My heart sank. I wasn’t sure if it was because he spoke of going back to San Francisco without even mentioning what that would mean for us, or the fact that I desperately wanted him to say that we were going to Los Angeles, and to book our flights.

“Okay,” I said softly, trying to not make it obvious how disappointed I was. “What time did you want to leave today?”

“Let me finish responding to these emails. If you don’t mind packing up and shutting down the house, I’ll join you as soon as I get done. Then we can head out and get on the road. We can be home before it’s dark.”

Home. I didn’t have a home. But I guess that wasn’t an issue for Price. Nor should it be. My shit shouldn’t have to become his shit just because we fucked.

I got off his lap, picked up my clothes, and walked toward the door feeling like my entire life was crumbling around me. I didn’t want to cry, or at least not in front of him, so I decided it best to exit before the waterworks began.

Chapter Seventeen


Price

Tessa hadn’t said more than a couple of words the entire drive back to the city. She stared out the window and was clearly lost in thought. And to be fair, I was pretty zoned out myself. I was trying to really think out the movie deal offer and prepare myself for the upcoming meeting, but after an hour of complete silence, I decided it was time to check in.

“You all right over there?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she answered, but she didn’t look away from the passing scenery.

“Awfully quiet.”

“Yeah.”

I reached across the seat and took her hand in mine. “Are you sad about leaving the cabin? I always am.”

“Yeah.”

“Well, I guess that means I better get started on my next book right after this movie deal stuff is over with and the launch of this current book. The mountain always calls to me, and it’s great seeing that it will have the same effect on you.”

She shrugged, but still hadn’t looked away from the window, and her hand laid limply in mine. Something was clearly wrong.

“Tessa, what’s going on? What’s on your mind?”

“Just thinking, I guess.”

“Okay… care to tell me about what?” I prodded.

“Well…” I glanced over at her and saw her lip quivering. “It’s nothing really. Just sad leaving the cabin.”

I squeezed her hand. “I know. But we’ll be back. I have to be in S.F. for the launch because it’s too hard to launch from the cabin. I’ve tried. And I have to fly to a bunch of book signings, so I will need to be near the airport for convenience.”

She nodded, and I saw her lip still quivered. My gut told me something else was going on.

“Remember the last time you were upset and didn’t open up to me,” I began, though I kept my tone light and almost playful. “Don’t think I won’t pull this car over,” I added with a smile.

For the first time, she looked away from the window and stared at me. Once she saw that I wasn’t truly threatening a spanking, she turned her gaze back to the rows and rows of trees that we passed by.

“Tessa—”

My phone rang, interrupting me. I pulled my hand away from Tessa’s and answered the call through the speaker in the car, and saw Tessa give a big sigh of relief.

“What’s up, Brett?” I answered since I had seen his name come up on caller ID. “We’re in the car now heading back.”

“Good. Is Tessa there with you?” he asked.

“I’m here,” she chimed in.

“Good. So, I got done talking with the PR team, and they decided that because of the possible movie deal, and to lead up to your new release, they want to send you on a book tour. I emailed you the locations. And before I hear any groaning,” he cut in, making me smile at how well the man knew me, “it puts us in a better negotiating spot with the studio executives if we can get your book back on the bestseller list. Which the PR crew feel they can do with some well placed ads and some outreach on your end.”

“Fine,” I answered, maybe a little too quickly. I should have made my friend sweat a bit before giving in just for fun.

“Good, good. I’m assuming Tessa will arrange all your travel, or do you want me to get that covered?”

“I have it covered,” Tessa answered with confidence, which made me happy. Though I could still see sadness in her eyes and her body seemed to slump down in the seat.

“Okay. I won’t keep you any longer then,” Brett said. “And I will let the team know you’re on board. Text me later when you arrive safely.”

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