Fuck it. He couldn’t wait any longer. Just as Adam opened his mouth to call out to her, Madison said something to the hostess, who nodded in his direction. Madison turned and took a step in his direction. His heart skipped a beat. When her gaze located him, her pretty blue eyes lit up and a welcoming smile spread across her lovely face. Of all the people he knew, she was the only one who looked at him like that. The only one. She openly showed him how happy she was to see him, not because he was the lead guitarist of Sole Regret, not because she might gain notoriety or expensive gifts by associating with a rock star, but because she genuinely liked him for who he was. On the inside. Totally baffling.
Adam had no idea what she saw in him. When they’d met, he’d been at rock bottom. In the hospital recovering from a near-fatal overdose, he’d looked like hell. He’d felt like shit. He’d been so pissed off at the world and everyone in it that he’d acted like a complete asshole. Madison had talked to him for hours, never criticized, never given up on him, just talked. And more importantly, she’d listened. Not because she had to as part of her job, but as if she gave a shit. About him. About his problems. His pain and anger. She didn’t trivialize any of it. She was the only reason he even tried to stay clean. The thought of disappointing her tore him up inside.
Clutching a plastic container of what he hoped was cookies, Madison hurried to his table, her sexy boots clomping across the tile floor. Damn, she rocked those boots. Her long legs were well muscled from years of riding. Seeing them made him want her on his lap. Riding. Adam’s blood went hot and flooded his groin.
“Oh gosh,” she said. “Am I late? I hope you haven’t been waiting long.”
“You’re right on time,” he said. “I was early.” He’d practically sprinted from the bus and into the limo, but she didn’t need to know that. She thought he was cool.
Madison leaned toward him to offer a chaste kiss, which he gladly accepted. Mmm. She was so sweet and pure. And so easily corruptible. Adam’s hand moved to the back of her head as he coaxed her lips apart with his, seeking the deep, intimate kiss he craved. His tongue brushed hers, savoring the minty flavor of her mouth. She produced a throaty moan of longing. Fuck, she was sensual. And so unaware of her sensuality. He got off on awakening it in her again and again. Of discovering what she found pleasing—which usually surprised them both. It didn’t take much to bring out Madison’s naughty side and have her seeking new experiences. Adam let himself believe she showed her hidden side to him alone, because if any other man tempted her into getting down and dirty, he’d feel obligated to break the dude’s face. Then his nuts. Then his face again.
“I missed you,” she whispered when he drew away.
His heart warmed, and he grinned. He knew the feeling. “You did?”
She nodded and cupped his jaw, rubbing her thumb across his cheek as if she cherished him. She was the only one who ever made him feel cherished. The only one. She held his gaze as she asked, “Have you been taking care of yourself?”
He knew what she was really asking. Have you been clean and sober?
She leveled him with an assessing glare, and he wanted to crawl under the table.
“You're supposed to call me when you get those urges,” she said.
He’d rather call her when he had different urges. She had to be sick of listening to his problems.
Madison set her container on the table, slid into the booth across from him and took both of his hands in hers. She was the most caring person he'd ever met. He didn't understand how she handled being a substance abuse counselor. She'd seen more than one of her clients die of an overdose. She’d been yelled at, cursed out and even hit a few times. Some refused her help. Others took advantage of her infallible kindness. Madison took all of those occurrences as a personal affront, but instead of letting them destroy her, she used them as fuel. Her strength astounded him.
“Talk,” she insisted, holding his gaze with hers.
He diverted his eyes to focus on her hands, which were holding his trustingly, and opened his mouth to lie. “I haven't taken anything since the last time I saw you.” Considering the last time he saw her was when she'd entered the restaurant, that was true.
“Really?” She sounded so happy and proud that he couldn't bring himself to look her in the eye.
He'd enjoyed a couple of hits off a joint backstage the night before—nothing major. Technically, he hadn't even been high and it had been his first slip in weeks. So why did he feel like the biggest loser on the planet?
Because he had let her down. Gone back on his promise to stay clean. It didn’t matter that he’d been strong when his father had blazed back into his life a few months ago in a purple haze. Adam hadn’t been strong when Rico had produced that joint last night and cajoled him into smoking it. Madison had done so much for Adam—still did—and the only thing she’d ever asked was that he call her if the cravings got the better of him so they could talk about his choices. He hadn’t even been able to keep that promise.