There was no mistaking what he’d meant. He was asking her to make the pretense real, asking her to be his.
I fuck everything female that moves. I don’t want that with you.
He’d meant that too. He did not want to sleep with her. That continued to hurt, but she knew it wasn’t as simple as a lack of sexual attraction—their chemistry was as real as the brutal pain he’d caused. There was something else, the same something that kept him awake at night, that made him do self-destructive things like pick up women who cared nothing for him and about whom he didn’t care.
Be with me.
The memory of the raw words made her breath catch, her heart ache. “You looking forward to the show today?” she asked, needing time to understand him, understand herself, understand this.
In a way, there was only one answer. But that answer might destroy them both.
“Always.” Noah grinned. “I like performing—I’m a peacock at heart.”
Kit felt her eyebrows draw together over her eyes. “And that’s why you once hung out with me in my garden for an entire week, without the least desire to go show off?” That had been the best week of her life… though Noah hadn’t spent the nights at her place. He’d gone home, probably picked up groupie after groupie while she was building cotton candy romantic dreams.
Another stab of pain, another reminder that if she agreed to be with him, she’d live in constant fear that he’d break, go back to his promiscuous ways. But then he nuzzled at her with a smile lighting up his face, and her stupid, irrational heart melted again.
“Yeah well, even a peacock needs the occasional break.” He pointed out an eagle overhead, its wings majestic. “Seriously though, I like the rush of performing, but it’s good to have the downtime. That’s when the music comes.”
Kit nodded. “It’s the same with me and acting.” She loved being in front of the camera, putting on another skin, but then she needed to be herself, to be “quiet,” to recharge and find her center.
That morning they talked about music, about drama, about so many things except the three words Noah had spoken that changed everything.
Be with me.
Things were hopping in the backstage area by the time Kit and Noah returned. After grabbing coffees from the catering truck parked outside the marquee where the festival organizers had put on a breakfast spread, they headed toward Molly and Fox’s bus, figuring the other couple would be up.
Kit froze, that sultry female voice with its faint trace of a Venezuelan accent intimately familiar. “Mom?” Turning, she stared at the leggy woman with masses of expertly tousled black hair striding toward her.
Adreina Ordaz-Castille was dressed in black leather pants that appeared painted on, spike heels that left sharp little divots in the rain-wet earth, and a designer black shirt that hugged her body and was unbuttoned enough to expose the upper curves of her breasts. Her jewelry was chunky silver and turquoise. She was exquisite and sexy both.
A trail of slack-jawed men gazed after her in hopeless want.
Kit couldn’t quite keep herself from glancing at Noah to gauge his reaction to seeing her mom in the flesh. Males tended to forget themselves in the orbit of the magnetic sexual allure that was Adreina Ordaz-Castille.
Noah’s eyes were wide, his muscles bunched, but not with worship.
Kit blinked. “Why are you freaking out?”
“It’s your mom,” he said under his breath. “I’m pretty sure she’s going to shoot me.”
A silly, turbulent twisting in Kit’s stomach at the realization that he looked at Adreina and saw only her mom, she said, “No, my mother loves rock stars.” Adreina had dated plenty of them before settling down with Kit’s dad.
“Mom, what are you doing here?” she said when Adreina reached her.
Her mother kissed her on both cheeks before answering, the scent of Adreina’s perfume a familiar embrace. “Your father and I are here for the festival.”
“Oh, right.” Kit didn’t know why she was surprised; her parents were very active on the celebrity circuit, and this edgy festival was starting to gain serious media cred. And Adreina did still love rock stars, even if only to watch them perform. “Where’s Dad?”
A familiar silver head appeared around the corner a second later. Parker Ordaz-Castille had two cups of coffee in hand from one of the festival trucks. “Hello, honey,” he said, drawing Kit into a hug after giving Adreina her coffee. “Noah, good to see you again.”