Reckless In Love
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Every second of every day.
I was lost until you found me.
I was hurt until you healed me.
Until you took me all the way
Drew had hoped Ashley would be there to hear the song while he recorded it. But when he looked up from the sound booth and saw that she wasn’t with James, he’d decided it would actually be better if he could play it when they were alone on the bus. Just for her, so that he could watch her face as he sang about how much he loved her—and how she’d changed his life in the best possible ways.
Six hours later, they’d finished recording and mastering the song. He’d overlaid all of the parts on his guitar, the studio’s piano, and a bass guitar he’d borrowed from his bassist. He didn’t usually play all of the parts himself, but he’d wanted every note to be from him to Ashley, with no one else in between.
“She’s going to love it, Drew.” James didn’t normally comment on his songwriting, but he clearly couldn’t help himself this time. “The whole world is going to love it, but I know Ashley is the one you care about most.”
Max had brought the bus around to the back of the studio, but when Drew stepped inside, Ashley wasn’t there. “Did she say where she was going?”
“To run some errands.” James frowned as he looked at his watch. “But she said it was only going to be for a couple of hours.”
Fear immediately pricked up Drew’s spine. A part of him knew he was overreacting, but after the situation on the beach that morning, he couldn’t help but worry that something had happened to her. He’d not only promised her father he’d keep her safe, he’d also promised her that he’d never let anything happen to her.
He texted Ashley.
Just got out of the studio. Are you close by or still running errands?
He stared at his phone, waiting for her response. But when nothing came back, instead of texting again, he pressed the call button. By the time his call went to voice mail, he started to lose it.
“James, she’s not texting back or picking up her phone.”
Max knocked, then came through the door a beat later. “Traffic is way backed up. We’ve got to head to the venue.”
Drew’s gut was twisting. “We need to wait here for Ashley to come back.”
“I know you’re worried about her,” James said in a measured voice, “but she’s an intelligent, capable woman who knows where you’re playing tonight. I promise you that I will do everything I can to find her as soon as possible. But if you don’t show up to play tonight, there’s a good chance that twenty thousand people will riot.”
Drew’s curse echoed off the walls of the bus.
“She looked a little overwhelmed earlier today,” his bodyguard and friend added, knowing him well enough not to pull any punches. “Maybe she just needed some time to herself to clear her head. You’re a great guy, Drew, but you’ve got to see that it’s a pretty big deal to date someone like you.”
If he had been able to think straight, he would have seen this for himself. After all, hadn’t he said he loved her last night—and then immediately insisted they tell her father about their relationship? He was just so crazy happy about being with her that he didn’t want to admit he was pushing her way too hard and too fast into a relationship. Hell, she’d been a virgin, but he hadn’t even stopped to think about how hard just that life transition must be for her. Instead, he’d been too focused on taking her again and again and again.
“You’re right. I’ve been such an idiot. I’m just so in love with her that all I’m doing is pushing her away.”
Was her father right? Was he not a safe guy for her? Everything in Drew fought against believing that...but just because he didn’t want it to be true didn’t mean it wasn’t.
“Like James said,” Max chimed in, “Ashley’s as smart as they come. And tough enough not to let anyone push her around. Not even you, Drew. We all see the way she looks at you. And the way you’ve always looked at her. Needing a little breathing room is normal. At least,” he added with a grin, “that’s what my wife always tells me.”
Drew appreciated the way his friends were trying to help him see things more clearly. But at the same time, he hated the decision he had to make. In the end, however, it was the knowledge that James and Max were both right about how smart and capable Ashley was—and how upset she’d be if she found out he’d canceled his show over her—that had him saying, “Let’s head out for the venue. But if she needs me...”
“If she ever needs you, I’ll pull you off stage in a heartbeat,” James promised as Max left to take the wheel. “Riots or not.”
* * *
The traffic on Interstate 95 was the worst Ashley had ever seen. Her taxi had literally been sitting in the same spot for the past fifteen minutes. To make matters even worse, her phone was dead and the driver said he didn’t have a cell phone that she could borrow.
She’d told James that she would be back at the studio before they left for the venue, but there was no way she was going to make that now. Heck, at this point, she wasn’t even sure she’d make it by the time the show ended. And after what Drew had said to her in the slushie shack on the beach—I can’t stand the thought of anything happening to you—she could easily guess that he’d be worried.