Love Songs and Lullabies(7)

By: Amy Vastine



“She’ll be ready. Goodness, Facebook and Twitter are all over this.”

“All over what?” Sawyer tried to sneak a peek over Dean’s shoulder.

Dean spun around. “I think I have a way to make you a household name, little brother.”

Sawyer’s sister put her hand over her heart. “Aw, that’s the first time I’ve heard you refer to him as your brother.”

“Let’s not call each other brother yet. You two aren’t even married.” Sawyer didn’t mind that Dean would soon be his brother-in-law, but it wasn’t something he wanted anyone to focus on too much. He feared people would accuse him of only getting ahead in this business because he was family. “What’s happening on social media?”

“Ever since the radio interview, you and Piper have been trending on Twitter in Nashville with the hashtag #PipermakesSawyersmile.”

Sawyer choked on the water he was drinking. It could not possibly be a good thing for anyone to think there was a romance going on between him and Piper. Not when she had made it clear they were better off as friends.

He ran a nervous hand through his hair. “Exactly how is that going to make me more famous? Piper and I are friends, but not even good friends. Barely friends. We’re more like coworkers. Acquaintances maybe. Nothing more than singers on the same label. What will people think next? That I’m in love with Boone Williams?” Sawyer tried to laugh the whole thing off.

“Wow, from friends to only singers on the same label? Way to downplay your relationship. You act like it’s inconceivable. You’d be lucky to date someone like Piper,” Faith said. “She’s beautiful, talented, ambitious and sweet on top of it all.”

“Sounds like you’re in love,” Sawyer replied.

“Piper still hasn’t signed off on an opening act for her first set of tour dates. You also have an album to promote,” Dean said as his grin widened.

“And we’ve been talking about me doing a small-venue tour across the South this winter.”

“Which was a great idea until another great idea came along.”

Sawyer knew exactly where this was headed. “What? That I join Piper’s tour?”

What Dean couldn’t know was that when Piper had squashed the idea of being a couple, her support of his career had probably gone right along with it. She’d been mortified earlier when he suggested this not be the last performance they’d ever do together.

“I’m going to run it by Piper first, but I think if we play this right, we could create a buzz that sends you both to the top of the charts.” Dean’s excitement would have been contagious if it wasn’t for the fact that he thought he could convince a woman who didn’t even want to sit by Sawyer to let him open for her.

“What if Piper says no?” There was no if, only when. Piper wouldn’t go for it. Most importantly, her father would never go for it, and he called all the shots in her career.

“She likes you. I saw how you two were on the farm. You helped her write the songs for this album. She owes you one.”

Sawyer tugged at the collar of his shirt. He had ruined his chances of getting a hand up from Piper by getting too close. Dean could try to sweet-talk her, but the chances of her giving him a spot on her tour were slim. “Don’t get your hopes up.”

“Stop worrying. I’ll make this work for both of you. One more thing,” Dean said, rubbing his hands together. “I think you should do something at the end of the performance tonight, but you can’t tell Piper it’s coming.”

* * *

“CAN I GET you anything?” Lana asked from the other side of the bathroom door.

Piper wiped her mouth. “I’ll be out in a second.” How she wished she hadn’t eaten dinner. She’d heard of morning sickness, but it was after seven o’clock in the evening. Why was she throwing up now?

“They’re ready for you onstage. This thing is a well-oiled machine. They can’t get backed up.”

Piper washed her hands and checked her reflection in the mirror. She looked tired. Even with all the makeup magic her stylist had used to make her red-carpet ready tonight, she could see the exhaustion written all over her face.

No rest for the weary. Piper pulled open the door. “Let’s go.”

The anxious-looking stagehand behind Lana radioed to someone that they were on the move. All Piper had to do was sing “You Don’t Need Me” one more time and then she could tell Sawyer about the baby. Once he knew the truth, maybe he would know what they were supposed to do.

Someone handed her an earpiece and a microphone as they approached the stage. Sawyer’s hair was like spun gold under the glow of the stage lights. With a guitar strapped across his chest, he wore jeans and an oatmeal-colored henley, while she was tortured in a dress covered in red sequins. He had the shoulders of a man who had lifted hay bales his whole life. He was so strong and sturdy.

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