Sweet possession, p.37
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       Sweet Possession, p.37

         Part #5 of Sweet series by Maya Banks
Page 37


  She frowned and sighed. “I guess I’m wrong about everybody. Clearly I have poor judgment when it comes to people. ”

  He touched her cheek. A light caress as his fingers stroked over her face. “You weren’t wrong to trust me, Lyric. ”

  Her eyes clouded and she blinked furiously, determined not to shed more tears. “But I didn’t trust you. How can you even stand to look at me after the awful things I said to you?”

  He pulled her into his arms and pressed his lips to her forehead. “Trust is something you have to work at, baby. We’ll get there. I plan on being around to make it happen. You suffered a horrible shock, and in your mind the only person it could have been was me. That hurt you and I’m so damn sorry. I would have done anything in the world to keep you from being hurt. ”

  She wrapped her arms around his waist and held on for dear life. She trembled against him and he held her close, his hands rubbing up and down her back.

  “I love you, Lyric. I love you so damn much my teeth ache. I want us to be together. ”

  “I love you too,” she whispered.

  He went still against her. His heart thudded wildly against her cheek. He gently pulled her away, cupped her chin and tilted her head until their gazes met. “Say that again,” he said huskily.

  “I love you. I love you so much it scares me. ”

  He lowered his head and kissed her, his lips melting so sweet over hers. Just a warm brush, so gentle and loving that it made her ache.

  When he drew away, his eyes were aglow with warmth and contentment, as if she’d given him what he most wanted in the world. It unsettled her that she had.

  “We’ve got a lot to work on, baby. You’ve got a lot to deal with. I’m going to be with you all the way but you need to get help to deal with everything that’s happened to you. I want you to be healthy and happy for you first. ”

  She swallowed and nodded. He smiled and touched her nose.

  “I want you to marry me eventually. I want it all, Lyric. You, me, together. But I’m willing to wait as long as it takes for you to come to me happy and whole. Healed. That won’t happen overnight, but I’ll be here when it does. ”

  Her pulse sped up. Adrenaline hummed through her veins, leaving her unsettled and excited. She wrinkled her nose and stared up at him. “I suppose this is where we talk about me quitting my job, marrying, settling down, popping out babies, getting a house with the picket fence and the whole shebang. ” She took a deep breath. “I love my career. I know it doesn’t seem like it. I haven’t always had my head screwed on straight. I’m my own worst enemy. But I love singing. I don’t want to stop it. ”

  He gathered her close and stared down at her, his eyes so earnest, so focused on her.

  “No, this is where we talk about the fact that I’m going to quit my job and follow you around on tour making sure you’re safe and that you take care of yourself the way you should. Babies and the picket fence are purely optional. ”

  “Oh, my,” she breathed. “You aren’t real. You can’t be real. ”

  “I’m real. I’m the man who loves you more than anyone else will ever love you. I’m the man who wants to be with you and will do everything I can to keep you from ever being hurt again. ”

  A tear trickled down her cheek and she sniffled. “Damn it. You’re going to make me cry again. ”

  He held out his hands and she slid her palms over his, lacing their fingers together.

  “Why don’t we get out of here,” he suggested. “Let’s go on down the road. Find a hotel where we can sleep for about twenty-four hours. Right after I make love you to for about six. ”

  She squeezed his hands and leaned up on tiptoes to kiss him. “I love you, Connor Malone. I never thought I’d love someone the way I love you. I never dreamed someone would love me the way you do. ”

  He smiled and pressed his forehead to hers. “The funny thing about dreams is that every now and then they come true. ”


  “I can’t wait to see everyone,” Lyric said as Connor bundled her into the waiting limo.

  Connor smiled as he slid in beside her. He reached over, wrapped his arm around her shoulders and squeezed. “Have I told you how gorgeous you look?”

  She flushed and ducked her head. No matter how often he told her how beautiful she was, she never got used to hearing it spoken with such conviction. He truly meant it.

  The thing was, she was still a size twelve. Closer to a fourteen now. And Connor didn’t give a shit. He couldn’t keep his eyes or hands off her, a fact she delighted in.

  “I haven’t seen Nia since she was born. I bet she’s half-grown by now,” Lyric said with an unhappy frown. “I miss everyone. We need to get home to see them more often. ”

  Connor chuckled. “If you weren’t wildly successful and so in demand that tour dates keep being added, you’d have more time to go home. ”

  She burrowed into his chest and sighed her contentment as the limo left the Houston airport. Home. It was kind of weird to consider a place home, but Houston had become that for her.

  It was where Connor’s family and friends lived. Family and friends that had become hers. Connor didn’t know it yet, but she planned to surprise him with the house she’d bought not far from where his dad and sister and brother-in-law lived.

  Though they weren’t married yet, she and Connor were inseparable. At first she’d worried that he’d been so willing to quit his job and travel with her—working with Kane and his team for her. What if he got bored, tired or regretted his decision to leave his life and career? For her.

  It was humbling and awe inspiring. Never before had anyone been willing to sacrifice so much for her.

  She loved him like she’d never imagined being able to love another person.

  Her cell rang, and she reached into her purse, grinning when she saw that it was Faith.

  “Where are you?” Faith asked when Lyric said hello.

  She smiled over at Connor. “We’re in the car now. Should be there in twenty minutes. ”

  Faith’s squeal of delight made Lyric warm all over. In excited tones, Faith relayed the news to the other girls and a chorus of cheers greeted Lyric through the phone.

  “Hurry!” Faith said. “We’ll see you when you get here. ”

  Lyric slowly closed her phone and battled the knot of emotion in her throat.

  “They love you,” Connor said. “Just like I do. ”

  She smiled and leaned up to kiss him. “I’m just so . . . happy. Ridiculously happy. Like so happy I get paranoid that the world’s going to go to shit tomorrow. ”

  He laughed and squeezed her again. “So tell me. How drunk are you girls planning to get?”

  Lyric grinned. “Who knows with those four. They’re bad influences. I never touched alcohol before them. ”

  A few minutes later, they pulled into the parking lot of Cattleman’s. The parking lot was empty. Tonight was a private function. The entire restaurant had been shut down so the girls could get together. Of course the guys would inevitably show up, but no one minded.

  Life was pretty damn good.

  Good family. Good friends. A man she loved with everything she had.

  As soon as the limo came to a stop, the entrance of Cattleman’s flew open and Faith, Julie, Serena and Angelina—a very slim, gorgeous Angelina—flew out to the car.

  Connor, laughing, opened the door and climbed out, holding his hands up. “Since I know y’all aren’t that excited to see me, let me get Lyric out so y’all can attack her. ”

  Julie rolled her eyes. “Pouty, isn’t he?”

  Faith hugged Connor as Lyric got out and then Angelina gave him an affectionate squeeze and a kiss on the cheek.

  “It looks like you’ve taken very good care of her, Connor,” Serena said in a pleased voice. “You both look wonderful. ”

  “Amazing how love does that,” Faith said smugly.

  The girls gathere
d around Lyric, all hugging her and smothering her as they laughed and babbled all at once.

  Connor stood indulgently to the side until they quieted enough for him to get a word in edgewise. Lyric smiled up at him, so happy she could burst.

  “Okay, time for you to shoo, Connor. The guys aren’t supposed to show up for two hours yet,” Julie said.

  Connor raised an eyebrow. “What? We’re being allowed entrance into the goddess domain? I thought we were forbidden to be seen on girls’ night out. ”

  “We’re making an exception this time,” Lyric said with a grin. “We get a two-hour head start and then you guys can come join the fun. By then we’ll be too shit-faced to care. ”

  He chuckled and then climbed back into the car. “I’m going over to Gray’s. I’ll send the car back in case you all need it. No taking a cab,” he said sternly.

  “Oh, we’re staying put,” Serena said airily. “We have our gorgeous bartender who spoils us rotten and I have it on good authority that Carl had some yummy food made for us. ”

  “I’m starving,” Lyric said mournfully. “Food on the plane sucked. ”

  “Well of course it did,” Faith said as she tucked her arm through Lyric’s. “Bye, Connor! We’ll see you in a few hours. ”

  Connor laughed. “I know when I’ve been dismissed. ”

  He leaned down and kissed Lyric before pulling away. “Have a good time, baby. ”

  Lyric waved as he got into the car and then allowed Faith to drag her into the restaurant.

  As they headed into the quiet and empty place, Lyric grinned in sudden remembrance.

  “What’s the shit-eating grin for?” Julie asked suspiciously.

  “Do you guys know that this is where Connor and I first kissed? Well, I can’t really say he kissed me. I kissed him. Right there at the bar. ”

  The girls laughed and Lyric turned her attention to Angelina, who’d been mostly quiet to now.

  “You look fantastic, Angelina. I’m so jealous. You lost all the baby weight. ”

  Angelina grimaced. “Not all. But I’m getting there. ”

  “How is Nia?”

  At the mention of her daughter, Angelina positively lit up. “Oh she’s gorgeous. Such a wonderful baby. And Micah is so in love with her. It’s really disgusting how she has him so wrapped around her finger already. ”

  Julie rolled her eyes. “Like mother, like daughter. ”

  Serena and Faith laughed at Angelina’s startled expression.

  “Well they do have you there,” Lyric pointed out. “That man is an idiot over you. ”

  Angelina’s soft smile glowed.

  “Hey, ladies. I am here to serve. Just tell me what your pleasure is. ”

  Lyric turned to see a young—and hot—bartender grinning at them.

  “That’s Drew,” Serena murmured. “Isn’t he yummy? He’s seen us drunk before so you don’t have to worry that he’s going to take photos and sell them to tabloids. Damon has already threatened him with bodily injury if he so much as breathes a word about us being here. ”

  Lyric laughed. “I do love your husband, Serena. He looks and acts so civilized, but underneath he’s a complete barbarian. ”

  Serena beamed. “I know. Isn’t it great?”

  “Let’s quit talking and start drinking,” Julie said. “We have a lot of catching up to do!”

  For the next two hours, the drinks flowed freely, as did the laughter and the conversation. Though Lyric had never enjoyed being alone and surrounded herself with people, she’d never surrounded herself with really great people. People she could trust. People who loved her and she loved in return.

  Being with those people? She didn’t even have the words to describe the feeling.

  Drew was the dream that the girls had reported him to be. He kept their glasses full, cleaned up their spills and never blinked an eye when their conversations detoured into the way-too-much-information department.

  “Soooo, Lyric,” Faith began. “Tell us when you’re going to put Connor out of his misery and make an honest man out of him. ”

  Julie, Serena and Angelina all eagerly sat forward, their attention focused solidly on Lyric now. Lyric blushed, but she couldn’t help the wide smile that attacked her face.

  “Soon,” she said serenely. “I want it to be perfect. Connor’s been . . . He’s been so patient and understanding. He’s been just perfect. ”

  “Of course he has. He’s in love,” Julie said. “Men are pretty stupid when they’re in love. ”

  Angelina snorted. “You love that Nathan is stupid over you. ”

  Julie grinned. “Yes. I have to admit. I do. ”

  “So how soon?” Serena asked Lyric.

  “I have another month of touring and then I have a surprise for him. You guys can’t breathe a word!”

  They all solemnly crossed their hearts and swore never to tell.

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