“Perfect timing.” Fox put a plate full of miniature desserts on the table and, swinging around Abe’s chair, sat with one of his arms on the back while he used the other to pick up a chocolate tart.
Noah took a piece of cake while Kit decided on a cookie.
“Where’s Molly?” Noah asked his bandmate.
Fox was very protective of his fiancée—she was getting more used to the limelight, but she still wasn’t as comfortable in it as they were, probably never would be.
“With Maxwell’s Kim.” The lead singer used his thumb to point behind him to the left. “They’re talking about an old archaeological site Molly’s researching for one of her work contracts.”
Still hungry, Noah got up. “You want more pizza?” he asked Kit and Fox both.
When they shook their heads, he went to grab a couple more slices. It was on the way back that a woman put a hand on his forearm. Her fingernails were hot pink and tapered, her hand slender. When he looked up, he didn’t recognize the face, but he recognized the look. The petite blonde was giving him an invitation bright and clear.
“Hi,” she said, twisting a lock of her hair around her finger. “You want to party?”
Kit’s gaze met his as he closed the distance to their table. There was a pinched look to her eyes that didn’t fit her, wasn’t her. As he watched, it smoothed out, her expression settling once more into that of Kathleen Devigny, the A-list actress dating a rock star, not Kit, the woman who was friends with Noah.
Kit had never been so glad to get away from a crowd. The strain of pretending had turned into a throbbing pulse in her left temple, her skin stretched thin and tight over her bones. But the flip side was that she was now alone with Noah in a very small space.
“I think I’ll go to bed,” she said as soon as Noah pulled the door shut. “Been a long day.”
“I’ll just grab the airbed and the sleeping bag.”
She went into the tiny bathroom to clean off her makeup so they wouldn’t be in the bedroom together, and when she came out, it was to see Noah in the living area pumping up the airbed. He was down on one knee, his T-shirt stretched over his back and his hair falling over his forehead.
“Good night,” she said, her heart bruise growing darker at the sight of this man who could’ve been hers forever. Only of course that wasn’t true. Noah had never given himself to her, never asked her to be his.
I don’t want to push you away, but there’s stuff inside me that just screws me up sometimes.
Yet other women put their hands on him without concern. He allowed it, would do so again as soon as this charade was over. Kit had tried so hard to understand, to move past the way he’d flinched from her, but she wasn’t superhuman. Rejection hurt. And watching another woman so casually touch him? It eviscerated.
He looked up, storm-gray eyes holding her own, all those words forever unspoken between them. “Good night, Kit. Dream sweet dreams.”
“Always,” she said, but when she got into bed after changing into a camisole and pajama pants, she twisted and turned and slept in snatches. The dreams she had were filled with music and with a man whose smile she couldn’t forget.
She woke at six a.m. Rubbing at gritty eyes, she walked out into the living area to see the airbed deflated and folded up in a corner, the sleeping bag neatly rolled up beside it. No sign of Noah. In the bathroom, she threw cold water on her face, came fully awake with a jolt.
She’d just stepped out of the bathroom when the bus door was pulled open and Noah jumped inside. His hair was plastered to his head, his T-shirt and running shorts to his body. Water ran down his face.
That was when Kit realized the fine drumming she could hear was rain hitting the bus roof. “You’ll freeze,” she said, grabbing a towel from the little built-in cupboard next to the bathroom. “Get those shoes and socks off.”
He obeyed, bending his head so she could rub the towel over the blond strands of his hair. “This’ll wreck the festival if it doesn’t stop,” he said, the words muffled by the towel.
“What’s the weather report say?” She knew he’d have checked; Noah did things like that.
“Forecast to clear by eight. Cross your fingers they’re right.”
Having dried his hair so it was no longer dripping, she ordered him to strip off his T-shirt, then went around and dried his back. It wasn’t until she came around to his front, his eyes looking down into hers that she realized what she was doing. Her camisole was thin and he was bare to the waist, all golden skin and ridged muscle and ink. He didn’t want her, but that didn’t matter to her body.