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“Jeez, baby.” Ryan sighed. “Come here. Try to relax.” He coaxed me back down to his chest and tugged the sheet and blankets over us again. His skin was warm and the hand rubbing my back was so comforting that I felt my erratic breathing starting to calm. “It’s okay. I’ve got you.” He kissed the top of my head, resting his lips there as he hugged me. There, in his arms, I felt completely safe. But out there in the public eye, things were out of his control. I had learned early on in this relationship that the terror factor grew exponentially when you’re a celebrity. And dating a famous celebrity was no different—actually it was worse when delusional fans became obsessively jealous, insanely possessive, and wanted you out of the way. Even normal, sane people lost their minds when it came to celebrities. Combine that with a world full of crazy people and the threats became very real. I was thankful that Ryan was insistent about sending Mike into LAX yesterday to escort us safely out of the airport, or else the paparazzi would have eaten me alive. Ryan’s public proposal painted a new, fat target on my back. It was one thing to be the local “fling” he had while on location; it was completely another once rumors started circulating that he actually put a ring on my finger. How the hell they recognized me among all the other people hurrying through the airport was mind-boggling. Trying to get through the gauntlet of paparazzi in LAX was akin to sidestepping land mines. While I was very grateful for Mike’s protection, I still think the photographers only noticed me because they recognized Ryan’s bodyguard first. Heck, every public picture taken of Ryan lately had Mike in it somewhere—holding back fans, watching the invisible perimeter around Ryan with the expertise of a trained hunter. Between his gorgeous body and killer smile, Mike Murphy was becoming as famous as Ryan Christensen. “You want to tell me what the hell scared you awake like that?”

~6~

Love Unrehearsed  

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