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|Music of the Soul(Runaway Train #2.5) by Katie Ashley|
When I pulled in the driveway, I found cars lining both sides of the road along with several catering trucks. I eased up beside the barn and hopped out. My dog, Angel, came yipping to my side. “Hey girl, you keepin’ an eye on things for me?”
She barked and wagged her tail. I patted her head before I started back up the hillside. Down below the house where we usually held our bonfires, a huge, white tent had been erected. We were doing a sit-down dinner and dancing celebration for over two hundred people who would be unable to come to Mexico since it was a ‘destination wedding’, as someone had called it. Tonight was mainly friends, extended family members, along with our road crew. Tomorrow was intended to be only our closest family and friends. Abby had wanted to keep the actual ceremony small with only fifty people in attendance. She claimed that she had to share me with so many people—the world when it came down to it—that on our special day, she wanted it to be as private as it could be.
As I started up the front walkway, the sweetest sound in the world floated back to me. Abby’s singing. Although it was a part of my daily life when we were on tour, I never tired of hearing it. Without her voice, she would have never accidentally fallen into my bed for me to fall in love with. Craning my neck to find her, I jogged up the front steps.
Down at the far end of the porch, Abby sat cross legged on the wicker couch with a guitar on her lap. Eli sat to her right in one of the rocking chairs. He strummed along with her, harmonizing on some of the lines. Gabe leaned back against the porch railing, tapping out the beat with his foot. Since we were coming right off our honeymoon to go back onto the road, I imagined they were trying to get in a little last minute rehearsal time.
Abby’s eyes pinched shut in concentration, but as I made my way down the porch, they flew open as if she sensed my presence. Her gaze locked on mine as she sang the lyrics, “And I get lost in your eyes and thrilled at your touch. Nights like these were made for love.”
With a smile, I winked at her. A pleased flush entered her cheeks as she continued singing. When she strummed the last chord, she glanced anxiously at me. It tugged at my heart that she always sought my approval when it came to her music. I nodded. “Very nice.”
She gave me a beaming smile. “Thanks. It’s a cover of an old song by The Lynns. We wanted to add a song or two to the set arrangement while we’re writing the new stuff.”
“Hmm, I knew it didn’t sound too familiar.”
Eli snorted. “The daughters of Loretta Lynn were the best compromise we could make with Abby that didn’t involve busting out Coal Miner’s Daughter or something hideous like that!”
I laughed as Abby scowled. “I can’t help that I appreciate the greats of country music,” she replied.
I grinned at her. “I’ll agree with you on that one. I seem to remember some Dolly Parton karaoke in your past.”
Abby grinned. “That’s right.” Glancing back at Eli, she said, “Be glad I’m not asking you to do a duet of Islands in the Stream.”
“Over my dead body,” he grumbled.
“You have nothing to worry about. I’m her only duet partner. Right, Angel?”
“No one but you—now and forever.”
Gabe made a gagging noise behind us. “Why don’t you guys get a room?” he suggested.
Eli shook his head. “Don’t give them any ideas. That’s all we need to send Mom completely over the edge—Abby late for the reception after a bang-fest.”
When I opened my mouth to tell them to go f**k themselves, Abby distracted me by leaning in and peering at my watch. “Oh shit, it’s after five? I’ve got to go get ready.” She handed her guitar to Gabe before bridging the gap between us. Glancing back at her brothers, she then asked in a low voice, “Did you get your errand done?”
“Yes, I did.”
She reached up on her tiptoes to plant a tender kiss on my lips. “I wish you would have let me go with you.”
I shrugged. “Just something I needed to do. Besides, you had enough to do here.”
Abby rolled her eyes. “Oh please. Between the wedding coordinator, the caterers and my mother, everything is taken care of. I seriously got shooed out of the kitchen when I tried to help. That’s why I got the boys together to rehearse.” A shudder rippled through her. “Too much nervous energy.”
As she started into the house, I teasingly asked, “Having cold feet?”
She skidded to a stop before whirling back around to wrap her arms around my neck. “Never, ever, Mr. Slater. You’re getting me as your lawfully wedded wife whether you like it or not.”
I grinned. “Oh, I like it. In fact, I f**king love it.”
“Good. I’m glad to hear that.” She kissed me again before pushing out of my arms. “Okay, I gotta go get presentable for this pre-wedding shindig of ours.” She eyed my ratty jeans and T-shirt. “I’d say the same for you, too.”
“You’re such a bossy thing.”
With a wink, she replied, “Get used to it, babe.”
A warm rush filled my chest as she started into the house. I didn’t care if she bossed me around for the next fifty years, just as long as she was in my life. I’d never imagined loving anyone as much as I did Abby. Selflessly and unwaveringly, she had reached into the very darkest places of my soul to bring me back to the light. She’d shown me what the true, unfailing love of a good woman was. I would always owe her for loving me that much.