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|Music of the Heart(Runaway Train #1) by Katie Ashley|
“I didn’t want to upset you with just a few weeks left on your tour.”
A frustrated growl came from low in my throat. “For once, would you stop putting me and everyone else first? This is the time to be f**king selfish. I mean, you’re…” Closing my eyes, I still couldn’t bring myself to say the words again.
“Honey, there will be plenty of time for us to say our goodbyes when you get off the road.”
“Fuck that. I’m coming home now.”
“No, Jacob, you’re not.”
“Look, the guys are all in agreement. Hell, Rhys is even ready to use what little law school he had to go toe to toe with the execs if they give us any shit about it.”
“I’m still your mother, and I say no.”
A tormented sob choked off in my throat. I gripped the phone tight against my ear as I tried to hold my emotions and sanity in check. “But we don’t have that much time left together. How can you be so f**king cruel and deny me one moment with you?”
“Jacob, your language is absolutely atrocious!” she chided.
“Stop it! I don’t wanna hear about the wrong I’m doing, okay?”
“Look, these are hard times on everyone, sweetheart. There are a lot of people who work for you and they depend on you and so do their families.” When I started to protest, she sighed. “I’m a mess right now, honey—both emotionally and physically. I don’t want you seeing me like this. Before I knew for sure if it was terminal, I started treatment again just in case. It’s wrecked me. So give me a few weeks, okay?” At her sniffling, I broke down myself. “Sweetheart, I want more than anything to have a month or two just to be your mother and take care of you before you have to take care of me.”
Tears streamed down my cheeks when I thought about everything she was going through just to have time to be a mom to me. “Why do you have to be like this?”
She chuckled. “Jacob, it’s that stubbornness that we both share, remember?”
“I love you…God, do I love you,” I blubbered.
“I know, baby. As high as the sky, remember?”
I was crying so hard I couldn’t respond. Even though she couldn’t see me, I bobbed my head in acknowledgement of the phrase she had taught me as a child.
You know how much I love you, Jacob?
As high as the sky, Mama!
That’s right, sweet boy.
“Jacob,” my mother began in the soft, soothing voice she’d used since I was a child. “I know it’s hard, but try to put all this behind you. Focus on your music. Find escape in it, and for the next three weeks, give your audiences the best shows you possibly can. And each night you do, rest assured that you’re making me proud for your strength and courage.”
With the backs of my hands, I tried wiping off the tear-stained, snot-filled mess my face had become. “Okay, I’ll try.”
“That’s my boy. I’ll call you each and every day.”
“I will. I love you, honey.”
“I love you too.”
And with that she was gone. Doubling over, I rested my palms on my knees. My body heaved and shook as I tried to get myself together.
Pinching my eyes shut, I willed her to go away. I couldn’t deal with her period, especially not like this. “Not now,” I muttered.
She snaked her arms around my waist. “Baby, what’s wrong?” Bree crooned into my ear.
“Shit that you wouldn’t possibly understand. Besides, I just told you I don’t wanna f**king talk about it, okay?”
Slinking around me, Bree tucked her finger under my chin and forced me to look at her. “Oh Jake, you look like hell.”
“Thanks,” I grunted.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t make it yesterday. Trust me, if you’re going to get like this when I go away, I’ll just quit my job,” she teased.
“You barely work as it is. It’s a wonder you don’t get fired as much as you call in.”
She laughed. “That’s the perk of working for your granddaddy’s towing service. It’s hard to fire family.”
“Besides, he likes being able to tell everyone that I’m cutting off work to go hang-out with Jake Slater of Runaway Train.”
I fought the urge to say that her grandfather was pretty sketchy to enjoy the fact she was a glorified groupie, joining up with me at different tour stops.
Bree’s tongue flicked across my earlobe, causing me to shiver. “I could work on you full-time. Cause trust me baby, it’s a buzzkill having a real job that keeps me away from you and that fantastic c**k of yours,” she drawled. The lust in her voice caused my traitorous dick to twitch.
“Is that right?”
“Mmm, hmm.” A cat-like smile curved on her lips. “You miss me?”
The truth was I hadn’t. Sure, I missed the sex, but there would never, ever be anything stronger between me and Bree. But I desperately needed an emotional escape right now, and the only thing I could think of was screwing my problems out of my mind. “Yeah, I did.”
“Hmm, wanna show me how much when we get back on the bus?”
“Yeah, but first I need to get f**ked up.”
She chuckled. “It’s barely ten o’clock, Jake.”
“I don’t give a shit. Go tell your dad I want his flask—the one with the good stuff in it.”