Dirty Billionaire (Page 42)

So that’s one brilliant thing about text messages. You can ignore them until you’re ready to reply.

Picking up my phone, I scroll through my contacts. Tapping on Creighton’s mobile number, I hold my breath and cross my fingers . . . and it goes to voice mail.

Glancing at the clock, I see the deadline I set for him edging closer and closer. I pick the next number under Creighton’s name—his office. Shockingly, it’s answered almost immediately.

“Karas International, this is Mr. Karas’s line. May I help you?”

I pull myself together and say, “Is Mr. Karas available?”

The woman on the other end pauses. “May I tell him who is calling?”

“His wife.”

Her pause is even longer this time. “Excuse me?”

“This is Holly Karas, and I’d like to speak to my husband.” It’s weird to say that name, but I guess it’s mine.

“May I put you on hold, Mrs. . . . Karas?”

“Yes, that’s fine.”

Generic music fills my ear, but it doesn’t last long.


It’s not my husband’s voice. I have no idea who it is.

“Yes, this is Holly.”

“This is Cannon Freeman, I’m—”

“You’re the EVP,” I say, pulling the term from my memory, and he sounds surprised.

“Yes, that’s right. I’m so sorry to tell you that Creighton is in the middle of something, and he can’t step away. This is a pretty big deal, one our team has been working on around the clock—even when he was off having fun with you yesterday—and if he leaves the table right now, we’ll lose too much ground. Is there something I can do for you?”

First the guilt comes, which I brush away. Creighton chose to take me out last night; it wasn’t my decision. If he left his business in someone else’s care, that was his choice. And then comes resentment laced with anger.

My business comes first. Creighton spoke those very words to me that first morning in Vegas. Then later, he promised not to do anything to put my career in jeopardy. Which is exactly what he’s doing.

Well, guess what, Creighton? My business comes first for me, because it clearly doesn’t come first for anyone else. Not you, not the record label, not anyone but me.

“There’s nothing you can do for me, Mr. Freeman. No need to trouble him further.”

I hang up the phone without giving him a chance to reply.

My phone buzzes again, and I think for a moment that it’s Creighton’s EVP calling me back.

It’s not.

CHANCE: Plans changed. We’re on the road tonight. Get your ass here now. You miss this bus, and you’re off the tour.

Of course. I squeeze my eyes shut. My husband is MIA, and I’m out of time.

When it comes down to it, there’s one lesson I’ve learned in my life: I have no one to count on but myself. It’s sobering to realize I started to count on Creighton in this short period of time . . . and just shows how naive I truly am.

Thank you, Universe. I’ve learned my lesson.

I survey the penthouse apartment as I stand and head for the door. The credit cards with my married name on them sit on the counter, and all the clothes Creighton had delivered before I even agreed to his offer are hanging in the closet where they belong.

I’ve got my purse and my notebook and the clothes I wore on New Year’s Eve. My pride dictates I take nothing that isn’t mine to take. Even the beautiful guitar.

I’m worth more than the time it takes to make a phone call and have a personal shopper pick up something. I deserve a little common courtesy, especially when I’ve made it clear that there’s one thing in my life that matters to me.

If what matters to me means nothing to Creighton, how can we ever make this work?

Instead of feeling like I matter to him even in the slightest, I’m once again relegated into afterthought status. I’m a convenience. A doll that’s supposed to wait on the shelf for her turn to be taken down and played with when it’s convenient for him, and obviously it’s not convenient right now. He couldn’t even take my damn phone call.

You know what? I deserve more than that.

“Good-bye, Creighton,” I say to the empty room.