As much as he hated to admit it, Hunter was right. If Piper wasn’t pregnant and they weren’t pretending to be engaged, Sawyer most definitely would have been flirting with the bartender, and she would have only been the first of many. Every city would have presented new opportunities. But right now, only one woman had his attention. The woman carrying his child. Being a dad would soon take precedence over everything else, including his love life.
Piper hugged one of the sound techs before being pulled away by Darla. Even without the fake eyelashes and with her hair up in a simple bun, she was the prettiest woman in the room. She glowed, and it had nothing to do with being pregnant.
“Maybe you can still help me out,” Hunter said, slapping him on the back. “Why don’t you introduce me to whoever that is Piper’s talking to? She’s totally out of my league, but maybe she’ll give me a shot if she knows I’m best friends with Piper’s future husband.” Hunter motioned for the bartender. “Let’s bring them a drink. What’s Piper’s drink of choice?”
Another thing to add to the long list of things they didn’t know about one another. It was good she couldn’t have alcohol right now. “Piper only drinks water.”
“Water? We’re celebrating—let’s get them some champagne.”
The bartender wasted no time coming over. “Need me so soon or did you just miss me?” she asked with eyelashes fluttering.
“Can we get four glasses of champagne?” Hunter asked.
“Just two glasses of champagne and one glass of water,” Sawyer corrected him, holding up his beer. “I don’t need another drink.”
“Come on, seriously?” Hunter smiled at the bartender. “He’s fighting with his girl. Guess he doesn’t want either one of them to have fun tonight.”
Sawyer gave his bigmouthed friend a shove.
“Oh my gosh, you’re Sawyer Stratton, aren’t you?” the bartender asked. “I didn’t recognize you. You and Piper are in a fight?”
Great. This was exactly the opposite of what was supposed to happen when they were in public together. “I’m not fighting with anyone except this bozo. My fiancée needs water because she just ran around a stage for two hours doing what she does best,” Sawyer said, trying to clean up Hunter’s mess.
“Of course,” she said with a chagrined smile. “Two champagnes, one water coming right up.”
She walked away to get a bottle of champagne, stopping to whisper something to the other bartender. Paranoia exploded inside Sawyer like a bomb.
Leaning over Hunter, he whispered, “Can you please not talk about me and Piper fighting in front of other people?”
Hunter’s face scrunched up. “What is your problem?”
Sawyer puffed his chest out. “I have no problems. I’m great. I just performed in front of nine thousand people. And I get to do that again and again for the next six months. I’m also engaged to Piper Starling. My life is great! What is your problem?”
A hand gripped his arm. “Everything okay over here?” Faith slipped in between her brother and Hunter.
The bartender came back with their drinks. Sawyer snatched the water off the bar. “Everything is great.”
He marched over to Piper and apologized to Darla for interrupting. “I thought maybe you needed this,” he said, handing her the glass of water.
Piper seemed a bit startled by his appearance. “Thanks,” she said taking a sip and setting it on the table.
“Can I get everyone’s attention for a minute?” he shouted over the din of conversation. The couple of dozen people quieted at his request. “Before we sit down to eat, I thought we should raise a glass to this amazing woman right here. Piper, you are an incredible talent. You are also the hardest-working and most generous person I know. I am so lucky to be along for this ride with you. To Piper!”
Sawyer held up his beer, and everyone followed suit.
While everyone clapped, Sawyer decided to make a real statement. He set down his drink next to her water and wrapped an arm around her waist. Pulling her close, he gently dragged his thumb down her cheek. Piper’s breathing hitched, and his heart thumped in time with hers. Their eyes were locked until he closed his when their lips touched.