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Mixed Up with the Millionaire Episode 3

Blaze﹒

As the ding signaled the passengers to exit the plane I glanced out the window. After the last year of jaunting around the world, I felt nothing in this latest arrival. Just another airport in just another city. At least I’d be in Dallas for a spell. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d spent two weeks in one place without a single gig.

Unless I counted deejaying my best mate’s wedding reception. And I didn’t.

I grabbed my bag from the overhead and shuffled out of the plane with a heaviness weighing in my muscles. The thrill of traveling, roaring crowds, and getting paid to do work I love had leaked out. Like a balloon slowly deflating to where only enough oxygen remained to keep my shape, but not enough to float high in the air anymore.

Trudging through the jetway, baggage claim, and finally customs, I spotted Jameson lounging against the far wall. A huge grin split his face and I returned his greeting with genuine feeling for the first time in months. He threw his arms around me and we clapped each other’s back.

When I attempted to end the hug, for fear I might collapse in his arms and never get up again, he squeezed tighter, as if sensing my shaky foundation. Releasing me finally, he grasped my neck and scoured my features. “I know that look, mate, and I’m glad you’re here.”

Before Jameson had traded the club DJ life for his radio presenter career, he traveled his fair share, putting in the late nights, weekends, and special events. I thought he’d been crazy to give up our sweet life. Now not so much.

Disillusionment had taken root almost as soon as I returned to the tour after Jameson’s engagement party. It only worsened after I lost my mum three and a half months ago. My contract had barely allowed enough time to trek home and make arrangements, let alone process the loss or grieve my only family member.

I should’ve returned to Birmingham so I could use the rest of my holiday to take care of Mum’s house and finances. But I couldn’t bear to face any of that yet.

Shaking off the glum and donning my best flirty smile—because it was Jameson’s weekend—I grabbed the luggage trolley. “After tomorrow night, it won’t be anything a little time off won’t cure.”

He squeezed my shoulder. “You don’t have to deejay the reception. I want you here as my best mate.”

“Managing your tunes for a couple of hours will be a cakewalk. Now, where are your better thirds?”

Jameson had met Sydney and Drew last year at a New Year’s Eve party in Florida. They’d hit it off immediately, but loving and living as a triad was never easy. They’d barely gotten together when he’d been offered a syndicated radio show loosely based on his relationship with the couple. Having successfully wrapped his first season, they were finally, and formally, committing their lives together.

“Just know you don’t have to,” he said with seriousness in his hazel eyes. I acknowledged with a head nod, my throat too tight to give more. “Sydney is at home getting ready for the rehearsal and Drew’s meeting us out front with the auto.”

Grabbing my carry-all, Jameson led me out the doors as I wheeled the cart. A gray Volvo SUV pulled up in front and Drew met us at the boot. “Flight, okay?” he asked.

“Not bad.” That was all I hoped for anymore.

“Hungry? Tired?” Jameson asked, hefting the equipment trunk into the cargo area.

“Any place with some decent fish and chips? I could do with a little bit of home.”

Another look of understanding crossed his face before he threw my bag on top of the stowed luggage. “I know just the place.”

Fifteen minutes later we sat in The Londoner, the dark interior giving off authentic vibes with football pennants and Union Jack flags. I leaned back and savored my brew while Jameson and Drew allowed me space to decompress.

Under half-mast lids, I observed our surroundings. To outsiders, we were three dashing blokes downing pints on a Friday after work. But this close to the partners, I didn’t miss the nuances.

Drew leaned toward Jameson, his short dark hair and eyes setting off Jameson’t lighter complexion and unruly blond locks. No tension marred their shoulders, each completely at ease with the other’s nearness. An unfamiliar peace surrounded Jameson as he laughed at Drew’s teases.

Their comfortable intimacy tripped memories of my gig in Houston last year. How my best mate rocked the stage, his energy and charisma amplified not because he played for the crowd, but for his private audience of two.

I didn’t judge him, but I had dismissed it. Ending up with multiple bed partners was not an unusual circumstance in our line of work. I took Drew and Sydney to be the latest in his long history of wild and crazy.

Until I saw them again at their engagement party.

As they’d danced and laughed in a sea of acceptance, the first tendrils of jealousy lashed at me. No dismissing their connection as a passing phase. With love bouncing between them, I better understood why he had no regrets about giving up the club DJ life. Since then I’d contemplated my future a few times but I was no closer to a Plan B.

Envy burned in my chest with each of their traded intimate looks. In all my years, I’d never had anyone look at me with that kind of awed devotion, let alone two someones. I tossed back another swallow of beer to ease the nagging ache.

With perfect timing, and thwarting Jameson from voicing concern again, the waitress arrived with our fish and chips. Thankful for the distraction, I shoveled in a mouthful. As my brain registered the bite, a close enough representation of pubs back home, I tucked into the meal and encouraged the guys to catch me up.

Between the fare and the two pints, my melancholy receded to a distant spot. Time to shelve the wallowing wanker bit. At least for the next two days. Then if I wanted to sulk I could do it without pitying eyes.

“When do I get to kiss the lucky bride?” I waggled my brows and lounged against the booth.

“The rehearsal,” Jameson answered. “And you’ll keep your kissing to a minimum.”

“I will not. How else will I convince her to run off with me instead of marrying the likes of you two.” It was an outrageous claim, more aligned with my usual personality.

Drew stiffened. Jameson laughed and squeezed his forearm. “He’s kidding, love.”

I finished off the last of my pint. “I see he still fiercely protects what’s his.”

A little red-faced to have taken my shite so seriously, Drew slid his Amex card inside the black folder seconds before the waitress snagged it.

Jameson frowned at his lover. “What did I tell you?”

Drew never broke eye contact as he replied in low tones. “That if I paid for anything, I’d pay for everything.”

Heat flared between them which was uncomfortable to witness. Not because it was between my best mate and another bloke, but because I longed for the peace and contentment Jameson had found. With my mum gone, I was all alone.

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I write contemporary romance and romantic suspense why-choose stories.

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