Good Girl Page 31

The good news…

Not that many people are listening anymore.

She’s had her moment in the spotlight, and while the general consensus is that I’m still a home-wrecking whore, at least I’m no longer a front-page home-wrecking whore.

The best news of all is that nobody has a clue where I am. My poor publicist has been a broken record with the statement I provided: Jenny Dawson is taking some time away from the spotlight to work on her upcoming album. She thanks you in advance for respecting her privacy.

All bullshit, of course. Nobody gives a crap about my privacy. Nor does anyone likely believe that I’m working on my album so much as hiding away in my shame.

But that’s their problem.

I have bigger, more important problems.

Name: Noah Maxwell.

It’s occurred to me that I’ve been more intimate with him than I have with any other guy, and yet I hardly know him. I don’t know where he comes from, how it came about that he has this job, his favorite food, or what he watches on TV.

But I know him well enough to know that I want to know him better.

I know he can be a jerk, but he also knows how to apologize. I know he’s grumpy as shit, but he’ll never let a girl walk home alone at night. I know he’s good with his hands—really good with his hands—and as much as he might think Dolly’s ridiculous, he cares enough to make sure she doesn’t become a light snack for an alligator.

Last night was 20 percent seduction, 80 percent revenge.

But tonight I want to tweak that ratio and go full-on seduction.

And not with just his body.

I want to know what makes him tick. And I have exactly zero clue how to figure that out.

I pick up the phone to call Amber, but at the last minute I change tack. I need a different approach with this one. I need…

My mom picks up on the first ring. “Honey! You have your cellphone back!”

I smile. “Hi, Mama.”

“You sound happy. I love when you’re happy.”

That’s my mother for you. She’s one of those really exceptional parents—the kind whose mission in life is ensuring the happiness of her offspring, but who rarely crosses the line into meddling.

“Let’s just say I’m thinking it’s time to come out of the cocoon,” I say.

“Oh, good! Does that mean you’re coming home?”

I hesitate, not having the heart to tell her that I’m no longer sure Nashville is home. I mean, it’s more home than Los Angeles, certainly. But the thought of going back there doesn’t feel right. Not yet.

“No, I’m going to stay here a bit longer. The album’s coming along, but I want to get a few more tracks down before I submit it.”

“I think that sounds smart. Trust your gut.”

Told you she was the best.

“I could use a little advice, though,” I say. “On the personal front.”


I smile, knowing that she’s probably quivering with anticipation right now.

“There’s sort of…this guy,” I say, fiddling with the lid of my coffee cup.

“Ohhhh,” she gushes.

“Which, I know is crazy,” I say, “given that the whole reason for hiding out is to get away from guys, but he’s the caretaker on the property. A young, cute caretaker, not the old crusty kind. And I kind of…like him.”

“What’s he like? What’s his name?”

“Noah. And he’s…prickly.”

“Ah, one of those,” she says knowingly.

“I guess. He just feels very foreign to me. I’m used to guys, well…”

“Chasing you?”

“Let’s just say this one’s not a groupie,” I grumble.

Mom chortles. “He’s playing hard to get.”

Eh, not exactly. But I hold my tongue. My mom’s cool and all, but no way in hell am I telling her about the night Noah Maxwell caught me masturbating and finished the job for me. I blush just thinking about it.

“Anyway…” I clear my throat. “I’m feeling a little out of my league here. I haven’t really felt this way before.”

I feel like a dork admitting it, but there it is. I’ve dated plenty. Hooked up with a few, albeit a tiny fraction of what the media assumes to be true.

But it’s never been quite like this. I’ve never experienced this all-consuming obsession with someone else.

“Well, what is it you’re after?” my mom asks slowly. “If it’s just a good time, in my day that meant putting on our prettiest dress and convincing him to take us out dancing. In fact, that was your dad’s and my first date. I asked him out dancing. I wore a pink polka-dot dress and he bought me white wine spritzers, and we danced the night away.”

I put a hand over my mouth to stifle the giggle. Could she be any cuter?

“But if you’re wanting to figure out if this could be something more,” she says, lowering her voice to a conspiratorial tone, “you’ll want a different approach.”

“Pins and needles, Mom. Pins and needles.”

“Well, the first time your dad told me that he knew I was the one—”

“Whoa. Sorry, have to halt you right there. I’m not looking to marry this guy.”

“You never know who you might marry, sweetie. Nobody ever does until they do, you know?”

I blink. “Does Kelly understand when you talk like that? You remember, right, that she’s the smart one?”

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