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  • Home > Katie Ashley > Runaway Train > Music of the Heart (Page 33)     
    Music of the Heart(Runaway Train #1) by Katie Ashley
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    “Oh really?”

    He grinned as he put his foot down on the accelerator. “Yeah, I figure the trip will go faster if I put you to work with the list.”

    I giggled. “I thought as much.”

    As we sped out of the bus lot and onto the highway, my curiosity about Bree got the better of me. Fidgeting in my seat, I turned to Frank. “So what’s the deal with Jake and Bree?”

    He exhaled noisily. “That girl is nothing but trouble, and the last thing Jake needs is more trouble in his life. I mean, a part of me feels sorry for her. It wasn’t like she had the best parents in the world.”

    “Oh?” I asked casually, trying to goad him for more information.

    “You haven’t had the pleasure of meeting her father yet?”

    “He works for Runaway Train?”

    “Yep. Lyle’s a roadie like me.” Frank wrinkled his nose in disgust. “Well, you could say he’s only risen as far as he has by using Bree to get to rockers.”

    I gasped. “Seriously? He like…pimps her?”

    Frank chuckled. “Oh Angel, I can’t believe you just said that.” He glanced over at me. “It’s not like he’s officially prostituting her. She has always willing gone to all the guys and offered herself. She joins Lyle along the stops—somehow she has the money to travel as much as she does. Lately, she has her eye on one particular rocker, and no one else will do, which couldn’t make her daddy prouder.”

    A knot suddenly formed in my throat, and I hated myself for it. “Jake?”

    He nodded. “Of course, Jake really doesn’t care about her—he’s never cared about any of the girls he’s been with since the band made it big. They’re just objects for him to fulfill a need.” He gave a wry smile. “And does that boy ever have needs.”

    My mind was assaulted by the horrible flashback of Jake’s bedroom antics. “Yeah, he does. Too bad that gets in the way of him actually being a decent guy.”

    Frank jerked his gaze away from the road to pin me with a surprised stare. “Don’t tell me you’re falling for Jake’s charms”

    I squirmed in my seat. “I just said he wasn’t a total jerk.” Frank obviously cared for Jake, so it wasn’t like I could say everything I was feeling about him, which mainly consisted of what a complete and total ass**le Jake was. So to curb my tongue I tried focusing on Jake’s breakdown last night and our songwriting session rather than his behavior with Bree. “I mean, any guy who loves and adores his mother so much can’t totally be terrible to all women, right?” Obviously he can by the way he just pretended to be interested in you and then tossed you aside for someone who will give him what he really wants—sex.

    “I’m glad you can see through his tough façade to the real man inside. I mean, I love him like he was one of my sons, and I couldn’t do that if I didn’t know what he was really like.”

    We rode along the highway in silence for a few minutes before Frank cleared his throat. From the way he fidgeted in his seat, I knew he was about to bring up something that made him beyond uncomfortable. “You know, Jake could really use a girl like you.”

    I stared at him in surprise. “I would laugh, but you’re not joking, are you?” When he shook his head, I mumbled under my breath, “First AJ and now you.”

    “What?”

    “Nothing.”

    “I’m more than serious about what I said. Jake is going through such a difficult time right now, and what’s to come is even worse. He doesn’t need darkness like Bree.” He turned to smile at me. “He needs light, and damn if you don’t have such a beautiful light about you, Angel.”

    “Yeah, well, considering he asked me to join him and Bree for sex ten minutes ago, I don’t think he truly cares anything about my light unless it’s between my legs!”

    As his eyes bulged in horror, Frank sucked in a breath. “Oh God,” I murmured before ducking my head in mortification. Had I actually just told Frank that? Twenty-four hours on a bus with a bunch of raunchy guys had completely taken over all of the manners my parents had instilled in me. “I’m so sorry. That was totally uncalled for.”

    “I, erm,…” he stammered.

    Warmth filled my cheeks. “What I should have said is that while I appreciate the sentiment, Jake is never going to be interested in a girl like me. We’re so different, and we want different things out of the people we date.” I winced. “I mean, Jake doesn’t date.”

    Frank took a few moments to absorb my comments. “He could if he was given the chance.”

    I snorted contemptuously. “Are we talking about the same guy here?”

    “Why do I have the sneaking suspicion that your feelings and reactions might have been a tad different if we’d had this conversation this morning?”

    Before I could bite my lip or hold my tongue, I blurted, “I’m not being a spiteful little bitch. You don’t know how much it hurts that he ignored me all morning and then chose Bree, okay?”

    “Aw, Angel, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have mentioned anything.”

    “It’s okay. You were just trying to look out for Jake. But even if he hadn’t done what he did and actually gave me the time of day for longer than a minute, I don’t know if I could deal with the Brees of Jake’s life.”

    Frank pulled into a teeming Wal-Mart parking lot. After he put the SUV in park, he cut the ignition and turned to me. “Look, when it comes right down to it, I’m just an old fart widower who doesn’t know much but the love of my high school sweetheart. But I’ve seen the way Jake looks at you—” When I opened my mouth to protest, he held up his hand. “And no, it’s more than just you’re a piece of meat he wants to devour.” He smiled. “He’s seen past the pretty packaged outside to see the beauty within. I guarantee whatever he was doing with Bree this afternoon was about more than just his needs. He wanted to get you off his mind.” At my continued apprehension, he swung the keys back and forth on his finger. “So do an old man a favor and keep an open mind along with an extra forgiving heart when it comes to Jake, okay?”

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