“It didn’t.”

“Then why’d you sleep in here last night?” His lips followed the outline of her ear. “I missed you like crazy.”

That delicious curl of heat started between her legs and spread up to where he was dragging his fingers back and forth across her lower belly. “I missed you too.”

“Come back to my bed,” he murmured against the nape of her neck. “Let me show you.”

“Are the servants’ quarters below the master’s standards?” she teased.

“There’s not enough room to spread out this gorgeous body and feast on it like I’m dying to.”

“Maybe you should get creative.”

Devin rolled her flat on her back. Then he pinned her legs beneath his and shoved her T-shirt up. Instead of taking her shirt off, he did a quick tie that immobilized her arms. A growling noise vibrated against her skin when he discovered she wasn’t wearing a bra. His mouth descended, and he pressed hot kisses around the outside of her left nipple.

He kneaded her right breast while he teased the left one with his tongue. Light flicks and his soft breath on the wet tips until she squirmed. Then he suckled sweetly as he stroked the other nipple with a lazy sweep of his thumb. “I need you like this.”

“Like what?”

“Sweet and slow.”

She melted. “Undo my hands so I can touch you too.”

The caresses lingered. The kisses were gentle and teasing. In the small space, their naked bodies were in constant contact. Tangled in the sheets and wrapped up in each other, they turned their passion into comfort. And it was the reminder she needed to let their need bring them closer together instead of letting it keep them apart.

Chapter Twenty

Three days until the longest leg of the Heroes and Heartbreakers tour ended. Two more performances and then ten days off. Ten days that he hoped Liberty would spend with him in Nashville.

As soon as the bus parked in the back lot of the event center in the Woodlands, Devin launched the first stage of his plan to convince her. He managed to kill thirty minutes before he left his room.

Liberty sat cross-legged on the chair across from her bunk, playing a video game. She wore baggy tan capris and a baggier T-shirt. He preferred her this way, because no one else got to see her like this. She looked cute.

The woman would knock you on your ass for saying that.

She’d pulled her hair into a ponytail that bounced when she snapped her head up. “Why are you standing there staring at me?”

“I’ve got a surprise for you. Grab a jacket. And a pair of flip-flops.”

“Where are we going?”

“You’ll see. And no, you don’t need your gun.”

Liberty gave him the evil eye. “I get to decide where to take my gun.”

“It’s not necessary where we’re goin’. I swear.” Up at the front of the bus, he settled his favorite ratty UWYO ball cap on his head. Then he grabbed his backpack and slipped his feet into his sandals.

“What’s that for?”

Devin tucked a loose strand of blue hair behind her ear. “Stop bein’ so suspicious. We’re gonna have some fun.”

She muttered something he didn’t quite catch as she armed the alarm, but it probably wasn’t flattering.

The humid Texas air rolled over him. He wondered how long it took people who lived down here to get used to it, because he doubted he could.

Clasping hands, they skirted the back of the bus. It was the hour before twilight, when the sun had lost its power and most of its heat. He saw the two cars in the middle of the empty parking lot. Right on time.

“Devin, this is making me uncomfortable. You being out in the open like this.”

He stopped and faced her, leaning close enough to feel her breath on his lips. “Liberty, relax. There’s no one around.”


He pressed his mouth to hers. “We’re leaving. Will that calm you down some?”

“I don’t know. This is all so . . . weird. So unlike you.”

Which is exactly why he’d set it up. “As of right now, you’re officially off duty.” He took her hand again and headed toward the two lone cars parked in the lot.

A young guy, probably midtwenties, exited the driver’s side and approached them. “Mr. McClain?”

“Yes. Thanks so much for bringing it here on such short notice. Is there anything else you need?”

The guy handed him a clipboard. “Just your signature. Normally we demand a photo ID, but I understand it’s an unusual circumstance. Besides, I recognize you. I’m bringing my girlfriend to the show tomorrow night.” He grinned.

Devin grinned back. “Excellent. I always look forward to playing here. Good crowd.” He scrawled his name and passed the clipboard back. “Soon as you get here tomorrow night, go to the merchandise stand and ask for Sarge. Tell him you met me and use the phrase Gatlin Brothers and he’ll get you backstage passes for the fan meet and greet.”

The guy’s jaw dropped. “Seriously? Thank you, man. My girlfriend is gonna be stoked. You are her favorite singer.”

“Look forward to meeting her, then. So, are we all set here?”

“Yes, sir.” He tossed Devin the keys. “Word of advice when you’re in the Gulf region? Put the top up every night.”

“Will do.”

The guy climbed into the passenger’s side of the Enterprise pilot car and they sped off.

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