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|Music of the Heart(Runaway Train #1) by Katie Ashley|
“Mmm-hmm,” Mama murmured knowingly into the phone. “She could be good for you if you would give her a chance.”
“Come on, Jake!” AJ shouted.
“Mama, I gotta go. We’re catching an early dinner.”
“Okay sweetheart. I’ll talk to you soon.”
“I love you,” I proclaimed.
“I love you, too,” she replied. Just before I could hang-up, she said, “Jacob?”
“I’m serious about giving Abby a chance. Fate has a funny way of intervening in people’s lives.”
I knew what she wasn’t saying when she mentioned fate. She meant God. She and Abby would get along really well with their faith—something I had never picked up on, much to my mama’s disappointment. “Yeah, whatever.”
She laughed. “There’s that stubbornness—the worst trait you inherited from me.”
“I got a lot of good ones from you too.”
“Yes, as well as from your father.”
I growled into the phone at the mention of him. Because my mom was an absolute saint, she had been able to forgive the bastard for leaving her for his bimbo of a secretary when I was ten. Me, on the other hand, I still had issues with him and my step-mother.
Our head roadie, Frank, honked the horn, causing me to jump. “Sorry Mama, I really gotta go.” After another round of “I love yous”, I disconnected and hustled over to hop into the SUV. Leaning forward, I tapped Frank. “So where are we eating?”
He turned back to me and grinned. “The team wanted that pizza place we saw down the road a bit.”
I glanced over at the other guys who made faces and wrinkled their noses. We’d been living off pizza and Subway the last few days we were at Rock Nation. Since we’d been out in the desert, there hadn’t been shit around for miles, which meant very limited food choices.
“GPS says there’s a sports bar/diner about five minutes up the road. A hot spot for tourists and truckers.”
I laughed. “If it’s a favorite of truckers, then it must be good, huh?”
“I just want a cheeseburger the size of my head,” Rhys declared.
AJ licked his lips. “Nah, a big, juicy steak with a baked potato slathered in butter and sour cream.”
Catching Abby’s eye, I tilted my head at her. “Trucker stop okay for you, Angel?”
Although she tried to hide it, I could tell she was extremely uncomfortable at the thought. At the smirk curving on my lips, she rolled her eyes. “It sounds lovely.”
“I’m sure it’s not the quality you’re used to.”
Twisting around in her seat, she glared at me. “You still don’t get it, do you? I’ve eaten just about every animal imaginable, and the quality had certainly not been USDA approved. Once again, the missionary lifestyle is harsh. You don’t reach people while staying at the Hilton. It’s jungles, backwoods, and slums.”
I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, yeah, you’ve lived a hard knock missionary life. You wanna medal or something?”
“No, I was just making a point that I’m not the prima donna you think I am!”
“Well, you’ve been stateside since you were twelve. Not to mention, your dad is pastor of one of the five largest churches in Texas—I’m sure he makes a pretty good salary with that many members tithing.”
Abby’s blonde brows shot up. “How did you know that?”
I grinned at her. “I did a little research on my iPad while we were resting.”
“I’m not denying that we have a nice house and nice things now. But most everything goes right back into the ministry—even the boys give a lot of their salary. It’s how we were raised. But even if my dad had a BMW and my mom was draped in bling, no matter how hard you try, I’m still going to win, Jake. You can bet your sweet ass on it!”
Rhy and AJ dissolved into hearty laughter while Frank tore his gaze from the road to stare at Abby in surprise. Taking one hand from the wheel, he held it out to her. “Can I shake the hand of the only girl I’ve ever seen put Jake Slater in his place?”
Abby giggled and shook Frank’s hand. “I have three older brothers, so I’m used to it.”
“We haven’t been formerly introduced because these knuckleheads seem to have forgotten their manners. I’m Frank Patterson.”
“Abby Renard. I’m very pleased to meet you.”
“Likewise.” He jerked his head back in my direction. “That little wiseass is like a son to me, but he needs taken down every once in a while.”
“Keep talking, Frank,” I muttered.
He chuckled as he flicked on the blinker to turn into the diner. As I surmised from the teaming parking lot, it was probably nicer than most of the places we stopped along the road. With all the eighteen wheelers parked in the side-lot along with the gleaming chrome of some motorcycles up front, it also had a seedy flair to it as well. Most of the time, the shittier places were top on our list because we wouldn’t necessarily get recognized. There was a lot to appreciate about being able to eat dinner in peace without fans shoving items in front of you to sign or snapping your picture.
Frank pulled into a parking spot but kept the engine idling. “I’m going to head back down the road and check on the boys. Text me when you’re ready to leave, and I’ll come pick you up.”
“Thanks man. Make sure the guys get whatever they want, but watch the alcohol,” I instructed.