Tempt Me Like This
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Dreaming of Drew’s kisses was a one-way trip to crying herself to sleep at night on the bus if he took some other girl into the back room. Which was why she made herself step back out of his arms...even though she was quickly realizing that it was her absolute favorite place to be.
* * *
All Drew wanted to do in that moment was kiss Ashley.
He was mesmerized not only by her gorgeous mouth, but also by every one of her expressions, from surprised to pleased, from empathy to frustration. And a second ago he could have sworn that she wanted that kiss as badly as he did. But instead of taking it, she’d pulled back.
Damn it, he knew she was right. He’d promised her father he’d keep his hands off her.
Knowing the best first step in trying to cool off would be to head back to the bus, he said, “It’s pretty hot out here.” Hot was a ridiculous understatement for the temperature, just as desire didn’t even come close to what Drew had felt from the first moment he’d set eyes on Ashley. “Do you want to turn back?”
“Actually, I love the heat.” She held out her arms and lifted her face to the sun as if to soak in more of it. She was so beautiful, the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. “And I’ve always loved watching the flames dance in a fire, too. I never thought I’d get to see them made out of rock, though. Thank you for bringing me here, Drew. It’s been the most wonderful surprise.”
“Heat. Flames. Ash.” She opened her eyes and looked at him as he said, “It all fits you. Fits you perfectly.”
She licked her lips, and he couldn’t stop his gaze from dropping again to the damp flesh. Her breathing hitched in her chest, and the very thin thread still holding his self-control together snapped. But when he was halfway to reaching for her to drag her against him so that he could devour her mouth, he looked into her eyes...and saw the panic in them.
Damn it, the last thing he wanted to do was scare her. Especially after he’d promised her last night that he would be a perfect gentleman. Stealing a kiss from her today wasn’t just breaking his promise to her father—it was breaking his promise to her.
“Maybe,” he made himself say, “we should head back before James starts freaking out.”
* * *
For the rest of the day, Drew continually reminded himself that he needed to rein in his attraction to Ashley. But every time she laughed—or so much as looked him in the eye—he had a harder and harder time remembering why. She drew him in as no other woman ever had. Not only physically, but also because she got him and his music on a really deep level.
By the time he strode on stage that night, he was more than ready to burn off his pent-up energy. They went five songs over, not just because the crowd was great, but also because he knew what awaited him when he got offstage was another night alone on his bus with Ashley. Trying to stay away. Trying not to kiss. Not to touch. Not to devour every beautiful inch of her.
But even if it was nearly killing him to keep his hands off her, he couldn’t have put her in with his crew. She was too fresh, too gentle. He didn’t want to risk anyone taking that away from her.
And when he played “One More Time” for the second time, he didn’t just play it for his mom. He played it for Ashley, too.
“Great job tonight, guys,” he told his band before he headed off to the meet-and-greet room.
James handed him a towel as they walked down the long backstage hallway. “You seemed closer to your old self out there tonight. Got something you’re trying to work out of your system?”
Drew could guess his bodyguard knew damn well exactly who he was trying to work out of his system. But it was clearly a rhetorical question, because James followed it up with the piece of information that Drew needed most.
“Ashley is already in the meet-and-greet room with Max.”
“Thanks for keeping watch over her.” He’d already made it perfectly clear, more than once, to his entire staff that both Drew and her father would kill them all if anything happened to her.
“My pleasure. She’s smart, pretty, and has a big heart. I’m glad she’s joined us.”
They were the same things Drew had been thinking—or, rather, trying not to think about.
Then again, there were a lot of things he was trying not to think about: his mom being gone and his dad being a wreck; the fact that not only could he not write a song worth a damn anymore, but also how he felt like he was faking it more and more every night on stage; how Smith Sullivan was waiting for him to deliver a great soundtrack for his new movie soon and had no idea that Drew had a grand total of zero good songs for it so far; and the meeting he’d be having with the label the following morning, where they were sure to drag out the golden handcuffs again.