Hold Me

Page 16


Destiny had been enjoying the exchange right up until that second. Now she stiffened, hoping she was wrong. That he wasn’t going there.
It always happened, she thought frantically, searching for a distraction. Someone found out, then word spread and then everything changed.
“Princess?” Starr asked. “Destiny?”
“You, too, your highness.”
“What?” Starr studied her cookie. “I’m not anybody special.”
Kipling turned to Starr. “Sure you are.”
A kindness, considering he had no idea what Miles was talking about.
Miles wiggled his eyebrows. “He doesn’t know, does he?”
“No, and he doesn’t have to.”
“Sure he does.” Miles grinned at Kipling. “Destiny is the oldest daughter of Jimmy Don and Lacey Mills. You know who they are, right?”
Kipling looked at Destiny. Confusion darkened his eyes, then it cleared. “No way.”
“Way,” Miles told him. “I’ve met Lacey a couple of times. She usually comes to visit Destiny on her jobs. Wow, is she still hot. And that voice. I heard her live once. They really are country music royalty. All those hits, all that passion.”
And drama, Destiny thought grimly. The pictures in the tabloids, the arrests, the divorces, the broken promises. Yeah, it had all been so incredibly wonderful. Who wouldn’t want to be her?
She made a point of glancing at her watch. “Look at the time. We need to be going.”
She turned away, hoping Starr would follow. The teen fell into step with her.
“Why didn’t you want Kipling to know about your parents?” Starr asked when they were out of earshot.
“It changes things. People act differently when they know.”
“They respect you more?”
If only, Destiny thought. “Not exactly. They think they know me, because of them. And they don’t.”
“Is that bad?”
DESTINY AND STARR arrived at Jo’s Bar for lunch. Destiny wasn’t sure what to expect. As a rule, she avoided bars. She didn’t drink all that much and certainly wasn’t looking to be picked up by a man. But Felicia’s lunch invitation offered a chance to get to know some of the women in town and fill part of the day—at least until it was time for the bands to start playing. A twofer in the win department.
She was surprised to find the place was the antithesis of a traditional bar. There was lots of light, a high ceiling and soft, pastel-colored walls. The place was clean, the TVs tuned to what looked like shopping shows, and the background music was barely audible.
A few tables were already taken, mostly with groups of women. Destiny saw Shelby sitting with several other women and walked toward her. Shelby looked up and waved vigorously.
“You made it,” Shelby called out as Destiny and Starr approached the table. “Great. Come meet everyone.” She motioned to the blonde at the end of the rectangular table. “This is Madeline. She works at Paper Moon.”
“I’m on the wedding gown side,” Madeline said with a grin. “So if you’re thinking of getting married, come see me.”
“Thanks,” Destiny murmured, thinking that while marriage was appealing, finding the right guy was especially difficult. At least for her.
“Bailey, you probably met at Mayor Marsha’s office,” Shelby continued.
“No, she didn’t,” the pretty redhead said. “I was out that day. Chloe was home sick.” Bailey smiled. “My daughter. She got what’s been going around. Isn’t that always the way?”
Destiny nodded and tried to pay attention to the rest of the names. There was a Larissa, a Consuelo and maybe a woman named Patience, but she wasn’t sure.
“I’m Destiny,” she said when everyone else had been introduced. “This is my half sister, Starr. We’re new, but then you probably already know that.”
Bailey pulled out the chair next to her. “Starr, honey, come sit by me. I think our hair’s the same color, and that almost never happens to me.”
Starr hesitated only a second before taking the offered seat. Destiny settled across from her, by Madeline.
“How long have you been in town?” Madeline asked.
“A week.”
“I can’t imagine what that must be like,” Madeline admitted. “I’ve been here forever. Patience, too.”
Patience nodded. “Born and raised. I never left. Madeline, didn’t you spend a year or so in San Francisco?”
“I did. I tried a lot of different jobs before finding the one I love. Helping a bride find the right dress is so satisfying.”
Shelby leaned forward. “Patience owns Brew-haha.”
“The coffee shop,” Starr said then shrugged. “I’ve been reading about the town. It’s an interesting place.”
“We have a history of powerful women.”
The last speaker was Consuelo, Destiny thought. She was petite but looked strong. With her dark hair and eyes, she was the most striking of the group. Destiny momentarily wished she looked more exotic. Or maybe she was simply hoping not to look so much like her parents. So far no one had said anything. Maybe Kipling hadn’t gone out and told everyone she was Jimmy Don and Lacey Mills’s daughter. And wouldn’t that be nice?
She supposed she shouldn’t spend so much time hiding who she was, but honestly, she just didn’t want to answer all the questions. What was it like growing up with famous parents? Could she sing? Was Lacey really that sexy in person? That was one of the worst. No child wanted to hear about how sexy people found their parents. With her dad, it was worse. She’d had groupies give her their phone number, their email address and one particularly pushy older lady in Dallas had offered a naked picture of herself for Jimmy Don. Destiny had refused to take it, let alone deliver the photograph.