Eventually she’d get it right with Marchande. And then Isaiah would have to sit back and watch his efforts bear fruit while Aria cozied up to someone else. He had to get to the point where he was okay with that.
“I don’t invite just anyone up to my roof,” he told her.
“I do feel special, then,” she murmured and her gaze wandered away from the horizon to light on his face. “Where should we start?”
About a million responses sprang to mind but he bit them all back. Every last one was too provocative, too intimate. But that didn’t stop him from wishing he had the liberty to say exactly what was on his mind and it was not a dying town, the bet she’d made or anything other than how much he’d like to kiss her.
“Theme song,” he choked out and she blinked. As well she should. He needed to get his thoughts in order before he blurted out stuff. “I think Superstition Springs should have a theme song. Maybe If The Stars Were Mine.”
“Melody Gardot?” Aria pursed her lips, which did nothing to stop kissing type thoughts from multiplying in his head like rabbits. “That’s a fascinating choice.”
“I mean, you can’t dance to it or anything…” Duh. What a lame thing to say, as if dance-ability factor had anything to do with anything. She’d fried his brain or something. “Maybe slow dance but it would be tricky.”
“I wouldn’t know,” Aria said wryly. “I’ve never slow danced to anything, so I wouldn’t exactly call myself an authority.”
“That’s terrible. And easily rectifiable.” Instantly, he jumped up and fished his phone out of his pocket to key up the song in question, pushing everything Superstition Springs related out of his head. “Let’s see how it would work.”
The notes wailed out of the speaker, low and sultry. He held out a hand to help her up, but she hesitated long enough that his lungs seized up.
“You don’t have to dance with me,” she said with a half-laugh that was anything but amused.
Those candles would come in handy right about now. He’d love to have some extra light to read the things in her eyes that she hadn’t said. But if his persuasion skills hadn’t completely deserted him, he could still feel his way through this without benefit of additional clues. “Come on. You don’t want Tristan to ask you to dance and then stumble all over his feet, do you? This is just practice.”
Labeling it as such seemed to do the trick, just like it had for him a minute ago. This was no big thing. It meant nothing. She placed her hand in his and climbed to her feet, crowding into his space and then there was nothing left to do but pull her into his arms.
Yeah, he was really wrong. This was a big thing. Huge. She smelled like cinnamon and something fruity which he would have never expected to go well together but on her, it swirled into a magical blend which crossed his eyes.
“What do I do now?” she murmured throatily and the catch in her voice told him that she was similarly affected by the moment.
How, was the question, but he didn’t dare chalk it up to anything other than nerves, likely because she worried she might be doing it wrong. The least he could do was set her at ease.
“You’re doing great. Put your other hand at my waist,” he instructed her without giving away just how affected he was.
His performance deserved an Oscar to boot, especially once her warm fingers nipped into his flesh. The t-shirt between them hardly mattered since he could still feel her heat through it, and he wasn’t at all ashamed to admit he’d much prefer it if the shirt could go.
“Let me lead,” he said and guided her in a clumsy circle that probably told her all she needed to know about his skill on the dance floor, which was somewhere in the low fives on a scale of one to ten. But it wasn’t zero.
They found a sweet spot where they moved pretty much in sync, and when he caught her gaze, deep and rich and full of unfathomable things, his soul turned over.
“This is kind of fun.” The surprise in her voice made him smile. “And not as hard as I was thinking. It probably won’t be easy when I’m trying to do it with another man, though.”
Not for either of them, he thought sourly, but pushed that out of his mind. He had a lot of nerve even thinking about Aria as anything other than a friend, her scent and the way she felt in his arms notwithstanding. “We’ll practice a lot. How about that?”
Yeah, he was a saint, wasn’t he?