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“Dad! ’Cause she’s a weirdo,” Randy whined.

His father gripped him by the arm and pulled him closer to Reese. “Apologize.”

“What? No way! I didn’t even do—” Randy’s father gave him a cold, hard stare that made him shut up in an instant. Sure, I couldn’t get the kid to act right because, as he’d stated, I wasn’t his father. Yet the big dude was his father, and he clearly had that power.

Randy groaned. “I’m sorry,” he muttered.

His dad nudged him. “Say it with meaning. And look her in the eyes.”


“Do. It. Now.”

Randy walked closer to Reese and looked her in the eyes. “I’m sorry for pushing you, Reese.”

She grinned with pride. “Thank you.”

“Sorry again, man,” the dad said, taking my hand yet again and shaking it. “Again. Huge fan. Can I get a picture?”

Awkward situation, but I took a picture with him.

The whole camp had slowed down as everyone took in the interaction that had taken place. So I took it as an opportunity to express my thoughts on the whole situation.

“Let this be a lesson to all of you. If you pick on this girl, you’re picking on me, and you definitely don’t want to pick on me. Otherwise, there will be trouble.”

“Yeah!” Reese chimed in. “Because he’s Oliver Mith, and he’s a rock star and rich and famous and he will kick all of your butts and take you to court to sue you, because he’s rich and he has a lot of money and he’d win!”

“Easy does it, kid,” I mumbled. “No need to threaten lawsuits.”

“Sorry, Mr. Mith,” she whispered back.

We headed to the car, and Reese seemed to have found her light again as she jumped into the back seat, where her booster seat had been placed. I went to make sure she was buckled in safely, and she leaned in toward me, placed her hands on my cheeks, and said, “Mr. Mith?”

“Yeah, kid?”

“You’re my best friend.”

Emery and Kelly’s girls’ day faded into the night. Reese fell asleep in the guest room after our second time watching Frozen 2. When Emery showed up, I welcomed her with a tight embrace.

“I hope Reese didn’t give you too much trouble,” she said.

“What? No way. We’re the best of friends. She’s asleep in the back room.”

“Thanks again for watching her.”

“Anytime. Is Kelly okay?”

Emery frowned. “She’ll get there. One day at a time.”

She didn’t know what a phenomenal woman she had been. Even when she was going through her own storm, she always made time to help others. I’d never met a woman who gave so much of herself without asking for anything in return.

I slid my hands into my pockets and swayed. “At my first meeting with Abigail, she made this analogy about how everyone’s life story is a mixtape, and each track is a chapter of their life. Some chapters are happy, and others are sad, but they are all entangled to create that person’s mixtape.”

“I love that concept,” she said, snuggling in against me. The warmth of her skin heated me up too.

“I do too.” I rested my head in the nape of her neck, trailing kisses down her skin. “Can I tell you a secret?” My lips fell against her earlobe as I nuzzled against it gently.

A light moan escaped her as she opened her eyes to look my way. “Yes.”

“You’re my favorite song on my mixtape.”

She placed her hands against my cheeks and pulled me in for a kiss. I kissed her slowly, enjoying every second I was able to spend with her by my side.

“Stay the night?” I asked.


“Come to bed with me tonight?”

She bit her bottom lip before leaning in and kissing me gently. “Okay.”

I took her to my bedroom, and I began removing her clothing as she removed mine. My lips fell against her skin as I laid her on my bed. I took my time at first, tasting every piece that I’d craved for weeks. I spread her legs wide and lowered myself down to taste the heaven I’d been dreaming about.

Each time my tongue swept against her core, she moaned in pleasure. I sucked and licked every drip she gave me. I loved the way she tasted against my mouth, and fuck, I couldn’t wait until I felt my cock sliding in and out of her.

We made love that night, making a song that was ours, and ours alone. Every time she moaned, I fucked her harder, pulling on her locks as her fingers tangled up in my hair. Her wetness made me want her more. Each time I slid inside I wanted to live inside her even longer. She rode me hard, rolling her hips against me, coming over and over again as she cried out my name.

“Em, I’m going to . . . I’m gonna . . .” Shit. I went to pull out, and she stopped me, gripping my neck in her hand, forcing me to lock eyes with her.

“I’m on the pill,” she whispered, and that was the only confirmation I needed before I sighed, unable to say any more words as the orgasm overtook me.

I released inside of her, and I felt her tremble against my skin. My body dripped in sweat as she breathed heavily from exhaustion.

“That was . . . ,” I said, breathing intensely and resting my forehead against hers.

“Exactly,” she sighed.


It was perfect.

We stayed there for a few moments before we made love again.

Our bodies mixed together the same way that our hearts were intertwined. I placed her on top of me and watched in amazement as she rode me in what felt like slow motion, her hips rising and falling to a tempo that was created solely for us. My hands sat against her waist as we moved as one, me sliding into her deep as she fell deeper against me every few seconds.

I groaned in pleasure and she moaned in desire. Her moans were the most beautiful sound in the whole damn world, and I loved it. I loved the sound of us, the taste of us, the rhythm of us. I loved the way that when she climaxed, I felt every piece of her shiver against me, making my own body grow closer to completion. I loved how she begged me to let her keep riding me. I loved how she owned my body, my mind, my soul.

I loved her.

I was falling in love with her so fast that it should have scared me, but instead I felt happy.

Happy . . .

I didn’t know I still knew how to feel that way.

Our songs that night tangled together, creating a remix of sorts. Her heart beat with mine, and as we fell asleep in one another’s arms, I felt as if we were creating something new. A brand-new mixtape, one that held our story.

I loved the sound of that.



“We need to talk,” Mama said as she stood at my apartment door. I had no clue why she was standing in front of me, let alone how she knew where I lived. I’d only arrived home with Reese about an hour ago after leaving Oliver’s, and now Harper Taylor was there to dampen my mood.

“There’s nothing that we have to talk about,” I said, crossing my fingers. “How did you even find out where I live?”

“I’ve known where you’ve lived for years. Sammie told me ages ago. I just didn’t have a need to come to your doorstep until now.”

Reese came out of her bedroom and walked over to the front door. “Mama? Who’s that?” she asked, looking at the door. Then her eyes widened, and she hid behind my leg. “Is that the crazy lady again?”

Yes, Reese. Yes it is.

Mama leaned down so she was eye level with my daughter and gave her a big, fake smile. “No, sweetheart. I am your grandma.”

Reese’s eyes widened with excitement. “I have a grandma?”

I pushed Reese farther behind me and shot Mama a hard look. “Don’t speak to my child.”

Mama stood back up. “She’s not your child. Which is why I’m here.”

“You need to leave.”

“Not until we talk.”

“We have nothing in this world to talk about. And I will not have you disrespecting my daughter in front of me. So, if you don’t leave—”

“Sammie’s in the car downstairs,” Mama said, cutting me off. “With Theo.”


“She’s downstairs, waiting in the car. She wants to talk to you, and I figured an arranged meeting at the diner down the street might be best so we can speak about our family issues.”

Family issues?

I snickered.

What family?

I moved over to the window facing the street, and to my shock, there Sammie was, sitting in the back of my parents’ car, with Dad sitting in the passenger seat. I walked back over to Mama, shaking my head. “What do you want to talk about?”

“It’s about Sammie’s mental health, and getting her what she needs. Can you stop with all the questions, Emery, and just listen for once in your life? We will discuss everything once we get there.”

I looked over to my daughter. “What about Reese?”

“What about her? Bring her along. I think it might be good for everyone.”

Over my dead body.