302 Forbidden Ave (A Cherry Falls Romance #9) - Jenika Snow



I could feel him watching me, his eyes like fingers skating down the center of my back, along my arms and legs... between my thighs.

I pulled my shoulders back, my spine going straight, my fingers surprisingly still gliding over the ivory keys of the piano flawlessly.


I could hear the choir singing in tune with the notes I played, but I felt beads of sweat line the valley between my breasts, dotting my temples.

Because he watches me.

He came to church every Sunday, and I knew he never took his eyes off me the entire time. Whether I was playing or not, whether I was sitting in a pew just a few spots in front of him... he always watched me.

Braxton Miller.

He was almost a decade older than me, a firefighter in my hometown of Cherry Falls. He was gorgeous and intelligent, his voice deep and seeped down into my bones whenever I heard him speak. I was sure every woman breathing in town wanted him, yet I never saw him with anyone, never heard a rumor that he was dating. And I would have. Cherry Falls, like any small town, thrived off the rumor mill.

“Virginal, innocent little Amelia.”

“I bet she’s cold, with legs closed so tight no one is getting through.”

Those were the rumors that floated around town about me. But I didn't care what people thought. Was I a twenty-three-year-old virgin? I sure was, and I was proud of that. I had always wanted to give that one part of myself to the man I loved. I’d grown up wanting that virtue to be given to… maybe not my husband, but to the man I was in love with and wanted to be with forever.

So I submersed myself in music, in learning to play the piano, the flute, and the violin. During school, they said I had no life, way too much free time. Again, I didn't care. My life, my choices, and I was proud of my accomplishments.

I thought about being a loner, and how Braxton was like that too. And I’d be lying to myself if I even pretended not to be secretly thrilled he was a loner. Because I wanted him for myself; selfishly, shamelessly wanted Braxton as only mine.

God, I want him.

A part of me felt like he came every Sunday simply to listen to me play and to stare. Always staring, always watching.

And I love it.

I wanted to think he did this simply to be close to me.

A fantasy. Mine.

I shouldn’t have looked over my shoulder, but here I was, doing just that, searching Braxton out in the crowd. Our eyes locked, connected. The color was so blue, like cut sea-glass, like it had rolled around in the waves, smoothed, slightly dulled from the back and forth, but still just as brilliant.

My heart jumped into my throat, but my fingers still glided over the keys. I’d done this too many times to falter. It was like second nature to me, something I could do with my eyes closed, my ears sealed, and people shouting all around me. And right now, my concentration was sure as hell being tested.

But when I looked at Braxton, everything else faded away.

My life had always revolved around music, and I’d been labeled a “good girl” my entire life. I focused on the music, getting lost in the notes, the melody, letting it loose inside me. But even if I felt those tendrils of relaxation start to wind their way through every molecule of my body, I was still very aware of his eyes on me.

I wanted things out of life, more than just playing the piano every Sunday in church. I always thought of myself as spiritual, not religious, that music was a universal language for everyone. It moved inside each person, despite where you were from, or who you associated with. It didn’t care about your age, gender or race, and didn’t care about what your religion was. I didn’t give a shit about anything except if there was someone listening.

And that’s what I wanted to give to people. That’s why I played every Sunday. That’s why I’d gone to college and gotten a degree in music, which served no purpose at the end of the day and didn’t have me working in that field.

But I’d done it for me. It made me happy knowing I’d gone to school for something I was passionate about. And at my age, I’d done everything I wanted to do in life.

Well, maybe not