Today’s theme is something active, something fun…like singing or dancing. I chose a snippet from Friday I’m in Love in which the heroine overcomes her inhibitions and goes onstage to sing karoake. The scene was lots of fun to write! Hey! Did you know Ellora’s Cave has dropped its prices at third party vendors for certain authors? Guess who’s one of them. 🙂 ME!!!! If you love the buy with one click feature at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance Ebooks, or Sony, please check out the low prices before they run out!
“I want you to get up on stage and sing.”
She laughed hysterically, clearly thinking his words a joke until he added, “I dare you to sing a song, Nat.”
She sobered up at the earnestness of his tone. “You can’t be serious.”
“I’m completely serious.”
She fell silent for a moment and then grinned as if she’d found the magic loophole. “I will if you will.”
“Fine,” he answered easily, provoking a frown to cross her face. “But you go first.”
She looked around and he sensed she was trying to find another way to escape the dare, so he threw more fuel on the fire. “Of course, if you’re too afraid to get up there, I could always—”
“Where’s the song list?” she asked, and he waved Sean over.
“What’s up, bro?” Sean asked.
“Natalie wants to sing. Do you have one of those lists with the music selection?”
Sean quickly brought over a notebook filled with song choices and handed it to Natalie. “All right!” he said enthusiastically. “Way to keep the ball rolling, Nat. We’re having a hard time getting folks to sign up. I owe you one.” His brother bent down and gave her a friendly kiss on the cheek, the sweet gesture making her blush.
She studied the list for so long, Ewan feared she’d back out. He was surprised when she pointed and said, “This one.”
He looked down and laughed. “Showing your age there, aren’t you?”
“Bite me, Ewan. Go put my number in. And while you’re at it, put yours in too. We had a deal. If I’m going to make an ass of myself, you’re going down right alongside me.”
He rose and turned in their two numbers. Sean grinned at his choice. “Duet?”
“Don’t tell Natalie. I don’t want her to have a chance to run.”
Sean slapped him on the shoulder. “She’s gonna kick your ass.”
“Yeah, well, she seems to be on the verge of that every waking minute. It’s sort of starting to lose its effect.”
Sean laughed. “You got it bad for Sky’s best friend.”
Ewan considered denying it, but there wouldn’t be any point. Of all his brothers, he was closest to Sean. Killian and Tris were twins and older, so that played a major role in the situation. Plus, Sean was just easy to be around.
“She’s got my heart in her teeth. It’s not a comfortable feeling.”
“I guess not, although I don’t see what the problem is. She’s got the hots for you too.”
Ewan considered that. “You think?”
“She hasn’t left your side all week, bud.”
“Yeah, well, that’s actually because I’ve been working with her on something.” Ewan wasn’t sure why he didn’t want to tell Sean about the life lessons, but something told him Nat wouldn’t want anyone to know about her depression.
“Maybe so, but she can’t take her eyes off you. Even now, she’s checking out your ass.”
Ewan grinned, but couldn’t resist taking a peek over his shoulder. Natalie’s gaze was definitely on his southerly regions until she spotted him looking at her, then she quickly turned her head.
“She leaves in two days,” he said, speaking the words that had been eating a hole in his gut all day. He was running out of time.
“So I guess you better kick it into high gear.”
Ewan looked at his brother, his words striking a chord. “Yeah, I guess I better. Make sure you cue up her solo song first.”
Sean grinned. “She’s next. As soon as this guy finishes butchering Michael Jackson. I swear to God if he whips out the moonwalk, I might piss in my pants. This is even funnier than I thought it would be.”
“Well, it’s certainly brought in a crowd.”
“Human nature,” Sean said. “People are fascinated by tragedy.”
Ewan shook his head, chuckling as he returned to the table. “Sean says you’re up next.”
“Great. You know, I think I failed to mention something.”
“Oh yeah?” he asked. “What’s that?”
“I can’t sing.”
“At all?” He was surprised by her confession. She had a lovely speaking voice, husky and sexy as hell. He just assumed that would translate to her being a pretty decent singer.
“Sky told me once he thought I might be tone deaf, but I can hear the melody, the harmony, everything that makes his songs great. I just can’t make my voice do that.”
He wondered why she wasn’t more bothered by the prospect of getting on stage if she really did sing as bad as she said. “You’re sure you’re okay with getting up on the stage?”
“Turnabout’s fair play,” she said.
“Meaning,” she leaned closer as she spoke, “I’ve spent years making fun of people for their shortcomings. I think maybe it’s time I gave them a turn to take a few shots at me. Isn’t that what this lesson is about?”
Ewan shook his head. “No, not at all. I was hoping you’d learn to stop caring what people think about you. You think the world hates you, sees you as a bitch. You pretend that doesn’t bother you, but I think deep down inside, it does. This isn’t about letting people laugh at you, Nat. I’d never set you up for that.”
She sighed. “You are the most annoying man I’ve ever met.”
“I find it very difficult to stay mad at you. And I really want to be mad at you right now.”
He grasped her hand. “That’s funny. I’m having some difficulties of my own in regards to you.”
“What kind of difficulties?”
He pulled her hand into his lap, aware that the table was shielding them as he moved her palm to his very erect cock. “I really want to be inside you right now.”
She started applying pressure to his cock, slowly moving her fingers along his covered flesh. “We already did the sex lesson.” Her tone didn’t match her words and he thought for a moment she was sad about the idea of not sleeping with him again.
“That wasn’t a lesson, Nat. And I didn’t intend for it to be just one night.” Before he could say more, tell her exactly what the previous night meant to him, Sean was calling her name, gesturing for her to take the microphone.
She removed her hand and stood slowly. “Good.”
“Good?” He was wondering how he could convince Sean to skip her in the line-up, but Natalie ignored his question and threw one of her own at him.
“You wanna know something?”
“I’ve always been jealous of Sky’s time on the stage, in the spotlight. I’ve always wanted to try this just once and you’re right, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. This is for me.”
“Break a leg,” he said, smiling at her sudden enthusiasm.
“But don’t say I didn’t warn you.” She laughed as she walked away and Ewan watched her take her place on the stage, admiring her courage as she stood in the spotlight. As the music started, she held the microphone to her mouth and sang.
He covered his mouth to hide the grin emerging as she belted out Wilson Phillips’ Release Me. Sean caught his eye and gave him a horrified look. She hadn’t exaggerated about her singing. She looked at him as she continued, her twinkling eyes proving—unlike the American Idol wannabes—she knew exactly how bad she sounded.
Regardless of the sound, she was winning the crowd over with sheer showmanship. As the pace of the song increased, she started dancing, her motions sultry and beautiful, despite her singing. She started working the crowd, pointing to a few of the men, who began wolf-whistling. Their enjoyment pushed her further and he broke into genuine laughter when she left the stage and started singing to the cowboy in the purple shirt, playing with his fringe.
The crowd was eating up her antics and a few women stood up and started singing along. Apparently, she’d stumbled upon some sort of ’90s girl anthem. Everyone started clapping, dancing at their seats, and Sean turned to give him a thumbs-up.
As the song ended, she received the first standing ovation of the night and she ran back to the table where he stood waiting for her. She hugged him, laughing with complete, unrestrained joy and, as everyone watched and cheered louder, he kissed her.
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