I didn’t respond. Because that was an issue we’d face when this was over. I was on an adventure to run away from the guy who was in bed with me. It was different now. I wasn’t trying to change or find a new me. I already had. The girl I was at this moment was nothing like the girl I had been the night he’d called me cold. Now, I just had to ride this as long as it lasted. Because it would end.

“My dad may kill me before your dad. Either way, my life will be short.”

That made me smile. “That’s a little dramatic,” I told him.

He shrugged. “Honestly, it’s worth it.” His hand ran down my side and squeezed my hip. “Completely fucking worth it.”

That wasn’t a proclamation of love. I realized that. But it was sweet. I slid a leg over him as I turned until half my body was lying on top of his. Both his eyes opened as I did it. “We’re grown,” I reminded him. “I think you’ll get to live.”

He gazed up at me with hooded eyes. “Or you’ll kill me before they do. But then death by sex sounds like a good way to go.”

I laughed. “I’m just getting up. Not about to attack you.”

His hands grabbed my bottom and pulled me on top of him. “Maybe, but putting this hot little body on a man while he’s naked and in bed is irresistible.”

When he slid into me slowly this time, I moaned loudly and enjoyed being filled one more time before breakfast.

DRIVING ALMOST SIX hours to Memphis today wasn’t a good idea. I saw Lila Kate hide a wince when she straddled the bike. We’d fucked like maniacs, and now she was tender. She would claim she wasn’t, but I saw it on her face. I shouldn’t have pushed for two rounds this morning, but she felt so damn good. It was a clawing need to get inside her again and fuck that—I didn’t like wanting someone so badly. Past experience told me a good fuck got a girl out of my system and I moved on. But with Lila Kate that had yet to happen. With her legs tucked behind mine and her body pressed into my back I was already thinking about fucking her again. Jesus, she was like crack to an addict.

I headed toward Birmingham, Alabama. We could stop halfway and rest. Find something to see or do, and then ride the rest of the way. It was just an hour closer than Memphis; she could visit her friend, and it would help control my need to have my dick inside her our entire stop. I needed to find some control.

After eighty minutes on the road she began to squirm, and I found an exit that had restaurant choices and some shopping. We’d spend time here then head on later when she was ready. Pulling into a parking lot for a barbecue place, I parked and held out my hand to help her off the bike. She made a small wince again.

“Think we might need to stop for the day,” I said feeling guilty for her discomfort.

I appreciated her trying to be tough, but I had made her sore, and I wasn’t going to make her suffer for it. First time I’d ever wished I wasn’t riding my damn bike. “You’re sore,” I pointed out the obvious. “Let’s eat, walk around some. Shop. See how you feel later.”

“I will be fine,” she argued.

We headed inside and I forced myself not to put my hands on her. Touching her all the time was not good. This was temporary. No need acting like it was more than that. We were both enjoying the trip.

Her phone began ringing just before we walked in the door and she stopped to pull it out of her pocket. When she lifted her eyes to me, they were apologetic as she put the phone to her ear. “Hey, Mom.”

I’d told her to call her parents more than once. She hadn’t listened.

Her mother was talking, and Lila Kate’s face went pale before she whispered. “Oh, no. When?”

Now I was worried. She began chewing on her thumbnail. “Yes, he is.”

“I’m not sure,” she looked back at me. “Where are we?”

“About one hour south of Montgomery, Alabama,” I told her.

She repeated that to her mother. “No . . . on his motorcycle,” I could see her cringe as she said it.

“Yes. We will drive there now,” she said. “I’ll see you later. And Mom, I’m so sorry.”

When she ended the call, tears filled her eyes. “My grandmother passed away in the middle of the night. Mom’s sending my grandfather’s jet to pick me up in Montgomery. They’re already in California. My grandfather called Mom at three this morning to tell her. She and Dad got on a plane shortly after and left.”

This was the last thing I expected for her to say. “God, Lila, I’m so sorry.”

She nodded. “Me too. For my grandfather’s sake. She was never there you know. Her mind has been gone for so many years. It’s a miracle she lived so long. But Kiro has spent my entire life at her side. They stopped touring because he hated being away from her. Their whole story is just heartbreaking. My mom never got to know her. Her brain has been damaged since Mom was a baby.”

I knew their story. It had made the headlines when it was revealed that Kiro Manning’s wife Emily was in fact still alive. The world had thought she’d died in that accident. But he’d kept her safe from the media. They had even made a movie called “Kiro’s Emily” about ten years ago that had been a box office hit. Kiro hadn’t didn’t want the movie made at first, but the interview he did for Rolling Stones magazine said that he had changed his mind. He wanted the world to know his Emily. What she had been like. How amazing she was. She deserved it.

I walked Lila back to my bike and helped her on. I put the helmet on her head and wished there was more I could do. Anything else. Something to help. I dreaded putting her on that jet and watching her leave me. Our time was ending sooner than I had expected.

She held onto me tighter than before. My throat felt thick. There was fucking emotion there I didn’t understand. That I didn’t want. This had been a way to protect her, get her out of my system, and move on. For both of us. But one night wasn’t enough. I was selfish. Her grandmother had just passed away. But dammit this sucked.

The ride to Montgomery airport was too fast. Our time together was ending. This small bubble we had was about to burst. I’d head back home and face the heat with Dad. Do what the hell I was supposed to. She’d return, and it would be like before. We weren’t going to pick up where we left off. That would make this more than a fling. That would make the motherfucking lump in my throat mean something.

Hurting Lila Kate was inevitable for me. If I did it later, it would hurt more. Sooner was best. Sooner would help us both move on. I’d never be the guy she needed. But damn if I’d expected it to hurt me too.

We had pulled into the airport before the private jet had arrived. I wanted to say something that made this all easier. That made the ache in my chest go away. That made that sad look in her eyes disappear. But I had nothing.

She climbed off the bike, and I got her things from the saddlebag. Then I turned to her. “Wasn’t expecting our journey to end so soon,” I said trying to smile.

I could see the question there. The uncertainty. She wanted to know if this was it for us. But she wouldn’t ask. And I couldn’t say the words. Even if I needed to, I couldn’t.