Seduced:The Unexpected Virgin(67)

By: Emily McKay

“That wouldn’t—”

“I’m not an easy man to love, Ana. I’m not about to ask you to make a commitment until you know for sure what you’re getting into. You fell in love with the rock star and—”

She pressed her fingers to his lips to cut off his words. “You keep saying that, but it’s just not true. I can’t speak for Cara, maybe it was true for her, but it certainly isn’t for me. I didn’t even meet Ward Miller the musician until today. He’s not the guy I fell in love with. I fell in love with Ward Miller the humanitarian. I fell in love with the guy who’s devoted the past three years of his life to making a difference in the world. The guy who works so hard so that other people can follow their dreams. The guy who does all that and still finds time to mentor a needy kid. Maybe Ward Miller the rock star is buried somewhere in all of that. I don’t know. I guess I’ll just have to find out. Now that I’ve encouraged you to start playing again, I’m kind of stuck with him, aren’t I?”

He smiled, slowly, letting the full implication of her words sink in before asking, “Are you? Stuck with Ward Miller, the musician?”

She searched his face. “I want to be. Of course I want to be. But I don’t want half measures. I don’t want only part of you. And I don’t want to share you with her.”

“You won’t be,” he assured her. And for the first time, he realized how true that was. Whatever love he’d had for Cara, it would always be a part of him, but it was a part of his past.

He cradled Ana’s face in his hands and leaned down, gently pressing his lips to hers. He wanted to show her his love in that moment, but she would have none of his tenderness. She pulled him to her, opening her mouth beneath his. There was no playfulness in her kiss, no gentle exploration. There was only passion and urgency and longing.

When he finally pulled back, he knew he needed to offer her one more chance to walk away, or at the very least to negotiate terms. “If I’m going to do this—stage a comeback, I mean—it’s not going to be easy. There will be long hours in the studio. Probably a tour. And I’d need you to come with me.”

Her brow furrowed as she considered, but she nodded. “Okay.”

“And some of the songs are going to be about you. About us. Having your life up there on stage, for everyone to see, it’s not easy. I need to know you’re okay with that.”

She pulled his head down for another kiss. “I’ll make it work. Besides, I have it on good authority that it’s easier for men to express their emotions through music. Besides, I’m pretty fond of your guitar playing.” She swallowed back the tears that threatened to choke her, then added, “That new song isn’t half-bad, either.”

He bumped her forehead with his own. “I may not say this enough. But I love you. Love you like crazy. And the thought of losing you scares me more than the thought of never recording another album. More than the thought of giving up the Alvarez forever. If being with you meant choosing to give up music forever, I’d pick you.”

“I’m not going to ask you to do that.”

“Thank God. ’Cause I really liked being back up on the stage.” He leaned down and bumped his forehead against hers. “Thank you for pushing me. I needed that. I needed you.”

Which she figured was just about perfect. Because she needed him, too.