Tempt Me Like This
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The minutes ticked by so slowly in the boiling-hot taxi that she grew more agitated by the second, and stickier, too. By the time it finally pulled up at the venue—right when Drew usually took the stage—she paid the driver, then got out and begged the nearest stranger to let her use her phone to make a call.
She could tell by the way the girl raised her eyebrows that she must look like a crazy person. Her wavy hair had poofed way out in the humidity, her skin was flushed from the heat, her clothes were horribly wrinkled, and her eyes were probably still red from crying in her mother’s arms. Thankfully, the girl agreed to let her make the call anyway.
Drew picked up on the first ring, and the sound of his voice was so sweet that all of her nerves that had been turned up to eleven that morning immediately settled down.
“Where are you?”
“Outside the venue.”
The call went dead, and when she called him back, he didn’t pick up. Then she heard it...the gasps and screams that Drew’s fans always made when they spotted him. But when she looked up and saw him coming toward her, it didn’t look as though he noticed any of his fans freaking out as they clamored for him.
He only had eyes for her.
She’d been apart from him for only one afternoon, but it felt like a lifetime. She leapt into his arms, and when his mouth covered hers, it was like coming home. A sweeter, more exciting—and way sexier—home than she’d ever dreamed of having.
“Ash.” He put his hands on her cheeks. “Thank God you’re okay.”
“I got stuck in traffic on the way back, and my phone died.” But that wasn’t the full truth, and she wouldn’t let herself be afraid to tell Drew the truth again. “I didn’t go to run errands. I went to see my mom. I should have told you, but...”
“I get it. I’m pushing you too hard, too fast.”
“No. You’re not. You’re great. You’re amazing.” Somewhere in the back of her mind, she registered the dozens of cell phones capturing their conversation, but she didn’t care. She couldn’t wait another second for Drew to know exactly how she felt. “I love you.”
His mouth curved up in the biggest smile in the world, and then he was twirling her around and kissing her again. Around them, the crowd cheered...which was when Drew obviously realized everything they were doing in front of the venue was for public consumption.
“Let’s head inside.”
She nodded, slipping her hand into his. Saying I love you to Drew had just made her so happy, but given that at least one of the videos his fans had just shot of the two of them was bound to make it on the Internet within the next few minutes, she was going to have to tell her father about them really, really soon.
Wait...she hadn’t just conjured up her father’s voice out of thin air, had she?
She was still holding Drew’s hand when she turned to see her father standing in the middle of the crowd.
“Daddy, what are you doing here?”
Instead of answering her, Charlie Emmit scowled at Ashley’s and Drew’s linked hands, then turned his fury on Drew. “What the hell is going on here? What have you done to my daughter?”
Before she or Drew could answer, James and his local security team descended, blocking the three of them from Drew’s fans. “We need to get Ashley and Drew inside immediately, sir,” James said when her father started to protest at being led away.
She wanted to try to fix things with her dad before he got any angrier, but Drew didn’t let go of her hand.
“It’s going to be okay,” he said to her in a low voice. “Let me handle your father.”
But she couldn’t do that, couldn’t expect anyone to take the reins of her life but herself. Going to see her mother today and talking everything through had opened her eyes to so many things—most of all to the knowledge that she was a strong person. In fact, it was in large part because she tended toward the quiet side and always took her time to think things through that she realized she could trust herself to make the right decisions. Even for the really hard questions, like whether she was willing to risk all of her heart with Drew.
“You need to get on stage as soon as possible, Drew,” James said.