Dirty Pleasures (Page 9)

“You treat this girl right, you hear? Or you’ll answer to me.” Thrasher’s gaze drills into mine and his words are solemn.

I open my mouth to tell him it’s no fucking business of his what I do with Holly, but I pause. Honestly, I’m glad she has someone who cares enough about her to threaten me on her behalf. As long as his concern is completely platonic, we don’t have a problem.

“Thanks for the warning. I’m glad Holly has a friend at her back.”

He catches the emphasis I place on the word friend. “No worries, man. I’ve got my own woman. Not looking to poach yours.” He leans closer and adds, “Besides, if I would’ve wanted her, you never would’ve had a shot.”

His cocky confidence instantly makes me want to ram my fist into his face, but Holly huffs quietly, apparently over the macho posturing Boone and I are engaging in.

“I’ll respectfully disagree with you on that,” I reply, ready to end the conversation.

He laughs, a booming sound that fills the bus. I step back and throw a possessive arm around Holly.

Thrasher is smiling when he says, “You just might do, man. Definitely better than that douche, JC.” He holds up both hands. “I ain’t got no problem with the fact that the man prefers dick to pussy. To each his own. But I do have a problem with him using Holly to pretend that ain’t the case. If you’re man enough to fuck another man’s ass, then you should be man enough to be honest with your fans about it—or at least not demand a beard from the label. Just my opinion. Not that it means shit anyway.”

Okay, I just might like this guy.

“That situation has certainly been taken care of.”

“Damn straight. I like your style, man.”

I nod, more than ready for this conversation to be over. I’ve got Holly by my side, which means all I want is some time alone with her so we can get some things straight. Namely the fact that she’s not ever going to walk out on me again with nothing more than a two-word note. And not walking out on me period would be ideal.

“We’ll get out of your way. I’m assuming the rest of your band is waiting to get on the bus?”

“They’re on the opener bus.”

I look to Holly, and she elaborates.

“I’m sharing a bus with the other opening act. The labels split the cost.”

I recall the four large bearded lumberjack-looking men who came onstage after Holly, and played a multitude of instruments.

“You share a bus with four men?”

“Seven, if you count the guys in my band too.”

“That’s over tonight. We’ll get a hotel, and I’ll deliver you to Dallas.”

“I always travel with my band,” she protests.

“And now you’re traveling with your husband.”

Thrasher takes a seat on the couch, not even pretending to give us privacy. In fact, he decides to share his two cents.

“She travels with the tour. That’s the way it goes.”

“Then she’s getting her own bus. Her band can stay with the other group.”

He nods approvingly. “That works. Then I can kick their drummer off my bus. But you’re going to have to pick up the tab for that. No way the label will.”

“Not a concern. If you didn’t insist she travel on a bus, I’d arrange for hotels and we’d take the jet.”

Thrasher shakes his head and reaches for a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue Label on the table. At least the man doesn’t have bad taste in scotch.

“That’s tempting fate, man. Too many good artists have gone down in crashes. I don’t hold with that.”

“Creighton,” Holly says, interrupting us. “We need to talk about this.”

I look down at her. “There’s nothing to talk about. You need to be here, and I find that I’m unwilling to let you be here without me.”

She shakes off my arm, and I drop it from her shoulders. “That’s not really your decision to make.”

I glance at Thrasher, who may as well go get some popcorn with how raptly he’s watching our exchange.

My eyes cut back to Holly. “We’re getting a hotel for tonight.”

She leans back against the cabinets of the galley kitchen and crosses her arms. I’d be lying if I said I’m not caught on the way her movement pushes her tits up in that halter top.

My eyes are riveted, and I almost miss her words when she says, “We’re rolling out of here in a few and driving tonight.”

My lips twitch, and I quell the urge to bend her over my knee for her sassy attitude. But that’s not something I want an audience for. “What time do you need to be at the venue in the morning?”

Holly lets Thrasher answer. “Long as she’s there by noon, you’re all good. And if you take your damn jet, just don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. And I sure as fuck don’t want to have to get another opening act if your plane goes down.”

I grab Holly’s hand and tug her against me. She inhales sharply when she makes contact with my chest. Her hand goes up, and her fingers curl around my shoulder. We need to get the hell out of this bus in a hurry before I forget I don’t want a goddamn audience.

I don’t look away from her wide brown eyes when I speak. “We’ll see you tomorrow at noon, Thrasher.”

Creighton unlocks the hotel suite and holds open the door for me. I find the light switch and wander into the room. Neither of us have spoken since we climbed on the opener bus and Creighton directed me to pack a bag. And when I say directed, I mean ordered.