Reckless In Love
Page 15

 Bella Andre

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At first these precautions had felt like overkill. But more and more, Drew was glad to know that James was there to make sure they got in and out of crazy situations safely. And now that Ashley was with him, making sure nothing got out of hand was even more important.
Baseball cap on, he headed for Ashley. She was running her hand over the red rock, but turned as she heard him approach. Her smile was radiant, and he nearly stumbled at how deeply her pleasure affected him. He wanted nothing more in that moment than to keep giving her pleasure. Any and every way he possibly could.
Down, boy.
“I can’t believe we’re practically the only ones here. The Vegas Strip is pretty cool, but this—” She waved her hand at what was surely one of the wonders of the world. “Thank you for blowing my mind, Drew.”
He put his hand beside hers on the rock. It was warm, but not nearly as warm as her skin had been that morning when she’d barreled into his arms. He wanted to tell her she’d blown his mind from the first moment he’d set eyes on her. But with her father’s take care of my baby ringing in his ears, Drew simply said, “You’re welcome. Ready to explore?”
She nodded, but as they were heading off toward one of the trails, she stopped and looked back. “Aren’t James and Max going to come with us?”
“Not this time.” In order to distract her from asking why not, he said, “I was ten the first time we came here, all eight of us piled into a beat-up old RV my parents had bought secondhand.”
“It must have been such a grand adventure.”
“It always was whenever we took that thing out. We fought sometimes, but we played more. And we always knew our mom was going to show us something really cool. Like this sand, for instance.” He bent down to scoop up a handful of the red powder, then let it slowly blow out from between his fingers. “Not just because of the amazing color, but also because of how fine it is. I remember coming home after our first trip here and all of us were dumping red sand out of our tennis shoes for days.”
“What else did your mom show you?”
He liked that she wasn’t afraid to ask him questions about his mother. It was pretty much impossible for him to talk with any of his siblings about his mom, when they were all still too deep in the pain of losing her. And as for his father, Michael? Any hint of Lisa Morrison in a conversation and he went to pieces. Drew hadn’t realized just how much he wanted to talk to someone about his mom until this moment.
Not just someone. Ashley.
“We traveled all over the country in that RV. We went to the Grand Canyon. We saw the world’s biggest redwoods in Humboldt County. We explored the canyons in Carlsbad. And each of us put a foot and a hand in the four corners where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico meet. In fact, right outside of the Four Corners Monument is where my mom bought me my first guitar—from a guy selling a bunch of random stuff on the side of the highway.” He smiled, remembering that day. He’d been tired of being stuck inside with his little sisters hanging all over him and his brothers knocking around on him. And his mother had known exactly what he needed to feel better. “It only had five strings and one broke pretty quickly, but it was still the greatest gift anyone has ever given me.”
“What happened to that guitar? Do you still have it?”
“I wish.” He shook his head. “My brother Justin dropped it out of a tree a few years later.”
“Why would he do that?”
“I had it coming,” Drew admitted. “I’d narced on him at school for doing something wrong that had been my idea in the first place. He was just dumb enough to go along with me. Anyway, I ended up buying my first real guitar after that, a Martin that I mowed approximately a million lawns to afford. I still have that guitar. I actually played it—”
“On your last album.” She bit her lip when he looked at her in surprise. “I kind of have a thing about liner notes. I read them so many times that I end up memorizing them.”
“I do the same thing.” Now she was the one looking at him in surprise. “You want to find out more about what inspired the artist, right? And it feels like there must be clues in the liner notes.”
“It’s good to know I’m not the only person crazy enough to think that.”
“It’s why I always buy the physical album in addition to the digital. I know I can read the liner notes online, but I like being able to flip through the pages.”
“No wonder your liner notes are so great. I loved the way you basically put together a big photo album for the last release. Each picture really felt like the song it went with.” She shook her head. “I know that must sound weird—to say that a picture can feel like a song.”
“If you ask me, everything can feel like a song.” Especially this moment, when it was just the two of them surrounded by red rocks and brilliantly colored sand and the bright blue sky. “One of the biggest questions I’ve gotten since putting out that album is why I put all those random pictures in the liner notes. The label wanted it to be just pictures of me, and they weren’t particularly happy when I came in with pictures they couldn’t understand. I ended up bending on some of them, and some other things on the album, too, which still really bugs me whenever I look at it or listen to it.” He stopped, realizing that it sounded like he was complaining about all his good fortune. “Chief Records has done great things for me, but sometimes it feels like they just want me to paint with primary colors.”