Tempt Me Like This
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“Are you sure about that? Because from everything you’ve said about him, it sounds like the two of you fit together beautifully. So what if he’s on a stage and you’re behind the scenes? It doesn’t matter which side of the curtain the two of you are on for a couple of hours every night—it’s where you are the rest of the time that matters. Standing together no matter what, through good times and bad.”
Ashley was stunned by how much sense her mother was making. Because the truth was that she and Drew had always been incredibly compatible, even from that first night, when they’d caused a commotion at the airport while picking up her bags. They made each other laugh. They shared a deep love for music. And whenever they touched? There was no greater pleasure to be found in the world.
Just as her mom had said, though all the signs were pointing to them being a perfect fit, Ashley had been working overtime to focus on the reasons they weren’t.
Because she was scared. Not only scared to give her heart to someone who was different from the person she’d always assumed she’d fall for. But also because she was scared to embrace the part of her she’d kept stuffed down for so long. The secretly passionate and sensual and wild part she’d kept hidden away out of fear that it would destroy her.
“Can I be both those people? Can I be rational and wild? Analytical and creative?” Drew had told her he loved all sides of her, but she hadn’t wanted to let herself believe him.
“Just be yourself, Ashley. Because if you’re honest and loving and real, then everything will work out perfectly. I know it will.”
“Thank you.” She threw herself back into her mother’s arms. “Thank you for being such a great mom. I’m sorry I didn’t appreciate you more growing up.”
“It wasn’t your job to appreciate me or your father. It still isn’t, even if I love hearing you say it. You don’t have to make me any promises. You don’t have to make your father any promises. Only to yourself—a promise to live every day to the fullest despite your fears. There’s always something to be frightened of, honey. Just like there’s always something to be excited and happy about. I know you’re worried about things going wrong in the future, but if you ask me, the happiness and love you’re feeling far outweigh that.”
“You’re right.” Ashley blinked up at her mother, feeling as though she was seeing things clearly for the very first time. “I am happy. Happier than I even knew it was possible to be.” She stood up. “I need to tell Drew. I need to tell him that I love him.”
“Go.” Her mother stood and hugged her again. “Go be young and in love. It’s one of the most wonderful feelings in the world.”
“Come with me. Come meet him.”
“I’d love to, honey. But I think tonight needs to be about the two of you.”
“He’s playing two nights in Miami. I really want you to meet him before we leave, so can we plan on tomorrow?”
“I can’t wait to meet Drew. He sounds like a wonderful man. Just the kind of man I’ve always wanted for you—one who sees just how special and precious you are. Now,” her mother said as she wiped away her own tears, “we should probably call you a taxi.”
But Drew wasn’t the only one who needed to know how Ashley felt. “I love you, Mom.”
And this time when her mother hugged Ashley and her tears fell, they were happy ones. Because Drew had helped her find more than happiness and love with him—he’d helped bring her closer to her mother.
The new song came to Drew so fast—between being on the beach with Ashley and the end of his interviews—that he had to record it immediately. Some songs he worked on for weeks or months. But this one, he didn’t need to mess around with. He didn’t need to rewrite it a million times.
All he had to do was let his feelings out in melody and lyric.
The song was called “Inside.” And every word, every note, was a love song for Ashley.
You’re inside of me.
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.