Dirty Together(The Dirty Billionaire Trilogy #3)(9)

By: Meghan March

But I was so determined to shake this place off and never come back, so what does it matter if I can’t picture Creighton here? I wanted a bigger life, and I got it. When am I going to get the guts to live it instead of just float along and let the tide pull me in and out?

I grab my ball, line up . . . and throw another one into the gutter. Turning away from the lane, I drop into the molded blue plastic chair and rest my head into my hands.

“Holly, what the hell?” Logan asks.

“I can’t do this. I need to stop thinking. I don’t want to think any more tonight, and this isn’t working.”

Logan sets his ball back into the ball return and lowers himself into the seat beside me. Underlying the woodsy scent of his aftershave or deodorant is that combination from the garage—oil, exhaust, rubber, and citrus.

It’s not unpleasant. It’s real.

But it’s not Creighton.

“What can I do? How do we get you to stop thinking?” he asks.

I can only think of one solution. “Let’s get drunk.”

Logan shakes his head. “I’m driving.”

“Then I’ll get drunk.”

He doesn’t speak for the space of a breath. Finally, he leans his elbows on his knees and looks sidelong at me. “You sure?”

“Abso-fucking-lutely.” I may not know the answer to any other question I need to answer, but this one, I have handled. Like a boss.

With a shake of his head, he says, “Pick your poison then. And maybe get that song in for Ben before you’re too lit to be able to sing it.”

“I think tonight is a tequila kind of night. And I can never be too lit to sing.” I scrunch my brow. “I don’t think. I guess we’ll see.”

“Fuck, I know this is a bad idea.” But go along with it, he does.

Shots are lined up on the bar, and I forgo the salt and the lime, opting instead to take my shots straight and chase them with beer. This decision is probably one I’ll regret later. Almost certainly. But I’m already feeling the buzz and forgetting to care.

Benny is already cuing up a song when I grab the microphone from the stand. I don’t even care what it is. I just want to get onstage, even if it’s a tiny stage in a Podunk bowling alley, because this is one place I feel completely confident. I’m going to sing my heart out tonight. These people may have come to bowl and drink, but they’re about to get one hell of a show.

The music that comes from the speakers makes me laugh, a real, honest-to-God belly laugh. Something I haven’t done in longer than I can remember. Somehow Benny always knows where my head’s at. He’s cranked up Miranda Lambert’s “Famous in a Small Town.”

I belt out the lyrics and find my happy place.

Benny plays song after song, and the tequila keeps flowing. I don’t count the songs or the shots, or the number of people gathering in the small bar of the bowling alley. I don’t keep track of any of it. I don’t notice the whispers of the crowd, the flashing cameras, or later, the people stepping aside to let someone pass.

My eyes are closed and tears are welling in them as I sing the last lines to Sara Evans’s “Born to Fly.” It’s the song that started it all on this very stage. A little overwhelmed, I slide the microphone back into the stand and lean over, hands on my thighs, trying to reel myself back in.

“Another shot, Holly?” someone calls.

I hold my arm out, making a thumbs-up sign. And that’s when I hear a familiar deep voice say, “I think you’ve had enough, my dear.”

You know what plays havoc with a man’s ego? Having a wife who has walked out on him twice. Luckily, my ego is big enough to handle it. But these detective missions to find out where my wife has run off to are getting a little old.

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