Melanie put down the scarf she was folding and stared out the window again at the yellow Porsche. “Is he just going to sit there?”
“What do you care?” Abby asked, her head buried in a box of circle skirts. “I thought you couldn’t stand him.”
“I don’t care. It’s just weird. Sitting out there when it’s got to be ninety degrees. Whatever happened to June Gloom? This heatwave sucks.”
“Maybe he’s on the phone. Maybe he’s talking to Garrett about the tour.” She stood up and gave Melanie a long, loaded look. “Or maybe they’re talking about the auditions. You know, you might want to be nicer to him this time. He might be one of the judges.”
The car door swung open and Melanie saw his shoulder-length mane of tawny-brown hair emerge first. Then the rest of his lean, six-foot-and-change frame appeared. A leg clad in distressed jeans, slung low and snug on his narrow hips. A tanned and rippled chest flashing through a white, open shirt. A chest that was nearly as famous as his talents with a drum.
Melanie dropped her glance to the new batch of scarves and tried to ignore the jingle of the bell when he opened the door.
“Taz, it’s great to see you,” Abby said, sliding aside the mountain of empty boxes blocking him from the boutique. “What brings you by?”
Melanie nearly gagged. Abby was laying it on thick. Just because he strutted around like some kind of celebrity didn’t actually make him one. She stared harder into the mound of chiffon.
“You said you’d like to stock the Belly Dance Diva CDs in your shop, so I brought you a box.”
You’d think he was doing them a favor, not the other way around. What a jerk. It was always the same with hot guys. They look good, but their attitudes suck.
Abby didn’t seem to notice or care. “Absolutely,” she said cheerfully, relieving him of the box he had tucked under his arm. “I’m so glad you remembered. We’re hoping to open in a couple weeks, and I know these will go fast. Some of the students are already asking about them.”
“I also snuck in a stack of Pandemonium Ball flyers. It’s almost sold out, but there might be a few tickets still around, if anyone’s interested.”
“Are you going?” Abby asked.
He nodded. “The Divas are cosponsoring this year, so I’ll be playing. You going?”
“I wish,” Abby said. “All my money’s going into this place, but I’m hoping to attend next year.”
“Yeah,” he said. “You should. It’s a good time.” He scanned the room, taking in the stacks of boxes, and the shelves slowly filling with merchandise. “Your place is looking really good. Are you planning something for the grand opening? I heard the showcase last month was a big hit. I’m sorry I missed it. Did it…”
What he was trying to ask without actually asking was obvious. Why did that kind of cowardly hesitation always annoy the hell out of her?
“The bank won’t be swooping in to close her down any time soon,” she blurted, “if that’s what you mean.”
Abby shot her a horrified look. Taz looked at her like she’d materialized out of thin air.
The excerpt will continue tomorrow…
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