Trouble Rising(8)

By: Emme Rollins

“The paparazzi is always watching.” I made a face. I understood the inclination, wanting to run away—this news would make the press swarm around us, wherever we went. “Where can we go?”

“How about your mom’s?” he suggested after a moment, and I laughed until I almost choked. Then I looked at his face and saw he wasn’t kidding.

“You’re not kidding?”

“No one would think to look there.” He grinned. “Think she’d have us?”

“You really want to sleep on a fold-out couch and eat oatmeal out of a box?” I asked, hoping to dissuade him.

“You’re so spoiled.” He laughed. “Come on—we’ll dodge the paparazzi and fly commercial.”

“First-class?” I asked hopefully and he laughed again.

“Come on, spoiled brat, let’s go on an adventure.”

I wasn’t keen on spending time at home with my mother, but I couldn’t resist the mischievous look in Tyler’s eyes.

I never could say no to him.

Chapter Two

“We should pitch a tent,” Tyler said over his shoulder. He stood looking out the second-story window at my mother’s property. It was, admittedly, kind of pretty. She had ten acres, most of it wooded, and there was a little pond out back.

“There are bugs outside,” I reminded him sleepily, patting his pillow. “Come back to bed.”

“I saw a deer.” He was sipping coffee, which meant he’d already been down to visit the kitchen. I wondered if my mother was awake. It was a Saturday, so she didn’t have to work. “And the raccoons really want to get into the garbage bin. They’re like Ocean’s Eleven out there.”

I laughed. “That’s why she locks it.”

“And there’s some sort of crane or something fishing in the pond.”

“There are no fish,” I told him, pulling his side of the covers back and patting the mattress. My mother had installed a queen size bed in my old room, making it into a guest room, so at least we didn’t have to sleep together in a twin or on the pull-out in the living room. “It’s too shallow.”

“Wonder what he’s eating then?” Tyler frowned out the window.

“Frogs.” I kicked more of the covers off, exposing my thigh and hip. “Come back to bed.”

He glanced back, eyes lighting up when he saw me. “Tempting.”

“That’s the idea.” I held my arms out and he padded toward me in his boxers, putting his coffee on the night stand before slipping back in beside me.

“You are so delicious,” he murmured, pulling me close. “And I’m starving.”

“Well, we can’t have that.” I put my arms around his neck and kissed him. His mouth was soft, relaxed, opening under mine, and I delighted in it.

I hadn’t realized how tense things had been back home, how much we’d been holding on to all this time. Honestly, when Tyler had suggested coming here, I was horrified—then dubious. Staying with my mother wasn’t exactly my idea of a vacation, and I thought for sure it would be a disaster.

But I’d forgotten how charming Tyler could be—and how much my mother liked him, in spite of the fact that he’d gotten her daughter hooked on heroin once upon a time. It seemed she had forgiven and forgotten, and she welcomed us both with open arms. We hadn’t seen her since our wedding, although I called her once a month just to check in, and we’d sent her gifts on her birthday and Christmas.

The commercial flight hadn’t been bad at all—even though we were both used to a private jet—and the further we got from California, the more we both seemed to be able to breathe easier. Maybe it was the northern Michigan air—we took a little puddle jumper plane into the local airport from Detroit Metro—but it seemed like I could fill my lungs more than ever before.

We’d gone for long walks down the path through the woods every day since we’d arrived, holding hands and not talking. I wanted to ask him what he was thinking—and he was more thoughtful than usual—but he was so happy otherwise. His smile came easier, and so did his laugh. We played card games at night with my mother, or watched TV together, and it seemed so natural, so Midwestern and normal. I guess I’d been in California so long, I’d forgotten not everyone lived like we did in Hollywood.

Also By Emme Rollins

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