Dirty Together (The Dirty Billionaire Trilogy #3)(4)

by Meghan March

Why is it we seemed to find our rhythm in the midst of the craziness that’s touring, but as soon as we step foot back in his world, I nearly have a nervous breakdown? What does that say for our future?

I push away the insistent question. I’ve got time to figure this out. I just need to get right with myself before I can start trying to figure out the rest. So instead, I head for the bedroom bureau and score some socks alongside the other odds and ends I left and never came back for.

I’ve been meaning to come back and clean the house out and sell it, but something always stops me—and not just the general lack of time in my schedule. When I wrote a check for the property taxes a couple of months ago, I told myself it was time.

But I haven’t been able to pull the trigger. Even now, I’m not quite ready to let go. Which is ironic because in so many ways, I couldn’t wait to shake the dust from this town off my boots. And once Gran was gone . . . coming back was too overwhelming. And yet, like I said to Logan, it was the only place I thought to run. Life is funny that way.

I, being the Kentucky girl that I am, recall a line from the movie Days of Thunder. Tom Cruise’s nemesis, Rowdy Burns—the guy who becomes his friend after they smash their rental cars all up on the way to dinner—says something about how as a kid he farmed so he could race, but later he was just racing so he could get back and live on the farm. At least I think it went something like that.

It may not be some classy, iconic movie quote, but it always stuck with me. Just one more way of saying the grass is always greener on the other side. I’m not in the same position as Rowdy Burns, because I don’t have some burning desire to come back to Gold Haven permanently, but I can’t help but wonder if, someday in the future, I’ll be singing and touring my ass off to save enough to quit.

It’s unfathomable.

I freeze in the act of pulling a sock on. Did I just imagine my future without Creighton in it? Because if Creighton is part of my future, money surely isn’t an object, right?

And then comes the bigger questions: if Creighton is part of my future, will I still be touring and singing ten years from now? Even if this does work between us, at what point is he going to think the country music gig—while cute—is getting old?

Stop borrowing trouble, Holly. I make a conscious decision to bury the questions again for tonight. I’m not ready to answer them yet. Maybe having Logan show up at my doorstep was some kind of serendipity in the form of a welcome distraction.

Stripping out of my leggings, I pull on the jeans and trade the sweatshirt for the sweater, and look at my reflection in a mirror that saw me through the awkwardness of my teen years. It’s easy to catalog all the ways I look different now.

My hair is longer and shinier—courtesy of using the products my stylist recommended and not Suave. My entire body is slimmer—thanks to the restrictive diet and calorie counting. But would you believe that my boobs are perkier? No, I didn’t sell my soul to the devil; I discovered the miracle of push-up bras and was actually fitted for one in my size. My face, to go along with my slimmer body, is narrower, my cheekbones sharper, and my eyebrows have been professionally shaped. But beyond that, I’m still the exact same girl I was when I left.

Is that girl ever going to be enough for Creighton?

“Stop it,” I scold my reflection. “Just stop.”

“Hurry up, Holly!” Logan yells up the stairs, interrupting me.

“Hold your horses, you breaking-and-entering fool,” I yell back.

I grab my makeup bag and use the concealer to cover the circles under my eyes, and then add a swipe of bronzer over my cheeks and another coat of mascara and lip gloss. That’ll have to be good enough.

Logan’s idea of reintroducing me to my roots starts with food at Mr. Burger, the only fast-food joint in town since McDonald’s won’t bother setting up a franchise here. It’s surprisingly quiet for a Saturday night, but that suits me just fine.

We order and slip into a back booth to wait for the server to bring out our food. The joke around town is that Mr. Burger’s is so slow because they have to go kill the cow first.

It’s twenty minutes before two loaded cheeseburgers, seasoned fries, and chocolate milkshakes are sitting in front of us. I haven’t consumed this many calories in one sitting . . . probably since the last time I ate here. This meal is miles away from the decadent steak that Creighton ordered in our hotel room.

The food is amazing. The company isn’t half bad either.

I don’t have much to say, but Logan fills the silence, even though I get the feeling he’s not normally this chatty of a guy. He tells me about coming back to town after leaving the Marines. He won’t say exactly what it is he did in the Marines, so I suspect it was something interesting.

He came back to town just days after I left for Nashville, and knew he couldn’t be idle, so he applied for a job at the garage he worked at all through high school. Apparently he spent a lot of his down time in the service restoring classic cars, so Chuck, the prior owner, hired him back on the spot.

“When Chuck told me he planned to retire about three months later, I knew that I couldn’t let him sell it to someone else. Coming back to that damn garage was the best homecoming I had. He wasn’t surprised at all that I didn’t want him to sell it to anyone else, and was cool enough to help me buy it from him. I’ve almost got him paid off, so the bank loan for the renovations was a leap of faith. It’s turning out just fine, though.”

I’m amazed that in six months he’s managed to buy the place, renovate the whole thing, and turn Chuck’s old garage into a sought-after place for classic car restoration and repairs. To say I’m impressed would be an understatement. It appears that I’m not the only one who’s capable of going after a dream.

I’m also slightly stunned that we get out of Mr. Burger without being bothered. I guess I’m not such a big deal, even in my own town. Apparently only Miranda Lambert is famous in a small town.

Act II of Operation Reintroduce-Holly-to-Her-Roots takes us right back to the place it all started—Brews and Balls. I should have figured, since it’s really the only place for people to go for entertainment in Gold Haven.

The reception I get there is much different than at Mr. Burger. You’d think I’m the returning hero who has been away for years and years, which clearly, I’m not.