Chased by love love in b.., p.9
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       Chased by Love (Love in Bloom: The Ryders): Trish Ryder, p.9

           Melissa Foster
 

  He shook his head. “Too confining. I think we have a little more time before the rain reaches us.”

  “You wouldn’t practice inside yesterday either.” She crossed her arms and stared him down. “In fact, other than cooking, sleeping, and showering, you haven’t been inside at all. What’s going on?”

  “I don’t like to feel boxed in.”

  “Okay. I get that. But what are you going to do when we have to do the bedroom scene?”

  He waggled his brows. He’d made a few playful gestures this afternoon, and she loved seeing that side of him, although she had a feeling it was an avoidance tactic.

  “I’m serious, Boone. We have to rehearse them at some point, and the more time we put into the scenes that you’re uncomfortable with, the easier they’ll be when the crew arrives.”

  “Who says I’m uncomfortable with the bedroom scene?” He stepped closer, bringing a full-on heat wave with him.

  “No one,” she managed. “I meant because you hate rehearsing inside. It’s the warehouse scenes and the other scenes where you’re confronted with Delia’s addiction that seem to make you the most uncomfortable. But I wondered about the bedroom scene because you really don’t want to rehearse inside.”

  Slowly, and seductively, his gaze slid down her body. “Baby, if you want to take me to bed, all you have to do is ask.”

  “Yes, please.” She slapped her hand over her mouth. “I didn’t mean that.” She was seriously losing it, and he was seriously deflecting. And now he had the sexiest grin on his lips. She. Needed. To. Focus.

  “I’m going to table that offer for a little while.” Little while came out as a whisper, or maybe a whimper.

  “You? On the table?” An illicit grin formed on his lips. “I’m liking the sound of this.”

  She held her palm out to keep him from coming any closer. “And you’re the master of deflection.” He shifted his eyes away, and she knew she’d hit the nail on the head. “Boone, if you have an issue with acting out the scenes that deal with Delia’s addiction, you need to clue me in.”

  He hiked his thumb over his shoulder toward the house. “Bedroom scene. Let’s do that.”

  “Boone.”

  He wrapped his arms around her and leaned down like he was going to kiss her. As badly as she wanted him to, her concern over his reluctance to talk about whatever was holding him back from those scenes won out.

  “Sounds like you’re afraid of the bedroom scene. I promise to be gentle. At least at first,” he said coaxingly.

  She pushed from his arms. “First of all, I wouldn’t want you to be gentle.” She waved a hand in the air, trying to slow her racing heart and get the image of being in bed with Boone out of her mind. “Just throwing that out there.”

  His lips curved up in a devilish grin. “Thought you weren’t into meaningless sex.”

  “I’m not, and stop distracting me. What’s going on with you and the druggie scenes?”

  “Nothing.”

  “Bullshit.”

  He walked away through the knee-high grass, and she followed.

  “Boone, you can talk to me.”

  “I am talking to you.”

  “Then let’s do the warehouse scene.” The wind kicked up and she crossed her arms to ward off the chill. “We can do it on the porch. It’s only a couple of lines.”

  He gritted his teeth, making no move to follow her to the porch.

  “I thought there wasn’t a problem.” She set her best speak-up-or-else stare on him.

  He shifted his eyes away. “There’s not.”

  “Then come on before the storm hits. God only knows how hard it’ll be to get you to practice once we’re trapped inside.” She dragged him toward the porch.

  “There’s always the bedroom scene.”

  “Aren’t you so kind to remind me?” She lay down on the porch, as if it were the warehouse floor, and smiled up at him. “I’ll remind you, when they’re in the bedroom, Delia is higher than a kite, and you seem to have issues when she’s like that.”

  He stood over her, watching her intently. “Aren’t you supposed to be totally out of it and silent?”

  She sat up and pointed at him. “I know you can do this scene, so whatever’s going on in that crazy head of yours, turn it off. You can do this. I know you can.”

  His gaze softened. “Why do you have so much faith in me?”

  She grabbed his hand and pulled him down on one knee. “I’ve heard you sing. I fell under your spell last night and kissed you in front of the whole frigging town. I’ve watched you rehearse all day and you have been brilliant. Passion lives inside you, Boone. Even when you try to hide it, it’s lying in wait. All you have to do is set it free.”

  Without any cognitive thought, she leaned up and pressed her lips to his, and in the next breath, he took control, sliding his tongue along the seam of her lips. She opened for him, soaking in every delicious second of their long-awaited first kiss of the day. His lips were soft, though the kiss was hard. He lowered himself down to both knees and cradled her in his arms, deepening the kiss. Thunder rumbled in the distance, competing with the pounding of her heart.

  “See?” she said as their mouths parted. “It’s right there. Passion.”

  **

  THE PASSION BOONE felt when he was with Trish was unequivocally more powerful than anything he’d ever experienced. He’d been trying to ignore it all day, but she was like a force of nature, believing in him, pushing him like no one else had the guts to.

  “That hasn’t been there for a very long time,” he admitted. “That’s all you, beautiful.”

  She smiled up at him, looking so feminine and happy, he wanted this moment to stretch on forever. Her hair tumbled over her shoulders, her eyes were like grass and honey, with amber flames burning just for him. She touched his cheek, and he closed his eyes, reveling in her softness, the intimacy he hadn’t realized he’d been longing for.

  “Then we should be able to nail this scene,” she said sweetly.

  The scene. His eyes came open. Delia, overdosed and unconscious on the warehouse floor. In his mind he saw Destiny strung out. Destiny promising she’d get clean. Destiny in her coffin. His chest constricted, and he rose abruptly, trying to breathe past the ice coursing through his veins.

  “Boone? What just happened?”

  He paced the length of the porch, but she was on his heels, peppering him with questions.

  “What’s wrong? Why won’t you look at me?” She followed his every step. “Talk to me, please. Was it the kiss?”

  Every word echoed in his head, pinging between the painful memories.

  “Boone?” Trish touched his shoulder and he spun around. Their eyes connected, and as if his gaze had burned her, her hand flew to her chest. “Good Lord, Boone. What’s wrong?”

  He stormed around her and off the porch, but she was relentless, and she followed him across the field in the dimming light and the cold wind.

  “Trish, go back to the house,” he shouted against the looming storm.

  “No!” She grabbed his arm, but he kept walking, trying to outrun the memories. “Talk to me.”

  “I’ve got nothing to say.” Thunder boomed in the distance. He stopped walking and stared at the trees bending to the wind. “Go back, Trish. Please. I’ll be inside in a few minutes. I just need some space.”

  “No.” She looped her arm though his and gripped his forearm.

  The worry in her eyes crushed him. He wanted to take her in his arms and kiss her as he had last night. Kiss her until the pain went away and all that was left was the fire between them, but that wouldn’t be fair. She didn’t need to deal with his crap. He’d barely been able to pull away last night. He didn’t trust himself to pull away now.

  “It’s starting to rain. Please go back.”

  She shook her head.

  “Damn it, Trish. You’re too stubborn. This has nothing to do with you.”

  “But it has to do with you.” She gazed into
his eyes, and in a softer voice she said, “Let me in, Boone. Talk to me. Please.”

  “Ever since I took this role, my life has imploded.” The wind picked up, howling between the trees. “You don’t need this in your life.”

  “How do you know what I need or don’t need? That’s presumptive.”

  She smiled with the tease, and he closed his eyes against the rush of emotions bubbling up inside him. How could he tell her about Destiny and those awful years when reliving them was the last thing he wanted to do?

  “Boone, can you really look me in the eyes and tell me you want me to walk away?”

  He cupped her face in his hands, desperate to let her in, to soak in her comfort, and afraid to hurt her—afraid to hurt himself. “Why? Why do you want to be closer to me of all people? Can’t you see I’ve got shit going on in my head that’s not normal?”

  “Normal? What the hell is normal? Was it normal that I stayed up all night thinking about how I wished we hadn’t stopped kissing last night after I’d just told you I didn’t want to be a groupie?” She smiled, and his heart squeezed.

  “I told you I don’t have groupies!”

  “No shit. You’re so stubborn that’s all you heard, just like I’m so stubborn I don’t care if this isn’t about me, or if you don’t want to deal with me because you would rather keep your feelings all bottled up until you explode.”

  He paced as raindrops wet his cheeks. “Go back, Trish.”

  “What happened back there?” she pushed. “Why did you detach like that?”

  He ground his teeth against the truth.

  “Boone, I won’t judge you. If you can’t do the movie, that’s okay, but at least tell me why. Whatever happened back there, whatever is happening now, it’s not good for you.”

  He took a step back, but she stepped forward with a determined look in her eyes.

  “Tell me.” She took another step closer. “Tell me what you’re running from.”

  “I’ve lived it, okay?” He pushed away and paced, the rain and wind picking up speed. “We lost Honor’s sister to an overdose, and I thought I’d dealt with it, but apparently I didn’t, because those scenes that you claim I’m avoiding? They’re fucking killing me. Dragging me back to a place I don’t want to be.”

  He pushed his hands into his hair and clenched his eyes shut, turning his face up toward the rain, wishing it could wash away the memories—and at the same time, wishing it wouldn’t. Because he didn’t want to forget Destiny; he just didn’t want to feel the pain of losing her—especially to something so meaningless as drugs.

  He felt Trish’s hand on his shoulder and shook his head. Her arms wound around his neck and he drew in a jagged breath.

  “Trish,” he warned, anger and hurt cutting like knives through his skin, his heart, his guts.

  “Shut up. Ryders don’t run from the hard stuff. So you might as well give in, because even if you do want me to fuck off, you’ve gotten under my skin. You’re pretty much stuck with me.”

  “I don’t want to feel it,” he said through gritted teeth. “Don’t you see that?”

  “Yes.”

  “Then please, go back to the house before you get soaked.” He twisted out of her grip and turned away.

  She stalked around him and crossed her arms, chin held high. Her hair was wet, matting against her face. Her shirt and shorts clung to her body like a second skin, and she was trembling with cold, but the look she gave him was a thousand degrees of compassion.

  “You think acting is pretending, and I get that, because that’s exactly what it looks like, but it’s not. Do you know why I’m an A-list actress? Because I climb into the heads of my characters and feel what they feel. The story might be pretend, but the gut-wrenching sadness, the pain, the glory, and the joy?” She pointed at him as she spoke. “That’s as real as the day is long. So when you say you don’t want to feel the pain of losing someone you loved, I get it. When I’m acting, the lights, the crew, and the cameras? They all fail to exist. When I’m in Delia’s head, I am Delia. I’m feeling the agony of being controlled by a drug I can’t get out from under. Of losing the man I love day by day because of that drug. Of knowing that I alone have the power to set him free from the fucking nightmare that I’ve created for him by needing to be taken care of and worried about.”

  He didn’t want to hear it, and at the same time, he was mesmerized by her. She totally understood what he was feeling—and that scared the living hell out of him. “Stop! It’s too much. It’s too fucking much.” He stormed off again, rounding his shoulders against the rain.

  “Don’t you see?” she said as she caught up to him. “Feeling that pain is the only thing that can ever set you free from being wrecked by it the next time something dredges it up, or the time after that, or the time after that. You said you were having trouble writing songs, and who knows. Maybe that’s all tangled up in this, too.” She grabbed his arm and yanked him to a stop.

  “Damn it, Boone! What are you afraid of? You already pour your heart and soul into your music. Feel your pain and earn yourself an Oscar. Or don’t. I don’t care about the movie. But all that stuff you’re too afraid to feel is what’s missing—and maybe not just in the movie. Was she your first love? Are you afraid hurting makes you weak? Talk to me!”

  “What am I afraid of? Feeling like I’m dying inside. She and Honor went through hell because of their fucking parents, and me and my brother Cage and the rest of us ghetto dwellers protected them. We snuck them into our homes, trying to protect them from their drunken, drug-addicted parents.” He stalked toward Trish, driven by anger he couldn’t control. “I loved her like a sister, and none of us could save her. We were kids trying to save a drug-addicted fifteen-year-old.”

  He stood in the pouring rain staring at the woman who had dredged up his demons, and he was unable to stop the rest from coming out. “And then there’s you, giving everything you’ve got to this role. Studying all night, starving yourself. You’re on set for ten, fifteen grueling hours a day, not only kicking ass with your role, but when they’re sick and tired of me messing up, you’re telling them you believe in me every damn day, when I don’t even know if I believe in myself. And day after day I’m watching you, wanting you, and trying to hold back because no matter what I know in my head when we’re acting out those vile scenes”—he tapped angrily on the side of his head—“you become her.”

  Chapter Ten

  TRISH’S MIND SPUN as she tried to grasp all of what Boone had said. Selfishly, she wanted to address his feelings for her, but Boone was hurting and angry, and he’d laid more important parts of himself out between them.

  She reached for his hand as thunder rolled through the sky and the clouds sobbed overhead. “You said this movie was important to you, and now I understand why. But what I don’t understand is why you would willingly put yourself through this if you didn’t want to feel the effects of it.”

  He scrubbed a hand down his tension-ridden face. “The movie resonates with me for a million reasons. It’s important that the world knows people struggle with demons bigger than they could ever imagine and how those struggles affect others. But I had no idea it would be this intense, or that your acting would be so real.”

  He pulled her closer, and she willingly went to him. He pressed his hands to her cheeks. Rain streamed down their faces, hanging from his lashes like teardrops above his stormy eyes.

  “I didn’t realize I’d feel anything for you, or that your acting would affect me this much.” He touched his forehead to hers and closed his eyes.

  She expected him to say he was pulling out of the movie and ending whatever this was between them. She waited for an interminable moment, shivering against the frigid rain and wind and trying to contain her mounting panic. She wasn’t ready for him to walk away. The hell with the movie. She’d never, ever, felt so drawn to a person, and the more she learned about him, the more connected she felt. She wondered, briefly, if she was caught up in Rick and Delia, b
ut she’d always been good about keeping a clear line between reality and make-believe, and never in all her years of acting had she felt like this. Never in her life had she felt like this.

  When she could no longer battle her own thoughts, she covered his hands with hers, and he opened his eyes, revealing so much raw emotion, she knew this was real—and she wasn’t alone in what she felt.

  “What do you want, Boone?”

  “What I want isn’t fair.”

  Her heart swelled with his painful honestly. If she felt this tortured, how must he feel? “Maybe you aren’t the one who should make that decision.”

  He searched her eyes, and she knew by the firm press of his hands against her skin, and the warring emotions trampling his features like a battlefield, that he was fighting against himself.

  A hot ache grew in her throat, and she fisted her hands in his shirt, dragging him closer. “Feel, Boone. Let yourself feel.”

  Passion flared in his eyes, and his response came in the hard press of his fingers curling around the base of her skull, holding her captive to a punishingly intense and beautiful kiss. She went up on her toes, accepting everything he was willing to give, wanting to feel the pain and anger of the past so he wasn’t alone in experiencing them.

  “You,” he said between kisses. “I want you.”

  “Take me, Boone.”

  They groped and kissed, as hot and frantic as the raging storm. His mouth was everywhere at once, on her lips, her jaw, her neck. His greedy hands clutched her ass, groped her breasts, her hips, her face. Their bodies bumped and ground, and there in the field, among the howling wind and treacherous rain, they tore at each other’s clothes, falling to the wet grass in a frantic tangle of lust and nakedness.

  She bowed off the ground. “More. I need more.”

  Grasping at his shoulders, her hands slid off his rain-soaked skin. He moved down her body, pressing hot kisses to her chilled flesh, and captured her breast in his mouth. She cried out at the scintillating pleasure as he worked his magic. His hand moved between her legs, and holy mother of orgasms, within seconds she was writhing and moaning and the world careened around her as she surrendered to their passion.

 
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