A love this strong has a melody all its own.
May 6, 2014
A piano prodigy on a scholarship to a prestigious New Orleans university, Keeley Chambers is finally striking out on her own after a roving life dictated by her criminal parents. Her soulful, brilliant, fiery improvisations tear through her like a storm but are played for an audience of one: herself. However, sinfully handsome Jude Villars refuses to abandon Keeley to her private world and calls her out on her fear of performing in public.
The irreverent, seductive billionaire playboy awakens Keeley to the blissful pleasures of letting go as he tempts her into the spotlight of the city’s hottest clubs. Yet Jude has secrets of his own and pain that no one but Keeley recognizes. Will revealing themselves as they really are be too great a risk? Or will the truth make their tumultuous connection hotter and more irresistible than ever?
“A sizzling romance with characters you’ll never forget.”
~ #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Jennifer Armentrout
Jude’s eyes lose that scary intensity. He’s about to tease me. How do I know that so quickly?
“I bet you practice every day.”
It comes across as an accusation. “Yes.”
“Like you did this morning?”
I look away, embarrassed all over again. He catches my chin. Our gazes smash together. He keeps doing that. Colliding with me. I can’t tell if it’s the best thing ever, or a force that’ll bust me into a thousand pieces.
He tightens his fingers in a silent prompt for an answer.
“Yes,” I say. “Like I did this morning.”
“Can you do it again, or was that a one-time deal?”
“Of course I can do it again.”
“Prove it,” he says bluntly. “It’s an open mic, Keeley. The next person up onstage is the next person to perform.”
I start to tremble. “Do you mean me?”
I blink past a surprising rush of tears. Suddenly I’m back in that damn courtroom, with a hundred pairs of eyes on me, hanging on every word. Some were sympathetic, like my attorney’s and even the judge’s. The reporters’ were avaricious. The defense guy may as well have been made of ice.
And my dad . . .
I don’t duck in time to avoid a clue-by-four. The courtroom. . . and the stage . . . and all eyes on me. I can’t go through that again. It’s only taken me, what, six years to figure out why I have stage fright?
“No way,” I say. “I won’t be bullied about this. You can’t dare me.”
“How can I resist? Hearing you through sound dampening walls wasn’t enough. I want to see you too.” He lets go of my chin, but doesn’t let go of me—not emotionally, anyway. “And a dare won’t be necessary.”
He says it with complete confidence. Oh, to have a tenth of his assurance.
A crazy part of me wants him to keep pushing. Keep going. Don’t stop. I want to play for you, but I don’t know how.
I burn beneath the return of my blush. “If not a dare, then . . . what?”
His thumb slowly traces my lower lip. “There it is,” he says on a deep masculine sigh. A shiver of sexual awareness chills my skin. “You’re confused and hopeful. Not pissed off anymore. Your mouth is as beautiful as I knew it would be.”
What am I supposed to do with that other than mentally trip and never get up again?
Tell me more and I’ll try to believe it.
“I want you to show this whole place, Keeley. I want you to show me.”
I don’t reply. I only have one voice left . . . and it’s on stage.
It’s a test. The whole night is a test. How to survive a trial by spontaneous masculine overdrive. Jude Villars—his eyes, his gorgeous face, those built arms, his man in a man’s world way of dressing . . .
Show him what you can do.
Take him by surprise.
I take myself by surprise when I dig my fingers into his lapels. I drag him closer. The gap between our mouths isn’t big. I could kiss him if I wanted. I want to break him into a thousand pieces.
“You think you’ve got it all figured out,” I say. “You don’t. Not about me.”
The exhales between us are thick and hot. At least he’s breathing as hard as I am. He chuckles softly. The sound, the secondhand feel of it, ricochets down my chest. I’m tinder catching fire.
I can do anything.