“You had no permission, Alec!”
“Since when do I need permission to talk to my fans?”
“We’ve talked about this! You can’t grant privileged—”
I shut down my manager’s voice and focus on the corridor ahead of me.
Five minutes, I spent with those girls! Five extra minutes and things snowballed into this. I blow out a long breath. Some days I swear…
Calm down, Alec. Breathe!
I don’t want to be the ungrateful asshole who dares to complain about working conditions when he has the most amazing job in the world. But sometimes I just…
I have zero control over my own life.
Everything is scheduled to the minute. They’re always telling me where to go, what to say, how to behave.
And there’s no stop button! Since I was fifteen, it’s just go, go, go, go!
“Are we clear?”
Interviews, video shoots, writing under pressure, tour after tour.
“Alec?” My manager strides ahead of me as we get close to my dressing room. “Am I understood?”
I swallow hard and drop my eyes. “Yes,” I lie. They’re crazy if they think I’d ever mistreat one of my fans.
“Good.” He steps out of my way. “It’s 6:42. You have eighteen minutes until—”
“I know.” I shove through the door. If eighteen minutes is all I have, I don’t want to waste one more second of it having this conversation.
“Better now.” I smile at her—let her wash all my problems away.
That’s from her required reading list. Anxiety resurfaces in my mind. College is knocking on her door—she won’t come on tour with you forever.
Linda’s smile pumps a warm wave of peace straight into my bloodstream.
How does she do this? Just a second ago, my mind was running, like, a thousand miles an hour!
“Are you okay?” she asks as I lock the door.
She looks like an angel in a white summer dress, leaning back on the couch with a book in her hands.
“Hey…” Linda puts her book away. “Come here.” She reaches out for my hand and pulls me to the couch with her.
I let myself sink into her arms. All the stress, the craziness of my world—only Linda has the power to make it go away.
“What’s going on?” She strokes my hair. “Are you having a bad day?”
“Not particularly.” I scoff at the realization. “I’m just…overtired.”
She plants a kiss on my forehead but doesn’t say anything. Now that she’s been on tour with me, she understands exactly what I’m talking about—and that there’s no solution for it.
I close my eyes and hold her tight, trying not to think of how few minutes we have left.
“I’m here,” she whispers in my ear. “Forget everything else.”
I raise my head and gaze into her deep brown eyes. How am I gonna survive the rest of the tour without you?
“Stop worrying about the future.” She cups my face with one hand. “Just be here with me—right now.”
I can’t help but close the gap between our lips.
Linda deepens the kiss, her hands traveling from my neck to my chest.
I pull her closer by the waist, roll her over onto her back.
Time stops as I lower my mouth to hers again. For however long she hangs onto me, her skin against mine is all I can think about.
I’ll ever get enough of it. Enough of her.
It doesn’t make a difference—ten minutes or all the time in the world—my reaction will still be the same every time someone tries to…
“Alec?” There’s a knock on the door. “Time to get ready.”
I groan, squeezing Linda tight.
“Go.” She chuckles in my ear. “I’ll be here when you come back.”
She searches my eyes, holding the necklace I gave her on New Year’s Day. “Always.”