven to win, the adrenaline was starting to kick in.

She could have been blind and still know when he walked into the hallway. It wasn’t just the squeals of excitement from the fans. It was the electric charge the air took on around them. It fed the rush inside her as he slowly made his way toward them. They were about halfway down the hall and he was taking his time shaking hands, signing autographs, and posing for photos. Camila enjoyed watching him interact with the crowd, it was a lot different than how he worked the stage. He spoke softly, moved slowly, and he acted very politely.

A very attractive blond offered her ample chest for him to sign, making sure he got a good look at the yellow lace of her bra. He signed the top of her breast with a laugh, but Camila could tell he was slightly uncomfortable with the situation. Another girl asked for a selfie with him and snuck in a kiss on his cheek. He laughed, but moved on quickly to the next group of girls. They, in turn, got a little touchy feely and Jackson kept his time with them brief. No wonder he was ending the backstage passes. He obviously wasn’t comfortable with his more aggressive fans.

“You up for some tit flashing?” Britney joked, adjusting the cowl neck of her dress to show off her ample assets better.

Camila chuckled and then whispered in her friend’s ear. “I don’t think he likes that. Did you see how awkward he was when that bimbo asked him to sign her chest?”

“Maybe he doesn’t like fake boobs,” Britney laughed and then with bug eyes whispered frantically. “You don’t think he’s gay, do you?”

“No. I just think we don’t need to act like sluts out here to get back there,” Camila replied, eyeing Jackson carefully as he talked to the girls next to them. She was looking for any sign of what he was looking for, but she hadn’t seen him pick one girl so far to head to the back room.

“Gotcha,” Britney nodded as he wrapped up talking to the other girls.

His eyes immediately fell on Camila and she couldn’t help but smile at the look of recognition in them. She wondered what made him remember her out of the many fans in the first row. He smiled warmly at her and Britney as he shook their hands.

“Great concert, Jackson,” Britney replied warmly. Camila nodded in agreement.

“Thanks,” he nodded genuinely. “You two were in the front row, right?”

“Yeah, I won the tickets in a radio contest,” Camila smiled. She was still reeling in her good luck.

“That’s awesome! I never win anything,” Jackson laughed.

“I’d have to disagree with that,” Britney winked at him.

“Ok, well, maybe I win every once in a while,” Jackson conceded with a depreciative smile. Camila was a little surprised how humble the guy was because he didn’t act that way on stage. Plus, he had won just about every award nomination he had received since he was a young teenager.

They all laughed at his modesty and then Camila decided to get a picture with him just in case this was her only shot. “Could we get a photo with you?”

“It would be my pleasure. Ace?” Jackson replied. One of the bodyguards following him closely took Camila and Britney’s phones as Jackson got between them. He put his arms around their waists, a casual move, but one that still excited Camila. She had to get in the back area, she just had to.

After Ace gave back their phones, Jackson thanked them for coming out to the concert. Camila noticed a little nod between him and his bodyguard as he moved on down the line.

Camila and Britney continued to watch Jackson as he greeted the rest of his fans after they gushed over their photos with the pop star. They were perfect. However, as Jackson got toward the end of the line, she began to wonder who he was inviting to the back area. No one had been talked to or pulled from the line.

When he began to tell the fans goodbye in the hall, she really felt they lost their shot. “I just want to thank all of you again for coming out tonight. As you’ve probably heard, this is the last time I’m giving out backstage passes. So, I thank you for making this special for me. I wish all of you a great night and a great life. Goodnight!”

The murmurs of disappointment were apparent as the arena’s security guards began to usher the fans out of the hall and to the exit. Jackson went down another hallway that Camila could only assume led to the back area the bodyguard had mentioned to Britney.

“Is that it?” Britney frowned as they slowly walked in the dismayed herd toward the exit. “What a joke.”

“I don’t get it. What about what that guy said to you?” Camila glowered.

“Maybe he just fed me a line of crap so he could stare down my dress more,” Britney huffed.

As they approached the exit, Camila felt bereft. Maybe she should have been more provoking when Jackson talked to her and flirted with him? She hated to lose. It was always such a letdown. She managed to give Ace a small smile as he stood to the side of the exit with a security guard.

“Thanks for the pics, Ace,” she acknowledged as she approached the open double doors.

“Not a problem ladies,” Ace replied, his buzzed haircut reminded her of a soldier or a cop. She wondered if he used to be one. Not that it mattered, she was leaving. Before she could go out the door everyone else had exited, Ace stopped her and Britney. “You two can use those doors to exit.”

He nodded subtly in the direction behind him. It was a short hallway with another set of double doors, but it wasn’t the one Jackson had used earlier. That one was to his right.

“Ok,” she obeyed as if she had been given an order by a police officer or her father. Britney and Camila walked around Ace and to the doors beyond. The excitement of the unknown and uncertainty began to build inside her. Could it be?

“What was that all about?” Britney asked quietly. Camila shrugged, but they both noticed what was on the other side of the doors at the same time. It wasn’t the arena or the parking lot. It was another hallway. “Oh, my God! We’re in!”

Camila agreed excitedly as they opened one of the doors. As they entered the new hallway, they were greeted by the bodyguard Britney spoke to earlier.

“Haha! You made it,” he smiled at Britney. “Party’s in that room down there. See ya in a few, doll.”

“If you’re lucky!” Britney laughed as they walked quickly past him and toward the door he mentioned. It was obvious which one they needed to enter. Music and laughter could be heard coming from it long before they got near it.

Camila and Britney grinned at each other as they opened the door. Inside reminded Camila of her college days attending frat parties, but tamer and fewer people. Loud music, booze, weed, lots of laughter, and loud talking. It was a mixture of some of the dancers and band, what Camila guessed was Jackson’s entourage, and a couple of groupies, but there was no sign of the singer.

“Would you ladies like some shots?” A middle-aged guy asked them. His casual designer suit alerted Camila that he was most likely one of Jackson’s managers or a record producer. He had that business look about him.

“Sure,” Camila smiled as he handed Britney and her double shots of a clear liquid and limes.

“Patron, one of Jackson’s favorites,” the man said casually, his accent hinted that he was raised in Brooklyn. “I’m Frank, the tour manager.”

“I’m Camila and this is my friend, Britney,” Camila replied, pleased she had guessed the man’s occupation correctly. Being around the big-wigs that associated with her father had taught her well. The girls did a couple of shots with Frank and congratulated him on an amazing concert. Unlike Jackson, he wasn’t very humble about his hard work.

“Yeah, this tour was worth every million spent. My best work yet,” Frank beamed with pride. Britney smirked at his arrogance, but Camila understood it being the daughter of a film producer. “Well ladies, help yourself to any of the food or alcohol. If you want weed, Lucy has the best shit. Jackson should be in here as soon as he’s done showering.”

“Thanks,” the girls replied.

They didn’t have to look for Lucy. The skinny, pink-haired backup dancer found them and shared a joint as she flirted with Britney. Camila was a little surprised to learn from their conversation that Britney was bisexual. Lucy said she could spot a girl with similar tastes a mile away.

Before Lucy left the girls, she inhaled a joint deeply and slowly exhaled the smoke an inch from Britney’s full lips. Britney closed the gap slightly as she inhaled. The suggestive scene caught a couple of guys’ attention and Camila’s. She had to admit it was pretty sexy watching them. She had never done more than just kiss a girl before in college and that was to get a guy’s attention. Clearly, Britney did it for other reasons.

A little high and tipsy, the girls lounged on a couch, sipped champagne, and checked out the after party. Camila noticed only a few girls had been invited back besides them. They were all beautiful, including the one that had stolen Jackson’s shirt from Britney during the concert.

“Of course, she would get back here. That nasty bitch,” Britney mumbled and downed the rest of her champagne. Terrance, the bodyguard who had been ogling Britney since they arrived backstage, was quick to go get her another glass. “What was he thinking?”

Camila chuckled as the bottle-blond gushed over her ill-won prize with Jackson’s agent. “Maybe she has a nice personality.”

Britney huffed at Camila’s sarcasm and dealt some of her own. “No personality can make up for her rank armpits.”

Camila laughed loudly as Terrance gave Britney another glass of bubbly spirits.

“Seriously!” Britney laughed, turning her left shoulder to her friend. “Smell my shoulder, I bet it smells like pure ass!”

“I’ll smell more than just your shoulder, doll face,” Terrance cut in, suggestively touching Britney’s upper arm.

“Nice try, thanks for the champagne,” Britney frowned at the bodyguard. “Now, do us a favor and go hit on smelly pits.”

Terrance took the hint and strolled off just as Jackson walked into the room. His eyes immediately fell on Camila and an instant excitement came over her. His stare was the same carnal one he gave her at the end of the concert. He was dressed casually in faded denim and a white t-shirt. He had a bottle of beer in one hand and Camila could smell his masculine body wash as he walked over to the couch where they sat.

“Let the party begin,” Britney whispered as he approached.

“Hey! I’m glad you accepted my invitation. Britney and Camila, right?” Jackson smiled as he took a seat on the arm of the sofa closest to Camila. The girls nodded happily. Camila was impressed he remembered their names and took it as a good sign.

“As if we wouldn’t accept,” Britney smiled at the singer. Lucy sauntered up to Jackson and gave him a fresh joint she had just lit. She winked at the girls as he took a long drag and gave it back to her.

“Thanks, Lucy,” he said quietly after slowly exhaling. Then Lucy headed over to the other side of the room where a group of dancers hung out. He seemed very relaxed now and Camila realized he must have been nervous when he was in the hallway earlier with all his fans. She wondered why.

“So, are you two from L.A.?” He asked, leaning forward with interest.

“Yep, born and raised,” Camila replied. Britney nodded in agreement. Britney was actually born in Riverside, but that was close enough.

“Cool, what do you do?”

“I’m a hair stylist in Beverly Hills,” Britney offered.

Camila chimed in quickly after her friend, so Britney wouldn’t mention her father. She wasn’t ashamed of her dad, it was quite the opposite, but famous people always treated her differently if they knew of her dad. She just wanted to be treated like everyone else. “I work at an advertising agency. Nothing exciting.”

“Nah, that’s cool. Do you make commercials and stuff?” Jackson asked. He seemed genuinely interested in what she did.

“And stuff,” Camila smiled. She wanted to make commercials, but that wasn’t happening anytime soon to her dismay. They all chuckled at her cheeky response.

“Since you do hair…” he began. He motioned to Britney and then pointed at his unruly lock of hair that fell carelessly over his forehead. “What would you do with this mess?”

“Oh, honey,” Britney smiled as she stood up and walked over to Jackson. She was going to take full advantage of this situation. She ran her hands through the top of his hair that had been grown out and then over the shorter sides. Camila could tell Jackson liked the feel of Britney’s fingers in his hair as his eyes went halfway closed. She had the magic touch and Camila was a little envious her friend was touching the singer. She wanted a good reason to touch him as well. “You don’t want to go back to your roots, do you?”

Jackson grimaced at her tease. “Hell no.”

Britney laughed and lifted the longer lengths of his hair between her fingers. Camila bet she was imagining cutting it or something else far more erotic.

“Just kidding. Why not go edgier then? I’d grow out the top, straighten it, and bleach it platinum. Then go with a close buzz on the sides. The contrast of your dark blond roots would look sick. What do you think, Camila?” Britney asked with a sly wink.

“Sounds hot,” she agreed, withholding a chuckle as Britney continued to play with the singer’s hair.

“It definitely sounds cool. I want to do something different now the tour is over,” Jackson commented, looking up at Britney with his brown eyes.

“Come see me anytime, I’d love to get my hands on you,” Britney grinned, letting her double entendre sink in as she let go of his hair.

Jackson grinned wickedly and the way he bit his lower lip made Camila want to do things to him. The look Britney gave him conveyed a similar thought. They all chatted and flirted for awhile. Jackson didn’t seem in a hurry to make his rounds to everyone in the room. Camila was thankful for it, because every moment they spent together, the more desire built up inside of her. A mutual attraction was undeniably there. His subtle, perusing glances of her body. His leg casually brushing hers as they all shared a toast. She even noticed him eyeing Britney’s lips as she sipped champagne. He was interested in them both, but how could they get him alone to explore this attraction?

“Hey, man. Are you going to talk to anyone else tonight?” Jackson’s agent joked as he approached the trio. They were laughing on the couch after Jackson told them about the time his pants fell down on stage in Toronto.

“Yeah, sure,” Jackson smiled genuinely at his agent. He gave Britney and Camila a look of longing as he stood up. “Please don’t leave. We’re just getting started.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Camila responded.

“But if you take too long to get your cute ass back over here, we’re out!” Britney joked.

“Alright, I promise I won’t be long,” the singer chuckled as he walked over to a couple of girls. They had been shooting daggers at Britney and Camila for hogging the celebrity.

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