Dance With Me - By Hayden Braeburn
Excerpt from FIGHT FOR ME
About the Author
Katerina Nemecek buckled her heel before stepping in front of the studio's mirrored wall. Dance was her passion, her joy, and if she didn't get a break soon, she would have to give it up. She danced with abandon, channeling her worry, her pain, and her sorrow into the steps. Desperate times called for desperate measures, and although she wasn't sure what those measures were, she had to think of something. Perhaps she should sell.
She'd had an offer a year ago from Juliette Jamieson in Aylesford. Although Jamieson Studio specialized in ballet and lyrical dance, Juliette felt Kat's expertise in ballroom and musical theater could be an asset. Panting with exertion, Kat threw herself harder into the routine. She didn't want to sell, and she didn't want to leave, but what other choice did she have?
Mason Everett watched Kat as she performed a series of intricate moves. She was so beautiful, it hurt. He was there to serve her with papers stating she had one month to pay her back mortgage or she was headed to foreclosure, but he had to watch her. She was utterly mesmerizing when she danced, and he hadn't seen her in over a week.
The economy had come crashing down around them and although ballroom dancing was more popular than ever with that TV show, people just weren't taking lessons like they had a few years ago. He knew Kat was working her ass off, he knew she was doing everything in her power to stay afloat, but the bank–what was once his family's bank–didn't care. The day the national chain bought them out was the day Kat's mortgage troubles began. Now, he was here, having taken this assignment himself. He wasn't sure if he'd volunteered to torture himself or because he thought he could comfort her, but he was here nonetheless. He watched her dance a while longer before making himself known.
“Kat,” he called.
Her lithe movements stopped abruptly. “Mason? What are you doing he–” she broke off. After the last time she saw him, she knew he wasn't here for her, he was here on behalf of the bank. “Oh.”
“I can't hold them off any longer,” he apologized as he walked toward her. Quietly he added, “I just wish you'd let me pay it.”
She crossed her arms under her full breasts. “Mason,” she began in her most censuring tone, “we've been through this before.”
Their last conversation was one he wouldn't soon forget. He'd offered to pay off her mortgage at the most inopportune time–while naked in her bed–and had lost her because of it. He searched her face as he pinned her with his espresso gaze. “Why can't you just accept my help?”
She turned away from him. “I just can't!”
“Why not?” He threw his hands in the air as he made his way to her. “It's not payment for services rendered. This is so much different than that.”
Brows raised, she turned toward him. “Different how?”
He blew out a sigh. “I... I can't bear to see you lose something you love so much.”
She looked at him, the epitome of the town golden boy with his perfectly styled caramel hair, handmade grey suit, and his Italian leather shoes. She knew firsthand the mouthwatering body those impeccable clothes covered was honed by plenty of tennis, sailing, and daily workouts in his home gym. He was, in a word, perfect. She knew he had more than enough money to save the studio, and that was the problem. She didn't want him for that. Worse, she didn't want anyone to think she wanted him for that. She refused to sully him with her issues.
Mason watched her stare at him as if she were memorizing him, committing him to memory. No way. She wasn't going anywhere. “Kat? Say something,” he begged, hoping she would break her silence. It was no hardship staring at her, far from it, in fact. Today she was in a wrap style dress that accentuated her hourglass figure, the purple doing great things for her light blue eyes. Her black hair was pulled away from her face into a messy ponytail, and her mouth, oh, the things she could do with that mouth.
Yeah, he more than liked looking at her, but right now he needed her to say something. “Kat?” he said again, a crack in his voice.
She held up a hand. “It's okay. I know why you're here. I