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Because it takes a lot of work to make Mondays fun, we at Inkspell decided to start a new blog feature we like to call Eyecandy Monday. Each Monday we will feature the characters from one Inkspell novel and share with you an excerpt to show you a tease of the character. We hope you enjoy taking a second look at these hotties!
EXCERPT:The band tonight is the Cotton City Rollers. Although he also plays trombone, Lenny plays piano during the off-season, and he’s on a kick tonight. Everyone taps their toes, drums fingers on the tables, or waves invisible handkerchiefs in the air.
That includes Isaac Laroche, who beats the drum line on the brown bottle in his hand.
I’m so busted.
I slink down in my chair and cross my arms. I know it won’t help, but I do it anyway. Nothing to see here, folks. Just an underage girl on the wrong side of town.
No such luck. He spots me and heads over. He’s got on a gingham button-down shirt and bizarre surfer shorts with flip-flops. He’s accessorized by clutching a beer. This is certainly a different side of him.
“Isn’t this a school night, little girl?” He smirks. My first instinct is to beg him not to tell my parents. And cry. Instead, I try a different tactic.
“Aren’t you too old to talk to ‘little girls’ in a bar?” For effect, I twirl my hair around a finger. “Besides, it’s June, remember? No school?”
“Touché. Just didn’t expect to see you here, Miss Casquette. You sure you’re only seventeen?”
“I didn’t expect to see you here either, Mr. Laroche.” I uncross and cross my legs.
“Please, it’s Isaac. I’m not that old, and it sounds creepy coming from you. Especially in a place like this.” Amusement flickers in his eyes as he locks them on mine.
I hold my breath. He turns his head to watch the band. Even in the dim light, I see the muscles in his square jaw clench and relax. I follow the line down to his broad shoulders and that little curve that connects his shoulder to his chest. I can’t help but compare him to the boys at school. He’s even bigger than R.J., and older. He doesn’t look a thing like a stereotypical pianist. In fact, he looks like he could be the bouncer.
“Okay, Isaac, here’s a little secret.” I smile up at him, despite the unease that flops around in my stomach. “I come here to listen to Lenny, the guy on piano tonight. His band always plays at the Mystics’ balls.”
“Oh, right. Well, I love this stuff.” It’s the kind of music that’s best heard live because it changes every time it’s performed. It’s so different from what I play. I admire the musicians’ abandon and ability to improvise—two things I can’t do. “Most people—you know who I mean—don’t know about this place. So how come you’re here?”
He doesn’t answer. Instead, he lifts his chin toward the seat next to me. I give him my good-girl smile. He takes that as a green light and sits down, careful to leave a modest amount of space between us. I lick my lips, which have suddenly gone dry. This new tactic could get me in trouble.
He leans in close. “Can I tell you a secret?”
Oh, this is bad. This is very bad.
“I’ll keep yours if you keep mine.”
Wait, did I just say that out loud?
“Fair enough.” He stares off again, listening to Lenny’s solo.
I can almost hear the little angel on my left shoulder do battle with the devil on my right. If I keep this up, I’ll be schizophrenic. Which, when you consider my family, is a definite possibility.
Go ahead and flirt. You’re in a bar. The rules don’t apply here. And he stared at you. Stared! You could totally score an older guy.
Oh, shut up. He’s not into you. Just look at yourself. How could he be? He’s just buzzed. Plus, he’s Mr. Cline’s nephew. It’d be like making out with Mr. Cline.
I choke on my drink.
He still stares at the band, thank goodness, caught up in the bluesy riffs that float on the smoky air. His eyes are darker tonight, almost charcoal in the dim light from the stage. There are lines just forming at the corners of his eyes and deep concentration grooves between his brows, like he scowls too often.
He takes a sudden swig of his beer, and I’m jolted out of my reverie as though I’ve gotten caught red-handed. As though he felt me studying his profile. I’m surprised at his next words.
“My secret is that I used to come here when I was your age, too. Got tired of the canon stuff and wanted to see how the other half played, so to speak. That’s why I minored in Jazz Studies.” He snickers. “Although I did sneak a few beers now and then, unlike you and your…” He waves toward my drink.
“Ah. Can I get you another?”
“Thanks, but no. I have to get back before Mama comes home.”
“Aw, leaving so soon? Mean to tell me your mama doesn’t let you sneak out to bars and talk to older men? Can’t imagine why.” He winks.
I seriously forget to breathe. Relax, it’s the beer talking.
I punch him in the shoulder.
“Hey, you promised to keep that a secret. I know you’ve been in Boston for a while, but you’re back in ’Bama now.” I channel Vivien Leigh and give him my best Southern belle. “You’re bound by a code of honor to keep your word.”
No matter where you end up in life or how long you’re gone, if you’re from south of the Mason-Dixon Line, the code of the Southern Gentleman is in effect. And the minute you violate it, your mama will know by some Southern sixth sense.
“Yes, ma’am. Nothing short of a voodoo curse could get me to spill it.” He places his hand over his heart. “Hey, did you drive here?”
Do not get in his car. Do not get in his car. Do not--
“No, I took the bus. There’s a stop a few blocks down from the back door of the studio. Mama checks the hood of my car to see if it’s warm.”
“Jeez. Doesn’t she trust you?” His question is like a bucket of cold water.
I look away. No, she doesn’t trust me. She--
The waitress comes by to collect my empty glass. I dig into my purse to find my wallet but hesitate, distracted by the other contents. They’ve been rearranged. Again. I push that realization aside and flick open my wallet to get a couple of dollars. By then, Isaac’s beat me to it.
“Said it yourself, I’m back in ’Bama now. It’d be rude not to pay for your Coke since I invited myself over to your table.” When I protest, he puts up a hand. “Besides, your daddy pays me enough to teach you. I can spare a couple of dollars.”
“Fair enough. That’s kind of you, Isaac.”
He puts down a tip for the waitress and stands, stretching his large frame. “Think I’ll go now, too. Have to meet with the maestro tomorrow morning.” He rolls his eyes.