Smiling, because how could she not with him here, looking at her that way, she helped gather the other ingredients. He was just finishing up the batter while the waffle iron heated when her cell phone rang.
Glancing at the screen, she saw it was her agent. “Harper?” she said, figuring it had to be bad news if the other woman was calling her at six thirty in the morning. “Hit me with it.”
“Esra Dali just called.” Harper’s voice was ebullient. “Wants you in for a screen test at ten.”
Kit gripped the edge of the counter. “You sure he wasn’t drunk?” she asked, trying to keep her heart from racing and failing spectacularly. “Pretty early for a call.”
“He keeps crazy hours. You make sure you get your butt down to the studios by ten, otherwise I’ll disavow all knowledge of you.”
“Where do I need to go?” Writing down the details, she hung up to see the gorgeous rocker in her kitchen pouring batter into the waffle iron.
It was as wonderfully surreal a sight as the words she spoke. “I have a screen test for Redemption.”
Noah’s face lit up. “Fuck yeah.”
An hour and a half later, after they’d polished off the waffles and she was in her garden, meditating to put herself into the right mind-set for the screen test, Harper called back. The normally cool and collected agent was beside herself.
Thanks to Kit’s suddenly red-hot profile, the cosmetics company had sent in a revised offer that extended her proposed contract to include all international markets. “I don’t see any nasty clauses this time,” Harper said, “though I’m flicking it to the legal eagles to check. You should be signing on the dotted line tomorrow if all goes well.”
Kit hung up to the knowledge that her financial problems were close to over and that, if all went well, her career was about to shoot into the stratosphere. She should’ve been as ecstatic as Harper, but…
Her eyes lingered on Noah where he sat against the cherry blossom tree, lazily strumming his guitar while she sat cross-legged on a yoga mat a short distance from him. The music didn’t bother her when she meditated—she liked it, liked him nearby. But even when physically close, it felt as if he stood an ocean apart from her.
It wasn’t the sex. She hungered for Noah until she couldn’t breathe, but if sex hurt him to the point that it had become a weapon he used to self-harm, then she’d find a way to deal. No, what caused her pain was that he didn’t trust her enough to tell her what had caused the still-bleeding wound on his soul.
Lifting his head, he met her gaze, and in his eyes she saw a future with a man who was her best friend, but a best friend who’d keep his secrets, keep part of his soul forever hidden from her.
Could she live with that?
Noah put the top firmly on his convertible before he and Kit left for the screen test. He said it was to protect her hair, but Kit’s expression told him she knew that was a load of BS. Noah waited for her to argue, but his mind was made up: no way was he permitting the stalker to ruin a day that could mark a watershed moment in her career.
Though she shook her head at him, she didn’t try to make him change his mind, and they rolled out of the drive a couple of minutes later to the flash of cameras. The vultures were all hoping for some kind of an exclusive to fuel the current media feeding frenzy.
“What the fuck do they think we’ll do?” he said to Kit once they’d made it out. “Strip naked and dance together in front of the gate?”
Noah groaned. “He doesn’t count.” The country music star hadn’t only been caught with his pants down while he fucked his mistress during an island getaway, he’d then been photographed standing stark-naked in front of a hotel window while a different woman gave him a blowjob. Turned out he’d thought the window was reflective. “In fact, you can never use Will to score points in any conversation. It’s too easy.”
“At least he was wearing his cowboy hat,” Kit said with a laugh. “It would’ve been seriously embarrassing if he was caught bareheaded.”
“Stop right there. I don’t want to think about what another guy was wearing while a groupie sucked him off.”
A sudden silence from the passenger seat, no riposte. And he realized what he’d said. He’d never been photographed, but how many groupies had sucked him off? He couldn’t remember their names, probably hadn’t ever known them, their faces a blur and their mouths doing things to him that made his body respond though his heart remained frozen.