Good Girl Page 50

I have no clue.

Don’t even know if I want to fit into it.


“Well, better figure it out quick,” Finn says.


“Before she goes to the premiere in a few weeks. For Road and Roses.”

“What and what?” I ask.

“Honestly,” Finn says, “my stalker game is so much stronger than yours. Your girl has a part in some big-time movie. Rumor says it’s a bit part, but she’s a total scene stealer.”

I stare at him.

He shrugs. “What? I read.”

“Labradoodles. Reading. So many surprises today,” Vaughn mutters.

I look at him. “Did you know about this?”

Vaughn looks guilty. “I may have done a little research of my own. To make sure she was on the up-and-up.”

“We all know she was on the down-and-down, at least with Shawn Bates,” Finn says.

“Shut the fuck up, man,” I say before I can think better of it.

They’re both silent. “Oh, hell,” Finn mutters. “It’s not just that you like her. You really like her.”

Maybe. But I didn’t even know she was in a movie, much less that she’d be attending a premiere.

“I need to get going,” I mumble, pulling out my wallet.

“To get back to your girl?” Finn asks.

“Shut up,” Vaughn mutters, sensing that I’m not in the mood.

Finn’s smile drops. “You okay, man? For real?”

“Yeah, I just…” I pull out a couple of bills. “I dunno. I’ll talk to you guys later.”

“Let me know what to do about the offer,” Vaughn says as I throw down enough money to cover my beer and theirs. They’ll probably kill each other after I leave, but that’s their problem.

“Hold her off,” I say. “I need to think.”

“Preston.” Vaughn stops me. “I know this thing with Yvonne is bullshit, but it’ll blow over. You’re not seriously thinking of dropping off the face of the earth and actually living all the way out there, right?”

Even Finn looks worried.

“I don’t know,” I say, pulling out my keys. “It’s starting to feel a lot less like running from something and a lot more like…home.”

Finn pulls out his phone. “I need to write that down. See if Ma will stick it on a quilt for me.”

I flip him the bird. “See you guys later.”

As I climb into the truck, I pause before starting the engine, a little shaken by how eager I am to get back to the house.

No, not to the house.

To her.


Real life is starting to creep in.

Not all the way in. I’m still not reading the tabloids, this morning I had guacamole and chips for breakfast, and I haven’t touched kale since I’ve been here. Take that, burrito baby.

But it feels like the shadows are lurking, as though my time—this precious time—is coming to an end.

Case in point: I spent most of the day on the phone.

It was supposed to be a nine o’clock check-in with my agent, but Barb had exactly 947 questions for me, and after she relayed my answers to those questions to various people, she came back with the news that my publicist, the account manager at the label, and some chick from the Today show wanted to talk to me.

I’d said yes to the first two but no to the Today show, and by one o’clock my hand was cramping from holding the old-school phone for so long, plus I was pretty sure I was developing a blister on my ear. Is that even a thing?

I keep an eye and ear out for Noah, but I haven’t seen him all day. I’m disappointed but not surprised. We spend most nights together, but we do our own thing during the day, mostly. Partially because we both have work to do, partially because I think we’re both terrified of what might happen if we get too used to each other’s company.

I lose myself in music for a while, perfecting the rhythm of “Predator,” which is becoming one of my favorite songs on the album.

But even though I’m pleased with the way things are going, I can’t escape the feeling that I’m missing something. It’s like one track eludes me, but I don’t know what it is, and it’s making me crazy.

Eventually I realize that I’m squinting to see my notebook and that the sun has set. No sign of Noah.

I head down to the kitchen, pulling a frozen dinner out of the fridge and popping it into the microwave Noah bought a few days ago. As I wait for it to heat up, I carefully listen for the truck, the crunch of his boots, or even Ranger’s big noisy bark.


I’m just tossing my plastic tray in the garbage after shoveling in a thoroughly unsatisfying meal when the phone rings.

I grit my teeth, really regretting giving my agent the landline number.

As expected, it’s Barb.

“One more thing,” she says by way of greeting, the second I pick up the phone.

“Sure!” I say cheerfully, even though it’s been “one more thing” all day.

“This Road and Roses thing…”

I withhold the groan. Barely.

That dang movie.

At the time it seemed harmless enough. They promised it would take up only a couple of days, at most, to film a quick karaoke scene in some offbeat movie about a retired female rodeo star trying to find herself back in the small town where she grew up.

The filming itself was as painless as promised. Even a little fun.

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