engaged to the likes of me won’t be easy. The paparazzi, the media, my
fans—we’re about to step into the eye of a storm. I’ve run from it before, but I won’t run from it again.
She’s my sweetheart, and no bride of mine will be cast into the background—not
by me. Not by anyone.
NOISE: A TENNESSEE GRACE SHORT*
island,and focus my attention on Corie. That’s the second time Simon has
cut her off in a span of three minutes, and it’s starting to piss me
between her ear and her shoulder as she sprays down the window
I took her against a couple of hours ago.
herself with the task. She cleans when she’s anxious. I haven’t been able
to get her to break the habit, even though I’ve got a cleaning crew that drops
by a couple times a week to take care of stuff like that. She’s also
really self-conscious about leaving behind evidence of our love making.
Soiled sheets are one thing—the oil from her skin smeared across the
living room window? I’m impressed it lasted this long.
giving me a nice view of her pretty, round ass in those tight blue
jeans before she straightens, shaking her shoulder-length, wavy brown
locks out of her face. She tugs a few paper towels from the roll she’s got
in her hand, pausing all movement as she listens to the man on the other
side of her call.
the interviewthree days. The article isn’t even set
to print until—”
rubbing at the window vigorously. No longer capable of
keeping my distance, I abandon our half-made sandwiches, rounding the
island as I stomp into the next room. Corie’s wadding up
the used paper towels in her hand as I approach, and she
turns to look up at me when I stop just beside her. Our gazes lock, and my
chest swells when her eyes soften. Then I hold out my hand, signaling
that I’d like her to hand over her device. She scowls at me,
simultaneously shaking her head.
again before she speaks. “You know that I wouldn’t be asking this if it
wasn’t a request that came from Ashley, right? We’re both fully aware that
the tour is less than six months away. I’m also not ignorant of the
fact that publicity is important—but I’m just asking for—”
frustration, I reach for her phone without permission, knowing good and
well that she’s too small to best me. Quickly bringing the
device to my ear, I mutter a greeting to my publicist of a year and a
half.“Simon—is there a problem?”
ask, “What are you doing, man?”
that I was even thinking about proposing.
that meant this weekend was—”
also a pretty good guy. He’s been a part of the music industry longer than I
have, which means he’s been around for decades. At forty-three years old,
he brings a good deal of experience to the table that a guy like me can
be a real hard-ass. No doubt, it’s worked in my
favor before; but seeing as how he’s talking to my woman, he needs to
learn she’s not to be on the receiving end of his ire—whether he’s kidding or
you move the meetin’?”
fact that he can’t see me doing it.
eyes bouncing as she studies me anxiously. Thinking about spending the
rest of my life with her brings a smile to my face I don’t even try to
hide. She arches an eyebrow at me, as if silently asking me
what Simon’s saying, but I ignore her. Instead, I reach up and
slip my fingers around the side of her neck, then up to her nape, where I bury
my fingers in her hair and gently pull her closer to me. She comes willingly,
the roll of towels still tucked under her arm, and the wad of used ones held
tightly in her fist.
get the girl more than you, Ashley.”
hers, I then gently tilt her head to the side, so she’s got it tucked back
between her ear and her shoulder. I let go of her neckwhen she starts
speaking, but I don’t get the chance to back away from her before she’s
gripping a fistful of my shirt.
of her phone before she says, “Ashley, you can’t keep doing that.”
slight frown. “There are going to be times when some of the people you work
with aren’t going to like what I have to say. Case in point,” she tells me,
lifting her phone to emphasize what she’s saying. “You can’t keep rescuing me.
I have to be able to handle these things on my own.”
when someone’s talkin’ to my woman the way he was just talkin’ to you, I’m
gonna butt in. It’s about respect, sugar. He knows better.”
she says, “And I get that, but I had that handled.”
down until my forehead is almost touching hers.
“Somethings you don’tneed to handle—and seein’ as I’m
your man and your boss, I think it’s fair to say that
I’ve got the right to determine what I deem appropriate. You hear?”
she places a hand against my chest, pushing herself up on her tiptoesin order
to touch her head to mine. “I love you, Ashley Hicks.”
breath before she settles back down on the soles of her feet and
gives me a gentle shove. “Get out of here before I kiss you. I have one more
call to make and then your schedule is clear.”
the room. “Lunch will be ready in a few.”
my return trip to the kitchen, I look over my shoulder and see
that she’s replaced the paper towels in her hand with her tablet.
Seeing her work fills me with a double ounce of pride. Selfishly, I’m glad
that I was right—glad to see her doing so well in her position. She’s
thriving, and it’s so damn gorgeous to witness. But I’m also just proud
of her. She’s determined, smart, and ambitious. Not once has she
tried to ride on my coattails, or use our relationship to justify a lack
of effort on her part. She works hard, and I’m lucky to have her.
exchange with Simon.
and nothing is going to stop me from dropping down to one knee tonight to make
that truth crystal clear.
I now reside in Virginia, the land of the Rocky Mountains is where I’ve left a
piece of my heart and where my characters come to life. I started writing love
stories when I was seventeen, and I haven’t been able to stop! With me, you’ll
find that I dabble in a few different romance genres, but my voice is one
that’s all about the heart. Writing is my dream; and as a dreamer, you can rest
assured that there are many more novels in my head that I can hardly wait to