The Shy Bride(6)

By: Lucy Monroe


And he wasn’t the only one—Cassandra Baker was a top-selling New Age artist. He would not have expected such a popular musician to be so unassuming. Yet she made no effort to allude to her undeniable talent or fame, further cementing her girl-next-door qualities.

Although undeniably average, her amber eyes were somewhat stunning though, their open and honest expression captivated him and the color was undeniably unique in a way the colored contacts so popular among the artificial beauties he “hooked up” with—Zephyr even had Neo thinking in those terms now—could never be.

Although she wasn’t a beauty, Cassandra was intriguing and vulnerable. There was just something about the reclusive pianist he liked. Perhaps it was simply knowing that she made the music that he enjoyed so much.

Whatever the reason, he looked forward to getting to know her better. And when was the last time he had allowed himself the luxury of something so personal not related to sex?

When he arrived at her house, four hours later, he discovered her door on the latch just as she had said it would be. The evidence of her lax security bothered him, but even more worrisome was the sound of music floating down the hall. She couldn’t possibly know that he had come inside.

He was frowning when he entered the room she had led him to the week before.

She looked up from the piano, her fingers going still above the keys. “Good morning, Neo.”

“Your door was unlocked.”

“I told you it would be.”

“That is not safe.”

“I thought you would appreciate the expediency of getting right to your lesson.”

Without waiting for her to offer, he took a seat beside her on the piano bench. “You could not hear me arrive.”

“I did not need to. You knew where to come.”

“That is not the point.”

“Isn’t it?” She looked at him as if she truly did not understand his problem. “No.”

“All right. Shall we start where we left off last week?”

Neo was not accustomed to being dismissed, in any form. Yet, rather than get angry, he couldn’t help admiring the fact the shy woman had so adroitly shifted focus to the reason he was there.

Which was not to lecture her about her habit of leaving the door on the latch, he reminded himself.

He enjoyed Cassandra’s soft voice as she guided him through the day’s lesson. Her passion for her craft was apparent in every word she spoke and the very way she touched the piano they played. A man would give a great deal to be touched by a lover with such intense dedication.

And his thinking no doubt explained the inexplicable arousal he experienced during something as innocent as piano lessons.





CHAPTER TWO


CASSANDRA covered her mouth as she yawned for the third time in ten minutes. She hadn’t slept well the night before each one of Neo’s lessons since the first one five weeks ago. In the beginning, it had been her usual anxiety from inviting someone new into her life, even if it was only for an hour a week.

But anxiety had slowly and strangely morphed into anticipation. And she didn’t know why. It wasn’t as if Neo went out of his way to be friendly. He could not be mistaken for anything but a driven businessman, but she found herself truly enjoying his company. He took his lessons seriously, though it was obvious he did not practice between times.

His manner could best be described as abrupt, often arrogant. Strangely enough, she discovered a peace in his presence she did not experience with anyone else. She tried to analyze it, but couldn’t come up with a reason for finding his company so pleasurable.

He’d become less adamant about what she had at first considered the “no pleasantries” rule. He did not complain when she went off on a tangent, discussing her favorite thing—music. He even asked intelligent questions that exhibited both a surprising interest and understanding.

So, she didn’t feel too worried bringing up something that had been nagging at her since first meeting him. “You drive a Mercedes.”

“Yes.” It was clearly an invitation to continue as he played the chords she had just shown him.

“Well, you aren’t wearing a Rolex, but you are wearing a custom-tailored designer suit.”

“You are observant,” he said with that little twitch of his lips she’d come to crave in some strange way.

“I suppose.”

“But I do not see the point.” He gave her a questioning look as his hands stilled on the keys.

“I would have expected you to drive a Ferrari, or something.”

“Ah, I see.” He smiled.

Really smiled.

And everything inside Cass flipped.

Like kapow to her midsection. This was not good. She’d never had a reaction like this to a student, or to anyone for that matter. But, seriously? His smile should come with a warning label. Something like: One glimpse is fatal!

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