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|Beat of the Heart(Runaway Train #2) by Katie Ashley|
AJ gazed around the room, sizing it up. “Looks great.”
When Molly turned to me, I bobbed my head in agreement, although I would have had no idea whether it was really all right or not. The room was outfitted with a ballet barre, wall-to-wall mirrors, and a stereo system in the far right corner.
“Well, I’ll leave you to it. If you need me for anything else, please feel free to ask.”
AJ nodded. “Thank you.” After Molly closed the door behind her, he rubbed his palms together. “All right. Let the lesson begin!”
I eyed him warily. “I don’t know if this is such a good idea.”
“I’ve never been the dancer girl type.”
“And exactly what type are you?” AJ asked, leaning back against the barre.
“The athletic type. I lettered in soccer and volleyball in high school—I wasn’t too bad in basketball either.”
“Hmm, I never imagined you being all Sporty Spice.”
I laughed. “Sorry, but that’s me. My late grandmother never liked me playing sports. She didn’t think it was lady-like, so she started me out in ballet when I was five. But I seriously sucked. I think it was after my first recital that she decided maybe I wasn’t going to become a ballerina.” Catching AJ’s amused expression, I pinched my lips shut. For some reason, my brain and mouth didn’t seem to be communicating with each other when I was around AJ. I couldn’t help speaking more freely with him than I have done with a member of the opposite sex for a long, long time. Well, excluding Dee and the male members of my family. Everything about AJ screamed that I should be uber uncomfortable around him—considering the whole fame, fortune, and good-looking thing. I couldn’t imagine why in the hell I felt so comfortable around him to do that.
“It doesn’t matter if you were a dance school dropout. There’s no plies or leaps involved with the waltz, so I think we’re safe.”
“Famous last words,” I grumbled.
AJ walked over to the stereo system and grabbed a remote. After flicking through a few choices, he decided on one. Taking the remote with him, he made his way back over to me. Grabbing my hand, he dragged me closer to the wall of mirrors. “First, I’ll show you how to do the steps on your own, and then we’ll put it together, okay?”
“Whatever you say, Master.”
“Ooh, I kinda like you calling me that. Very kinky.”
I rolled my eyes. “Get on with it.”
“Okay, so here’s what you’re going to do. First, go back with your left foot.” Once I stepped back, AJ commanded, “Now bring your right foot to the side.” “Now bring the left one together.” He motioned to my image in the mirror. “Okay, try it, and let me see.”
Trying not to break a sweat with my concentration, I repeated the steps AJ had taught me. “Good. You’re a fast learner.”
“Ready to try it together?”
AJ clasped one of my hands in his, bringing our arms out straight out. Then he brought his other hand to rest to the side of my shoulder blade. When my gaze locked with his, he winked. “As much as I’d like to get extra close and personal with you right now, you’re just going to put your other arm on my shoulder.”
“Oh, you mean we’re not going to be doing the Down and Dirty Waltz?”
“That’s for later.”
I grinned. “Whatever.”
“All right. Let’s do this.”
The moment AJ brought his foot forward, I forgot about stepping back, and instead, I brought the heel of my pump down on his toes. “Fuck!” he cried, breaking our embrace.
“Oh God, I’m sorry.”
With a grimace, he shook his head. “It’s okay.”
“Mia, I’d be a real pussy if a little high heel to toe action took me out, don’t you think?”
I laughed. “I guess.”
“Let’s go again.” His arms came around me, and I clasped my palm in his. “Remember, step back.”
The next time I managed to execute the entire step perfectly. “Nice job, cariño,” he complimented.
“Think we can try it with music now?” When I bobbed my head, AJ took the remote out of his pocket and reset the song. “Ready. Five, six, seven, eight…Slow, quick, quick slow.” I managed to keep up with him, even when he turned us side to side as we waltzed around the room.
“See, you’ve got it in the bag.”
“Miraculously,” I replied, still concentrating on steps that seemed so effortless to AJ.
“I am a good teacher.” When I glanced up at him, he wagged his eyebrows.
“Do you ever stop?”
“Nope.” He leaned in closer to me. “And trust me, once I get started, you’ll be begging me not to.”
A burning fire rippled through my lower-half, but I quickly played it off. “We’ll see about that.”
“Okay, now, I want to teach you the rumba.”
I grimaced. “You mean the whole waltzing shit wasn’t painful enough?”
AJ shook his head with a smile. “The waltz is the stepping stone—a traditional and formal dance, but the rumba is more a dance of passion and desire.” At my hesitation, AJ added, “I’m just going to show you the American style for tonight. I don’t want to make it too complicated for you.”