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Teaser Thursday- Dancing Away

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They headed down the sidewalk. “I teach dance. I perform. There’s a lot to do,” Merit said.

“Right. That makes sense.” Cole paused. “You’ve really settled in here, huh?”

“Very much. I love living here. It’s a lot more open than our hometown.”

“Yeah.” Cole looked around at the buildings and people they were passing. “Yeah, I can see that. I’m glad you found a place where you’re happy.”

“So am I.” Merit glanced at him out of the corner of his eye. He sensed Cole wanted to say something else and didn’t quite dare. Despite his curiosity, he wasn’t about to ask what that might be. If Cole had something to say, he could just say it.

Cole didn’t say anything for a moment, just kept walking. Merit stayed beside him, willing himself to stay silent. Whatever the guy was thinking, Merit refused to try to read his mind or to push him in any way.

“I work for my uncle,” Cole said suddenly.

“You told me that,” Merit said. “Is there a reason you’re repeating it?”

“If I didn’t work for him, things might be easier.” He hesitated. “If I didn’t work for him, I’d be able to move. He has everything set up so that when he retires, I take over the company, and he’s retiring pretty soon. Within the next couple years, most likely. I can’t just leave him in the lurch.”

“Did anyone ask you to?” Merit felt a bit of mental whiplash trying to keep up with Cole’s thoughts.

“I asked me to.” Cole shook his head. “I know I’m not making a lot of sense. I haven’t really thought this through, and it’s hard to figure out what I’m saying while we’re walking up the street. Too many distractions.”

“Can you walk and chew gum at the same time?”

Cole snorted. “Not always. Look, we need to sit somewhere and talk. This place looks good.” He gestured at the bar and grill they’d stopped beside. “Hopefully it’ll be quiet enough we can hear each other.”

“Sure.” Merit hoped so, because he was growing a little tired of not really knowing what was going on. Cole obviously had something on his mind, but he was jumping around so much with his words that Merit couldn’t even begin to keep up.

It sounded like Cole was thinking about moving to the city. And he didn’t have any reason to do that other than being with Merit. Merit didn’t know how to feel about that. A guy—not just a guy, but Cole Dellany—was thinking about changing his whole life for him.

He decided he was better off not trying to figure out what to say until Cole clarified what he was talking about.

They went inside and found a small table near the front window. “What do you want to drink?” Cole asked. “My treat.”

“I won’t argue with free drinks, but I’ll just have a soda,” Merit replied. “Rehearsal in less than an hour, remember?”

“Right. I’ll be right back.” Cole went to the bar to order their drinks while Merit sat and looked out at the passers-by. He’d only come to apologize to Cole for the way he’d acted on Sunday. He hadn’t planned on having a serious, potentially life-changing conversation, and yet that seemed to be where they were headed.

Cole returned with a bottle of local beer and a glass which he set in front of Merit. “Soda, as requested.”

“Thanks.” Merit took a sip. “Look, you obviously have something to say. I’m having a little trouble figuring out what it is and we’re running short on time, so if you wouldn’t mind just saying it, that would help me out a lot.”

Cole swigged some of his beer and took a deep breath. “Fair enough. I don’t want to go back. I want to stay here. With you.”

Teaser Thursday- You Shouldn’t Kiss Me Like This

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Eventually, the lack of music registered on her consciousness and she stopped in the middle of the floor. Her heart sped up and she turned toward the door, not knowing what to expect.

Stefan stood there with a tentative smile. “You’re beautiful when you dance.”

She didn’t return his smile. Until she figured out whether they were about to make up or whether he just wanted to tell her off, she didn’t want to let him know how happy the sight of him made her. “Thank you.”

“May I come in?”

She shrugged. “The studio doesn’t belong to me. I can’t tell you to stay out even if I wanted to.”

“You’re angry with me.” He entered and stopped only a few steps inside. “I’m sorry I haven’t answered your calls. I’m here now. Can we talk, please?”

“I think that would be a good idea, if you’re sure you want to talk.” She certainly wouldn’t force him to have a discussion if he wanted to avoid her. And given the unreturned calls, he didn’t want to say anything to her.

He held out his hand. She ignored it, and he let it drop back to his side. “When you walked out on me, it pissed me off, I admit. You didn’t even give us a chance to talk about where things are or where we see them going. I haven’t had many relationships, so I might be wrong, but I’m pretty sure when two people are together they’re supposed to discuss things. That’s why I didn’t want to talk to you on the phone.”

“Because I pissed you off.”

“Partly,” he agreed. “Mostly because if one or both of us is going to be upset, we should be together to hold each other.” He took her hand. “We’d just gotten things started between us.”

“Yeah.” Her heart sank. “I might have messed up. You had a share in that argument, though.”

“Yes, I did.” He pressed a key on the laptop, and the opening notes of his favorite song filled the room. “Dance with me, Erin. Then we’ll talk.”

Reluctantly, she allowed him to lead her into the center of the room. Reluctant only because she wanted to sort things out with him without procrastinating. Her body took over from her mind as the music played, and they moved smoothly together through the steps and variations they’d done before.

The touch of his hands electrified her. The music flowed through them, connecting them in the dance. All the joy she’d felt dancing with him returned to her. Their argument didn’t matter. Her anger evaporated, and she allowed herself to simply feel the dance, to follow without anticipating. To do what she loved most.

He pulled her to him, and rather than releasing her in the next beat, touched his lips to hers. She cupped his face in her hands, deepening the kiss as desire coursed through her.

He tightened his arms around her. His tongue sought entry to her mouth and she parted her lips to allow it. Her nipples stiffened as their tongues touched. She wanted him, and her body didn’t care that they stood in a dance studio where students would shortly arrive. She needed the closeness of his body.

He broke the kiss, breathing heavily. “I love you.”