Page 22 of Dirty Promise

Ghosting him isn’t a nice thing to do, and it’s not what I want to do, but I feel it’s better this way. That sounds horrible, but it’s easier for both of us. He probably won’t even notice I’m gone after a day or two. It’s not like he has any kind of emotional investment in me. We were just having fun. And it was fun. A LOT of fun.

I close my eyes. Don’t think about him.

First is my trip to Savannah. That’s an easy one. All I need is a suitcase and enough clothes to last me a week. I decide to drive instead of fly. Truth is, I’m afraid of flying. Since I have no choice but to fly over seas to Peru and Scotland, I decide to stick to land on my way to Georgia. Besides, taking in the different roadside attractions on the way should be fun. The South has a lot of history and culture. There’s plenty for me to see and do along the way.

Before I leave, I go to the book store and buy an audio book of Emma, another Jane Austen novel to listen to along the way. While I’m there, I pass by the same tattoo book I saw when I was buying Pride and Prejudice. I pick it up and look through the pages. Bad idea. Now I can’t stop thinking about Max. In the book is a list of the meanings behind certain tattoos.

First, I look up the meaning for the stag that covers his chest. It means masculinity and virility. The wolf means loyalty and family. The eagle means courage and focus. I don’t know if he got those tattoos to mean those specific things, or if there is any meaning behind them at all, but if it’s any indication of his personality, it makes perfect sense.

As I leave the book store, I take one last look around the town I’m attached to, whose city limits I haven’t left in years, and say a silent goodbye before getting on the road.

I end up having a lot of fun on my journey. I stop at a restaurant dedicated to peaches and try everything on the menu. Cobbler, a burger topped with a grilled peach and peach barbeque sauce, and homemade peach mead which I decided to drink until I was wasted—part of that decision had to do with how much I missed Max. Luckily, I left my phone in the car at the motel so there was no drunk texting. The next morning I’m hungover and hating life. I swear, if I even taste a single thing made from the fuzzy fruit again I will vomit. I need to stop hiding my emotions behind alcohol and start dealing with them head on. That’s a lot harder said than done, but that’s going to be part of my mission on these trips.

The tour itself is a lot of fun. There’s so much to see and do and the whole tour was as spooky as I hoped it would be. It’s easy to keep my mind preoccupied. The problem is that first night when I’m alone in my motel room and my text alert goes off. I sit in the bed, a movie playing in the background for noise to keep things from getting too lonely. I stare at my phone screen, the message that says it’s from Max, but I don’t open it at first. As much as I try to stop myself from reading it, I know it will haunt me if I don’t read it and it will be far more bothersome than any of the ghosts on the tour.

I open it.

Max: Hungry?

Of course he still thinks I’m in town. I look at the clock in the corner of my phone screen. He’ll be getting off work about now. We’ve already fallen into a bit of a routine since we started hanging out more often. I’m sure when I don’t answer he’ll think I’ve fallen asleep. It won’t be a big deal. I put my phone on the charger and it stays silent the rest of the night.

The next day I explore more of the sights of the old city. I try on dresses for an old fashioned Southern belle photoshoot, and go to a huge makeup store they have in the mall to look for items to add to my kit at home. I get another text from Max.

Max: You awake yet? Want to get breakfast?

A lump forms in the back of my throat. Ignoring him isn’t going to be easy, but he’ll give up. He’s too good-looking and confident to sit around and wait for a girl as basic as me.

I turn off the phone and put it in my purse for the rest of the day. I don’t check it again until I’m on my way home. I don’t want to look at it even then, but I need to book my flight to Peru. There are five text messages and several missed calls and voicemails. I don’t even look at them. It will be easier to ignore him when I leave the country. Where I’m going in Peru, there won’t be much in the way of cell service and I don’t want technology ruining this experience for me. I book my flight and put my phone away again.

Tags: Penny Wylder Billionaire Romance