Reckless In Love
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“You have the nicest staff,” she said to Drew after Max had closed the door behind him.
“He likes you, too, Ashley.”
Drew took her hand before she could move away, that shock of electricity between them even more intense the second time. They both looked down at their joined hands, then back into each other’s eyes.
Damn it, if he was trying to keep his distance, he was doing one hell of a bad job. But he simply couldn’t keep from touching her again.
“I’m sorry about what just happened. Actually, about everything you’ve dealt with tonight, starting with the women backstage.”
“It’s not your fault you’re famous and people love you.” Her cheeks flushed at the word love—or maybe it was his hand over hers that had her flushing so beautifully. But at least she didn’t step away or pull her hand from his. “It must be scary for you when that happens.”
No one apart from his family and security staff had ever really understood just how strange it was to be the center of a big group’s attention—or adoration. He loved his fans, of course, but he didn’t love it when the press of people and voices and requests affected anyone else. He’d been worried about Ashley freaking out, but it turned out she’d only been thinking about how he must be feeling.
“I’m sorry if it was scary for you.”
“They didn’t want anything to do with me, didn’t even notice I was there. I was fine. But they were all over you.”
He shrugged. “It comes with the territory.”
She frowned, and just as she’d leaned over the table earlier that evening to make her point, she moved in closer now to say, “Just because it comes with the territory, doesn’t mean it isn’t frightening to have everyone want a piece of you.”
Did she realize she was close enough for him to kiss her? Or just how badly he was dying to taste her skin? Her eyes were the most extraordinary color, amber with flecks of green and blue, and he couldn’t stop staring into them, mesmerized.
“Music is amazing, isn’t it?” Her voice had lowered nearly to a whisper now. “The way it reaches down into you and makes you feel so much? Makes us feel like we know the singer, even when we don’t.”
He’d already felt an intense attraction between them. He liked her, too, of course. But now there was even more connecting them—a strong and immediate bond over the incredible power of music.
Already, Drew was less than a heartbeat from breaking his vow not to kiss her, and swore he could already feel the heat of her lips against his, when the bus suddenly jolted into motion.
Ashley was thrown into his arms, where he caught her and held her tightly, working to memorize every curve, her scent, the silky softness of her hair where it brushed against his chin.
Too soon, she was stumbling back, her eyes wide, her breath coming fast.
“It’s late.” She was looking everywhere but at him. “Really late. I should get to bed now. And I’m sure you must be exhausted, since you were the one doing all the work tonight on stage.”
Her words came out in a breathless rush, tumbling over one another as she moved to put as much space between them as she possibly could on the narrow bus. So even though it was the very last thing in the world he wanted to do, and hating that he was clearly making her feel uncomfortable, Drew made himself nod and say, “If you need anything tonight—”
“I’ll be fine!”
She turned away and started unzipping one of her bags. He knew he had to go or risk being the one acting stalkery. But even after he had closed the door to his private quarters at the back of the bus, he could still hear her moving around.
What was she doing now? Was she stripping down to her bra and panties? Was she sliding beneath the covers and thinking of him the way he was thinking of her? Was she as disappointed as he was that they hadn’t kissed? And was she still replaying the feel of his arms around her the way he was reliving the feel of her in his arms?
Two hours later, still lying in bed staring at the ceiling, Drew knew two things for sure. There wasn’t enough freezing cold water in all the tour buses in the world to cool him down.
And it was going to be hell trying to survive this tour if he wanted to send Ashley home to her father as pure as when she’d arrived…
Las Vegas, Nevada
Five a.m. came really early the next morning. Ashley had always been a fairly early riser, but this was pushing it even for her. Especially since she’d set her alarm for four so that she could shower in the tiny little bus shower stall and make sure her clothes were on straight and her hair was brushed.
She hadn’t had the best night’s sleep either. How could she, when Drew Morrison was only one thin door away? For a while there last night, she’d sworn she could hear him turning over in the bed, could practically hear him breathing. And that was when it had finally occurred to her—could he hear her, too? Just in case, she lay as still as possible in the bunk, but that only made it harder to fall asleep. Finally, exhaustion had taken its toll, but she couldn’t have had more than a handful of hours of rest.
She hadn’t brought much with her, just a few pairs of jeans and T-shirts, a denim skirt, and one just-in-case summer dress. Looking pretty had never mattered to her before—why would it, when she’d always had her nose buried in a book or computer? But as she went to grab the clothes she’d brought into the shower with her from the counter above the sink, she suddenly found herself wishing she knew something about fashion. Her mother had tried to get her interested in shopping plenty of times over the years, would even bring home clothes for her to try on, but Ashley always felt like an impostor in dresses and heels. It was so much more comfortable to go into her father’s office on campus to help him with whatever research project he was working on than to try on the too-colorful clothes her mother favored or let her drag Ashley to a makeup counter.