Dirty Billionaire (Page 41)

“First, her name is awesome, and second, doesn’t being a lawyer in general make you part of the dark side? Who’s really keeping track of that, right?”

I laugh, amused that she shares my skepticism of lawyers in general. “There is some truth to that. Although I’m sure there are some decent ones out there. Maybe. Mine are sharks, so they don’t count.”

“So she’s a smart girl, wants to make her mark without riding her big brother’s coattails?” Holly asks.

“Yes, that’s exactly it. But she can’t change her last name, so she doesn’t escape notice completely. Part of me thinks Greer requests the toughest projects with the shittiest hours just so she can prove herself. It would definitely be in line with her character.”

“So she can make fun of you and not end up at the wrong end of that death stare of yours?”

“Death stare?” I tilt my head. “Is that what you call it?”

Holly nods, biting her lip. “You know the one; it says stop talking or you’ll regret it.”

“Ah. That death stare.” I know exactly what she’s talking about. “It works, doesn’t it?” I glare, or at least do my best to glare while I’m trying to keep from laughing. “Not anymore, it doesn’t.”

“We’ll see about that. So other than little sis, who else?”

I have to actually think about the answer to this question, and the timing is right because our waitress returns for our order. As promised, Holly orders ribs, and I go for a steak. When the waitress leaves, I answer.

“That’s pretty much it. Maybe Cannon, my EVP.”

“What’s an EVP?” Holly asks, reminding me that she’s the one person in my life who doesn’t speak corporate acronyms.

“Executive vice president. He oversees all of the division presidents, and keeps me from having to be involved in day-to-day bullshit unless it rises to a level of importance where I’m truly needed. It frees me up to deal with strategy and other things.”

“Am I ever going to meet this Cannon guy?”

Cannon is one of the most important people in my life, and knows more about Holly than she’ll likely ever know about him. If he didn’t know I’d put out a hit on him, he’d probably try to steal her from me.

“That’s very likely.”

“Maybe I can meet him the next time I’m in town.”

Holly’s statement isn’t all that subtle. She’s checking to see if I forgot that she’s leaving tomorrow.

What she doesn’t realize is she’s not the only one who’s leaving. I’m not about to let my wife out of my sight for an extended period of time. It has nothing to do with trust, and everything to do with the fact that I’m not ready for her to be that far away from me.

“I’ll have the jet ready to go tomorrow. I need to take care of a few things during the day, but I’ll get you back to Nashville in time for dinner. It’s a quick flight.”

Her brow scrunches. “Does that mean you’re going with me?”

“Did you expect me not to?”

She shrugs, and I wait a few moments before she finally speaks. “I don’t know. I mean, you have your life and I have mine. I kind of figured we’d go to our separate corners and do what we need to do, and then regroup later.”

Her plan is unacceptable on multiple levels. Any humor in my expression dies away.

“That’s not happening. I’m not letting you out of my sight, let alone go to another state without me.”

Dropping her gaze to her beer and the label she’s now intent on peeling off, Holly is silent for a beat. “Okay, then.”

“It’ll be more than okay,” I reply. “Just wait.”

“Just wait, he said. Just. Wait. I didn’t realize he meant it so damn literally.”

My words carry no heat or anger, just the heavy weight of disappointment. So much for Creighton and his big promises. I’d woken with a smile on my face this morning, remembering how much fun we’d had at the bar last night, but that smile had faded as the hours crept by today without a single word from Creighton. I’ve filled the time by working on my songs, but I thought he’d be back by now. Not only is he not back, he hasn’t even called.

I look at the time on my phone again, and the text message that came in twenty minutes earlier from my manager.

CHANCE: You back in Nashville yet? I need you here ASAP. Call me as soon as you’re in town.

I tap on my phone’s browser and check the flight times to Nashville. If I leave now, I can get to JFK and be on a plane and back in Nashville by nine. A couple of hours later than the private jet that Creighton promised, but I have no choice.

Finally, I lose my temper. “Why won’t he freaking answer me?” I yell at the room.

When he didn’t show at four, I started to wonder. By four thirty, I couldn’t stop myself from texting; he didn’t reply. At five, I called; he didn’t answer. It’s five fifteen, and I decide to try one more time.

Before I can hit my contacts to bring his number up again, my phone vibrates with a text. I tense, heart leaping, but my hopes are crushed when I see Tana’s name and not Creighton’s.

TANA: When are you getting in? I miss your face, and I want more dirty details.

A wave of humiliation washes through me. You know what sucks worse than being forgotten by your husband at a very important moment? Having to admit it to your friends. It’s one thing to know it yourself, but it’s another to have to endure the pity that comes with making excuses for someone else when the person you’re making excuses to can see right through you. I made excuses to people for my mama for years, and I swore I’d never put myself in that position again.