Reckless In Love
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She closed her eyes as she held on tight and pleasure stormed her system again. She couldn’t breathe anymore. And yet, for a few precious moments, nothing else mattered but the way Drew was saying her name over and over and over against her lips as she rose in a blaze of light and color, then fell fast and hard. And then she shattered into so many pieces against him that when the lights finally faded, she didn’t have the strength to do anything but burrow into his strong, warm arms around her as both physical and mental exhaustion finally pulled her all the way in.
The next day was by far the craziest of any on the tour so far. Ashley had never been to Miami before—her mother had always come to California to visit her rather than the other way around—but as soon as they got off the bus that morning and stepped out onto the beach, she could see exactly how well the sun-and-energy-filled city fit her mother.
Camila had been born and raised in Miami, but when her parents passed away and she’d met Ashley’s father in her early twenties, she’d left her tropical home behind and settled in Palo Alto with him. Ashley knew her mother had always craved the hottest days and constantly wanted to take day trips to the ocean. Only, it turned out that the cool and cliffy northern California coastline was nothing like Miami’s endless stretches of hot white sand and blue water.
What’s more, the crowds of Drew’s fans were not only bigger and louder here—they were extremely passionate, too. More than one group of girls started to cry when they caught glimpses of him as the TV cameras moved around him and his interviewers on the beach.
Ashley hadn’t inherited her mother’s dark skin or hair—her father’s pale genes had won, hands down—and when she felt as though she was both overheating and burning, she told James, “I’m going to see if the owners of that slushie stand will let me hide out in their building for a while.”
James nodded, but he didn’t take his eyes off Drew or the fans who were pushing really hard against the barriers that the local police had set up a short while ago to deal with the rapidly growing crowd.
She’d nearly reached the small building when she suddenly heard something crash and break. Turning, she watched as hundreds of girls and women began to stampede toward Drew and the cameras. While the local security crew and police moved as quickly as possible to block their progress, James sprinted toward Drew, doing something that looked like sign language. Drew started running, but still couldn’t escape a few overzealous fans who grabbed him and nearly tackled him to the sand before the security guards could pull them away.
She was still standing frozen on the sand when Drew ran up to her. “James wants us to wait it out in here.” He pulled her inside the pink building filled with slushie machines. All of the employees were out front by then to see what the commotion was on the beach, so no one saw them slip into the back storeroom.
“Are you okay?” she said, stunned by how fast things had fallen apart.
“I’m fine. I just hope everyone else is all right. I wouldn’t have agreed to do the interviews on the beach if I’d known this was going to happen.”
“Is Miami always like this?”
“The fans are always excited, but this is the sort of thing we’ve only ever had to watch out for in New York and Chicago.”
“You’re more popular than ever. I wonder if it’s going to be like this everywhere soon?”
Of course she was thrilled that Drew had so many ardent fans, but at the same time, she could see how easily things could spin even more out of control than they already were, considering it was already difficult for him to walk down the street without being mobbed.
But she wasn’t sure he was listening anymore, not with the way he was pressing his cheek to hers while he ran his hands down her arms. When he reached her hands, he pulled them around his waist.
“I don’t like you being out here in this, Ash. I can’t stand the thought of anything happening to you. If you had been in the middle of that crowd...”
“Don’t you think I feel exactly the same way?” That was when she saw the cuts on his arms from where his fans’ nails had cut into his skin. Her stomach hurt as she gently brushed her fingertips over the marks. “Don’t you think I’m scared for you when everyone is being so crazy?”
“I can handle it,” he told her, just as he’d said after his fans had ambushed them at the airport that first night.
She knew that he really was strong enough and resilient enough to handle anything that came his way. She only wished she could say the same about herself. But the truth was that she didn’t know if she actually could handle it. Not just her fears that something might happen to him one day because of his fame and popularity around the world...but all of it.
Everything that came with being his.
Ashley hadn’t realized she was going to come on this tour and fall in love. But she’d ended up falling for Drew so fast that her head, and her heart, were both still spinning from the whirlwind of it all. And ever since he’d told her that he loved her—and that he wanted her father and the rest of the world to know how he felt about her—she’d been outright panicking.