Excerpt - Almost Over It
Book 1 : Clover Park Studs
Jasmine went to work eagerly the next afternoon for her two after-school classes. Clover Park had a lot of families, and word had gotten around that a former Broadway dancer was the instructor. Of course, most people in town knew her already. She’d grown up here.
Today she’d teach jazz and hip-hop, so she left her hair down in its wild curls. She liked to whip her hair around with certain dance styles. She did her usual stretches, remembering how Will had spied on her yesterday. She wondered if he’d show up again today. The music wasn’t too loud, quieter than yesterday anyway. She turned and stretched, facing the windows of the waiting room. No Will. Good. She didn’t need to start every day with a fight. She finished stretching and danced just for the hell of it, lost in the music and the joy at the freedom of movement as energy flowed through her body. She danced a few more songs, then set up for the jazz class.
A short while later, cars started pulling up and parking out front. Some went around back. She had fifteen girls signed up in the eight-to-twelve-year-old class. She bounced on the balls of her feet. This was going to be awesome. She welcomed each girl, introduced herself to their parent, and invited them to stay in the small waiting room, where she’d left some magazines and several chairs.
The girls were eager to learn, some of them were in awe, remembering her from when she’d danced in The Lion King last year. A lot of families in town had come to the city to watch her in that family-friendly production. She finished the class an hour later and snagged her water to rehydrate. Her next class started in fifteen minutes.
She heard the chime that indicated the studio door had opened. Guess some students had shown up early. She headed to the waiting room to greet them and stopped short at the sight of Will standing there, looking aggravated. His hair was even wilder today, like he’d stuck both hands in it and pulled. He wore a white coat with his name embroidered over one pocket, Dr. Levi, D.D.S. A yellow bow tie peeked out the top of the buttoned-up coat.
She grinned. “Here for the hip-hop class, I assume?”
A muscle ticked in his jaw. He was pissed about something. This should be good.
“We need to talk about the parking situation,” he said through clenched teeth.
The man needed a drink or a massage or to get laid or something. Her cheeks warmed. She wasn’t going to help him with any of the above.
She lifted her hair off the back of her neck to cool it. “I parked in my reserved spot.”
He stared at her neck. He did that a lot. Staring. She didn’t know why because it always seemed to make him madder.
He glowered at her. “I have patients that need to park in this lot. You can’t hog all the spaces for your classes. You need to ask the parents to form an orderly line for drop off and pick up.”
“Oh, I do, huh?”
“Yes, you do.”
“Is that what the yoga studio did?” Her dance studio had previously been a yoga studio.
He stared at her legs in tights that ended at the ankle; then his gaze fixated on her bare ankles. He spoke slowly. “I wasn’t here when they were open, but I have to assume they found street parking. Otherwise, my dad would’ve mentioned it as a potential problem to me.”
She shrugged. “Sometimes the parents like to stay to watch class. I mean, seriously, how many parking spaces do you really need? You can only work on one mouth at a time.”
His head jerked back up to look in her eyes. “Just don’t let them park out front,” he ground out. He was going to whittle his teeth down to little stubs if he didn’t stop clenching and grinding them. She felt it only fair to point that out to a man obsessed with teeth.
“You should loosen up your jaw,” she said. “You’re going to do some serious dental damage.”
“Oh, that’s rich.” He shoved both hands in his hair and pulled. His hair stayed all wild, sticking out every which way. It was a little unsettling the way it made him look less uptight and more her kind of guy. “I put in four years at dental school, three years of graduate work in orthodontics, and you’retelling me about dentistry.”
She flashed a smile. “I keep my jaw nice and loose. Look at these choppers.” She opened her mouth with a wide grin. She expected him to get madder and quieter, but instead he approached her.
She took a step back. He moved with her, and his hand cupped her jaw.
“Open,” he said.
Her heart picked up speed. “Will, I’m not your patient.” His hand was warm and firm. She should hate his touch, should pull away, but she found herself frozen. He’d never touched her before. Never been this close. He had this warm, spicy scent that wrapped itself around her.
He stared at her mouth. “I want to see your choppers.”
This was weird, she thought even as she opened her mouth. He stared, very seriously.
“Bite,” he said.
She clamped her teeth together in a bite. His warm finger stroked her jaw as he murmured, “A perfect bite. My father’s work?”
She met his brown eyes, startled at the fire burning in them through his glasses. “Yes.”
He nodded once before his gaze dropped to her mouth. She was having trouble forming a coherent thought as his warm hand now cupped her cheek.
“Jaz?” he asked before he slowly dipped his head.
“Yes?” she breathed, her heart hammering furiously.
“Dr. Will! There you are!” a voice boomed.