With a sigh, she got off the bike. “I should have at least got some of my things.”

“Did you have jeans and boots packed?” I asked her, and she shook her head. “Didn’t think so.”

She walked inside, and I tried not to admire her ass. That was not what this was about. I’d been drunk when I kissed her. I wasn’t going to play with her emotions. I cared too much about her to just make her one of the girls I’d fucked. Lila deserved romance. I didn’t do romance.

I did ropes, and handcuffs, and strippers. That was my speed. Girls who knew I liked some rough play, and they wanted it too. Lila was breakable. Definitely, not my speed.

I thought about calling Nate now and decided not to. They were asleep. No need to let them all know I’d run off with Lila just yet. They’d know soon enough. She’d get her fucking adventure. Then she’d come back home safely.

I hadn’t told her to find the tightest pair of jeans available and put them on. Lila Kate walked back to the bike. She was wearing black fake leather boots, but that didn’t matter because the tight ass jeans she had on was all anyone could see. That and the equally tight tank top she was now wearing. It said “Speed” on the front and looked ripped at the neckline to show off her cleavage.

She grinned. “I think I look like a biker now.”

She looked like she was going to get me in a damn fight. “Jesus,” I muttered then handed her the helmet. She slid it on and then climbed on the back. “It’s the best they had,” she explained.

“What, they didn’t have your size clothing?” I shot back.

“It looks a few sizes too small,” I argued.

“Where are your other clothes?” I asked.

“I left them in the dressing room. Those where the old Lila Kate.”

I didn’t say any more. This adventure was what Lila Kate wanted to do. She was right, she was nothing like the old Lila. Nothing like her at all.

I pulled back onto the road and headed toward I-10. We needed to get some road behind us. Lila’s arms were wrapped around me and her body wasn’t pressed to my back exactly, but it was close. Close enough for me to feel it. Damn, I had to think about something else. This was about me getting the hell away from the club and all the responsibilities my dad wanted to throw at me. It was also about making sure Lila Kate came back alive.

The one thing I abso-fuckin-lutely knew it wasn’t about was me touching Lila Kate. I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket and cursed. Someone had already woken up and realized I was gone. More than likely it was my dad. He’d probably had another day of early morning golf torture planned for me.

He’d be pissed at first, but when I explained why I came to protect Lila Kate he was either going to understand or be even more pissed. That was a toss-up. I couldn’t be sure yet. I didn’t fucking care either. I was even gladder I’d woken up and left knowing if I’d stayed I would have had to play golf again today.

We entered Mississippi, and Lila Kate pointed at the sign as if that was exciting. I understood. She traveled via a plane most of the time. She hadn’t been to places like Mississippi before. When we got to Biloxi, I headed toward Beauvoir—the Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library. It wasn’t something I’d seen before or ever cared to see. But I knew Lila Kate liked history stuff. Museums and shit.

We pulled up in front of the large white house that had been restored to what it looked like in 1889 when he had lived in this house. I parked beside the only other car in the parking lot. It was a little after eight in the morning, and the sign said it opened at eight. No one was here yet.

Lila Kate pulled off her helmet and looked up at the place. “What are we doing?”

“You ever been to Biloxi?” I asked.

“Then you should see a bit of it. Where the crazy ass confederates last president lived. There’s a confederate cemetery here too.”

She slowly moved her gaze from the house to me. “You brought me to see the home of Jefferson Davis?”

Maybe that had been a bad idea. Hell, I thought she liked history stuff. “Don’t you like shit like this?”

She studied me a minute, and then she laughed. “Let’s go look at the house,” she finally said and put her helmet on her seat.

“What’s so funny?” I asked her as I got off the bike. I was not going to look at her ass in those jeans. I wasn’t. Dammit.

“That you brought me to a Confederate president’s home.”

“There weren’t a lot of options. We are in the thick of the south here, Lila. This is the history they’ve got to see around here. Besides, it’s impressive as hell. Look at it,” I said as I gestured at the large building.

She turned back to the house and nodded. “Yes, it is. Let’s see the place.”

AFTER SPENDING AN hour walking around the house and cemetery, Cruz then took me to eat breakfast at a casino. It was really good which surprised me. When we were walking back out to Cruz’s bike, he glanced over at me. “So now you’ve seen some of Mississippi.”

This behavior was so unlike the Cruz that I knew I had smiled big. Once Cruz had been nice. When we were kids I’d seen this side of him, but not since then. Seeing it again was . . . it was . . . dangerous. I had to remember who he was and keep my head straight.

The rest of the ride was fast. We entered Louisiana shortly after leaving Biloxi. At a red light, Cruz looked over his shoulder at me. “You want safe and fancy or do you want the atmosphere?”

“Atmosphere,” I yelled through my helmet and over the engine.

“Good,” he replied then took off toward a very scenic area that didn’t smell that great, but it was exactly like I pictured. Considering I was recognizing things from The Originals that I was guilty of watching on a Netflix binge. I started to point something out but stopped myself. Cruz would have a blast making fun of me.

He pulled into a parking deck and cut the engine. I took off my helmet and looked around. “Where are we?”

“Yeah, I’m sure. Been here before. A couple of times.”

“Why were you in New Orleans?” I asked.

He smirked at me. “Mardi Gras.”

Ah. I should have guessed. “This won’t be nearly as exciting as I had imagined.”

He got of the bike. “There won’t be women showing me their tits all over the street. So yeah, it’ll be less exciting.”

I rolled my eyes and got off the bike. “I have nothing with me. I need to find a store to buy some toiletries, and a change of clothes would be nice.”

“Let’s get a room, then we can go shopping.”

He cocked an eyebrow. “Seriously? We’re gonna waste money on two rooms?”

“Jesus, Lila Kate. I’m not going to try and screw you. I’ve never tried and I’m not about to start now.”

That stung. I wasn’t going to let him know it stung, but it did. “I’m aware you’re not attracted to me. You’ve made that very clear. I like my privacy. I don’t want to share a room with you.”