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Darrell is a multi-millionaire designer at 25. But past traumas have pushed him into isolation and the intense pressure of his work has brought him to the edge of burnout. Seeking inspiration, he sees Natasha dance and hires her as his muse.
As she dances for him, the two become entwined in a passionate but troubled relationship. He starts to see the pain inside her and helps her gradually lower her defenses…but Darrell has demons of his own. Can two broken people save each other? Or will the darkness they’re hiding consume them both?
This New Adult Romance is recommended for 17+ due to mature themes, sexual situations and language.
I swallowed. I meant to say, We should talk about the kiss, but what came out was “What would you like me to dance?”
He hesitated, as if he, too, wanted to say something different. But what he said was, “Something with lots of aerial work, if you can.”
This is crazy! We can’t just ignore it! But I nodded and started to get changed. And immediately, it was different. Yesterday, I’d been unsure if he liked me. Today I knew he did, and he knew I knew.
I started to peel off my sweater…and stopped halfway, with it just beneath my breasts. I’d locked eyes with him, and my heart was suddenly thumping. I have a leotard on, I have a leotard on.
I pulled it the rest of the way off. His eyes didn’t leave me once.
I kicked off my sneakers and unfastened my jeans. My legs emerged from the denim, soft whispers of nylon against the cloth. I saw him swallow.
I had to sit to put on my pointe shoes. As he stood there watching me, eyes eating up my every move, I was aware of how quiet it was. Just the two of us, in that huge underground room with no traffic noise, no birdsong, no nothing. Just the sound of our breathing and the creak of silk and leather as I wound and tied.
He passed me the phone again and I found the music I wanted. I should have been thinking about the steps—it was tougher choreography than last time—but I kept thinking about his lips, and the way his hands had felt on my face. Why didn’t he want to talk about it? Had it all been a mistake, or did he just not know where to take this next?
The music started.
The dance began with a pas de chat, a quick little jump before I got to the big stuff. I flowed through the next few steps, then pushed off into the first of a series of grand jetés that took me most of the way across the stage—exactly the kind of aerial work he’d asked for. A pirouette and a piqué and I was moving directly towards him, relishing the glorious moment of weightlessness as I soared in another grand jeté, and another and another. On the final one, I landed only a foot clear of the edge of the stage. I’d have to be careful, when it came time to repeat that section.
A glissade took me back to the center of the stage and then a simple pirouette let me move into a fouetté, my leg whipping out to the side to power my turn. I heard a tiny intake of breath from him, as if I’d done something important. I turned again, again, trying to find a spot on the wall to focus on so I wouldn’t get dizzy, but it was difficult in such an unfamiliar environment. The adrenaline was pumping now, the simple pleasure of dancing and the feel of his eyes on me combining to make me heady and careless. I came out of the final fouetté and launched into the first of three grand jetés that would take me towards him.
One, and I soared like a bird, one leg forward and one back, the rush of air delicious over my heated limbs.
Two, and something was wrong, but I couldn’t see what it was. My feet were already preparing for the brief kiss of the stage, my muscles ready to push me back up for the final jump.
Three, and as soon as I took off I saw the danger, but it was too late to stop.
I was going to miss the stage. I was going to land not at stage level, but three feet further down. And instead of landing on springy wood, my legs were going to smash and shatter against cold concrete.
I let out a silent scream—
His hands caught me around the waist. My momentum swung me down, my feet sweeping an inch from the floor. He bent with me, then swung me back up and this time hooked an arm under my knees. And then I was in his arms, both of us panting.
The fear soaked through me—that aftershock of realizing how close you came. He held me as the chill passed. And then the feeling of his arms, strong under my knees and back, started to warm me again. I felt so…safe. Like he could hold me there forever, if I needed it.
I looked up into his eyes….