Reputation (Mason Family #2) - Adriana Locke Page 0,1

seemed crazy but so did the original premise.

“You need to clean up this bad-boy image you have, Coy. Willa needs to dirty hers up some to get the roles she wants. It’s perfection,” my agent said.

I was quite satisfied with my reputation but whatever. I just wanted the cash, and if being a nice guy would get me more opportunities, I was in. Besides, all I had to do was pretend with Willa.

All of it was bullshit.

One of us forgot that.

That one of us wasn’t me.

It all came to a screeching halt—along with a dozen cars—on Sunset Boulevard. I can’t remember what I said, but I was silenced by Willa throwing her coffee in my face as the grand finale. Thankfully, it was iced.

“Are you listening to me?” Holt asks.

“I did get the hell out of LA,” I say, annoyed. “But the only thing between my legs was my giant—”

“Okay, okay.” Holt’s sigh is tinged with amusement. “When are you planning on going back?”

“Not sure. I swore a blood oath to Meadow that I’d stay under the radar until she works her PR magic. I’m supposed to relax and write music—two of the three things I do best.”

My brother snorts. “I don’t even want to know the third thing.”

“Your call, but I could probably give you a few pointers.”

Holt seamlessly changes the subject to some business deal he’s working on, but I find it hard to follow along. My attention span is already short, thanks to the reminder of Willa.

The back of my neck tenses as I work through the asinine events leading up to me being in Savannah.

My jaw pulses as I try to calm down. It’s a load of crap that Meadow sent me to Georgia while Willa is allowed to stay in the comfort of her home and routine. She’s not missing work. She’s not putting a pause on her to-do list. And, even worse, she’s allowed to cry to the press. About me. Over a fake relationship.

None of that was real.

“You can go with us if you want,” Holt says.


“You weren’t listening, were you?”

“Kind of,” I admit. “Not really.”

He goes on again, repeating the offer to go with him … somewhere. But my attention is diverted.

The sound of footsteps rings through the kitchen. My mother breezes through the doorway in what looks like a lazy stroll, but it’s not. I can see the wheels turning in her head as she glances my way and floats me an easy smile.

My mother makes everything look easy. She never used a cleaning service or bought dinner out very often for our family of seven. She managed the house, her five sons, a husband with a penchant for gin martinis and poker, and was still on the board of directors for various Savannah programs. Everyone thinks my brothers got their drive from our father, but it was really from Mom. She’s the queen around here.

She points at the phone with a perfectly painted red fingernail. “Is that important?” she whispers.

“Nah. It’s just Holt,” I say around a mouthful of cereal.

“Don’t talk with your mouth full,” she admonishes before letting my error go. “I have an appointment in twenty minutes and will be home around six. Your father should be home slightly before me.”

“Got it.”

“Can you take the trash out for me, please?” she asks as casually as if she’s asking me what I want for dinner—a question she did not ask.

My spoon pauses midway to my mouth. Milk drips off the sides and hits the counter.

“Did you just ask me to take out the trash?” I ask.

“Yes, Coy, I did.” She slides a water bottle into her oversized black leather bag. “Is that a problem?”

She glances at me over her shoulder with that look in her eye. It’s a quiet challenge, a silent invitation to press the issue.

“Mom,” I say, not really wanting to press the issue but unable to help myself. “Really?”

She stops at the door leading to the garage. “Really what?”

“I had the number-one song on the radio for eight weeks two months ago, and …”

She opens the garage door as she simultaneously pins me to my seat with a firm gaze. After a long, awkward few seconds, her face breaks out into a victorious smile.

“Do it before I get home, please. Love you, Coy. Tell Holt I love him too.”

The door snaps closed behind her.

“Well, I’ll be damned,” I mutter.

“Better get that trash taken out,” Holt says with a laugh. “I’ll let ya go. I have a