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“It’s beautiful,” I yelled across the helicopter. The bright lights of Music City twinkled beneath us. I could just make out the Country Music Hall of Fame and Fortune, and the AT & T building lit up in the distance. But Rafe wasn’t watching the sights, he was staring intently at me.

“What?” My lips curved.

“Nothing,” he smiled back.

It was two years to the day, that I met him in Ploughton at the Talent Showdown auditions. 

My life had changed in ways I couldn’t even comprehend back then. I’d gone on tour with the band. A world tour. We’d seen Paris and London, Munich and Barcelona. We’d had so many highs I couldn’t even begin to list them all. Of course, touring with a world-famous rock band also came with its lows. But throughout it all, my one constant had been Rafe. He shared in my successes and held me when things got too much. He made me feel grounded, loved and cherished. 

Rafe looked at me and my heart still skipped a beat.

It had been almost eighteen months since I first arrived in Atlanta ready to tour with Black Hearts Still Beat. Then, I hadn’t realized how much those four broken boys would come to mean to me. They were my family. My best friends. And I couldn’t imagine my life without them.

The helicopter did another loop around and I watched with awe as we rode along the Nashville skyline.

“Wow,” I breathed. I felt weightless up here, so free and happy. “You’re supposed to be watchin’ the sights.” My eyes slid to Rafe who was still watching me, and my brow lifted.

“My view is pretty good.” He toyed with his lip piercing, heat simmering in his gray eyes. 

“Rafe,” I chuckled but it came out breathy.

He only had to look at me and my blood ran hot. We were supposed to be over the honeymoon stage, those first love flutters and butterflies. But our need for each other only intensified with time. 

The helicopter began to descend, landing on the helipad of the Nashville Star Hotel. The rotors began to subside as Travis slid open the door. “Good trip?” He gave me a warm smile, offering me his hand.

“The best.” I climbed out, waiting for Rafe, and our security flanked us as we headed inside. 

We had the penthouse suite for the weekend. It was more than I needed but Rafe said he wanted to spoil me. It had the best view of the city, the river in the distance. It really was something.

“Are we all set?” I heard Rafe ask Travis.

“We are. The car is already outside.”

“Outside?” I gawked at them. “But I thought we had reservations.”

“We do.” The corner of Rafe’s lifted. “Just not at the hotel restaurant.”

“What did you do?” My eyes narrowed. 

“Don’t you trust me?” 

“You know I do.” My heart fluttered wildly in my chest as we entered the private elevator that linked the penthouse suite with the helipad and the rest of the hotel. 

Sometimes it was hard to believe this was my life. That I was Evangeline Star Walker, sweetheart of Country, and one of the biggest selling country musicians of the last decade.

I was also the girl that regularly performed with Black Hearts.

On tour, at charity events, for radio stations and television appearances, we often still worked together. It probably had something to do with the fact I had no desire to be away from Rafe, and he didn’t like letting me out of his sight for more than a couple of days. 

We were a package deal.

The golden couple of Rock and Country.

And the industry was all too willing to let us reign.

Security managed to get us out of the hotel and into the SUV without difficulty. the details of our trip we airtight, but no matter where we went, people usually spotted us. It was nice to be under the radar for once. Just a couple deeply, madly in love, taking in the sounds and sights of Music City.

My soul was at home here, among her kindred spirits.

Rafe slung his arm around my shoulder and tucked me into his side. “Hey,” he said in that sexy low growl of his. The one that made my tummy clench and my breath hitch. 

“Hi.” I grinned up at him, sliding my hand along his jaw and leaning in. “What have you planned?”

“Wait and see.” He winked, his eyes twinkling with mischief and promise. Rafe brushed his lips over mine and I couldn’t resist fisting his t-shirt and pulling him closer. Our tongues tangled and heat exploded in my veins.

“Rafe,” I breathed, inhaling sharply.

He touched his head to mine, chuckling. “God, I love you.”

We rode like that across the city, stolen kisses and tender touches. By the time the car slowed to a stop, I was giddy on love. 

“We’re here.” A faint smile traces Travis’ lips. “Enjoy your evening, Eva.”

I frowned. Was he in on this too? 

Who was I kidding, of course he was. He and Rafe loved nothing more than surprising me. 

Gazing up at the building I read the sign, “The Johnny Cash museum.” Excitement began to unfurl in my stomach because right above the Johnny Cash museum was the Patsy Cline museum, my favorite country singer of all time.

“Tell me you didn’t...” 

“I know you’ve always wanted to see it so I’ve arranged a private tour.”

“Rafe.” I threw my arms around his shoulders and kissed him. “Thank you.”

He chuckled, tucking me into his side. “Come on, they’re waiting for us.”


The museum was everything I knew it would be and more. As the tour guide took us around the collection of her personal items and memorabilia, I felt a chill run through me. Music had always settled my soul. It was a part of me, the way oxygen was a part of my blood. But being here, was something else.

“If you don’t have any more questions, I’ll let you have some time to peruse at your leisure.”

“Thank you so much.” I offered the tour guide a big smile.

Rafe moved behind and folded his body around mine, resting his chin on my shoulder. “So, what do you think?”

“I love it. It’s like I can feel her here, ya know?”

We were in front of the timeline of her short life. “It’s so sad she never got to live.” My heart squeezed. “I can’t help but think that could have been me. I could have so easily—”

“Don’t.” Rafe brushed his lips over my cheek and I tilted my face to kiss him back. “You lived Starshine. You were given a second chance because you have so much to share with the world.”

“I love you,” I whispered, blinking away the tears burning the backs of my eyes.

Rafe’s expression grew serious. “And I thank the universe every day that Molly entered you in the Talent Showdown.” He smiled down at me. I’d never felt as loved as I did right here, in this moment.

“Tonight has been perfect.” A contented sigh slipped from my lips. 

“Well, I have one more surprise, come on.” Rafe took my hand began guiding me back through the museum to the stairwell leading to the exit. But we weren’t met by Travis and the SUV, we were met with a horse drawn carriage.

“Seriously?” I fought a smile. 

Rafe nodded. “No tour of Nashville is complete with a carriage ride.”

“I can’t believe you did all this.”

He looped his arms round my waist and drew me close. “You’re worth it Starshine, you’re worth every damn thing.” 

As Rafe helped me into the carriage, I swooned. It was so romantic, so unexpected.

He tucked me into his side as the drive gave the horses the signal to go. We lurched forward and laughter rumbled in my chest. “I’m surprised Travis let you do this.” He didn’t usually like things that broke protocol. 

“He isn’t very far away.” Rafe twisted around and pointed to the familiar SUV tailing us.

I rolled my eyes, but I didn’t mind, not really. Having a security detail was part and parcel of my life now. Still, it was nice to enjoy one night of normalcy with the man I loved more than anything in the whole world.


About ten minutes into the ride, Rafe grew antsy. 

“Are you okay?” I asked him, noticing his fingers tapping rhythmically against his thigh. 

When I’d first met Rafe, I’d thought it was habit, that he was playing a riff in his head. But as time went on, I realized it was his tell when he was nervous.

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

My eyes narrowed. “You’re lyin’.”

He let out a strained breath, running his fingers through his hair. “I had this all planned out.”

“Rafe, tonight was perfect.”

“No, I’m not talking about that.” He twisted around slightly and took my hands in his. “I didn’t realize how hard this would be but then, Levi was always the one good with words.” 

“Rafe?” My heart beat wildly in my chest as he gazed at me with such reverence.

“Eva, I love you. I’ve loved you since the first time I saw you. I know loving me hasn’t always been easy, I know our relationship is never going to be straightforward, but I would give it all up in a second if you asked me to. Because you’re worth the risk, and all I want is a life with you, Starshine, whatever way I can get you.”

I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t do anything but watch as Rafe pulled a small ring box out of his pocket and flipped the lid.

“I could write lyrics about this moment, turn our story into a song, but no love song will ever truly capture how I feel about you.” He plucked the band from the box and took my hand in his. “Evangeline Star Walker, I don’t just want right now, I want forever. Be mine. Marry me, Starshine? Make me the happiest guy on the planet.”

“Yes,” I cried. “Yes, yes, yes.” 

Rafe slid the perfect princess cut diamond ring onto my finger before cupping my face in his hand. “You and me, Eva. Always.”

“Always.” Tears rolled down my cheeks, my heart so full I thought it would burst.

Two years ago, I’d been a girl full of guilt and pain. I couldn’t understand why I’d been given another chance... and then Rafe came into my life, and I knew. 

I knew he was the boy sent to heal me.

All I had to do was take a giant leap of faith.

A risk.

Music saved me.

But Rafe, loving Rafe…

That gave me a reason to live.




I can’t stop looking at her.

My fiancé. 

My Starshine.

The ring fit like a glove, all thanks to some sneaky sizing by Letty and Phoebe. I’d had it tucked away for almost three months, but the time never felt right. So when Alistair announced we had some time off at the end of the summer, I knew it was my opportunity.

The SUV rolled to a stop, and Travis came around to open the door.

“Thank you,” Eva climbed out first and I marveled again at the ring on her finger.

My ring.

Fuck. That did all kinds of wild shit to my insides.

We entered the hotel through the side entrance, heading straight for the private elevator. But Travis didn’t follow us inside.

“Rafe?” Eva asked as the doors began to slide closed. I gave him an appreciative nod. He wouldn’t go far but I needed this time with her, alone.

“What is—”

I cut her off with my lips, my tongue sweeping into her mouth. Eva moaned, fisting my t-shirt as I backed her up against the mirrored wall. “I’ve wanted to do this all night,” I breathed the words over her lips. 

Eva’s eyes sparkled with love and lust, hitting me right in the chest. “I’m so happy.” A goofy grin spread over her face.

“You’ll be happy in about ten minutes when I’m buried deep inside you,” I whispered the words against her ear, and she shivered at my promise.

“How much longer?” Eva glanced over my shoulder at the elevator buttons. 

“Almost there,” I said, rolling my hips into her. Our quiet moans filled the small space. 

The doors finally pinged open, and I picked Eva up, striding down the hall to our suite. “Rafe, put me down.” She batted my chest.

“Never.” I kissed her, curling my tongue around hers.

We passed security but they didn’t bother me. Nothing was going to ruin this moment. 

Not a damn thing.

Shouldering open the door, I walked inside and let Eva’s body slide down mine. But I didn’t let her go. Instead, I crowded her against the wall. “Do you know what you do to me?” I rasped.

“Show me.” Eva’s head fell back as I ground into her again. 

“I’m not sure I can wait.”

“So, don’t. I need you, Rafe, so much.” She began clawing at my t-shirt, my belt.

My hands dipped between us, pushing her skirt around her waist, and finding her panties.

“Oh god,” she cried, as I rubbed her over the material. “More, Rafe... more.”

“Ssh, Starshine,” I drawled, high on the feel of her. Snapping my belt, I managed to shove my jeans down my hips. “Feel this,” grabbing one of her hands, I closed it around my rock-hard dick, “it’s all for you. Only ever you.”

Pulling her panties aside, I lined up against her, letting Eva sink down slowly on me. “Jesus,” I hissed, fighting the urge to move. I wanted to savor the moment, tattoo it on my bones and weave it into my soul.

Eva was made for me. Her talent and humility. The way she loved so completely. I loved her big heart and her strength. There wasn’t a single thing I didn’t love about this girl. And I couldn’t wait to stand in front of our friends and family and make her mine. 


And always.

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