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Ross 03 Leave Me Breathless(57)

By:Cherrie Lynn

Oh, he could function. He kept up appearances; he wore the mask. Only Brian and Candace were privy to the fact something wasn’t right…well, hell, for all he knew, everyone was by now. If they were, they didn’t say anything.

He didn’t know how much longer he could keep it up before he packed everything he could haul in his backseat and lit out of town in the middle of the night. Before he said fuck it, fuck it all. He’d start over somewhere else, away from Macy, away from Raina’s fucking insanity. Not a day went by that Raina didn’t text or try to call, leaving voice mails pleading for him to meet up with her. He’d change his number if he wasn’t afraid that Macy might try to call him.

Not that he believed in miracles or anything.

“Come on, it wasn’t that bad,” Brian said, still hung up on the crap movie.

“Then I’d hate to see what you consider bad.”

And on it went, the parlor chatter shifting from bad movies to commentary on the complaint someone had made about the music. Which led to observations about the different genres of metal and Brian’s usual declaration. “Death growls mostly bore me. Who wants to hear the Cookie Monster? Sing your fucking lyrics. Put some emotion behind it.”

And Ghost’s usual retaliation. “Aw, I’m sorry. Do you need a hug, emo boy? You know, you might want to cross your legs. Your vagina is showing.”

“Suck my dick.”

“I know you’d like that, but Candace would have to return it first.”

“Burn!” someone proclaimed, and even Brian laughed.

“Look, he doesn’t even deny it.”

Yep, business as usual. He hadn’t lost his snap, but underneath, exhaustion ate at him. That happened when you felt like you had to consciously tell your lungs to keep expanding with air, your heart to keep pumping. Showing a crack in his exterior would be a good way to get eaten alive by this crew, though. When Brian had been torn up over Candace, at least he’d had the luxury of being the boss. No one had fucked with him; they simply avoided him. Ghost didn’t have that protection.

He finished up with his client, forgoing the aftercare instructions because the dude was one of his regulars; he knew the drill. The guy was heading toward the door when it opened and a girl breezed in. Ghost saw her from the corner of his eye, but even before he looked up and verified that it was her, all the oxygen left the room. Turning immediately away and putting on the show of straightening his station, he tried to drag in what breath he could.

“S’up, Macy?” Brian said.

Her purposeful steps were coming closer. Shit.

“I just need him,” she said.

Him? As in…me?

He couldn’t help it. He turned to face her, preparing himself for the shock of seeing her again, but it wasn’t possible. That damn sure wasn’t indifference on her face. She looked at him, only at him, like she wanted to crawl inside him—or maybe that was damn wishful thinking on his part. But the spark in her eyes and the color in her cheeks… He knew that look. He’d given it to her before himself.

“Do you have a minute?” she asked as she reached him, small voice at odds with the purpose etched on her delicate features. He wanted to take that face in his hands, kiss those lips until they were plump and red, but he had to keep his cool. Fuck, the whole place was watching. Candace had even ventured out from the back and moved to Brian’s side, the two of them exchanging little secretive smiles.

“Sure,” he said with a shrug. “Come on.”

He led her back to the room where she’d asked him to take her on their first date, flipping on the light and closing the door. “What’s up?”

She didn’t answer right away, fingering a lock of her hair and looking at him so closely he shifted uncomfortably under the weight of the stare. Something was…different about her. He couldn’t put his finger on it.

“Heard you quit your band.”

That wasn’t what he’d expected. “Yeah.”

“Thought you told me you’d never let anything make you quit doing what you love.”

“Guess I didn’t love it that much anymore.”

“Is that really the reason?”

“Yes, Macy, it is.” God, she looked beautiful. And smelled beautiful. Shit, she’d never looked or smelled more beautiful. He took a deep breath, hoping it would bring some fucking clarity. It only brought more of her scent. “It wasn’t so much the band or the experience as the people. They were starting to be a drain on me. And the Raina thing…it wasn’t cool.”

“Then I’m glad you cut it loose,” she said simply.

“Okay. Are we done catching up on me now?” He edged toward the door. If he didn’t get away from her soon, he couldn’t be held accountable for what he was about to do—which was shove her against the wall and kiss her for the next few hours. Days. Whatever. He wasn’t sure yet that was what she was here for.

“I went to see her. Raina.”

Thoughts, meet brick wall. He froze. “You… Come again?”

“I went to her job.” She smirked. “Thought I was going to get thrown out, but…we talked. We cleared some things up.”

“You. Talked to Raina.”

“I did.”

“And there was no bloodshed, flying fur, ER visits…?”

She crossed her arms. “I resent the implication that I can’t conduct myself in a civil manner.”

“I’m implying that Raina can’t conduct herself—”

“Oh, she took a swing, I threatened to shoot her…typical girl stuff.”

“Holy shit.” He stared at her in absolute awe. “You gotta be fucking with me.”

She put her hands on her hips. “Well, that’s what it was going to take, right? You couldn’t very well rough her up or threaten her—that would be frowned upon. Me, however… I will make her spit teeth, and I doubt many people would blame me.”

He’d jumped the gun earlier. Now she was more beautiful than he’d ever seen her. That’s what was different about her. She looked ferocious, still riding her adrenaline high. “So…don’t think I’m not impressed, but…what did you do that for, exactly?”

“Isn’t it obvious?”

“With you? Babe, nothing with you is obvious.” He wondered if she remembered those words from Valentine’s night, saw as she smiled that she did.

“I seem to remember someone lecturing me about fear holding me back. I guess it stuck.” She shook her long, ferocious hair back. “So. Are you scared?”

“A little bit, yeah.”

“Good. Let me scare this into you. You have about as much to worry about from my stupid ex as I have to worry about from yours. Which is zilch. I see that now. So can we both vow to let that rest?”

“Baby, I’ll vow anything you want me to right now.” Where he’d been inching toward escape earlier, he was now crowding her into the corner of the room with his feverish gaze locked on her lips. But her palm came up flat against his chest

“No, wait. Before all the blood drains south of your brain. I mean it. I won’t have jealous outbursts like that.”

“I told you that wouldn’t happen anymore.”

“Just so we’re clear. But other than that, I’m not putting any stipulations on you. I told you what I want out of life, but I want you too.” Her gaze flickered over his face. “However I can have you.”

His heart did flip-flops and sang hallelujah. Maybe they’d continue on like this for years. Maybe, after a few months of her, he’d be like Brian wanting to tear the walls down to marry the woman he loved. Even the thought of an accidental kid or two didn’t induce the panic attack it had with Raina. If ever he were going to reproduce, he couldn’t pick a better person to do it with. “Macy, I can tell you with absolute certainty that no matter how or where you and I end up, you will not have considered it a waste of your time.”

Before he knew it, she’d maneuvered him around and into her former position. Backed in the corner. Her palms met the walls on either side of his shoulders. She looked into his eyes with a directness that murdered any will to resist that might still be cowering in the corner of his brain. And oh, Christ, his cock was already threatening to bust through his fly.

“Promise me that.”

“I should have promised you that the other night. I was just—all fucked up.” He took a shaky breath. “Yeah. I promise.”

“I get it. And I’m sorry. I should have listened to you.”

“A lot of people probably don’t want us together, you know? I didn’t realize it, or I didn’t give a fuck before. But now I see, and I don’t care what anyone thinks, but are you sure you—”

She grasped his chin, and his entire mental process shut down. The girl had strong fingers. He couldn’t wait to feel them wrapped around—


She fucking called me Ghost.


“Shut up.”

And finally, miraculously, she kissed him.

They went to her place because it was closer. Brian had taken one look at them as they emerged from the back, smirked at Ghost’s beseeching “Dude?” and told them to get outta there with a gesture at the door. Candace had grinned from ear to ear.