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By BB Easton
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Join the heart of the 90’s punk scene where one woman finds her tattoo-covered, bass-playing prince charming in a whirlwind rock star romance–the third spinoff novel after 44 CHAPTERS ABOUT 4 MEN, the book that inspired the hit Netflix original series SEX/LIFE.
In 1999, BB Easton met her Prince Charming. He was the tall, tattooed, wickedly handsome bass player for the up-and-coming rock band Phantom Limb. But, more importantly, he was hers. She knew it the moment he flashed her that shy, dimpled smile.
And he knew it too.
Hansel “Hans” Oppenheimer wore his heart on his sleeve and poured his soul into every lyric he wrote about BB. Unlike the guys she’d dated in the past, Hans showered her with tenderness, took her places she’d never been before, and showed her the type of all-consuming love she’d thought only existed in fairy tales.
But, like any good fairy tale, her road to happily ever after was paved with challenges, and right when she least expected it . . . it forked.
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
Copyright © 2018 by BB Easton
Cover design by BB Easton
Cover copyright © 2019 by Hachette Book Group, Inc.
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About the Author
Books by BB Easton
Star is a work of fiction based on characters and events introduced in BB Easton’s memoir, 44 Chapters About 4 Men. While the settings and many of the situations portrayed in this book are true to life, the physical characteristics and names of all characters other than BB have been altered to protect the identities of everyone involved.
Due to excessive profanity, mild violence, explicit sexual content, and themes of juvenile drug use and delinquency, this book is not intended for—and should probably be completely hidden from—anyone under the age of eighteen.
This book is dedicated to the boy who treated me like such a princess that I never dated another toad again.
Thank you, Hans. Your love broke the spell.
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People love to ask me how much of my stories are true and how much of them are fictionalized. It's a hard question to answer because I base every scene on something that actually happened. The identities of the characters have been altered, and I might have changed the time line or situational details to fit the flow of the story, but the basic plot points are almost always based on actual events.
That being said, some books end up being truer than others. This story, the one I'm about to tell you, is the truest thing I've ever written. I found, as it came pouring out of me, that my relationship with Hans was already so over-the-top romantic, so fantastical, so suspenseful that it simply didn't leave much room for exaggeration. It is a modern-day fairy tale, full of love at first sight and sprawling castles and faraway lands and witches and warlocks. Only in my fairy tale, the prince is a tattooed bass player, the princess wears combat boots, and the happily ever after is anything but predictable.
Welcome to my real-life rock-star romance. Enjoy!
It was the best of times; it was the worst of hangovers.
I awoke, nauseous and confused, in a lilac-colored room plastered with peeling My Little Pony decals. The midday sunlight leaked in through the closed blinds, searing and uninvited. The sheets touching my exposed skin were itchy. Stifling. And my mouth tasted like the inside of a beer bottle that had been used as an ashtray.
I searched my alcohol-logged brain for clues that might help explain why I was waking up inside the magical land of Equestria. Images from the night before began to surface, grainy and out of order. It was like flipping through a scattered stack of Polaroids taken during a house party—scene after scene of teenagers in black lipstick and black vinyl thrashing in the darkness. A house party. Goth Girl, my friend from school, hanging on the arm of the homeowner—a lanky Lord Licorice-looking douche bag named Steven. A keg in the kitchen. A heavy-metal band playing in the living room. I think their name was Phantom something. Phantom Limb? And there was a guy. A tall guy with messy black hair and a full sleeve of horror-movie tattoos.
The only guy not wearing pleather or lipstick.
The bass player.
My heart skipped a beat as I remembered the way he'd reacted when I bumped into him at the keg.
"Hey, Tinker Bell. Going somewhere?"
When that giant, scary-looking motherfucker smiled down at me, it'd felt like someone had flipped a switch on his whole demeanor. His dark features lit up. His eyes twinkled with some inexplicable recognition, and two adorable dimples broke through his tough exterior. He looked at me as if he'd been looking for me.
Before I even finished apologizing for our collision, the bass player simply chuckled and tucked me up under his arm. Click. I fit like a puzzle piece. Then, he steered me into the living room and plopped me down onto his lap. And that was where we'd spent the rest of the night. Two happy rockers, marooned in the middle of the gothic sea.
"So, what's your name, Tinker Bell?" The dimple-cheeked devil beamed at me, nonchalantly rubbing a slow circle on my thigh with his thumb.
"BB," I croaked. I cleared my throat and tried again, forcing myself to meet his gunmetal-blue gaze. "I'm BB…hi."
"So, Bumblebee, why were you in there getting your own beer?"
I smiled and rolled my eyes. "Well, who else was gonna get it for—"
"Me," he interrupted with a grin. "I think I'm gonna be getting all your drinks from now on."
I scoffed, trying desperately to keep my cool, and said, "I don't even know who you are."
Mr. Tall, Dark, and Tattooed grinned. His white teeth glistened. His dimples deepened. My heart rate skyrocketed. My palms got sweaty.
"I'm Hans," he said sweetly and without a shred of ego. "I'm the bass player."
Hans hadn't taken his hands or eyes off me the entire night—not that I minded. The way he'd touched me, looked at me, spoken to me, it wasn't like a guy who was trying to get into my pants; it was like a guy who'd already gotten into my pants…and met my parents.
Locking eyes with Clover, a purple pony with a peeling pink mane, I thought, This is what Cinderella must have felt like the morning after the ball. Except I don't even have a glass slipper to prove it was real. And also, I'm pretty sure Cinderella wasn't this hungover.
Clover stared back at me with sad equine eyes. I wished she could peel the rest of the way off the wall and go get me some fucking Advil. My head was pounding.
Groaning, I pulled the pony-covered polyester comforter up under my chin and rolled over.
Onto a body.
I screamed and scrambled backward, realizing a moment too late that, with two people in a twin-size bed, there was no backward to scramble to. As soon as I felt myself falling over the edge, I reached out and grabbed the first thing I could get my hands on.
It was an arm. And it was covered with the stuff of nightmares. Hellraiser and Jason and Freddy and Pennywise sneered at me as I clawed at their faces, trying to keep from going overboard.
The arm flexed and jerked away from me, but I held on for dear life. The motion yanked me back onto the bed where I landed face-first with a smack on the bare chest of my unexpected roommate.
Laughter, deep yet boyish, vibrated under my cheek.
"You scared the shit outta me!" the beast chuckled, wrapping his tattooed arm around my shoulders and pulling me in closer. The gesture and the warmth from his body turned my insides to goo.
"You scared the shit outta me!" I giggled, smacking him on the chest. I wanted to sit up and look at him, make sure he was real, ask him a million questions about what had happened the night before, but I couldn't. Not yet.
I needed to let him hold me first.
I almost purred as I snuggled into his side and draped my right arm over his bare torso. It had been almost three months since I'd felt the flesh of a boy beneath my fingertips, felt the rise and fall of his chest beneath my cheek. I hadn't gone that long without a boy to cuddle with since…middle school? Elementary school?
As far back as I could remember, I'd had a boyfriend. Boys provided two of my favorite things: attention and affection. At home, I was showered with both, being the only child of two doting hippies. But, when I wasn't at home, I got my fix from boys.
Boys, boys, boys.
Of course, as it was with any drug, the price just kept going up. At first, I'd paid for my cuddles with kisses, glimpses up my skirt. Later, my body had become the preferred currency, but my dealers would also accept blood and tears in a pinch. When times got lean, I'd been known to offer tokens carved out of my own heart, gift-wrapped wisps of my soul. Whatever it took to keep the love and affection flowing.
That May, I'd even paid with three broken ribs and a punctured lung.
I was no quitter.
I inhaled and savored his masculine scent—cigarette smoke and sweat. The smell of rock and roll.
Callused, bass-playing fingertips slid up and down my exposed arm, leaving goose bumps in their wake. The morning scruff of a grown-ass man grazed my forehead. And the steady thump of a heart I felt like I already knew beat beneath my cheek.
I was high as a kite.
As I smiled against his chest—and let my eyes roam over the hills and valleys of his abs, which were peeking out from under the covers—I couldn't believe this was the same man who'd intimidated me the night before. He might look like seventy-five inches of pierced, tattooed, heavy-metal mayhem, but he was one hundred percent snuggle bunny.
On a sigh, I finally forced myself to sit up. The giant gazed up at me with soft, denim-colored eyes, rimmed in lashes so thick and black they looked like eyeliner, and my heart sputtered. Those eyes and that mouth—narrow and pursed, as if it were on the verge of a smirk or a kiss—betrayed his otherwise severe appearance. Especially in the light of day.
Hans was fucking cute.
I'd have to remember to get his last name…and his phone number…and a few of his babies before I left.
Babies. Oh shit. Did we…
I looked down and took a quick mental appraisal.
Memories of late-night fuckery?
Vag soreness from what I assume this tall drink of water is packing?
"What are you doing in here?" I asked, smiling even wider and trying not to think about the hungover swamp monster I must have resembled.
"I was sleeping…until somebody sank her fuckin' talons into my arm." Hans looked down at his bicep. "I'm surprised I'm not bleeding."
I laughed. "You know, for a guy with Freddy Krueger tattooed on his arm, you're kind of a pussy."
"I thought I was being attacked by Freddy Krueger," Hans teased, rolling onto his side and propping his head up on his hand. "He waits until you're asleep, you know." Hans's bottom half was covered by the world's girliest comforter, but his top half…
As I tried to drag my eyes back up to his face, something caught my attention.
"What's that?" I asked, reaching for his non-tattooed arm.
Hans offered me his left arm, looking just as curious as I was. Rows and rows of words had been scrawled on the inside of his forearm in blue ink.
We read them together in silence.
I can tell you when they streak the sky,
Where the falling stars go when they leave the night.
I know how they shimmer, infrared.
I know because one fell and landed in my bed.
Hans glanced up at me with a sheepish smile and shrugged. "Guess I wrote it after you passed out last night."
Guess I wrote it after you passed out last night?
Guess I wrote it after you passed out last night!
Does that mean, Guess I wrote it about you after you passed out last night? Did Hans Whatever-His-Last-Name-Is write a fucking song about me? Are we in love? Should we go get matching tattoos now or after the wedding?
Oh shit. He's looking at you. Say something, BB. You're making your future husband uncomfortable!
"So, this is your bed?"
Nice. Not awkward at all.
"Well, it is where I crash almost every weekend, so…"
I looked around at the decor and nodded in approval. "I like what you've done with the place."
Hans laughed and sat up with his back against the whitewashed wooden headboard. Even when he was sitting up, his legs stretched almost to the end of the twin-size bed. I couldn't begin to figure out how he'd slept curled up next to me on that tiny mattress all night.
Hans folded his art-covered arms across his chest. "Hey, don't judge. Bronies are people too, you know."
I giggled and rolled my eyes. "Okay. If you're such a bronie, name one My Little Pony character."
Hans looked around the room and then back at me with a smirk. "Flutternuts."
An unexpected laugh burst out of me.
I laughed harder.
"They don't have nuts"—I cackled—"or dicks. They're girls!"
Hans chuckled as I dried my tears with the hem of my Black Flag crop top. "Okay, fine. You got me," he said. "This isn't my bed."
"Whose is it?" I hiccupped.
"Steven's daughter. She only stays here a few nights a month, but when she's gone, Steven and Victoria throw down."
I vaguely remembered, after Hans had refilled my red plastic cup one too many times, asking Goth Girl where I could sleep. She'd steered my drunk ass down a hall to a place she called "Maddie's room." I guess Maddie was a four-year-old pony enthusiast. Mystery solved.
"So, how long have you been friends with Steven?"
And, more importantly, why? That guy's such a fucking sleazeball. I don't know what the fuck Goth Girl sees in him.
"I'm actually friends with Victoria. We went to Central High together until she transferred to East Atlanta last year."
Shit. I didn't even know Goth Girl had other friends. Especially not hot ones. That bitch has been holding out on me.
"Jesus. You went to Central? And you didn't get shivved? That's impressive. You know what they say about that place. You don't graduate—"
"You get paroled." Hans quirked up an eyebrow.
"Yeah." I smiled. "So, when did you get paroled?" I immediately regretted the question.
Hans was rocking a five o'clock shadow, a full sleeve of tattoos, and a very nice full-grown man body. There was no way he could have been Goth Girl's classmate. She was my age, and this dude had to be in his early to mid-twenties. What if he had some kind of learning problem, and it had taken him, like, seven extra years to—
[Insert record-scratch sound effect.]
"Like, this May?" I asked, my voice an octave higher than usual.
Hans smiled and eyed me suspiciously. "Yeeeeah…why?"
"Sorry!" I held my hands up defensively. "I just thought you were, like…thirty-five."
Hans laughed. "Yeah, I get that a lot."
"So, how old are you?"
"Eighteen." Hans shook his head. "No, wait, nineteen. Sorry, my birthday was last month. I keep forgetting." He smiled and shrugged in a way that made me want to pinch his scruffy, chiseled cheeks.
"I graduated in May and had a birthday in June, too!" I squealed. "Dude, that's crazy! But I'm only seventeen. I graduated early."
"Oh shit!" Hans snapped his fingers in the air and sat straight up. "You must be the girl Victoria was talking about. She said one of her friends at East Atlanta got in a bad wreck right before finals, but she still managed to graduate a year early with honors and shit." Hans's eyes roamed all over my disheveled body. I knew he was scanning for injuries, but the intensity of his gaze still made the butterflies in my stomach do backflips. "You okay now?"
I thought about it. Was I okay? Physically, my ribs had healed. Emotionally, I'd accepted that Harley—my asshole ex-boyfriend who'd been driving—was a cheating piece of shit whom I'd never really loved. And psychologically, I was coming to terms with the fact that Knight, whom I actually did love, was probably better off in the military than here, getting in bar fights and running me and my boyfriend off the road. So…
"Yeah," I said with a smile, "I am."
For once, Hans didn't return my smile. "What about the guy you were with?"
Harley. That motherfucker. I remembered the puppy-dog eyes he'd given me as the cops escorted him out of the hospital, his hands cuffed in front to accommodate the cast on his left arm. Turned out, that asshole had been on parole for grand theft auto, so being found at the scene of the accident with a trunk full of illegal firearms, a vial of LSD, and a female minor who'd been taken at gunpoint didn't exactly sit well with the law.
I snorted and rolled my eyes. "He'll live."
Hans stared at me with an unreadable expression. It only lasted a second or two, but it reminded me why I'd been so intimidated by him the night before. When Hans wasn't smiling, he looked scary as fuck. Heavy, dark eyebrows, one impaled with a silver barbell, shadowed his storm-colored eyes. Wild black hair shot out in all directions. And that hard, stubbled jaw flexed as Hans drew his already-narrow mouth even tighter. Some women have what they call Resting Bitch Face. Hans had Resting Evil Villain Face.
Then, it was gone.
His smile returned, lighting up his features, and he simply replied, "Good."
On that note, Hans threw off the purple pony comforter and got out of bed. His toned physique was on full display as he turned and towered over me, wearing nothing but a pair of black boxer shorts with little yellow bananas all over them.
I ogled him. I couldn't help it. There was just so much to look at. The man's body was a long, lean, chiseled work of art. Literally. One arm was covered in black-and-gray tattoos, the other in handwritten lyrics about falling stars who hijack your bed.
It was all too much. I had to force myself to look away from the banana print and make eye contact.
Thankfully, Hans seemed to be refreshingly unaware of how affected I was by him. He simply jerked his messy bedhead toward the door and said, "You wanna go get some breakfast? I'm fuckin' starving."
I wasn't big on eating—anorexia and all—but for some reason, I found myself with a sudden hankering for banana.
"Sure," I chirped. "Just give me ten minutes."
I tried to re-spike my bottle-blonde pixie cut and reapply my makeup using whatever products I could find in my purse. Nude lipstick, black liquid eyeliner, concealer, and blush—just enough to take me from looking like death to looking like death that was worthy of an open-casket funeral. But I was having a hard time concentrating with Hans's boxer shorts on the floor next to me and the steam from the shower fogging up the mirror.
Somehow, when I'd said, "Just give me ten minutes," Hans had taken that as an invitation to take a ten-minute shower in the same fucking bathroom as me while I got ready.
—Colleen Hoover, #1 New York Times bestselling author on 44 Chapters About 4 Men
- On Sale
- Aug 24, 2021
- Page Count
- 416 pages