“God, don’t do that to me. I almost had a heart attack.” Her hand over her heart.
“Yeah, don’t do that to her,” Blaire practically growled.
I didn’t regret it. But I sure as hell hated how upset she was at the notion. Still, I played my part. “Sorry. My bad.”
“Honey, go tell everyone we’re good over here and you’re not being murdered. They’re all still looking.”
“Yeah. Sure. Sorry,” she said and then scampered off.
I expected Blaire to dart off after her. But she stayed next to me until the noise returned and everyone forgot that we were standing alone in the doorway of my dressing room.
“Stop.” She held up a hand. Her voice was ice. Her blue eyes narrowed in anger. “That better have been a fucking joke, Campbell.”
I opened my mouth and then closed it. Because it hadn’t been a joke. I’d dated since high school. I was a fucking famous musician. So, of course I’d dated and fucked around and all that. I’d gotten good at reading someone’s wants. Truthfully, I’d always been good at it, and now, it was just amplified.
But I’d read Blaire wrong.
I’d thought she was finally thawing to me.
She shook her head and then turned to walk away. Part of me just reacted. I didn’t want her to go. I wasn’t ready. Not yet.
I grabbed her arm and pulled her to a stop. She jerked her head back at me. “What?” she snapped.
“What if it wasn’t a joke?”
For a split second, I was back in high school. Back before I got everything I’d ever wanted. All save for one. Because I’d had Blaire Barker. Once upon a time, she’d been mine. And now, she wasn’t.
We stood there in that space, and everything else just vanished. Her blue eyes had widened. I didn’t know if it was shock or surprise or disgust. She thought so little of me now, and how could I even blame her? The one person I’d cared about the most was the person I’d hurt the worst. I didn’t deserve to have this conversation. Eight years wasn’t long enough for my penance. Not for someone like Blaire.
I was the asshole in this one. I knew it. I’d known it a long time. It was why, despite returning to my hometown eighteen months ago, I’d hardly spoken to her. I’d hardly even let myself look at her. Because I’d known the second that I did, the dam would break, and I’d be standing waist deep in shit. As I was currently.
Her gaze shuttered. “Don’t do this.”
“Do what?” I asked as if I were an innocent in this.
“Any of it.” She tugged her arm out of my hand. “It’s not fair.”
“Eight years, Campbell,” she said so low that I almost didn’t hear her. But God, I fucking loved hearing her say my name. “It’s been eight years. You can’t change a single fucking thing that happened.” Her eyes narrowed. “And I don’t think you’d trade it for what you have.”
I gulped. “But—”
“You’re used to everyone falling at your feet,” she said, continuing right over my protest. “So, stop all your little games and the stupid fucking charisma that works on everyone else. It’s not happening. Do you understand?”
And I did.
I understood completely.
It didn’t matter that I was a famous rockstar. Blaire Barker was out of my league.
“Yeah. Sure.” I ran a hand back through my messy hair.
She was still looking at me. As she had purposely not done since I’d returned. “I’m serious, Campbell.”
“I hear you. Loud and clear.”
She didn’t look like she believed me. And I didn’t know if I believed me either. When I wanted something, I went after it with all that I was. It was how I’d ended up in Cosmere in the first place. It was how I’d risen so quickly to fame once I settled into the band. Everything had taken off like a jet.
Now, I was looking at her again. At her big blue eyes, filled with concern. That heart-shaped face and those pouty lips and perfectly arched eyebrows. The body and the brain and the smile. Though she hadn’t smiled in my direction, I’d seen her radiate with it when talking to other people. And I wanted it pointed at me again. I wanted what I couldn’t have. But I wanted it nonetheless.
“Well, well, well, what a show!” a voice rasped.
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