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|Strings of the Heart(Runaway Train #3) by Katie Ashley|
He barked out a laugh. “Well, the setting will certainly prove to be interesting, although it might be nice not to worry about being hit on for once.”
“Yes, how troubling it must be for you to be such a handsome and desirable millionaire rocker,” I teased.
Cocking his head, he asked, “You think I’m handsome?”
My chest began to rise and fall in rushed, heavy pants as I desperately tried to catch my breath. “Of course I do,” I quickly replied. At Rhys’s smile, I quickly added, “In your mind, doesn’t everyone?”
“I’m not talking about everyone—I’m talking about you.”
“Yes, you’re very, very handsome, okay? Now can you please get out of my way so I can get ready?”
“Excuse me. I wouldn’t dare to deprive your adoring public of your presence.”
“Smart ass,” I mumbled, as I started digging my keys out of my purse.
As I started to unlock the door, Rhys sidestepped me. Bracing his hand on the doorway, he smiled one of the smiles that had captured my heart when I was thirteen and now made me both lovesick and horny. “My very handsome self will see you at ten tonight at Saffie’s Tea Room.”
“Okay,” I murmured.
Just being in Rhys’s presence was enough to make my libido go into overdrive, but when he started to lean in closer to me, I fought the urge to combust from both nerves and hormones. It didn’t help that he smelled so amazing, or that I could feel the heat pouring off his body. Feeling lightheaded from the closeness of him, I tried not to faint.
After placing a chaste kiss on my cheek, he pulled away. “See you later.”
Extreme disappointment at the simple kiss ricocheted through my body. “Bye,” I replied forlornly, as he pounded down the porch steps.
Why did he have to seem so approachable and so acquirable in one moment, and then in the next seem totally and completely unattainable?
When I dared to glance down at my watch, I grimaced. I was officially half an hour late for Allison’s set. I should have known better than to have gone back home before heading to Saffie’s Tea Room. I had been roped into joining my parents in the dining room. They were halfway through their three-course dinner with some of their friends from the Fortune 500 Club. It was a true hell on earth. The moment dessert had been brought out, I had politely excused myself. While my mother threw questioning looks my way, I purposely evaded her. Even though I was twenty-seven, I knew she would give me grief when I returned for bailing on the Mastersons and the talk of their single daughter at Vassar who was dying to meet me. Like I wanted to settle down period, but the last woman on earth would be with a former debutant who cared not about a love match but more about a status and society match.
By the time I’d gotten to shower and thrown on some new clothes, it was the time I should have been showing up, not leaving. Because I was running late, I allowed my parents’ driver to drop me off, rather than driving myself. I figured I wouldn’t lose time having to park. I shifted on the leather seats of the Bentley Mulsanne—one of my parents’ pretentious and extravagant cars—as the driver inched through the weekday summer tourist traffic.
In so many ways, it had been a mind-fuck of a day being with Allison. Although I had seen her at Jake and Abby’s wedding and other events in the last couple of years, it hadn’t truly hit me until today that she really had grownup. Hearing about her sex life had been a jolt to both the head, and to the pants if I was honest, that I hadn’t needed. At the same time, I wouldn’t have had to hear about the sex life to see how far she’d come from the gangly teenager I’d met so many years ago. As beautiful as she was, Jake, and his dad, Mark, had a lot to worry about when it came to Allison and men.
While it might have been her who was homesick, she had truly made my first day back home enjoyable. Since leaving home, my visits back to Savannah were purely out of obligation, not of desire. Being able to be with her in the next few weeks was certainly going to make my stay a lot easier, and it sure as hell wasn’t going to be out of any obligation to Jake or to her. It was because I wanted to spend time with someone who was beautiful, intelligent, and fun to be with as Allison. She sure as hell wasn’t a chore, that’s for sure.
Once the driver finally let me out in front of the club, I barely had time to take in the outside of Saffie’s Tea Room. For Allison’s sake, I was glad to see it wasn’t in a seedier area of town. Jake would probably freak just a little bit less knowing that the club was in a good area. Of course, he wasn’t going to be thrilled that Allison had kept something from him and her parents. It was so unlike her. She had always been such a good girl. I guess she really was spreading her wings and testing out the rebellious waters.
After I hurried down the brick steps to the club’s entrance, I was surprised to see a shredded bouncer checking IDs next to a stylishly dressed woman taking payment for the cover charges. When I handed over my ID, the bouncer eyed me suspiciously. “Are you lost?” he asked.
“I’m here to see someone perform,” I replied.
With a grunt, he thrust my ID back at me. Although I could hear music coming from inside, I wasn’t sure it was still Allison. I hoped like hell I hadn’t missed her. When I handed my money to the woman, I asked, “Is Pink Magnolia still playing?”
She nodded. “They’re on for thirty more minutes.”