Dirty Billionaire (Page 39)

She stops again and leans forward, scratching out something on the sheet and writing something new. When she glances up, she finally sees me standing in the doorway. Her eyes widen in surprise and she lays her pen down on the notebook.

“Hey, I didn’t realize you were back.”

“I was just watching you.”

Her smile is quick and her face lights up. “It’s not much yet, but it’s going to be a hell of a song.” Her head jerks toward the clock on the side table. “Oh crap, I didn’t get ready. You wanted to leave at seven. I’ll be quick. What do I need to wear? I kind of need some help in that area if you don’t want me to embarrass you.”

The easiness of her posture when she was playing is gone, and I dislike that I’m ultimately the cause of it. I know my decision to ask Cannon for suggestions on what to do with Holly tonight was the right choice, because I want to give her that easiness back.

With honesty, I tell her, “You’re fine the way you are. Grab your boots.”

Holly’s face is a picture of shock. “Are you screwing with me?” She glances down at what she’s wearing. “Because I look like . . .”

“A sexy-as-fuck woman?”

“A girl from Kentucky.”

“Which you are, so what’s your point?”

“This is New York. I’m not New York chic. I already stand out enough; I don’t need to stand out more.”

“You’re perfect. Grab your boots. We’re going out.”

Creighton is crazy. He wants to take me out like this? I trail after him into the bedroom and tug on my boots, watching as he changes out of his suit into some slacks and a button-down shirt that’s marginally casual.

“I’m not going to be underdressed?” I ask. “Because you’re looking a lot fancier than me.”

He smirks. “Where we’re going, you’ll fit in better than I will. Trust me.”

And once again, I have a decision to make. When he reaches the doorway I’m leaning against and holds out his hand, I make my choice.

“If you say so. Let’s do this.”

I tuck my hand into Creighton’s and we leave the penthouse, but not until he heads back to the master suite to get me a coat, hat, and mittens, as well as a jacket for himself. I’m surprised by the gesture, but it makes more sense when I don’t see a chauffeur-driven Bentley at the curb. Apparently we’re walking.

Creighton leads me down the busy sidewalk, and we turn the corner onto an even busier street. People in New York truly never seem to settle in; they’re always hurrying from here to there. I try to avoid looking like a tourist and staring up at the buildings, so I instead look at the people around me as we walk farther and finally turn again. We’re heading toward a bank, and I’m completely confused.

“Where are we—?” I start to ask, but then I see a small black sign next to the bank.

Johnny Utah’s.

“Right here,” Creighton replies as he steers me toward the door beneath the small sign. “It might be the only one of its kind in Midtown, and a friend suggested we check it out.”

We walk inside, and not only is the place already packed with the happy-hour crowd, there’s a mechanical bull in the middle of a wrought-iron fenced-in circle, surrounded by thick pads.

I jerk my gaze up to Creighton’s. “Really?”


“You gonna ride the bull?”

He smirks. “Are you?”

My own smile grows wide, and for the first time since I met him, I’m not ashamed of the accent I let color my words. “Baby, this ain’t my first rodeo.”

“Good girl. Because this I want to see.”

We sidle up to the bar, and I slip my hat and mittens into my coat pockets as Creighton orders for both of us. I don’t argue, especially because he’s ordered two shots of whiskey. I’m reminded of our first night together at the Rose Club, amazed at how different tonight is despite how little time has passed. It’s crazy how everything can change so quickly.

“Only Prettier” by Miranda Lambert is playing on the bar speakers, and I have to smile. Her start wasn’t all that different from mine, and look where she is now. She’s also unashamedly herself. I could probably learn a thing or two from her.

But then again, she was married to a fellow country singer, like Tana, not a billionaire. This is a whole different situation. I’m trying to straddle two worlds, but at least for tonight, Creighton is making an effort to bring me to a world that isn’t quite so foreign.

He slides one shot glass in front of me and raises his. “To us. We’ve officially outlasted at least one or two celebrity marriages. Britney Spears comes to mind.”

I choke out a laugh before I can offer the toast back to him. “I can’t even believe you know that.”

“I think everyone knows about that.” He continues holding up the shot glass and raises an eyebrow. “It’s bad luck to not reciprocate. Toasts . . . and other things.”

I smile, and it’s genuine. This sense of humor isn’t something I expected. “Well, I don’t think we need any bad luck. So,” I raise my glass, “to us.”

As we clink glasses and toss the liquor back, my eyes burn, and it has nothing to do with the whiskey sliding down my throat. I’m just stunned by the fact that there is an us.

Me and Creighton Karas. My husband.

I squeeze my eyes shut and beat the sneaky tears back before they can completely surface. Then I slap my shot glass down on the wooden bar.