Dirty Pleasures (Page 5)

“Sorry, I’m a little whiskey-mellowed right now, and you can blame that on Boone.”

“Ooh, that boy is so damn hot. If you weren’t married to a billionaire, I’d say you need to snake him from his bitchy girlfriend, even though I strongly disagree with poaching on every level. But that’s neither here nor there. So, you call your man yet?”

“No, because I left my phone in my apartment, I think, and all his numbers are on it. Can I ask you a huge favor?”

“Oh shit, and you know you can ask me anything, doll.”

“Would you go back to my place in the morning and call it and see if you can find it? And if you do, can you send it to me in Dallas? I can text you the address.”

“Sure thing. Although, if I didn’t love you quite so much, I’d have to point out that I have a personal assistant who does this kind of crap for me. You owe me, girl. I want an invite to a really fancy party when you and the big billionaire reconcile. Or maybe a week in Paris. I heard he has a place there.”

Paris? I didn’t know that. “I’m sorry to ask. You know I wouldn’t if I had someone else I could trust.”

“I’m just giving you a hard time, girl. I’ll take care of it in the morning.”

“Thank you, Tana.”

“This does entitle me to say one thing, though.”

I brace myself. “Go on.”

“I bet you’re wishing now that you wrote more on that note than just ‘good-bye.’”

“That’s dangerously close to saying ‘I told you so.’”

“Sorry, babe. But it’s true.”

“Maybe he hasn’t even realized I’m gone yet,” I say, wondering if it might actually be true.

“I imagine that man will find you before you find him,” she replies. “He doesn’t strike me as the type to have a wife go missing and let it stand for long.”

“I guess we’ll see.”

I hope she’s right, and equal measures of dread and hope fill me again. I made a mess of this, but Creighton isn’t blameless either.

“I should go,” I tell her. “I need to sleep off the whiskey so I can think with a clear head in the morning.”

“All right, babe. You do that. Talk soon. Love you.”

“Love you too, Tana. Thank you.”

We hang up, and I return Chaz’s phone to him.

“Thanks, Chaz. I’m going to call it a night.”

“Sure thing, ma’am. Sleep well.”

I’m too tired to correct him as I make my way to the bedroom in the back of the bus—one I’m surprised none of the guys in the band have claimed. But the curtains of the bunks are all pulled tight, and I’m not about to offer to swap.

I strip off my jeans and slide between the sheets of the queen-sized bed. Without my pajamas, I’m sleeping in just a T-shirt and undies. But considering that the guys have seen me in this and maybe less, I’m not concerned. They’re all married or in long-term relationships. Even more than that, they’re road warriors with more tours under their belts than I have fingers.

The sound of the tires on the highway lulls me to sleep, and my last thought before I finally drift off is whether my leaving is going to trigger one of those dozen clauses for Creighton to annul the marriage.

Actually, that’s a lie. My very last thought before sleep claims me is how much it would hurt if he did.

The penthouse is silent when I let myself inside. I expected to be home almost eight hours ago, but negotiations got heated, and I couldn’t step away from the table without losing all the leverage I gained.

If anyone can close a deal with sheer force of will, it’s me. Winning this one was too fucking important, and once I had the finish line in sight, I wasn’t letting anything get in my way. Although not the biggest dollar deal I’ve ever done by a long, long shot, I’ve never had one that meant more on a personal level. Preliminary agreements, including an iron-clad confidentiality agreement, were signed, and I was pretty fucking pleased with myself.

Eager to find Holly, I head for the bedroom, but it’s dark. I close in on the bed, looking for the telltale lump that should be curled up dead center, but I find nothing but a smooth comforter.

I flip on the bedside lamp; I’m not sure why exactly. It’s not like I can’t tell the room is empty, even in the dark.


Nothing. I flip on every light as I move from room to room.

No Holly. She’s not here.

The clothes are here. The guitar is here. But she’s not here.

The last time I came home to find the place empty, I flipped the fuck out, thinking she left me. But that was before. The last couple of days, we’ve . . . well, we’ve figured some shit out, and what started out as a crazy whim seems like it can actually work.

I also just banked a decent chunk of money on the fact that it can actually work, not that that particular fact matters.

I finally make my way to the kitchen and turn on the lights. A lined piece of notebook paper sits in the center of the island counter.

Two words.

Just two fucking words.

Good-bye, Creighton.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” I roar. “No fucking way!”

Last time I thought she left me, and I was wrong. This time, I’m not sure how I can be wrong when it’s as plain as the ink on the goddamn page. The Amex Black Card I gave her is right beside it. That sends a whole message of its own.

“Fuck me. No fucking way.” I don’t know why I’m talking to the empty room, but I can’t seem to stop myself. “She doesn’t get to leave me. I’m not fucking done with her.”