Never Tied Down (The Never Duet #2)(9)

By: Anie Michaels

Chapter Three

He’s Not Hard On The Eyes


It was a Saturday morning, and the first Saturday in weeks I didn’t have to work. I enjoyed sleeping in, but woke up hungry, so I padded down the stairs toward the kitchen. As I neared the first floor I could hear Ella talking to the baby and smiled when I came into the great room and saw Mattie happily sitting in her bouncy chair while Ella spooned something into her mouth. The TV was on in the background and Ella watched it as she fed her daughter.

“Morning, Kal,” she said cheerily, looking over her shoulder as I came into the room. “I didn’t think you were here.”

“I got a Saturday off. It’s a miracle,” I answered, my voice still a little raspy from sleep.

“Really?” she asked excitedly, turning to face me. “I was going to drive to Portland to see Megan and have lunch and go shopping. Wanna come with me?”

“You aren’t spending the day with Porter?” That surprised me. Generally on the weekends they were together all the time.

“He has to work in Lincoln City today and then is having dinner with his mom. It’s a girls’ day!” she exclaimed, turning back to Mattie, using her mom voice again.

“You know what? That sounds like a lot of fun. I think I will go with you.” I grabbed a banana, then moved to sit on the couch facing Ella, who was parked on the floor.

“Really? That’s great. We’ve really missed hanging out with you,” she stated. She wasn’t looking at me as she said the words, but I could hear the underlying meaning. I’d closed myself off from them for a while. Not because they did anything wrong, but because I wasn’t emotionally ready to let myself feel anything but sadness and loss. I was staying with them, living in their houses, but I wasn’t the same person I used to be. A small smile crossed my face and I decided it was as good a day as any to try to enjoy myself with my friends.

“I’ve missed me, too,” I replied honestly. “And thank you for not giving up on me. I’m trying, every day, to get back to normal. I’m just not sure what normal is anymore.”

“Oh, sweetie, you’re doing fine. And we’ll be here to help you as long as you need.”

I smiled at her, grateful for my friend in that moment, but my attention was pulled to the television as I heard a woman speak a name I’d tried for months to avoid hearing.

“Riot Bentley made quite the appearance last night at the Hollywood premiere of Midnight Ride when he showed up on the arm of none other than pop superstar, Lexi Black.”

My breath snagged in my lungs and my heart skidded to an immediate halt at the mention of Riot, and my traitorous head turned toward the television, where my eyes landed on his image. It was the first time I’d seen him in months, thanks to avoiding the Internet all together. My first thought? He looked amazing. Handsome and delicious in a suit with no tie, top buttons of his shirt undone. It wasn’t jeans and a t-shirt, but it was a look he wore well.

“Oh, shit,” I heard Ella mumble, then from the corner of my eye I saw her scrambling for the remote control. She speed-crawled across the floor to the coffee table and grabbed the remote. Just as she lifted it to change the channel, I stopped her.

“No, wait, I want to watch this.” Obviously, I was into pain.

“Lexi Black, who’d been rumored to be dating famed director George Lebowitz, showed no shyness as she planted a kiss on her leading man right on the red carpet.” I sucked in a sharp breath as they showed a slow-motion replay of Lexi leaning in and planting her red, luscious lips right on Riot’s. “Fans might remember Bentley as the hot hunk in her most popular music video to date, which was, coincidentally, directed by Lebowitz. Bentley, the current heartthrob on the hit show Shield to Shield, looked slightly uncomfortable in front of the cameras, but this was his first red carpet event so we’ll give him a pass.”

The woman on the television gave a slimy wink and I felt as though I was going to throw up right then and there.

“We’ll all be watching to see how this new and exciting relationship develops. It might even be Hollywood’s hottest love triangle.”

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