I hope you're enjoying this story. I know that each time I head to the computer to write, I find myself so caught up I have trouble stopping when Jonathon gets home. It's a great tribute to the place I'm living, and the more I get caught up in their world, the more I like Mace and Chantal. Enjoy today's installment and have a great day.
Hustle Into Love
They moved together across the small stage and for the first time in her life, Chantal knew what it felt like to be led by a partner. Oh, she’d danced with some of the best in the business. She’d trod the same boards with such famous men as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Michael Flatley, and Gregory Hines. She’d even done an impromptu moonwalk at a swanky party with the king of pop himself, Michael Jackson, before he’d so unexpectedly died.
All these men could dance sublimely, but until now, Chantal had never known the pure joy of letting go and allowing her partner to take over.
She was surprised it was so easy. Used to taking charge of her dancing, she was almost shocked when without her even having to think, her body instinctively matched every move Mace made. It was as if they’d danced a hundred times before, so perfectly did they fit together.
“Grandmum did a good job with you,” she managed after several long moments of silence. “You dance very well.”
He laughed and switched from the elegant moves of the waltz to the sexy motions of a tango. “I used to hate her for it, but I guess now I’ll have to thank her.” He nuzzled Chantal’s throat as he dipped her low. “It is a perfect excuse to keep my arms around you.”
Her cheeks bloomed with color. “Mace. Be good.”
Giving her a wicked grin, they both moved into the intricate spins and twirls of the Latin dance. “Honey, I’m told I’m always good.”
She groaned. “Should have seen that coming.”
“But thanks.” He spun her around and then dipped her again. Pressing a quick kiss to her smiling mouth, he went on. “Coming from an expert like you, I appreciate the compliment.”
She sighed as he swirled her up and around. His strong, hard body moved in time with hers, making her heart beat even faster. Mace was loyal, courageous, adventurous, and loved his family. He was over-the-top gorgeous. He was smart, sexy and now she knew he could dance, too. Everything she’d ever wanted in a guy.
She was a gonner.
“Hey,” he whispered, bringing her back to the present. “Where did you go?”
“Nowhere.” Chantal pushed away the ever present knowledge she was getting in over her head. “I was just thinking about Lì .”
He lifted his eyebrow. “I’ve finally got you in my arms, and you’re still thinking of my brother?”
She laughed and poked his shoulder. “Not like that. I mean, I was thinking about how much alike you are.”
His grin fell away. His eyes were suddenly very intense. “You…think I’m like Lì?”
Smiling up at him, she nodded. “Yes.”
His gaze warmed. “You have no idea how much it means to me to hear you say that.”
“Even if I wasn’t attracted to you, I’m pretty sure I would like you, Mace D'Avranches. And I didn’t expect to.”
He lifted her fingers to his lips. “I think that’s what makes this so right, don’t you? We like each other.”
Her heart stuttered at the way he was looking at her. “I think that’s a good basis for a relationship, don’t you? Being friends first?”
“Maybe friends with benefits?”
She couldn’t help it. She broke out laughing. He was looking at her so hopefully, it was funny. “Oh, Mace. You are so incredibly single minded.”
He kissed her lightly. “I know what I want, and I usually go after it. But unless we both want it, it won’t be worth having.”
She touched his cheek. “You know I want you, too. But even more I want to know it would be the right thing to do. And I think you know why.”
His lips narrowed. “It always comes back to him, doesn’t it? Lì.”
“He’s important to both of us. “If we slept together and then broke up, it wouldn’t just be us caught in the aftermath. If there is tension between us, it might hurt Lì.”
Mace snorted. “Never thought I’d have my big brother as a chaperon. Especially when he’s a thousand miles away.”
“We’ll know when the time is right.” Chantal pulled him closer, and in response, Mace slid into a foxtrot.
“I know. But fair warning. When I do finally make love to you—” he bent and nibbled on her lower lip, “—not my brother, not this casino, not even God himself will be able to stop me.”
She gulped at the heat she saw in his eyes. Again, she wanted to throw caution to the wind and let him take her upstairs right now. But there was something that told her they needed more time. To get used to the truth…or maybe just get used to each other.
“You have to stop tempting me,” she teased shakily. “Maybe asking you to dance wasn’t such a good idea.”
“I think it was a great idea.” He matched his words to action and danced her across the stage again. “Maybe I’ll wear you out and have to carry you up to bed. See?” He waggled his dark eyebrows at her. “I’ll get into your bedroom one way or the other.”
She laughed again, and this time pushed him away. “That’s it. Enough. Leave me alone. I have to warm up anyway.”
Mace gave her a mock leer. “I thought I got you plenty warm.”
“Ha. Ha. You’re a comedian now.” She rolled her eyes. “I’ll add you to the show roster.”
“Okay. You don’t want to dance anymore. Fine. Let me take you out to dinner.”
Chantal put her hands on her hips. “You’re not listening, Mace. I really have to warm up.”
He looked perplexed. “Warm up for what?”
“Tonight’s show. I just dismantled the casino’s dance act. Someone’s got to take their place.”
Mace’s eyes widened. “You’re going to dance tonight?”
“Yes.” She frowned at the look on his face. “What’s the problem?”
“What’s the problem? What’s the problem? I’ll tell you what the problem is.”
She flinched as his voice got louder and louder with each sentence. “Okay, so I’m listening.”
As she watched, he began to pace. “You can’t just dance tonight, Chantal. There are things that need to be arranged. You’re a famous personality. There won’t be enough room. We’ll need crowd control. More seating. Hell, I’ll have to hire more security.”
He turned and glared at her. “No way am I letting you dance without knowing you’ll be protected.”
She got that melty feeling again. “Are you worried about me?”
Mace said a single unprintable word that made her eyebrows shoot up. “Damn it. You should have told me sooner. Remember our deal? If I needed to know, you’d tell me? Well, I sure needed to know this. There’s no way we can get it arranged in time. So you can’t dance.”
Irritation pushed away the melting. “I beg your pardon.”
“Don’t get all amber princess-like with me,” he retorted. “I’m not letting you dance. It’s not safe.”
Her eyes flashed her temper. “First off, Mace, you don’t order me not to do anything. I’m in charge of entertainment.”
“Damn it, Chan—”
“Secondly,” she interrupted, putting her hand up for silence. “I did tell you. Just as I promised. After our fight in my office I knew it would have been something I told Lì, so I sent you a memo with all the particulars. I emailed it, and I had Cái hand deliver a note to your secretary.”
Mace’s mouth opened and closed. “You did?”
“I’ve known for days this would probably happen. One look at the dancers here told me that.” She tossed her head. “You were probably too busy worrying about how to apologize to see the note. But in it I tell you I’ve already sent out media announcements, talked to the staff to warn them about extra bodies and spoken to security myself. Everything is handled, Mace. This isn’t my first time around the block. Just because I’m blonde, doesn’t make me stupid. I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself.”
Wow! Here we go again! Mace can't seem to get a break. I wonder how long they'll be made at each other this time. Tune in Thursday for the next installment!
Follow Your Dreams