Dirty Billionaire (Page 25)

“We’re doing an exclusive for a big-box retailer. So go write some shit.”

The relief I was feeling slips away, and I sink down into the chair behind me. “Six songs? By when?”

“You’ve got three weeks. I’m already setting up time for a songwriter to meet up with you in Dallas to try and knock some out. If you can’t do it, then I’ll pick something for you.”

The thought of Morty picking songs for me was terrifying.

I can write, but six songs in three weeks? I try not to panic.

“Okay,” I mumble. “I guess I better get started then.”

“Damn right. Hope you weren’t counting on a honeymoon.”

Reeling, I shake my head, but he obviously can’t see me. I start to reply, but the line goes silent. Glancing down at my phone, I can see he’s ended the call.

Well, that went better and worse than I expected. I still have a career—unless I miss something, which I will not allow to happen. And I need to write six songs in three weeks. I haven’t written anything in months. On top of the craziness of touring and this new marriage thing, I don’t know how I’m going to get in my zone and find some inspiration. I guess I don’t have a choice, so I’d better get started.

The door to the villa’s office swings open and Creighton appears. “Do I need to crush them?”

His automatic support throws me for a loop, and warmth floods my veins. “Excuse me?”

“Do I need to crush your label?”

“Why would you do that?” I ask, stunned by the offer.

“Because no one fucks with what’s mine. And that includes you.”

The warmth dies away just as quickly as it came, along with the realization that I truly am just a possession to him. What did I really expect, though? Affection? I don’t even know him. Which begs the question . . . will I ever truly know him? Or will this be over before I ever have the chance?

“We’re heading back to New York today to meet with my legal team. They’ve reviewed your contract and are ready to make recommendations.”

“That’s not necessary. Morty and Jim aren’t going to slap me with a breach-of-contract suit over this. And besides, I can’t go back to New York; I need to be in Nashville. I have a life, you know. I have to check in with my manager and my band before we get back on the road again.”

“That’s not part of the plan, Holly.”

“Considering you didn’t consult me when you came up with this brilliant plan, you’ll understand that I have a problem with it.”

His eyes narrow, and his annoyance is clear in his tone. “How’d you manage to go to New York then, if you’re on tour?”

“We had a break from Christmas Eve until after New Year’s. We’re back on the road on the sixth for the last leg of the tour. I need at least twenty-four hours in Nashville beforehand to get ready.”

“Are you headlining this thing?”

“No,” I reply slowly.

“Then why do you care so much about the tour?”

Is he for real?

I cross my arms over my chest. “Because this is my job. And apparently you don’t know a whole hell of a lot about the music business if you think that I should be headlining tours at this stage.”

“They can get a replacement while we work out our schedules.”

I’m speechless for a moment. Is he really suggesting this? Seriously? I need to put this in words he’ll understand without question.

“No way in hell, Karas. I’m doing the tour. Not only will the label definitely sue me if I miss a single practice, let alone a show, this is for the fans who bought tickets to see this show. I won’t back out.”

“Your fans can see you another time. The next few weeks are critical to figuring out how your career fits into the schedule so it doesn’t interfere with mine.”

I shove out of the chair and stand. He doesn’t get it. This is the line I will not let him cross.

“Then I’m done,” I say, confidence ringing in every word. I will not allow him to take this from me. I won’t let anyone take this from me.

Creighton’s brow wrinkles and he tilts his head. “Excuse me? I don’t think I heard you correctly.” He steps toward me.

“I said I’m done. I’m not disappointing the people who support me to suit your strategy-session schedule, and I refuse to have my career dictated by yours. I should’ve known better. I bought your line of bullshit last night that you’d help me figure this out, not complicate it more.”

The muscle ticks in his jaw, and his tone is deep and final. “And I said I’d support you, Holly. Not them. And my support requires that my business comes first.”

“No. Let me put this in words you understand, Karas. This is a deal breaker. Non-negotiable.”

I head for the door, and he steps into my path. “That’s completely unacceptable. You’re not done with me until I say you’re done.”

A laugh spills from my lips. “I’m glad you think you can just say the word and it’s law. It doesn’t work like that.” I go to sidestep him, but he moves with me. “I’m not screwing around, Karas. I’m done.”

I dart around him and make a break for the door.

Surprisingly, he doesn’t stop me.

If she thinks I’m going to let her walk out on me, she’s insane. I let her get a few strides ahead of me before I follow her into the bedroom.

She searches the room, presumably to find the pile of clothes I folded neatly after I stripped her when we got to the hotel. Spotting them on the dresser, she grabs her jeans, and without bothering with panties, shoves one leg in at a time and tugs them up.