Hillbilly Rockstar


Page 22




He felt Liberty stiffen beside him. "I know."
They reached the bus. Liberty deactivated the alarm and unlocked the door.
"You'll have to show me how to do that," Devin said.
"Why? Chances are you'll never be unattended."
There was a cheery thought.
Reg peered through the beer window. "You're back later than I expected."
"Been a long day."
"I hear ya. All was quiet tonight, except for some girls yelling how much they loved you."
Devin blushed. "Thanks for sticking around."
As soon as Reg was gone, Liberty locked the doors and pulled the curtains. Then she got right in his face. "Why didn't you tell me you had another commitment tomorrow?"
He scowled. "It's personal."
"It's personal," she repeated. "Since the moment I signed on as your personal security, I'm in your personal business, Devin, all of it. What don't you get about that?"
Would it piss her off if he mentioned how hot it was when fire flashed in her eyes and she went toe-to-toe with him? Definitely. Might be worth getting shot at.
He shrugged. "It's not a big deal."
"Then what is it?"
In lieu of answering, he returned her icy stare.
"Fine. Since I didn't plan extra security for a personal hospital thing, you'll have to cancel."
Devin herded her until her back hit the wall. "No f**kin' way. I will be there. So think of this as your chance to prove that you-just you-can protect me."
She waited for an explanation, her bodyguard mask in place.
"Where I'm goin' is a hospital-a children's cancer hospital-so you can't wear your gun."
"Oh, this just gets better and better."
"Suck it up, G.I. Jane. And you'll put on a happy face for those kids, understand?"
"How much media will be there?"
Stung, he stepped back. "None. Jesus. You think I'm doin' this for some media attention? What kind of publicity-hungry ass**le do you think I am?"
She threw up her hands. "I don't know! I don't know you, okay? And this caught me completely by surprise." She inhaled a deep breath. "How many people know you're going there tomorrow?"
"Crash. I didn't mention it to my agent, and I forbade the tour promotion company from turnin' it into a media spectacle. I don't do this for any reason other than it makes me happy to put smiles on those kids' faces. Even for just an hour."
Her eyes searched his. "No bullshit. This is really important to you, isn't it?"
"Yes."
"Why?"
He collapsed against the wall, shoving down his resentment that he had to share something so intensely personal with her. It was one of the few private things he had left. "These kids that have cancer . . . they deal with so much pain and so much uncertainty. Days, weeks, even months in the hospital. I remember how my little sister would talk about how much she loved it when 'special' people came and did things with them."
A moment of silence passed. "Your sister had cancer?"
"Yeah."
"What happened to her?"
A sharp stab of pain still lodged in his heart every time he thought of her. "She was diagnosed with leukemia when she was seven. The treatments didn't work on her, and she passed on two days after her ninth birthday."
"How old were you?"
"Sixteen. She was the sweetest girl in the world. And she suffered . . ." He swallowed hard. "It about killed all of us-me, my mom and dad and older sister, Renee-to watch her, knowing we couldn't do a goddamn thing about it. So when I'm on the road, I make time to hang out with kids like her."
Liberty's hand pressed against his chest, over his heart. "I'm sorry. God, Devin, I'm so f**king sorry. I can't imagine your loss. And I'm sorry that I questioned the reason why you were doing it. It was a dick move on my part."
Shocked by her apology, he opened his eyes, surprised to see a sheen of tears in hers. "I don't talk about my family. Very few people know about her. The grief . . . then and now, it's private, you know?"
"No, I don't know. Thank you for telling me."
Devin placed his hand over hers. "I know you don't want to be my confidante, but we will be livin' in very close quarters, so I hope we can be friends."
She blinked at him and opened her mouth. But she shut it and nodded. Then she slid her hand free.
"It's after midnight. You a night owl?" he asked.
"I'm more an early to bed, early to rise type. So I'll call it a night. I don't have to warn you not to leave the bus or let anyone in, do I?"
"No. I'm lookin' forward to some alone time." He smirked. "Just me and my big-screen TV."
"Have fun. You'll have to show me how to run it."
"The TV in my bedroom?"
Liberty rolled her eyes. "No. The one right there." She pointed to the forty-eight-inch screen that dropped down from the ceiling.
"I can do that."
Halfway down the hall, she stopped. "What was your sister's name?"
Why did she want to know that? He said, "Michelle," and she had no idea how hard it was for him to choke out.Source: www_Novel12_Com