Reckless In Love
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Or was it just that watching her parents fight so long and hard all those years had colored her view of any relationship she might have been a part of and made her scared to risk her heart?
“I’m so glad you could come here tonight for Drew’s birthday,” she said in lieu of directly answering Olivia’s question. “He was so excited about seeing you, and I know how much he loves all of you.”
“We love him, too,” Olivia said. “It’s a big deal that he’s writing new songs again. Do you have any idea what the big change was that helped him finally break through his block?”
Drew’s sister had been perfectly nice, but was more aloof than the other Morrisons. Ashley understood aloof, having been called that more than once, but it was less that Olivia was shy...and more that she seemed to want to make absolutely sure Ashley didn’t take advantage of her brother in any way.
“I’m sure he’ll sit down with you soon to tell you all about his reasons,” Ashley said carefully.
Was Olivia looking at her approvingly for not giving away any of Drew’s secrets? Again, Ashley wasn’t sure quite what his sister was thinking as Olivia said, “But you know the reasons, don’t you?”
Ashley felt like a deer caught in headlights. Yes, she knew what Drew had told her—that she’d helped him see that it was okay to risk pursuing a new musical direction rather than continuing to tread the same hugely successful paths he had before. But she still wasn’t sure she believed that she could possibly have had such a big impact on him.
“I’ve always been a fan of his music, and it’s been really nice getting to know him better as a person. We’ve had a lot of time to talk on the bus.”
“You’ve been staying on his bus? Just the two of you?”
Too late, Ashley realized this was news to his sister. She knew what Olivia must be assuming—that they were sleeping together. The problem was, his sister was spot-on. And Ashley had never been any good at lying. “My father was really worried about me joining Drew’s tour. Your brother promised him that nothing would happen to me. That’s why Drew wanted me to be on his bus.”
Olivia nodded, but Ashley still had the sense she wasn’t completely convinced that things between Drew and Ashley were quite so cut-and-dried. Of course, knowing Olivia was right made Ashley feel more than a little guilty for not just ’fessing up to the complete truth about her relationship with Drew.
But what was the truth? Of course Ashley was head over heels for Drew. Who wouldn’t be? But was it just a crush? Was it just inescapable and incredible heat between friends?
Or was it more?
So much more that even thinking about one particular four-letter word made her lose her breath.
“The two of you look like you’ve gotten pretty close.”
A part of Ashley wished Olivia would just come right out and ask if they were a couple. That way she wouldn’t have to keep fighting her own internal battles over whether to keep them a secret or not.
“Drew and I, we’ve become friends. Really good friends. And...” Ashley felt completely out of her depth in this conversation, but she still needed Olivia to know one thing. “His happiness means everything to me. That’s why tonight has been so amazing. Because he loves all of you so much, and he misses you terribly when he’s on tour. I know he’ll be on a high from seeing you for a long time.”
“He already looked happy when we got here.” Finally, Olivia smiled. “I’m glad you’re with him, Ashley. We all are.”
Just then, the house lights went dark and the drummer started playing a riff that made the crowd go crazy again in the hopes that Drew was coming back out for the first of, hopefully, many encores. When he did, he headed for their side of the stage and began singing straight to her.
She’d been worried about people guessing about whether she and Drew were an item. But every time she got lost in his eyes, in his songs, in the sweet emotions on his face...she forgot everything except for how happy he made her feel.
So happy that for a little while, she even forgot to be scared of a certain four-letter word. A word that perfectly described everything she was feeling for the rock star singing his heart out to her in front of tens of thousands of his fans, and his family, too.
It was later than usual by the time Drew and Ashley got back on the bus and headed out of town. “It was so amazing that your family came out for your birthday,” Ashley said. “They’re all so great.”
“They loved you, too, Ash.” He pulled her close, never wanting to let her go. “I knew they would. Best birthday ever.”
“Actually...” She bit her lip. “I know it’s past midnight, but I have one more little birthday gift I’d like to give you. We should probably go back into the bedroom for it, though.”
He already knew that look, the one where she clearly wanted to say or do something sexy, but was still a little shy about her newfound sensuality. “Great, let’s go.” He grabbed her hand and practically dragged her into his bedroom. “Where do you want me?”
“Everywhere.” Her eyes went big. “I just said that out loud, didn’t I?”
He grinned, as happy tonight as he’d ever been. Ashley Emmit was simply perfect. Beyond perfect—he’d never thought he’d be able to find a woman this beautiful and this brilliant.