“I understand. I should’ve told you sooner.” I turned around to face him as I said, “I’ve just worked really hard to put all that behind me.”
“So, you don’t talk to your folks at all?”
“I reach out to them every now and then just to see how they are or whatever, but they rarely return the favor.” Trying once again not to become emotional, I cleared my throat and smiled. “But none of that really matters anymore. My life is here now, and I’m happier than I’ve ever been.”
“I’m really glad to hear that.” He lowered his mouth to my shoulder and started trailing kisses along the curve of my neck. “I kinda feel like we should’ve had this conversation earlier. Maybe then, you would’ve felt like you could open up to me about other things...like earlier tonight.”
“Maybe so.” I smiled as I told him, “But tonight was perfect. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.”
Once we’d both finished in the shower, we dried off, and Rafe led me back into the bedroom. As I curled up under the covers next to him, Rafe looked down at me and whispered, “You’re amazing, Marlowe Davenport. Don’t you ever forget that.”
And then he gave me a kiss that set my entire soul on fire. I’d never known someone who could make me feel so completely vulnerable and strong at the same time, but that was Rafe. He was everything I never knew I needed. It was like God had finally taken mercy on my heartbroken soul and given me someone who could actually see me—the real me. Without even trying, he’d made me see that I didn’t have to hold on to the binds that tied me to my past. I could simply let go of it all, and that’s exactly what I intended to do.
Unfortunately, I’d soon discover my past wasn’t ready to let go of me.
“Out of all the places you could go, what made you choose Nashville?”
Marlowe took a sip of her coffee, still looking half asleep as she answered, “I’d been researching different cities online when I started getting touring emails about Nashville and all the different places to visit here. I kind of figured it was a sign and went for it.”
“And you came here without knowing a soul?”
“Not a soul, but that was kind of the point.” She leaned back and stretched. “I wanted a completely new start.”
“You’re a brave one, Marlowe Davenport. I’ll give you that.”
I couldn’t help but wonder if the reason she’d up and left had anything to do with what Menace had discovered during her background check. I kept expecting Marlowe to bring it up as a possible explanation why things were so difficult for her back at home, but that never happened. Instead, she shut down, and the conversation ended before it really began. It was clear she still wasn’t ready to fully open up to me when she shrugged with a snicker and said, “Either brave or completely crazy. I’m still trying to figure that one out.”
“I vote for brave.” I walked over and gave her a quick kiss. “I’ve gotta get going, but I’ll see you later at the club.”
“Okay, sounds good.”
As I walked out the door, I couldn’t help but think how damn beautiful Marlowe looked sitting there with that sleepy look in her eyes. I was tempted to go back in and carry her fine ass back to bed, spend the entire day with her tangled in my arms, but unfortunately, that couldn’t happen. I’d gotten a call from Country a few minutes earlier, and he needed me to meet up with him over at the clubhouse. Apparently, he’d gotten with Widow and Shotgun, and together, they’d all decided Widow’s plan of moving Gladys in over at Ada’s was a good one. Even Viper agreed, but I hadn’t heard what Gladys or Ada had to say about it. I wouldn’t find that out until we went to grab the first load of boxes from Gladys’s place. She was standing in the middle of the room with a scowl on her face as she told Country, “I haven’t lived with anyone since your grandfather died.”
“I know. It’ll do you good to have some company.”
“But I don’t really know Ada.”
“You’ve been around her enough to know you like her. You said so yourself,” Country argued.
“I did and I do like her. Ada’s perfectly fine, but I’m old and set in my ways. Not sure I’m up for changing now.”
“Nobody’s asking you to change, Gran.” Country walked over to her and softened his tone as he said, “I don’t like the idea of you living alone or in some fucking old-folks’ home. This might not be the perfect answer, but it’s pretty damn close.”
“And you’re sure Ada is good with all this?”