Take Me Home

By: Stephanie Summers

Book Two of the Take Me Duet



PROLOGUE – ASH LONDON

Standing at the side of the stage, I watch the opening band work the crowd into a ravenous frenzy. At least I won’t have to work as hard during my own set. I’d hand chosen this up-and-coming band to be part of the show after an encounter I’d had with the lead singer while on a date with Lila. It seems like a lifetime ago since we were happy together. The thought of seeing her tonight terrifies me. It’s been thirteen months since I last spoke to her, and only a few weeks since I last saw her from afar.

When I found out she’s going to be here tonight, I almost bailed. We’re debuting some new stuff tonight. Stuff that just happens to be about her and how much I miss her. Stuff that, if nothing else, I hope will show her just how sorry I am for everything.

Judging by the amount of people stuffed into the place, Tori’s opening night is a huge success. As I look over the heads of the people dancing and thrashing their bodies to the music, I catch sight of a staircase that leads up to a VIP balcony area. Like a fucking beacon of light in the darkness, she catches my gaze immediately. Though she isn’t facing me, I’d know her body anywhere. I memorized every curve during our time together, and my fingers still ache at the memory of gliding over her soft, supple skin. She walks up the steps, her hips swaying just like I remember. I eye her body down to those fucking red-soled shoes she’s wearing that are just barely illuminated from the lights on the stairs. Remembering the way she modeled them for me every time I gave her a new pair causes my heart to thump and my cock to twitch.

I want more than anything to go to her, sling her over my shoulder, and carry her home where she belongs. To hell with the show. To hell with my commitments. To hell with our past. She’s the only woman I’ve ever truly loved. The same one I’ve hurt too badly for her to ever forgive me. The same one I would do anything to have back in my arms. I still love her. I always will. And the truth of the matter is, I don’t deserve her. I’m not sure I ever did. When you aren’t honest with the ones you love, you lose them. That’s how it works. Maybe if I’d been up front about my past to begin with, things would be different. Maybe she’d be here with me instead of some other dude.

I’ll be taking the stage shortly, baring my fucking soul through the lyrics I wrote for her, all while she watches from the arms of someone else. It rips my heart out to see another man touch her. Her smile lights up the room as she looks over at him like he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to her. She used to look at me that way, and still would if I hadn’t let my demons catch up to me.

I have this fantasy about the first time I come face to face with her where I tell her I’m sorry for all I’ve done, she forgives me, and we run off to the nearest bed to spend the rest of our lives together. In reality, I’ll be lucky if I ever get the chance to look into her beautiful eyes again. I’ll try to avoid looking into them at all cost tonight just to spare her the same pain I know I’d be feeling. I don’t know if I’m even capable of being cordial to her and her date.

My gut wrenches as I watch his hand slide over her hip, pulling her closer as they continue up the stairs. Part of me wants to see her happy, despite it meaning that I am and always will be utterly alone without her. But the more dominant part of me says, “Fuck that… Take what’s yours.”





CHAPTER 1 – LILA STEPHENS

A rapid knocking interrupted my last-minute cleaning spree. I’d been hell-bent on getting everything perfect for Paige’s visit. Her first visit ended up being a bust when her mother had to have emergency surgery the night before she was to leave. Four months had gone by before she’d been able to set up another visit, but it seemed like four years. She’d blown through her vacation time to help her mother recover, and it’d taken that long for her to finally get to take a few days off in a row. I’d missed her terribly, and couldn’t wait for her to arrive. We would only have a few days, but it would have to do.

We had tons of things to catch each other up on, and I was thrilled to be able to share the positives in my life with her, especially because I knew I’d be telling her about the darkest time of my life during her visit. I wasn’t so eager to broach that subject, but I knew I had to. My therapist suggested I expand my support circle, and I was determined to do everything she told me to do so I could move on with my life. Actually going to support groups had helped me immensely. Hearing from others who had gone through similar trauma had been an eye-opening experience, but it wasn’t quite enough. I needed my family, and Paige and Tori were my family.

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