I’d rather come to you tonight. Where are you staying this time?
When he responds a moment later with a familiar address—the house he’d stayed at back in February—I practically sprint from the living room to the front door. I’m anxious to get out of this cabin, especially since Mom’s rolled out of bed and Seth is due to show up within the hour. But before I step foot out the front door, Gram’s voice stops me, and I stop in my tracks.
“You’re not staying for dinner,” she says. It’s a statement, and when I turn around to see her in the foyer with a festive dishtowel slung over her shoulder, I shake my head slowly.
“I’ve got a few things I’ve got to take care of, but I promise I’ll be back home later.” Much, much later, I add silently. My brother has never been one to hold back exactly what he’s thinking—I mean hell, he gave me a safe sex talk right in front of our grandmother several months ago—so I can’t imagine what he’ll say when he learns how Mom has wiggled her way back into our lives.
Thanks to my fiancé.
Which suddenly renews my need to pin him against a wall and demand answers.
When Lucas opens the door less than a half hour later, I take a few seconds to appreciate how gorgeous he looks in jeans, a white tee shirt that expertly hugs his muscles, and hair still damp from a shower. Then, breezing into the house that holds so many delicious memories, I blurt out, “You hired an attorney for my mother and you didn’t think to tell me.”
Slamming the door, he faces me. He doesn’t blink once when he responds, “Yes and no.”
Yes and no? I suck in my cheeks, rest my shoulder blades against the wall, and cross my arms over my chest. “What the hell is that supposed to mean? Yes and no isn’t exactly an answer, Mr. Wolfe.”
“God, I love it when you call me that, Red,” he growls, and I narrow my eyes. He motions for me to follow him, and because I’m dying to hear his explanation, I’m right on the heels of his bare feet, following toward the back of his record producer’s massive house. “Look, Red, she stopped bothering you.” He glances down at me just as we pass a photo of Your Toxic Sequel and Wicked Lambs. “That’s all that matters to me. I don’t want a fucking thing standing in the way of our happiness. I mean that. We’ve dealt with enough.”
I stop him right outside the home office and place my hand on his chest, right over his heart. Raising my chin, I stare into his hazel eyes—which are more green than brown today—and will myself not to get lost in them. Damn Lucas and those eyes because they get me in trouble every. Single. Time.
“I love you for looking out for me—really, I do—but you don’t know my mother. She’s crazy. And now that you’ve poured gasoline on her crazy little fire, I just know shit’s going to come down in flames.”
His classic features wrinkle into a deep frown and he cocks his head to the side. “What happened, Si?”
“I got home this afternoon to find mommy dearest camping out at my grandma’s place. Needless to say I was shocked, especially when she gleefully told me that you’re the one to thank for her early release.” I squeeze my eyes shut, and when I open them, I notice that the muscles in Lucas’ neck are taut. “I thought we were done with secrets,” I whisper, the anger and hurt evident in my voice.
Instead of immediately responding, he wraps his guitar-calloused fingers around my hands and pulled me inside the office and across the bamboo floor. He doesn’t stop until we reach the plush leather couch, and I gasp when he pulls me down and into his lap, straddling him. When I start to protest, he drapes my arms around his broad shoulder and lays his forehead to mine.
“We are done with secrets,” he answers calmly. “But when your mom writes letters to my mother, and—”
My heart feels like it’s slammed into my throat. “Wait, what?” I lean away from him, and I’m sure I look like a deer in the headlights. “She wrote your mom? Rebecca wrote a letter to your mother?”
His mouth thins into a tight line. For a moment, he’s silent, but then he nods, locks of his dark shaggy hair falling over his face.
“God, Lucas, why didn’t you—”
“Because my mom came to me. She sees the good in everyone, and since you were recovering from a mistake I made, I wasn’t going to come to you and stress you out over anything else.” Lucas trails his finger along the hollow of my throat, and a shiver tingles through me. “My motivation was purely selfish—I just wanted your mother to leave you the hell alone.”
“But that didn’t happen,” I say, my breath catching as he cups my face in his hands and tilts my face up to his. Dammit, this is the worst time for him to touch me like this, and he has to know that. Releasing a shaky breath, I groan, “This is so wrong.”
“Good,” he murmurs against my lips. “Because wrong takes your mind off all the bullshit. Because I have every intention of making everything right. When it comes to you, I always do. But first—first we have this, and I’m fucking good with it being wrong.”
And when his mouth finally claims mine, I decide I am too. At least until he pulls away from me and we both have to face the bull he so desperately wanted us to avoid.