Triple Beat-nook
Author:Mari Carr

Aiden set her suitcase on the luggage rack. “You’re smaller. They don’t make those things big enough for guys over six feet.”

She knew that. Which was the only reason she’d always offered to take the cot. In the beginning they had taken turns, but it had simply been too painful to watch Aiden and Bryson struggling to find comfortable positions on a rollaway, tossing and turning all night, then dealing with their grumpiness the next day.

Bryson pulled down the covers. She dropped onto the mattress heavily, flopping onto her back. “Give me your cell.”

She fished it out of her pocket and handed it to him.

“I’m turning it off so the damn thing isn’t beeping all afternoon.” Bryson’s own cell tended to be off more than on. He owned one for necessity, but he wasn’t a fan of all the pings and dings associated with texts and emails and Facebook.

Bryson shook his head then lifted her feet to tug off her sneakers and her socks. She sighed, her eyes drifting closed.

“Dani,” he whispered.

She lifted her lids, though it took some effort. “Hmmm?”

“Clothes?”

“Too sleepy.”

He rolled his eyes, and then unfastened her jeans. He pulled them off quickly and efficiently. Shyness had stopped being a thing for them a long time ago. They were broke musicians who spent a lot of time on the road, hence the shared rooms. As a result, they’d seen her in her bra and undies countless times and she’d spent more than a few hours with them as they’d walked around in just their boxers.

Bryson threw the covers over her. It was warm and cozy and despite all the problems facing her, she didn’t think sleep was going to be an issue. She was too tired to give a shit about anything right now.

Bryson murmured a quiet good night. Then, to her surprise, he followed it up with a kiss to her forehead. She only had a second to consider how strange that show of affection was when Aiden added his own kiss to her brow.

She sighed contentedly, deciding it didn’t matter.

She liked the kisses.

And the bed.



She awoke to the sound of the penthouse phone ringing. Dani rolled over, reaching toward the nightstand with her eyes closed, desperate to make the noise stop and wondering why Aiden or Bryson didn’t answer it.

Then she recalled Bryson coming in earlier to whisper that they were going to do some sightseeing.

She was still worn out and something told her she hadn’t been asleep more than a few hours. Finally, she managed to put her hand on the receiver.

“Hello?”

“Welcome home, baby.”

Dani’s eyes flew open, her blood turning cold as she heard the voice that had tormented her dreams for years. How did he know she was here? Dani was struck dumb, unable to respond.

“I want to see you,” her father said.

Panic kicked in as Dani hung up quickly, and then took it off the hook so he couldn’t call back. She crawled more deeply under the covers, trying to combat the unexpected chill. She was suddenly freezing, shivering so hard her teeth chattered.

He knew she was in New Orleans. He knew where she was staying. Her heart thudded heavily when she considered he might come to the penthouse to seek her out.

Out in the living room, she heard the sound of the front door opening. Her lips parted to scream, but closed again when she heard Bryson and Aiden talking quietly.

She needed to get them to return to Nashville, out of the line of fire. She’d hoped she would be able to clean up the mess without involving them, but it felt as if there was a ticking time bomb in the room with her.

Dani pretended to be asleep when Aiden popped his head in to check on her, staying under the covers and fighting to calm down. Once she felt as if she had control of her emotions, she reached for her cell and turned it on, her hand trembling when she saw that she’d missed three calls, all from a blocked number.

Did he have her fucking cell number too? How?

She took a deep breath as she found Jett in her contacts and called him, careful to keep her voice down, so Bryson and Aiden didn’t overhear.

“Jett,” she said when he answered.

Her voice must have given her away. “What happened?”

“He called the penthouse and I think he might have my cell number.”

She heard Jett curse. “How does he know you’re here?”

“I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter. He knows.”

“Shit. I’ll call Blake, but I’m not sure if he’s really done enough to warrant getting a restraining order against him.” Apparently her foster sister, Chloe, had hooked up with a hot cop from the New Orleans police force. Jett had mentioned bringing him along when Dani faced her father, but Dani had been resistant to have such a humiliating meeting in front of a stranger. She no longer felt that way. Hearing her dad’s voice had opened a floodgate, drowning her in a whole sea of terror.

“Okay.”

“You at the apartment?” Jett asked. “I’m coming over.”

“No. Now isn’t a good time.”

“Dani, I don’t like you staying there alone. I’m going to—”

She cut him off. “I’m not alone.”

“I thought you said—”