Reckless In Love
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Everyone in the room turned to her in surprise—as though they’d forgotten she was there. Or maybe they were still rolling their eyes at the way she’d sobbed while Drew played. Normally, she would have felt a little embarrassed to be the center of attention, especially when no one had actually asked her to speak up, but she couldn’t stand to see them all pile on Drew like this. Even if they were couching the pile-up in compliments about how great he was.
“Drew’s hits, they’re all amazing, and you’re right that people love to dance and sing to them. But they also love being touched by something that goes so deep. There’s no one who doesn’t understand how painful it is to lose someone you love. And, honestly, it’s after they’re wiping away their tears that his fans all really come together. It’s after ‘One More Time’ that they vow to be his fans for life.”
Everyone was looking at her as though she’d sprouted a second head—all but Drew, whose expression she couldn’t read—and she knew she needed to try a different tack. Either that or just stop talking, but she figured it was too late now to backtrack. Besides, she didn’t want to backtrack. She wanted to stand up for Drew’s right to be whatever kind of artist he wanted to be!
“During the past two days, since Drew played ‘One More Time’ for the first time, it is the song everyone is talking about. Literally thousands of people have been posting about it. Clips of the song. Selfies of themselves crying as they listen to it. They’re telling their own stories of loss and heartbreak. And they’re whipping everyone who hasn’t heard the song into a frenzy of anticipation, telling them that seeing Drew play it live will be one of the best experiences of their lives.”
“Really?” Finally, Robert looked interested.
“Yes, really.” At that point, she’d already stepped so far over the boundary that she didn’t hesitate to offer, “I’d be happy to pull together a report on it for you if you’d like.”
“Ashley, is it?” When she nodded, he said, “A report would be excellent. In fact, it makes me wonder why my own social media team isn’t already doing something similar.” He shot a none-too-pleased look at the men in the room.
“We’ve been busy working on other campaigns,” one man said, before quickly adding, “but we will certainly look into this phenomenon Drew’s girlfriend has reported seeing.”
Her eyebrows went up at girlfriend, but she knew right now wasn’t the time to correct anyone’s assumptions. Not when what mattered most was that Drew should love the music he was making and not feel pressured to paint with primary colors.
“Ashley is right about my fans loving the song. And she’s right about a hell of a lot more than that.” Drew’s voice was low. Firm. As if he dared anyone else from the label to so much as doubt another word out of her mouth. He looked at Robert and Ansel. “I’ll look over the contract and let you know my thoughts.” Drew stood, then reached out to help Ashley up. “Ready for a bunch more meetings?”
She still couldn’t quite read his expression as she nodded. “Meetings are my wheelhouse.”
That got a small quirk of the lips out of him, one that she hoped meant he wasn’t upset with her for taking over the meeting. Because, truthfully, she couldn’t stand the thought of upsetting him.
Especially when all she wanted to do was help.
Oh man, was Drew not kidding about the meetings. Even Ashley was hitting the wall by the time they met with the Chief Records online team six hours later, despite the sandwiches and bowls of candy and sodas brought in to try to keep everyone from fading.
She was amazed that Drew didn’t show one ounce of fatigue. On the contrary, after the difficult first meeting, he took the lead in each subsequent one. He clearly knew exactly what he wanted from each department—how the sales and marketing team should support each overseas market and what the newest online tools were that the social media team should be incorporating into their plans going forward.
She’d admitted to Drew last night that she’d come into the tour with preconceived notions of what a rock star was like. And if she hadn’t already realized just how wrong she’d been, today’s meetings would have done it. Because while it certainly helped that Drew had a large team and a powerful record label behind him, the truth was that he was leading the charge for his own career, rather than following what other people were telling him to do. Three days with Drew and she’d already learned more than she had from years of reading case studies about the music business.
It was yet one more thing that she hadn’t truly understood from all the books she’d read about the music industry—how incredibly difficult it could be to try to strike a balance between art and commerce.
Just as difficult as the balance she was trying to figure out between her growing admiration for and attraction to Drew...and her pragmatic knowledge that, in the long run, the two of them were a terrible match. Because if the thought of sharing one kiss with him was already stretching the boundaries, then the idea of someone like her actually dating Drew Morrison was beyond laughable.
People who were as different as they were—the artist versus the pragmatist—were only ever destined to rub each other the wrong way. Sure, there had been attraction and passion between her parents. But that attraction and passion hadn’t been nearly enough to sustain their love. In fact, if anything, those emotions had been their downfall. Because if there hadn’t been that spark between them in the first place, her parents would never have leapt into such an unsuitable partnership. For fifteen years Charlie and Camila Emmit had lived a roller coaster of either fighting or freezing each other out. And it had been a horrible ride for all of them, Ashley included.