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Monday, October 28, 2013

CONSUMED UPDATE (And Not A Bad One Like You Might Be Expecting)

I'm getting a lot of messages about the date change on Amazon. Please trust me when I say that this new date is incorrect. I am currently working to get it fixed, but please know that you will absolutely NOT have to wait until June or 2014 or even another couple of weeks to get more Lucas.

I love you guys and the fact that you are craving Lucas and CONSUMED, and I cannot wait for it to be in your hands. Rest assured...Lucas is around the corner. Like, so close I can reach out and touch his guitar.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Chapter Fourteen
Lucas Wolfe

No matter how much time passes by, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that motherfucker Wyatt being married to my kid sister.  I should’ve known it would happen, but maybe I’ve been so wrapped up in my own shit to notice what was happening around me.

Then again, I should’ve been expecting her to quit on me too. But while I was getting ready for the tour and the launch of my own stuff, I failed to see that one coming. She breaks the news to me about a month after her crazy ass Vegas stunt, and for someone who isn’t easily surprised, I’m fucking stunned.

“I should make your ass pay for lunch,” I tell her. She’d convinced me to take her to some new Italian restaurant that had ended up being shit—plus I spent half the lunch signing napkins and tits for a group of fans that had noticed me. “Really, Kylie? Right before the goddamn tour?”

She presses her lips together into a thin white line. “Have you listened to a single word I’ve said, Lucas?”

I down the rest of my beer, which is lukewarm and flat. “I heard Wyatt, New Orleans, and sorry. Did I miss something?”

“You’re being a dick.” She digs her fork into my spaghetti, eats it, and makes a face at the taste. “Okay, that is gross. Sorry, Lucas.”

I shrug. “I’m more worried about you and McCrae picking up and moving to Louisiana. Fuck the shitty food.” I signal our waitress and mouth a request for the check. “You sure you going to be okay, Ky?”

“I plan on keeping you in line even from New Orleans. I would never quit on you.”

“But are you going to be okay?” I repeat.

“I wouldn’t be going if I didn’t think I’d be okay.” She grabs the bill the moment our waitress sets it on our table. “Don’t worry, I got this one.”

Yeah, probably out of her business credit card. I watch her carefully as she digs in her wallet for a credit card, and I’m surprised when she uses cash. “So, why the move?”

Sliding the money to the edge of the table, she lifts her shoulders. “New start. We’ve got so much baggage around here, and so much good history there, that it seems smart. And you’re only a few hours away by flight.” When I just stare at her, she heaves a sigh. “If you had Sienna back in your life right now—if you could have that new start—wouldn’t you pick up and leave?”

Of course I would. “Without a fucking doubt.”

A slow smile builds on my sister’s face. “So you understand where I’m coming from?” When I give her a little gesture that isn’t a negative or a positive, she adds, “You accept this, right? Because I feel like I need that from you before I start telling everyone else what I’ve done.”

When Kylie talks like this, it puts me in a shitty place. She has to know that. I wait until after our waitress carries off the bill and cash to tell her, “I accept everything that makes you happy.”

She sinks back into the booth. “Good. Like, incredibly good. Hell, Lucas, I was more afraid of dealing with you than I was of Dad.”

“You should be.”

As we start to leave, she looks into her bag and hands me a folded up piece of paper. “Thought you’d be interested.”

“I’m not upping your salary.”

She laughs, backing away. “Just think about it. It’ll be good for you.”

I don’t open the paper until I get back to my Jeep, and when I do I can’t help but laugh and shake my head. It’s a real estate listing for a cabin in the Tennessee mountains.  It’s so fucking typical of Kylie, and across the top of the sheet is a message written in her neat handwriting.

Since you lost the last one, thought you’d be interested in taking a look at this one before you win Sienna back. Don’t give me shit about the price, either. I Googled your celebrity net worth.

I’m still shaking my head as I watch Kylie’s little compact drive past. Even though her window is up, I know exactly what she’s saying when she turns her head toward me.

“Don’t let me down.”


Over the course of the next month, I reshoot the “Ten Days” video with McBride two more times. I don’t actually watch the full run-through of the newest version until the day before it’s supposed to air when Kylie emails me the file. I watch it by myself in the living room of the cabin I let my sister talk me into buying. It’s nothing like any video I’ve ever done with the band, but for what I need to get across, it’s right. Stark and honest. Right.

A few minutes after the video ends, I get a text from Kylie wishing me good luck. Asking if I still plan on going through with going to Sienna tomorrow night. When I respond that I’m not a fucking quitter, Kylie wishes me good luck one more time.

When I go to bed much later after going to a nearby bar, it’s no surprise that my last good memory of Sienna dominates my thoughts. In these memories, she’s coming out of the bathroom of that hotel room in Atlanta, wearing that little black lace dress that had instantly made my cock harden. Instead of her blue eyes staring at me like I’ve ripped her heart to shreds, she’s looking at me with that type of emotion that most motherfuckers wish they could find.

“When we’re done tonight,” I say, yanking her to me, “I’m going to rip this goddamn thing to shreds, and tie you to each fucking corner of that bed over there.”

Even though she’s already familiar with all of the four posters of the bed, she still casts a quick glance behind her. “You don’t really want to tear my dress,” she breathes against my mouth.

I glide my tongue around her soft lips before dropping my lips to her neck. “Why the fuck not?”

“I won’t have anything to wear if you go around ripping all of my clothes.”

I growl against the center of her throat. “Then I’ll buy you another.”

“And probably pull the same crap,” she says, gasping when I jerk the lacy dress up around her hips and come down on my knees in front of her. “What are you doing?” she demands, her breath hitching.

“I want to fuck you right now.” No, that’s not right. I need to be inside of her right now. We’ve surpassed want. I need that escape that I find only with her.

“Lucas,” she starts, and I grasp her ass, causing her to suck in a deep breath between her teeth. “Cilla’s party,” she reminds me.

I know she cares about Cilla’s party as much as I do, and right now I give zero fucks. Her long legs have already started shaking violently. She’s digging her fingertips into my shoulders as I shove her panties down. And she’s moaning my name even before I pull one of her legs over my shoulders so I can skim the tip of my tongue over her pussy.

She yanks at my hair.

“Calm down.” When she pulls harder, my hand meets her ass, causing a sharp noise in the room. She shivers and loosens her grip. “God, you taste so good.”

“What about you?” she moans.

I blow against her clit, lick, and repeat. “What about me?”

“I want to make you happy. I want to—” But I cut her off by lowering her to the floor, my tongue never loosing her. I wait until she’s gasping, practically singing, and then I stop. I cover the sounds she’s making with my mouth, shoving my tongue in between her lips, letting her taste herself as I drag down my pants. When I draw away from her—and it’s fucking hard to do—she drops her blue eyes down to my cock. “I didn’t even realize you were putting that on.”

I follow her gaze to the condom and grin. “Multi-talented.” She starts to respond, but I shake my head. “Bend over, Si.”

But she moves her head from side to side, too. The motion quickly changes to a shudder as I rub my thumb over her clit. “Please, I-I want to see you,” she pleads.

I stare down at her for a minute, watching as she grinds her teeth, and her hips, before I give her a nod. “Then come here.”

I wake up then in a cold sweat, but I know how it ends. I know how she felt, how she tasted. And how she told me over and over how much she loved me—me, a fucked up man who had screwed her over.

And of course, as I drink a Sam Adams even though it’s 3 in the goddamn morning, I force myself to remember how the night ended—how I fucked her once again.

So by the time I get into my Audi to drive to Nashville the next evening, I know that there’s a good chance it’s all over.

But I turn on a playlist my sister made for me with way too much fucking Chevelle, and I remain hopeful.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Chapter Thirteen

Something is going on with Kylie.

For the first time in god knows how long, she’s avoiding me. She has been since she got back from Las Vegas a week ago and she immediately asked for a few days off.  Like a dumbass, I agreed and told her to take as long as she needs. And the only thing I’ve heard from her since is the seven-worded response to the text I sent asking her to bring my award when she comes back to work: Hell no. You can have the next. ;)

That was a couple of days ago, and I’m worried about her. So worried that I’m on the verge of calling McCrae—who I haven’t seen much of either—and asking him what fucked up thing he’s done to her this time. Or just go by her shoebox apartment. As soon as I’m done with today’s music video shoot.

I’ve made it a point to stay out of their relationship, but if he’s fucked up again, I’m done.

There’s a tentative knock on the door, and an assistant pokes her head into my dressing room. “Mr. Wolfe?” she says, and when I realize she’s not going to respond until I tell her to, I nod for her to continue. “Mr. McBride is ready to begin shooting.”

I check the time on my phone, 1:55 p.m. I’ve worked with Karl McBride on several of the band’s music videos, and as usual, he’s right on time.

Staring down at the dressing room’s carpeted floor, the assistant works her bottom lip between her teeth. “Should I tell Mr. McBride that you need more time?” Shaking my head, I stand up. She’s wide-eyed as she lifts her gaze to follow me. “I mean, it absolutely wouldn’t be a problem. Mr. McBride wants to make you—” But her voice trails off as I pull the door all the way open and step past her.

“Happy, I know,” I say. McBride’s assistant continues to look at me like she’s about to sprint off in the other damn direction. Am I that fucking intimidating? “I need to get this over with.”

“Yes, of course.”

I follow at a slow pace behind her as she speed-walks in the direction of the set. Once we’re there, McBride breaks away from a group of crewmembers to come speak to me. Grinning, he claps me on the back.

“Never thought the day would come when you’d want to do something short notice but we’re all in. It’ll be the best YTS video to date,” he promises.

“Solo,” I remind him. “This is for my own album.”

He smacks his palm up against his tan forehead. “Damn, sorry. I think of you and I always automatically think the band.”

“Still with the band,” I say. “Just trying my own shit right now. Which is why we’re”—I gesture at the set, which is a simple backdrop with nothing but a high stool in front of it—“here today.”

McBride releases a noise of relief. “Then we’re ready to begin.” He glances at his watch. “Melanie?”

The assistant who came to get me a few minutes ago scurries over, keeping her eyes downcast. For a brief moment, this woman gives me a vivid reminder of my first meeting with Sienna a couple of years ago. Red had jumped at just about every word I said, had flat-out avoided me at all costs, and I’d never been more drawn to anyone in my life.

I’m not drawn to Melanie—not even close—but she sure as fuck makes me want Sienna more.

“Yes, Mr. McBride?” Melanie’s got a pen and a little notepad out, but McBride’s instructions are simple.

“Tell Christina if she’s not out of her dressing room in the next five minutes—” he starts, but I quickly stop him. That name, Christina, sounds familiar. And not the good kind of familiar but the kind that puts a foul taste in my mouth.

“That psycho who worked with me on the “All Over You” video?” I demand, and he nods. “Why the fuck would she be here?”

“Your love interest, Lucas.”

The last fucking thing I need in a music video to apologize to the woman I’m in love with is another woman crawling all over me, especially Christina. I jerk my head from side to side. “Fire her.”

McBride is suddenly just as flustered as his assistant. “I can’t just get another actress out here right away, Lucas. Not even for you. We can reshoot in a day or two maybe or even in—”

I shake my head again. “No, no actress at all. When I told you I wanted this video to be simple, I meant that. This is just me. No bullshit. And no actresses dancing around me or up on me. Just me and the song.

He backs away from me, his face a mask of confusion. At last he nods. “Melanie, sweetheart, can you get in touch with Christina’s agent?” When she immediately tells him she will, he adds, “And get me Deana.”

Another name that very familiar. I take a step toward McBride, pointing to set at the same time. “No need to discuss concepts, Karl. Everything I need to do this video is right there. You want something extra? I’ll hold up notecards or something, but that’s it.”

Karl’s shoulders slump, and the look on his face says it all—he thinks this is going to be a clusterfuck of a video—but finally he says, “Can we take thirty to get everything under control?”

“I’ll be in my dressing room.”

Even though she’s busy trying to reach Christina’s people on her iPhone, Melanie is right on my heels (obviously on McBride’s orders) as I head back to my dressing room, asking me if I need anything. When we reach the room, I stand in the doorway and bar her from trying to come inside.

“If I need a water, trust me, I know how to find it,” I say as I let myself in and shut the door behind me before she can say anything else. I’m almost to the couch on the other side of the room when the door swings open. Turning abruptly, I’m ready to tell Melanie to fuck off until they’re ready for me, but instead I face my sister. A lot of the tension I’ve been feeling seems to disappear.

“Shit, here I was thinking your ass had fallen off the face of the earth.”

But my relief to see her must show on my face because she grins. “I got your message this morning about the “Ten Days” music video, and I had to be here.” She breezes past me and throws herself down on the couch. There’s a bowl of apples on the coffee table, which she wrinkles her nose up at even as she grabs one. “Sorry it took me so long. Security gave me a hard time.”

“You were on the list.” I sit down a few feet away from her, watching her expression carefully for any signs that might point to bullshit between her and Wyatt.  When she shows none of those, I add, “They should’ve let you right in.”

“It’s the hair.” She sighs, running her hand through her multi-colored hair. “It was a different color on my ID. I need to color it back, but I’m afraid it’ll all fall out if I do.”

“Kylie,” I say, but she keeps going.

“I brought you your award.” She reaches into her oversized bag and plunks a statuette that’s shaped like a giant guitar pick on the coffee table beside the bowl of fruit. “I was going to keep it, but figured you’d keep hounding me if I didn’t give it back.”

If I wasn’t so worried about her—or still focused on nothing but the video shoot—I would have missed the ring. But I see it—fuck, it’s impossible not to see it. And I feel all my muscles tighten up. “I’d be dumb as fuck if I asked if that was a purity ring or whatever the hell they call them, huh?”

Placing the partially eaten apple onto her lap, she brings her hand to her chest, covering her ring finger with her other hand. “If purity means married then I guess you’re not so dumb after all.”

“He proposed to you?” I demand, but she shakes her head. I’m about to ask her if someone else proposed, but she clears her throat.

“We, ah, sealed the deal in Vegas. I’ve been meaning to tell you, but I know you’ve been busy with all the band stuff.”

Too busy to give a shit about something like this? “Kylie,” I groan, but she holds up her hands defensively and leans in close.

“And before you even ask, no, I’m not pregnant.”

Because our conversation is just getting started, it suddenly has to come to a close because there are a few timid knocks at the dressing room door. Melanie peeks inside and Kylie and I both glance over at her.

“Mr. Wolfe, we’re ready for you again.”

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Here's Part 13 of ABSORBED, which is the last chapter that's written from Kylie's POV (Unless there's ever a request from you guys for another, of course!). I hope you enjoy! :)

Chapter Twelve
Kylie Wolfe

The rest of the day working for Lucas passes by at an agonizingly slow pace. When it’s finally over, and I’m ready to go back to my apartment for the night, I run downstairs and poke my head in his music room. He’s deep in concentration, with his guitar sitting on his lap and holding a guitar pick and a pen in the same hand. I feel bad for disturbing him when he’s in the zone like this, but since I won’t be around tomorrow or the next day on official band business, I feel the need to remind him.

“Hey,” I say gently. Of course, he doesn’t look up. He continues to play his guitar, so the next time I speak, it’s more forceful and attention grabbing. “I need a raise like yesterday.”

This time, he glances up at me. He cocks his head to one side and a bemused expression forms on his olive-toned face. “You make plenty, Kylie.”

A smile tugs at my lips. “I’m just screwing with you,” I say, but he doesn’t look convinced. “Just wanted to remind you about the AMPed Awards.”
He gives me a deadpan look, like he has no damn clue what I’m talking about. “Alright.”

I release a heavy sigh. “You know? The show in Vegas that you asked me to go to in your place? Yeah, it’s tomorrow night so I won’t be back for a couple of days. Just wanted to make sure you didn’t need anything before I left.”

He bends his head to the song he’s working on and makes a note in his book. As if I’m not standing in the doorway talking to him. What the hell? “Since you can’t pay attention for longer than ten seconds, should I text you where I’m going to be?” I ask, but he shakes his head, never looking up at me. Times like this are the ones where I want to wrap my fingers around my brother’s neck and throttle the shit out of him.

“I heard you. I remembered. And no, I don’t need anything.” He glances up and gives me a stern look that probably works like a charm on any woman other than our mother and me. “Don’t get into too much shit while you’re in Vegas.”

“I’ll try not to get my ID stolen this time,” I promise, even though the ID fiasco had occurred in New Orleans and not Vegas. And Wyatt had been with me at the time. He’s been so busy recently that going to Vegas is completely out of the question. “I’m sure it’ll be fine,” I add, sounding anything but convincing.

Lucas rolls hazel eyes. “Hell, maybe I should be texting Heidi and telling her crazy ass to stay out of trouble.”

I’d mentioned to Lucas that my closest friend, Heidi, would be going to Vegas with me weeks ago, but I didn’t think he heard me at the time.  It was when he was deep, deep into working on the song for Sienna, and all he did was give me a quick nod before returning to his music. “And here I was thinking everything I said sounded like gibberish to you.”

“Have a good trip,” he says, smirking.

“If you win that songwriting award, I’m keeping that shit for my apartment,” I say, but he shrugs. As I turn to leave, he clears his throat. It’s Lucas’s go-to sound for getting attention.

“By the way it’s Peanuts.”

“Excuse me?” My confusion must be written all over my face as I wait for him to explain.

Peanuts, or Charlie Brown, whatever you want to call it. Most of the time I hear the wahh-wahh-wahh shit the teacher did when you talk.” 

I didn’t even think Lucas remembered watching all the Charlie Brown specials year after year with our parents when we were kids, but apparently he does. It takes a lot of effort to hold back my laughter, but I narrow my eyes into a steely glare. “Go fuck yourself, Lucas.”

“Love you, too,” he yells after me. “And you’re not keeping my award.”


“I’m keeping the damn award,” I tell Heidi in a confident voice while we’re at our first after-party late the next night. Since I accepted the metallic blue, guitar-pick shaped award for Lucas earlier—an award he received for Songwriter of the Year— I’ve been holding on to it tightly. There’s no way I’m letting it go. My brother can have one of the other awards that the band won, which are going to be shipped to Los Angeles. This one—well, it’ll go well in my den.

Heidi swipes two shots off of a serving tray as a hostess passes by and drinks them both, making a screwed up face as they go down. “Bet you a hundred bucks Lucas gets it back.” She places the shot glasses on the edge of someone’s table in the crowded nightclub before tugging the hem of her tiny bandage dress down. The dress immediately crawls back up, exposing more of her toned thighs. “Actually, on second thought, I bet you a thousand. Lucas is intimidating.”

“Nah, he’ll—” I start, but then I cringe as familiar spiky blonde hair attached to an even more familiar face comes into view across the club’s dance floor. At first, I hope like hell he doesn’t notice me, but then a big ass grin moves across Gavin Cooley’s face. I had absolutely loved Dark Fiction, the band that Gavin fronts, for all of a week. Then I got the chance to meet Gavin, who just so happens to be one of the biggest dickwads I’ve ever met.

Heidi twists in the direction of my stare, her green eyes scanning the area, until they land on Gavin. “Ugh, that douche is here?”

“Didn’t realize you ever met him,” I say between gritted teeth as he comes closer, and I see her nod out of the corner of my eye.

“Oh, yeah. He tried to talk me onto his bus last year at Rock Fest. I gave him a fake number and told him to call me when he was ready for me to come over.”

Because I make the mistake of glancing over at her, and getting a good glimpse of the serious expression on her face, I’m laughing when Gavin finally makes it over to us. “Kylie-Fucking-Wolfe,” he says, and I quirk the corner of my mouth. His gaze sweeps over me, spending a little too long on the curves of my hips and my breasts, which are accentuated by a gravity defying push-up bra that I let Heidi talk me into buying. “Nice dress,” he adds, though I don’t think he gives two shits about my strapless black mini dress.

“Thanks.” Still clutching the large blue guitar pick award, I fold my arms over my chest. “Nice performance tonight.”

Gavin shrugs, but it’s one of those cocky gestures that cause me to twist my lips to the side skeptically. “We were alright.” He glances behind me, looking for someone. “Lucas didn’t show?”

“He’s in the studio, so I’m afraid he couldn’t make it. None of the guys could come.” It’s the same thing I said when I accepted the band’s awards, and I’m sure Gavin already knows all this, but his lips pull down into a frown anyway. It takes every ounce of restraint not to roll my eyes. What a fucking drama king.

“That’s a shame. Heard from Cilla you’ve been seeing Wyatt, must’ve been hard for him to let you come here alone.”

“I’m sure he’s devastated right now,” I reply in a dry voice. Of course, that’s anything but the truth. For the last few weeks, Wyatt’s been just as distracted as Lucas. It’s unnerving. And though I hate to admit it, it’s caused me to spend a little more time at my own place. To give him space because even though we’ve been doing this thing with one another for eight years, the relationship aspect still feels so new.

“I would be,” Gavin says, dragging his gaze over my body again. “Devastated, that is.”

Heidi runs her hand through her chestnut curls. “I’m devastated that I don’t have a drink in my hand.” She nods toward another guy coming toward—the guest guitarist who’d performed with Dark Fiction on stage earlier tonight. “Scratch that, looks like he brought one for me.”

Before the guitarist can pass the drink along to Gavin, Heidi plucks it out of his hands and takes a sip. When he gives her a hard look, she smiles widely, which is usually enough to win any man over.  Gavin speaks up before the other man has a chance to. “Knox, this is Wolfe’s sister, Kylie and her friend—.”

Heidi takes another sip of the drink, giving Gavin an incredulous look over the rim. “Heidi. Though, I’m sure you already know that.”

Knox reaches out toward me, and I accept his hand. “Your playing is incredible,” I tell him. And it’s true. Regardless of how big of a turd I think Gavin is, I can’t deny incredible music.

Knox grins, this wide, genuine expression complete with dimples. “Good to finally meet you. Everyone talks about Kylie Wolfe.” Because I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing, I nod and offer him a grateful smile. Heidi touches my shoulder and I glance over at her.

“Got to pee,” she mouths, backing away in the direction of the restrooms. When I turn my attention back to Knox and Gavin a moment later, they’re already talking about something else—some other chick’s ass—and I use the opportunity to sneak away, heading straight for the club’s exit.

Once I’m outside, standing in the dry, night heat, I draw in a deep breath. As I light the only cigarette I have on me (the one I tucked behind my ear before Heidi and I came to the night club), I check my phone.

One text from my brother asking if everything at the awards show went alright. No calls or texts or anything from Wyatt. Shit.

Taking a deep drag of my cigarette, I send a message to Lucas. After I debate for a good two minutes over whether or not I should text Wyatt and let him know everything is going okay, I toss my phone back inside of my tiny handbag. “I shouldn’t be upset that he hasn’t contacted me,” I whisper fiercely to myself. “I shouldn’t be worried. I shouldn’t be—”

“You shouldn’t announce where you’re headed on Facebook,” a voice says from beside me, and my heart is suddenly racing as I jerk my gaze up. “You really, really shouldn’t, beautiful. It’s worse than Foursquare.”

Once I find my voice, and yeah, it takes me a little bit to do that, I ask, “What the hell are you doing here, Wyatt?” I lift a hand to push a strand of my hair back behind my ear. He immediately pulls the lock back out, rubbing it between his fingers before dropping the pink and blonde in favor of touching my face. “You’re supposed to be in the studio?” But as selfish as it sounds, I’m glad he’s not in the studio. I’d much rather Wyatt be here.

He shrugs, and then I realize something. This situation is so reminiscent of the last time he surprised me in New Orleans—all except for the fact that he and I are actually a couple now—that I immediately assume the worst. “Is Sinjin okay?” I demand.

His bright blue eyes crinkle at the corners as he laughs, and I feel a tiny weight being lifted off my chest. “Sinjin’s fine. Stop worrying about him so damn much, you’re going to give the poor mother fucker a nervous twitch.” He takes a step closer to me. “Can’t I just come to Vegas and surprise you and all that good shit?”

All that good shit probably referring to sex. I bite the corner of my lip. “Couldn’t stand the thought of me meeting hot strangers?”

He looks over me, just like Gavin did only fifteen minutes ago, but I make no moves to cover myself. Or to stop a wide grin from spreading across my face. “You can pretend like I’m a stranger if you want.” His expression goes serious, and then he pulls me to him. My breath hitches as I meet his gaze. “Look Ky, I came to apologize for being so fucking off lately. I’ve . . . I’ve been thinking a lot. Then we had all the band shit.” I nod in understanding, and he takes a deep breath. “And then I started talking to my lawyer this past week.”

“Wait—what?” I whisper.

“I’m going to try to get primary custody of Brenna.”

His daughter—someone that I love just as much as I love him. I grip his shoulder with my free hand, trying to control my breathing. “I fully support this—you know I do. And, for what it’s worth, I’m so glad that’s why you’ve been off.

His smile is one of relief—a beautiful expression that makes my chest hurt. “So that’s why I’m here. To let you know that I’ve heard everything you’ve said to me over the last couple of weeks. To let you know that I give a fuck about everything you do.” Letting me go, he grabs Lucas’s guitar pick award from me and weighs it in the palm of his hand. “Especially when it’s in Vegas.”

“You came here to stop me from eloping with that guy I met this morning at the blackjack slot machine in my hotel, didn’t you?” I tease.

“I fucking love you, beautiful.”

It had taken him so long to say those words to me that it still causes me to shiver. “I love you too, McCrae.”

Backing away from me, he starts to release my hand, but I tighten my grip on his fingers. “You should get back to Heidi,” he says.

My eyebrows tighten together into a frown. “You’re leaving?”

“Going back to my room at the Venetian. At least until you and Heidi are done here. I’m flying back with you tomorrow night.”

I let out a huge breath. “Thank god. For a moment, I thought you flew in only to say sorry.“

He leans down so that his mouth is level with my ear. “Actually, I flew in to marry you.”  As he walks away, he grins at me—at the way I can’t quite get my mouth to shut. “But I figured I should get the sorry out of the way before I told you that, beautiful.”