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|Music of the Heart(Runaway Train #1) by Katie Ashley|
I crossed my arms over my chest. “I’m seriously impressed. You’re a true triple threat—you sing, you play guitar, and you dance.”
AJ shimmied Abby across the grungy bus floor. “She’s a quadruple threat because she’s fine as hell too!”
Abby rolled her eyes, but she still let AJ spin her around and then dip her low as the song came to a close.
As she lay reclined in his arms, I asked, “Tell me, is there anything you can’t do, Angel?”
“Hmm, maybe pass my nursing exams or find a decent guy?”
AJ groaned. “You got one right here, mi amor! Say the word, and we can reenact this entire scene later…in the bedroom.”
Abby swatted his chest playfully. “You promised to stop with the sex stuff. A gentleman, remember?!”
“Yeah, yeah,” he muttered glumly as he pulled her up.
She laughed as she smoothed down her hair and fixed the straps of her sundress. “Honestly, AJ, nothing stops you, does it? I mean, I even pick Los Caminos De La Vida out of your Spanish collection for us to dance to because I know it’s the least sexy song in the world. It’s about a dude worrying about his mother dying for goodness sake.”
My chest tightened at the mention of a mother’s death, and my hand immediately went to my pocket where my phone rested. “Hey, um, I’ll meet you guys outside, okay?”
Abby nodded while AJ said, “I’ll round up Bray and Rhys.”
“Sounds good.” As soon as I stepped off the bus steps, I dialed my mom. She answered on the second ring. “Hey sweetie.”
Even though she couldn’t see me, a broad smile spread across my face. “Hey, Mama. I just wanted to call and see how your doctor’s appointment went.” Although I’d never admit it to her, I’d been worried to death about her. Three years ago, we’d faced a crisis when a routine breast exam found a tumor. She had been through the gamut of chemo and radiation, along with a mastectomy. Fortunately though, she had been strong and healthy since then. She just had to go back for routine exams and blood work.
“Oh, just fine. Everything’s fine. No need to worry.”
“Are you sure? You sound tired.”
She laughed. “It’s just because some of the girls convinced me to dance again. I overdid it thinking I was twenty, not fifty.”
Back in the day, my mom had been a classically trained ballet dancer. Although her dream was to make it into Julliard, she did well traveling and touring with local companies. Once she got too old to dance, she opened a dance studio. It was financially successful for her and successful for me since I met and charmed the tutus off quite a few of the dancers.
I shook my head. Even though she was trying to play it off, I could tell there was more. “I could come home if you needed me.”
“Jacob, I’m fine. What I need you to do right now is keep up with your band’s obligations. There are a lot of people depending on you.”
My mama was one of the few people I allowed to call me by my birth name. “Okay, okay. But you know I’d be there in an instant if you needed me.”
I could hear the pleasure in her voice when she replied, “Of course I do. But you know Papa’s just down the road and the rest of the family. You just take care of you.”
It was then that the bus doors opened up. Missing the last step, Abby came tumbling off the bus, and I had to rush forward to catch her before she fell. She gripped my biceps to steady herself. “Oops, what a blonde moment,” she murmured, her face flushing with embarrassment. “Thank you, Jake.”
I grinned at her and then winked. “Just glad I could save you from face planting.”
Abby gave a small smile before hurrying away from me and disappearing into the passenger seat of the Tahoe waiting to take us to dinner. Rhys and Brayden came out followed by AJ.
“Jacob?” My mother’s voice finally brought me back out of my thoughts of how good Abby’s hands felt on me and how delicious she smelled.
“Sorry, Mama. Small female crisis.”
“Was that Bree?” From just those few words, my mother’s tone indicated her disdain for any involvement I had with the dark-haired goddess who traveled from time to time with her dad who was a roadie with the band. Mama hated the fact that Bree showed up all over the country just to be with me.
“No, it wasn’t. Her name is Abby. And before you can even ask, she’s not a groupie.” I then gave my mom a quick explanation.
“She sounds lovely.”
I rolled my eyes, but I couldn’t help laughing. “Yeah, I’m sure to you she does. To me it’s a freakin’ nightmare—an alleged virgin who isn’t going to let me in her pants without the Jaws of Life. She’s not intimidated by me at all. Not to mention she has drive and ambition not just in the music world, but with nursing. And to top it all off, she comes from an insanely religious background.”
“Jacob Ethan Slater! I can’t believe you just talked about getting into a girl’s pants in front of me!” Mama chided.
“Sorry,” I replied, sheepishly. “I guess I’ve been with the guys too long.”
She laughed. “Please tell me you’re not acting like a total animal and that you show some of the respect I instilled in you—especially to this Abby.”
“I try…and I’ll try with her too.”
“Is she pretty?”
Without missing a beat, I replied, “She’s beautiful—just like an angel.” I winced the moment the pansy words escaped my lips. What the hell was happening to me?