Home > One More Promise (Band on the Run #2)(2)

One More Promise (Band on the Run #2)(2)
Author: Samantha Chase

   “Maudlin much?” he murmured, walking through the kitchen on his way to the deck.

   Outside, the night air was cool and the sky was clear. He sat in one of his lounge chairs and stared up at the stars. It was peaceful and relaxing and…beyond boring! No matter how hard he tried, Dylan knew he wasn’t meant to sit around and lead a quiet and tranquil life. Of course, that didn’t mean he had to resort to drinking or getting high, but he certainly needed more than this.

   He was holding himself back. He knew that. Right now, he still felt a little fragile, like any small step back into the life he knew with the people he used to hang out with would lead to a relapse.

   And he refused to relapse.

   Again.

   There had been a night not long after he’d come home—he’d gone out with his ex for dinner. Heather had called him up out of the blue and offered him a night out, no strings attached. After months of no sex, he had eagerly jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, the night had been a complete disaster. Without alcohol fueling their time together, Dylan had felt awkward and uncomfortable. Heather, oblivious to his struggles, had ordered herself drink after drink, and by the time they’d finished dinner, he was more than a little turned off by her behavior.

   They’d gone to her place and, even though his brain was saying yes, his body had no desire to take things any further. Funny—he’d always imagined it would be the other way around. Regardless, Heather had not taken the rejection kindly and had screamed all kinds of profanities at him while taking direct aim at his masculinity.

   When he’d gotten home, he’d managed to find one well-hidden bottle of vodka.

   The morning after hadn’t been pretty.

   Actually, the end of the bottle hadn’t been pretty.

   And now—because of that—he was afraid to get near the temptation. Maybe eventually he’d feel strong enough, but for right now, Dylan knew he wasn’t. So where did that leave him? He couldn’t keep living in isolation and he couldn’t exactly go back to his old haunts.

   With a muttered curse, he got up again and walked into the house. Closing the French doors behind him, he stalked into the living room and spotted the folder on the coffee table beside the chessboard—the literacy campaign information Mick had brought over earlier.

   With a long and drawn-out sigh, he walked over and picked it up.

   It would probably hurt him more than help him, but damn if he wasn’t desperate for something to fill his time. From the look of the schedule Mick had included, the entire thing would take about three months between the organization and planning phase—which he fully intended to be a part of—and the actual campaign itself. There would be speaking engagements, commercial shoots, print ads… It would certainly fill his time and get him into the public eye in a positive light.

   Maybe.

   Dylan wasn’t comfortable talking about the struggles he had endured in learning to read when he was young. He knew there was no shame in it, but that didn’t mean he wanted to share it with the world. A man was entitled to keep some parts of his life private, wasn’t he? But by sharing it, it could potentially help the cause—help him be more believable in his role for the cause.

   Great. Now he was looking for a way to work the thing to his own advantage. How selfish was that? Unfortunately, it was the nature of the beast. In his world—or at least the world where his public persona lived—you never did anything that didn’t ultimately serve your own interests. Sad but true.

   Another sigh escaped as he sat on the sofa and began to read the documents. All of them. All twelve pages. His eyes hurt, his brain hurt, and he wasn’t quite sure he understood half of what he had read.

   At the bottom of the last page was the name of the contact person—Paige Walters. She was probably some spinster librarian who was trying her best to drum up interest in reading to keep her local branch of the public library open. He chuckled at the image. Tomorrow, he’d take the first steps and reach out to her. He’d explain who he was and how he wanted to help and, hopefully, do it all without having to bring up the community-service angle. And if it did come up, he’d simply pour on the charm.

   And how hard could it be to charm a sweet, old librarian?

   * * *

   “Okay. You got this. It’s all good. Be firm. Be strong.” Paige studied her reflection in the ladies’ room mirror. These mini–pep talks were coming with more and more frequency and yet she wasn’t feeling any more confident.

   In ten minutes, she was due to make a presentation on the status of the literacy campaign. It had been her brainchild, and to say that she was the only one excited about it would be an understatement. Reading was Paige’s passion, and when she had gone to her monthly book club meeting and the topic of doing some fund-raising for the local libraries had come up, the ideas for something bigger began to spring forward in her mind. And, of course, once she started talking about it with her group of friends, it became obvious that she should be the one to head the campaign.

   Public relations, marketing, and promoting were in Paige’s blood. Her father owned a very successful PR firm in LA—PRW—and she had been wandering the office halls since she was a toddler. Now, as one of the senior account managers, she was free to pick causes and pitch them to the board and know she would be heard.

   Or at least somewhat heard.

   Okay, they only partially listened and then someone else would step in and take over, but still…if it meant she could finally be working on a campaign she was passionate about, then she’d deal with the petty behind-the-scenes nonsense.

   But this one was her baby. No one else was going to want to swoop in and steal her thunder because it wasn’t glamorous or trendy. It was reading. And if there was one thing Paige knew about her family, it was that none of them read for pleasure the way that she did. Other than her book club, she didn’t know anyone else who read as voraciously as she did. And for all the hours—years!—of pleasure reading had given her, she was ready to give something back.

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