Tangled Page 55

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“Seriously, Kate, I’ve been thinking—”

“Will wonders never cease.”

Was she always this much of a smartass?

“I want to start over. Do things right this time. I want to take you out. Tell you all the things I should have said before. About how amazing I think you are. How important you are to me. Oh, and I’m never going to lie to you again.”

Ever.

I mean it.

Ten years from now, if Kate asks me if a certain pair of jeans makes her ass look fat—and they do? I’m going to take my life in my hands and say yes.

I swear.

She looks straight ahead as she answers, “Thanks for the offer, but no thanks. Being made to feel stupid and used really isn’t high on my to-do list this week. Been there, done that. Not looking for a repeat.”

I grasp her elbow gently and turn her toward me. I try to catch her eyes, but she refuses to meet mine. My voice is low. And sincere.

“Kate…I panicked. I got scared, and I screwed up. It’ll never happen again. I learn from my mistakes.”

“What a coincidence.” She looks me up and down meaningfully. “So do I.”

Then she walks away. And I blow out a big breath.

Okay.

Hard way it is.

Why am I not surprised?

Chapter 21

WHEN KATE OPENS THE DOOR to the building, I’m right behind her. As soon as she crosses the threshold, the music starts.

And she stops dead in her tracks.

They’re called the Three Man Band. They’re traveling musicians. Literally. The lead singer’s got a guitar hanging from a strap across his shoulders and a microphone attached to his chest. The drummer has a six-piece set harnessed in front—like a kid in a marching band, but much cooler. The last guy has a combination base guitar and keyboard sitting on a platform at his waist.

It’s really not as corny as it sounds. They’re good. Like one of those cover bands that play down the Jersey shore in the summer. And they’re playing “Caught up in You” by .38 Special.

Kate hisses at me through her teeth, “What the hell is this?”

I shrug. “Well, I don’t know how to play the guitar. And I can’t sing. So…”

I know what you’re thinking. Music, Drew? That’s the big plan? Didn’t Billy already try that? Yes, Warren tried this strategy and failed. But this will be different.

Better.

Longer.

The Three Man Band is mobile. Which means they can—and will—follow Kate all day. Serenading her with not just one but dozens of carefully chosen songs. And no—this isn’t the whole plan. This is just the first step. There’s more.

“I hate you.”

No she doesn’t.

I slide my unclaimed flower behind her ear. “Listen to the words, Kate.”

The singer croons about a man on his knees, who’s so in love he wants to change, to be better—more. For her.

Kate rips the flower out of her hair and drops it on the floor. Then she shoves past me toward the elevator and gets in.

And the Three Man Band crowds in around her. Still playing.

She looks horrified, doesn’t she? As the doors close, I almost feel bad.

Almost.

I take the next elevator up to the fortieth. By then, the sounds of “Angel” by Aerosmith fill the air. Apparently, Kate has barred the Three Man Band from her office. So they’re stationed outside her closed door.

I stop at Erin’s desk. She hands me my coffee.

“Good song.”

“Thanks. Everything set?”

“Locked and loaded, boss.” Then she snaps her fingers. “Oh, and I brought this for you.” She hands me a medium-sized box filled with DVDs. Laying on top are Gone with the Wind, Say Anything, Beauty and the Beast, Casablanca, Titanic, and…The Notebook.

“What’s this?”

“Research. For you. I figured you might need it.”

I smile. “What would I do without you, Erin?”

“Spend the rest of your life miserable and alone?”

She’s not far off the mark.

“Give yourself another week’s vacation, okay?”

I take my box of goodies into my office and prepare for phase two.

Flowers. Lots of women say they don’t want them. But every woman is happy when they get them.

Which is why I’ve arranged to have them delivered to Kate’s office, every hour on the hour. Seven dozen at a time. That’s one dozen for every day we were apart.

Romantic, right? I thought so too.

And although I know Kate’s favorite are white daisies, I specifically told the florist to avoid them. Instead, I’ve chosen exotics—bouquets with brightly colored petals and strange shapes. The kinds of flowers Kate has probably never seen in her life, from places she’s never been.

Places I want to take her to.

At first I kept the notes simple and generic. Take a look:

Kate,

I'm sorry.

Drew

Kate,

Let me make it up to you.

Drew

Kate,

I miss you. Please forgive me.

Drew.

But after a few hours I figured I needed to step it up a notch. Get more creative. What do you think?

Kate,

You're turning me into a stalker.

Drew

Kate,

Go out with me on Saturday and I'll give you all of my clients.

Every. Single. One.

Drew

Kate,

If I throw myself in front of a bus,

will you come visit me at the hospital?

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