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|Strings of the Heart(Runaway Train #3) by Katie Ashley|
I laughed. “I’ll try hard to remember that.” When I bent down to scribble in the last of Rhys’s measurements, he finally turned around. The color had returned to his face, and he flashed a smile at the twins.
“If you guys are done rehearsing, guess it means we’re up. See you later,” Rhys said. He brushed past me without another word.
While I fought to keep my emotions in check, Eli stepped in front of me, blocking my view of Rhys’s retreating form. He surveyed me with a dead serious expression. “I’m ready for you, Allison. Are you ready for me?” he said, in a throaty, sexy voice.
I burst out laughing at his teasing. “What?” he questioned, running a hand seductively down his chest to stop right above his belt buckle.
“You’re an idiot,” Gabe said behind us.
“Don’t be jealous of the fact my maleness is overpowering Allison right now,” Eli countered.
My hand flew to my mouth to hide my laughter at his antics. Over the last three and a half years, I’d gotten to know Gabe and Eli somewhat well. It wasn’t until Eli and I were brought together as Jax’s godparents that I got to know him even better. While I’d been trying to avoid Rhys at the baptism, Eli had been more than happy to keep me entertained. We’d spent most of the baptism party together, walking along Jake’s property and talking about anything and everything. Eli was fun to be with, and it didn’t hurt that he was drop-dead gorgeous either. Part of me couldn’t help wishing that I was attracted to Eli on a different level. It might be just the thing to get me to forget about Rhys.
When I finally recovered, I crooked my finger at him to come a little closer. Just to tease him, I whispered in a seductive voice, “Let’s get your measurements.”
“No pins, right?” he questioned.
“It’s fine. I promise.”
While Eli stood stock still, I got his upper body measurements. When I dropped down to get his inseam, he snickered like an immature teenage boy. “Seriously?” I questioned.
“Sorry, it’s just I usually buy a girl dinner before I expect her on her knees.”
He grinned. “Okay, so I rarely have to buy her dinner first.”
“You’re a real charmer, aren’t you, Eli?” I muttered.
Gabe shook his head. “Better be glad Jake wasn’t in here to hear you say that. He’d have your dick for sure.”
I sighed. “Honestly, Jake has got to get over being so overprotective.” When I started to rise off my knees, Eli reached down to help me up. “Thanks.”
He gave me a sincere smile. “You’re welcome. And don’t be giving Jake a hard time. It’s only natural for older brothers to feel protective of our sisters. We felt the same way about Abby.”
Gabe bobbed his head. “Even though she was totally of age, we all almost shit a brick when she ended up on a bus full of strange rockers.”
I laughed. “But that had a happy ending, didn’t it?”
“Yes, and that’s exactly the only reason why your brother is still breathing and not six feet under,” Eli replied, with a wink.
Once I finished with Gabe’s measurements, I gathered up my sketch pad. “Thanks again guys for helping me out with this internship.”
“We’re glad to do it,” Gabe replied.
As I started for the door, Eli stopped me. “Where are you going?”
“To my real summer job—watching your niece and nephew.”
“Want some help?”
I raised my brows in surprise. “Don’t you have better things to be doing before the show?”
He shrugged. “What could be better than spending time with a beautiful girl as well as my flesh and blood?”
My cheeks warmed at his compliment. With everything happening with Rhys, it felt good to have a desirable guy call me beautiful. “I guess not.”
Eli grinned as he followed me down the hall to where the kids were corralled. Thankfully, Mia and Lily were watching the twins for me while I was with the guys. But of course, Abby had come straight in from the rehearsal to be with her babies. She had Jules in her arms, rocking her back and forth to quiet her cries.
“Everything okay?” I asked, after I sat my notebook down on the table. I then eased Jax out of his saucer and took him into my arms.
“It’s fine. I think she’s just ready for a nap.” While the room had been booming with noise earlier with AJ playing DJ, it was quiet now. In the far corner at a table away from the others, Lily worked on school work with eight-year-old Jude and five-year-old Melody. Across the room, Mia sat on a pallet full of toys, playing with Bella, Gaby, and Lucy.
Eli swooped over to take Jules into his arms. “What’s wrong, baby girl?” he questioned. She immediately quieted and stared wide-eyed up at Eli. He made crazy faces at her until Jules was giggling and kicking her legs and feet. I couldn’t help smiling at him along with Jules. Eli certainly had a good heart, and when it came to him and Gabe, he was always much more interested in holding and spending time with the twins.
A roadie appeared in the doorway with a guitar in his hand. “There you are,” he said to Eli. He then crossed the room over to us.
“Did you get it fixed?” Eli asked, with an anxious expression.
The roadie nodded. “Try it out and see for yourself.”
Eli handed Jules back to Abby. Then he took the guitar in his hand. Easing down on the couch, he propped it on his knee and began strumming some chords. He glanced up and grinned. “Thanks, man. It sounds good as new.”