Dirty Billionaire (Page 35)

And wouldn’t he just be proud of me now? Mostly naked with a butt plug up my ass, sitting on this man’s lap who I married after spending a single night with him.

I push the thought away. I’m going back to Tennessee in less than forty-eight hours. Back to normal. Which was a crazy thought all by itself—that my normal is life on a tour bus, heading out to sing in front of crowds of thousands in stadiums across the country. That’s what I need to focus on, not the man whose chest I’m pressed against and the awkward silence I’m just now realizing has overtaken the room.

“How’d you go from karaoke in a bar to touring?”

“Benny pushed me to try out for Country Dreams, and when I got past the initial audition, I decided I couldn’t go because Gran’s health was getting rocky. I couldn’t leave her, and we couldn’t afford in-home care. But somehow, through the grapevine, my mama heard about the show and that I was going to turn it down, and she showed up on Gran’s doorstep the day before I needed to report to Nashville for filming. She promised she’d take care of Gran if I’d only just take this shot.”

I swallow, the lump in my throat growing. The last part of this story is the hardest, and the reason for the guilt that tugs at my soul on a regular basis.

“When the finals came around and I made the cut, my mama decided Gran could take care of herself, so she left her. She just wanted to be on TV when they showed my family in the audience, and meet some famous people.” I pause, my heart clenching at the memory. “But Gran fell and hit her head, and never woke up again. She died before I could make it home to even sit by her bedside.”

“I’m so sorry,” he starts, but all the emotions and memories are bursting through my walls, and I can’t stop.

“You want to know what it’s like to wish I’d never taken a shot at my dream because my selfishness—and my idiot move to trust my mama—was responsible for the death of the only person who ever really cared about me?”


“Or that I’ve been ignoring dozens of missed calls and messages that I know are from her because she’s probably seen the news, and the only reason she’d be calling is for money?”

His arms wrap around me and squeeze me tight. “Holly, slow down. Breathe.”

His words highlight the fact that I’m breathing so fast, I’m liable to hyperventilate. Creighton rubs my back as I force myself to slow my breaths until my chest rises and falls in time with his.

Crap. I can’t believe I just spilled all of that. I’ve officially shattered any illusion that Creighton might have had about my background.

I pull away from him and stumble off the table. My soul is shredded with the telling of it, and I’m too raw to face him and his questions any longer.

“I think I’ve had enough sushi tonight. I need a shower to clean up now too.”

I don’t look him in the eye, and I don’t wait for a response. I turn on my heel and head for the bathroom.

His ominous words follow me inside. “This conversation isn’t over.”

I’m naked in bed, waiting for Holly, when I hear her voice coming from the bathroom. She’s singing. Even though it’s muffled by the water, glass, and walls between us, I can tell it’s heartbroken and haunting. I didn’t plan on that kind of emotional baggage from someone so young, but it’s impossible to ignore. She’s not broken, but she thinks she is.

The sound of her voice has me on my feet and crossing the room to stand in the bathroom doorway.

Steam fills the shower enclosure, but I can see her clearly enough to watch her rinse the shampoo from her hair. As the suds slide down her body, her voice grows quiet before she stops. I wonder if she realizes that I’m watching, but instead she presses both hands to the tile shower wall and leans forward.

In that moment, I know the water is drowning her tears, and I feel an urge I’ve never felt directed toward someone who wasn’t family: the urge to comfort. I dried my little sister’s tears once upon a time, but I never expected that another woman’s would affect me so acutely.

I want to walk into the shower and pull her into my arms, but I have a gut feeling that she wouldn’t welcome the knowledge that I’m seeing her at her weakest. Holly may be submissive sexually, but her inner fire and spark is driven by pride that I realize mirrors my own. She’s young, but she’s lived a hard life already.

I have the inexplicable desire to make it easy for her. To wash away the guilt and hurt in a way the water never will. But I don’t know how to do that. It’s something even my money can’t buy. And the very fact that I wish I could scares the fucking hell out of me in the way I’ve never experienced.

What is she doing to me? I want to own her, keep her, ensure that she’s mine, but I didn’t expect to feel like . . . like this. The intensity of my need would scare the shit out of her too.

I turn away when she pushes off the wall and reaches for the shower control to turn the water off. By the time she leaves the bathroom, I’m back in bed with a myriad of possible things to say running through my mind.

But every single thought flies from my brain when she walks into the bedroom, wet and naked.

Fuck, but the woman’s body is downright sinful. Full tits, small waist, flared hips, toned legs. Even as all of the blood in my brain rushes directly to my cock, I have enough brain cells firing to appreciate that she’s more than a traffic-stopping body. She also has invisible scars and insecurities that I need a map to navigate without triggering. I’m starting to comprehend the enormity of what I’ve undertaken when I said, “I do.”