Tempt Me Like This
Page 24

 Bella Andre

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“Taken? Did he actually think that you and I are...” Ashley shook her head as if the final word was too preposterous to even say aloud. “Together?”
“I’m pretty sure he did.” Drew knew he should probably feel a little guilty for helping the guy’s assumption along, but he didn’t. Not in the least. Not when that guy wasn’t good enough to touch even one hair on her head.
“Wait...does everyone think that you and I are together?”
“Maybe the guys at the airport did. And I fielded some questions at the radio stations about you.” And there had been more than a little speculation online that must have been put up there by the fans he’d met that morning. But he didn’t think Ashley needed to know about what people posted on the Internet. Hell, none of them did. “But the guys in the band and the crew know you aren’t.” Even so, he would place bets on the fact that most of them didn’t really believe Drew wasn’t going to sleep with her soon. Probably because only a total idiot would keep his distance from a woman like her.
“I suppose there aren’t a lot of researchers sharing tour buses with musicians, are there?”
“No, there aren’t.”
He knew he should stop there. Should call it a night. Should turn and walk away and lock himself in his bedroom. Should put enough space between them that he could remember why he needed to make sure they never became anything more than friends.
But he couldn’t do it, couldn’t lie to her anymore the way he’d been lying to everyone else.
“They’re not totally wrong, Ash. Not about how much I want to kiss you.”
If she’d looked surprised by the realization that people thought they were together, now she looked as though someone had just told her the earth had been scientifically proven to be flat.
“Excuse me?”
It was the last response he would ever have expected. And yet, at the same time, it was exactly the right one. Because Ashley wasn’t like anyone else. And just because he’d told her he wanted to kiss her, didn’t mean she’d jump into his arms like all the women at his show tonight would have.
Instead, she’d do what he already understood was her way of dealing with everything she wanted to understand better—she’d try to dissect and analyze what was actually going on.
Only, he didn’t want to let her dissect anything at all when it came to them. He wanted her to feel it, to be as overwhelmed by it as he was already.
“I want to kiss you.” He knew he should be putting more space between them, rather than closing it by taking a step closer, but where Ashley was concerned, his rational brain was always a step behind. “I’ve wanted to kiss you from the first moment we met. And I’ve wanted to kiss you dozens of times in the past twenty-four hours. I know I’m probably totally freaking you out, and I swear I’m not trying to scare you away. I’m trying like hell to keep my promise to be a complete gentleman with you. I just can’t lie to you about what I’m feeling.”
She didn’t say anything for several long seconds until, finally, she said, “I don’t want you to feel like you have to lie. Not to me.”
“I can’t. I won’t.”
He watched a play of thoughts cross her face, thoughts that shifted from the surprise she’d initially felt, to processing, and then, finally, to a point where it seemed that she was warring with herself.
“I want to be honest with you, too, but I don’t...” She paused, licked her lips, and he had to shove his hands deep into his pockets to keep from reaching for her. “I don’t have much experience with this kind of thing.” Finally, she lifted her gaze to his and held it. “I’ve been wanting to kiss you, too.”
If she were any other woman, he would have been kissing her already. He would have known how sweet she tasted. Would have finally gotten to hear—and drink in—her sweet gasps of pleasure.
Instead, it nearly killed him to say, “But we can’t.”
At the exact same moment that she said, “But we can’t.”
Perhaps their words echoing off each other’s should have broken the tension between them, but it didn’t. Not even close. Not when they both obviously still wanted the kiss just as much.
“My father—”
“—would kill me if I so much as touched one hair on your head.”
“It’s not you,” she said, as if she needed him to know that it wasn’t personal. “It’s what you do. He doesn’t think this is a very stable business. And he thinks that—” Her face flushed, and she didn’t finish her sentence.