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|Beat of the Heart(Runaway Train #2) by Katie Ashley|
I started to protest, but at the insistent gleam burning in his eyes, I thought better of it. Instead, I rose up and put my hand in his. He then led me across the restaurant to the dance floor. We sidestepped through the other couples, edging over to the bandstand.
As the music grew louder around us, I teased, “Do you wanna be deaf by the end of the night?”
He glanced over his shoulder and winked at me. As the last chords of the song wound down, applause and whistles rang throughout the room. The elderly couple smiled and waved before starting to make their way off the dance floor. The guys shuffled their music, preparing to play something else when AJ called, “Play it again, boys.” At Vince’s surprised look, AJ added, “Please.”
Vince must’ve met AJ before because a wide grin stretched on his face. “You heard him boys. Anema e Core it is,”
As the opening chords started up, AJ quirked his brows at me. “You wanna show-off what you learned tonight?”
I grinned up at him. “I’m not sure everything we did back at the dance studio is appropriate.”
AJ returned my grin. “That’s true.” His arms snaked around my waist, drawing me flush against him. Instinctively, I wrapped my arms around his neck. One of his hands splayed across my back, his thumb rubbing back and forth across the exposed skin above my dress. I shivered under his touch, causing him to tighten his arms around me. “How about we try this instead?” he questioned, his breath fanning across my cheek.
I fought to catch my breath. When I could finally speak, I replied, “I think…this is nice.”
He snorted. “You and your usage of nice.”
Pressed tightly together, we swayed as the passionate words of the love song echoed through the room. I closed my eyes and rested my head against AJ’s chest. Tuning out the sounds around me, I focused on the gentle beat of his heart, thrumming through his shirt. “I can see why your grandparents liked this so much,” AJ said, breaking the silence.
“Really?” I murmured.
“Yeah, it really speaks to the beauty of true love. Kinda reminds me of one of the first songs I learned to play on the drums, Amorcito Mio. My Tio Diego he’s the one who got me started playing music. He used to have a band back in Guadalajara. His song with my Tia Anita was Amorcito Mio, and he used to play it all the time.”
“That means, ‘my love’, in Spanish right?”
AJ nodded. “Yeah, but sorta more affectionate like ‘my baby’ kinda usage, too.” He stared down at me. “Like I would want to call you, amorcito mio.”
“You would?” I questioned softly.
“Yeah, I would.” He then brought his lips to mine. In that moment, I didn’t care we were on display in front of the entire restaurant. All I wanted in that moment was AJ’s lips on mine and his hands on my body. Wanting him to deepen the kiss, I opened my mouth. He obliged me by flicking his tongue against mine. I moaned as I slid my hand up to tangle in his hair. I got so lost in him and what we were doing I didn’t realize the song had ended. It wasn’t until a more upbeat tune blared around us that I jerked away.
“Fuck me, that was intense,” AJ murmured.
I couldn’t help laughing. “You have such a way with words.”
He grinned. “I try. Now come on, let’s show these stiffs how it’s done.”
Widening my eyes in horror, I shook my head furiously. “But I don’t know what to do.”
“Just follow my lead.”
“Easier said than done,” I shouted, over the music.
“Piece of cake.” AJ then quick-stepped me over the floor while several times spinning me back and then out. When the music came to a close, he dipped me. My chest rose and fell in harsh pants as I tried catching my breath.
“Wanna go again?”
AJ laughed and drew me back up. Once again, the music was fast paced, and I fought to keep up with AJ’s manic movements. When the song ended, I tugged his arm. “I need something to drink.”
“Yes, I should be plying you with more wine, shouldn’t I?”
I giggled. “I think you do just fine without it.”
Just before we got back to our booth, my dad stepped into our path. “Emiliana, what a surprise.” He grabbed me in his muscular arms and hugged me tight against his broad chest. For a man pushing sixty, he was in great shape. With his salt and pepper hair, bright smile, and rugged good looks, he was quite the prize around these parts. Of course, after one marriage before my mom and one brief one after, he was quite content as a confirmed bachelor.
“Hi Daddy.” I leaned back to kiss his cheek.
His eyes, that were the same onyx color as mine, glittered with excitement. “You should have told me you were coming out tonight, and I would have had dinner with you and your…” He glanced between me and AJ before his mouth gaped open. “Drummer Boy? Don’t tell me you’re here with my little Mia?”
AJ grinned before he and my dad hugged and smacked backs. “Yes sir. Of course, I didn’t know she was your daughter until after I’d made the reservation.”
Daddy smiled. “I kept telling you I had a daughter you should meet.”
“Oh please, tell me you didn’t,” I moaned.
AJ laughed. “Actually, he did.”
“You didn’t tell me that earlier.”
“Well, you were freaked out enough about this being your family’s place. I didn’t think adding in that little tidbit would help.”