Home > Say You're Mine (The Gallaghers Series)(8)

Say You're Mine (The Gallaghers Series)(8)
Author: Layla Hagen

“You’re fascinating.”

“I’m glad you think so.” I showed him inside my office, because there was a bit more space here for both of us to relax and sit. “Do you want us to start the profiling now?”

“Sure.” He seemed completely at ease, sinking into the chair with his boot heel hanging over his knee.

“By the way, Sasha insists on using that word, but it’s mostly a list of your likes and dislikes. Nothing as elaborate as what you’d see on a crime show on TV.” He smiled at that, and I almost forgot what I was going to say. “It’s a tool to help us decide what you could share with fans that wouldn’t make you uncomfortable and that they’d also appreciate. But it has to be authentic. Fans can feel when you’re sharing stuff just for the sake of it, or when you’re showing them something you’re comfortable with or passionate about.”

“Sure.”

We sat on the same side of the desk, something I liked to do because sitting on opposite sides felt too formal sometimes. I wanted my clients to feel at ease. We went through the list of questions while I made notes on my iPad. When I was midway through, our dinner was delivered, and we took a short break.

After arranging the food on my desk, we ate slowly, savoring everything.

“I love Thai,” I exclaimed.

“So do I. Mom thinks I’m nuts. If it’s spicy, it’s a no-go for her. But she might enjoy this. I’ll keep it in mind for their next visit.”

“Where do they live?”

“Back home in Blue Falls, Oregon,” Brayden said.

“Do they come to the city often?”

“Once or twice a year. My cousins visit more often. Jana and Donna. We all grew up together. They’re almost like my sisters. I’m probably going to see less of everybody this year though.”

“Because of the tour?”

“Yes. And the months leading up to the tour are also intense. But my family is supportive. They’re my biggest champions,” he exclaimed.

I smiled, loving how his expression changed when he spoke about them.

“Well, whenever they visit, make sure you also order panang curry for them. It’s the best I’ve had. I should ask them for a special discount since I send them so many clients.”

I dribbled red curry on the rice before taking a spoonful.

“When do you have time to be a guide?” he asked.

“I’ve just made my schedule in a way that it works.” Looking up, I was startled to find him staring at me. Heat shot through my body, and I had to look down at my box of food, fidgeting in my seat. “Speaking of tours, I looked online. You’ve got a huge year ahead of you. Seventy concerts in eleven months.”

“Yeah, it’s going to be insane.”

GreenFire was starting the tour at the beginning of October. They were going to perform around the world, though almost 75 percent of their locations were in the United States.

“You don’t enjoy it that much, do you?”

He sighed. “I like performing on the stage. It’s a completely different experience than recording in the studio. It’s like the music comes alive. But I don’t like all the press and fan attention.”

“I’ve made notes on that. Wait, let me add—”

“No, we’ll get back to that later. Tell me more about you while we eat.”

“Why?”

The corners of his mouth tilted up. “You helped me lose the game, remember? You owe me. And I want to know more about you.”

My heart rate quickened. “Still going on about that, huh?”

“I’ve barely started.”

***

Brayden

Her appetite for life was addictive. I wanted to lean in and kiss her hard and deep, taste her mouth—all of her.

She lit up as she talked about her guided tours. We were wildly different. She loved being surrounded by groups, but I didn’t. But most of all, she loved the freedom to roam about wherever she wanted, when she wanted. If I had her in my life, all that would change. I couldn’t ask her to do this, even though I wanted her badly.

“What are you thinking about?” she asked.

“You don’t want to know.”

She cocked a brow. “Yes I do. I really do.”

I tilted closer. “I’m thinking about how different my life is from yours. How I can’t offer you what you need, and how much I still want you.”

She swallowed hard as her eyes widened.

“See?” I teased.

She licked her lips, glancing down at her empty food container, as if thinking that if she maintained eye contact, she might give in to whatever I asked.

I was hanging on by a thread, so damn tempted to push her hair to one side and kiss her neck.

“Let’s get back to the list of questions now,” she suggested.

I barely kept myself from leaning in farther.

“Sure.”

“Sasha didn’t say anything else about the rest of the guys dropping by.”

“We’ve been talking, and it’s probably best if you swing by the cottage whenever you have time. We’re flexible.”

“The cottage?”

“It’s where we spend most of our time, rehearsing or enjoying the free time.”

“Okay, let me check my calendar.” She tapped her iPad. “I can come tomorrow. Where is it, Manhattan?”

“No, it’s outside the city. Tarrytown. It’s a half-hour drive. I’ll have a driver pick you up and bring you home after. It’s easier.”

“Okay.”

She pulled out the list of questions after that, and I decided not to push anymore.

At least not tonight.

***

I left her office an hour later, heading straight home. My driver, Paul, picked me up, and the bodyguard who was with me today followed us in a separate car. I lived in a penthouse overlooking Central Park. It was a gated building with a concierge, so no one could come up unannounced.

I couldn’t sleep, so I headed straight to my padded rehearsal room. Even though we had a much larger one at the cottage, I’d wanted one in my penthouse too. I got ideas for new songs at the weirdest hours, and having a room dedicated to my creative endeavors put me in the right mood. I mostly wrote songs at home, but I’d had the room padded anyway for the rare occasion when I’d want to play the piano too.

I sat on the cushioned chair with the notebook propped against it. Music had always been in my blood. My mom liked to think she was the reason for it since she encouraged me constantly during my childhood. Even now, we bonded over it, even though said bonding always came with a dash of teasing.

“Young man, when are your lyrics going to be friendly to a mother’s ears?”

It always made me chuckle, because the answer was “Never.” Our songs were raw and unfiltered, and that meant including dirty words when the song required it. I’d gotten a lot of flak for that from the record company, but I wasn’t budging. Art was art, and I refused to change it to save the radio DJs headaches.

I scribbled a few random words on the blank sheet. I always started like this, and then gradually I’d see the connection between them and deduce the theme of the song.

I’d been asked more than once where I came up with the ideas, and my answer hadn’t changed in years: I didn’t. The songs revealed themselves to me.

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