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|Music of the Heart(Runaway Train #1) by Katie Ashley|
Jake and I laughed at his assumption. “Nah, there was no brainwashing involved,” Jake replied. He winked at me. “She just helped me to see the light about what a complete and total jerkwad I was.”
Rhys stood staring at us with a dumbfounded expression on his face. “Dude, I’m not gonna lie and say this doesn’t surprise the shit out of me.” He then stared at me. “Are you sure you know what you’re getting yourself into?”
“No, not really, but then again, does anyone really ever know?” I countered.
“I guess not.” He winked at me. “I guess that’s why I steer clear of any relationships.”
“Sure it is,” Jake snorted.
When Rhys opened his mouth to argue, Brayden cleared his throat. “Okay, okay, I think we oughta call it a night. It’s been a helluva long day with way too much crazy shit going down, not to mention we gotta show tomorrow night.”
“Yes, Daddy,” AJ teased.
“Douchebag,” Brayden muttered under his breath as he headed to the bedroom.
I unraveled myself from the blanket before making a quick bathroom break. When I got out, Jake was waiting outside my roost. He held the curtain back like a gentleman would a door. “There’s that good side showing through again,” I commented.
He grinned. “Goodnight, Angel.”
Leaning in closer, he whispered, “Thanks for giving me another chance.”
“You’re welcome. Just make sure you toe the line from now on out, and I’m sure we won’t have any more problems.”
He chuckled. “You’re going to be the death of me.”
I blew him a kiss before shutting the curtain. “Sweet dreams, Angel,” he murmured. Drawing the covers around me, I fell asleep with the goofiest grin on my face.
The next morning we crossed over into Indiana—the next stop on Runaway Train’s tour. As we sat around the table eating breakfast, the electricity in the air was palpable. It was amazing seeing the change come over the guys the sooner they got to their next performance. As we got closer and closer to Indianapolis, the more restless they became. The bus could barely contain the four of them. AJ drummed relentlessly on a smaller, plastic version of his real drum set. Rhys’s Ivy League background showed through as he focused on playing golf on the Wii. Although Brayden was usually the one who was most level-headed, he paced the floors like a caged animal, occasionally stopping to text back and forth with Lily.
With ear buds jammed in his ears, Jake was the least restless of the guys. I guess he needed the music to tune the others out. He sat across from me at the kitchen table coloring in some sketches that Brayden had made for the band’s next album cover.
As for me, I stayed the hell out their way and studied for my nursing exam. It was a little after two when we rolled into the parking lot of the Klipsch Music Center. I’d been reading and trying to tune out the guys’ antics. But then Jake appeared in front of me, bouncing on the balls of his feet and held out his hand. “Come on,” he instructed.
I cocked an eyebrow at him suspiciously. “Just where are we going?”
He grinned. “You’ll see. It’s a surprise.”
“I’m not real big on surprises. The last one had me getting on the wrong bus and falling into the bed of the notorious Jake Slater.”
With a smirk, he replied, “That sounds like more of a dream come true than a surprise gone wrong.”
I laughed. “You would say that.”
“Come on. Trust me on this one.” His tone had become almost whiney.
Pursing my lips, I couldn’t help the tremor of excitement that went over me at his hopeful expression. “Okay. Wow me then,” I replied, putting my book down.
“Ha! I knew you’d cave. No one can resist my charms.”
“Such an egomaniac,” I muttered under my breath as I put my hand in his.
As we started down the aisle of the bus, Brayden grabbed Jake’s arm. “Where are you going? We got sound checks and rehearsal in an hour.”
“I need to do something for Abby.” He glanced over at me and smiled. “You know, make up for being such an unimaginable bastard and ass**le yesterday.”
Brayden’s brows lifted in surprise, but he didn’t argue. “Okay, man, whatever.”
After pounding down the bus steps, Frank was waiting for us along with a beefy African American guy who looked like he could bench press me and Jake at the same time.
“Abby, this is Lloyd,” Jake introduced, motioning to the guy.
Lloyd glared at Jake. “That’s LL, thank you very much.”
Jake laughed. “I love to tease him about his real name.”
“Yeah and one day, I’m gonna make you pay for it, you little tool,” LL threatened menacingly.
I hesitated for a moment before I held out my hand. “Um, nice to meet you.”
His dark expression lightened, and he gave me a smile. “Likewise.”
With LL trailing behind us, Frank led us into the arena. Once we got inside, Jake held up his hand. “We got it from here.”
“I’ll hang back, but I ain’t leavin’,” LL replied.
As we wound around through the darkened back of the arena, I snickered. “Hello Cleveland,” I murmured under my breath.
“What?” Jake asked.