The panic cut off all the air to her lungs. Piper wanted to scream that there was no chance she and Sawyer would ever be together. Not the way she had once imagined.

“Thank you so much for stopping by,” Kelly continued. “Please drop in the next time you’re in town.”

Never again.

“Absolutely,” Piper said, finally finding her voice. All she wanted and needed was for this interview to end.

Sawyer simply nodded.

“All right. I’ve got a treat for y’all today,” Kelly continued. “We’ve got the first single from Piper’s new album that comes out at the end of the month. Sit back, enjoy the song and be sure to catch these two possible lovebirds tonight on the Country Artist Awards.”

As the song started, Piper took off her headphones. She noticed Sawyer’s furrowed brow. “I think Sawyer might be mad at you for spreading rumors that he’s anything other than single,” she told Kelly.

“I’m not mad,” he said. “I was caught off guard. You’re probably mad.”

“I’m not mad,” Piper argued. She wasn’t the only one who hadn’t wanted to pursue a relationship. “I just thought you were going to set the record straight, so I didn’t say anything.”

“I didn’t mean to put you two on the spot.” Kelly slid her headphones off her head and let them hang around her neck. “There’s something so heartbreaking about that song. The way you sing it makes me want to believe love will win in the end, even though you’re saying goodbye. Does that even make sense?”

“Boone Williams knows how to write a song,” Sawyer said, giving credit where credit was due.

Last summer, Dean had asked Boone to mentor Piper so she could learn to write her own songs. Boone had tried, but the Grammy-award winner didn’t have an abundance of patience, and writing songs had proved to be more difficult than Piper had hoped it would be.

He’d written most of “You Don’t Need Me” and was kind enough to give Piper credit for the very little input she’d offered. Even after all his hard work on the song, he’d opted not to sing on the track. Boone had given that honor to Sawyer—as well as the job of helping her write songs for her new album.

“Boone once told me that a good song makes people feel,” Piper said. “If our song made you feel like believing in love can win, then we did our job.”

“You did an excellent job.” Kelly smiled and saw them out. Heath and Lana were ready to leave as soon as the interview was over. Piper was ushered out of the station and back into the limo without a chance to say anything to Sawyer.

“Lana, make a note that the next time we go to K104, I’ll need to approve all the questions ahead of time.” Her father’s peeved expression left no question he was unhappy with the insinuation that Piper and Sawyer were a couple. He was not going to take the news of this pregnancy well. “This is all Boone’s fault. If he hadn’t backed out of the arrangement I made with Dean, we wouldn’t have to deal with this slander.”

Piper wished she could blame someone other than herself, but she was the only one responsible for this entire mess. “Hoping Sawyer and I are dating is hardly slander.”

“When the new album comes out, everyone will move on,” Lana said. “People see them sing a love song together and it makes them want the feelings to be real. When you go your separate ways, the fans will forget about it.”

“We can hope,” her father replied.

The sinking feeling was back. He could hope all he wanted. Sawyer would forever be a part of their lives. There was a baby on the way, and Piper needed to figure out how to break the news to her father and Sawyer. Sooner than later.


SAWYER BOUNCED ON the balls of his feet as he shook out his arms and rolled his head from side to side like a boxer psyching himself up for his prizefight. Bridgestone Arena was where Sawyer had attended his very first concert back when he was sixteen. His sister, Faith, had driven him and two friends up to Nashville to see Kenny Chesney. Even from their nosebleed seats, he had felt the energy coming off the stage.