Title: The Bassist (West Coast Soulmates #1)
Author: Carla Krae
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Dylan is the bassist for Jake Lindsey's band, but not when he's in his hometown. It's Christmas Eve and a sudden, strong blizzard has left the mountain submerged in snow, wrecking his plan to drive back to Los Angeles in time to attend Jake and Beth's party Christmas Day. Jennifer's family was coming to spend the holiday at her cabin, but the storm is keeping them off the mountain. Resigned to entertaining herself for the night, she's startled by someone pounding on her front door--a handsome man needing shelter from the storm. Dylan is sweet, funny, and so damn hot she can't resist learning what he has to offer. Was this a single night of passion, or the beginning of lasting love? This story is intended for readers over the age of 18 due to adult language, sexual content, and adult situations.
Jen studied him out the corner of her eye. He was built nice, if you liked the slim look. Visible muscle definition through the snug shirt. She hadn’t looked close enough to see what color his eyes were, yet. His hands were large, dwarfing the mug in his grasp, with long fingers and short nails.
“Do you think it’ll snow all night?” he asked.
“Maybe. Even if it doesn’t, the plows won’t come out on the roads until daylight.”
“So, I’m stuck here. All night.”
She let out a slow breath. “So it would seem.”
A young, attractive man in the house all night. Woo, boy. No awkwardness there…
He broke the silence first. “Want you to know you’re safe. Not a murderer or rapist or anything. Love women, actually.”
She arched a brow. “And they love you?”
He laughed. “Not enough to stay.” And dropped his eyes to his mug. “What about you? You mentioned a name.”
“Lee. My husband.”
“Oh. Couldn’t make it home for Christmas?”
“Not since he rolled his car off the mountain and died.” Oh god…why did I say that? “I’m going to prepare the guest room.” She fled to the spare room to prepare his bed.
Jennifer couldn’t believe she blurted it out like that. God, what he must think of her…what he must think she thought of him for asking. Stupid, stupid, stupid…
“Hey.” He stood in the doorway.
“I’m sorry for the personal question. It was none of my business. I’d offer to go, but…”
“You don’t need to apologize. I don’t know why I said that.” She sighed. “My husband died ten months ago. He was drunk and driving too fast and he didn’t make it around the curve.” She sat on the bed. “My family was coming up to help me make a good memory here for the holiday after… It’s my first Christmas alone.”
He took a step forward. “You’re not alone now.”
Not in the technical sense, anyway. “True. Thanks. Would you like more cocoa?”
“Please.” He backed up to let her out of the room.
Dylan had a hell of a smile. His whole face lit up with it. Lee never smiled with his teeth showing; at least, not for a long time before his death.
He followed her to the kitchen. She filled the kettle with more water and turned on the stove, then got some cookies she’d made the day before out of the pantry. He sat on the counter watching her, his bare feet swaying back and forth.
“So, Dylan, huh?”
“Yep. Dylan Smith.”
“Not common at all.”
He chuckled. “Nope. Merely another one of the faceless legion.”
“So, why would you do a performance at Christmas?”
“A favor. I don’t normally do this, but my friends had plans tonight, so I figured what the hell…and slid into a snow bank for my trouble.”
She giggled, handed him one of the mugs, and held up hers for a toast. “To better luck next year.”
He clinked his mug with hers. “I’ll drink to that.”
They shared a smile. She couldn’t help doing it when he did, like an automatic reaction of her cheek muscles.
“So, what kind of music do you play?”
He hopped down, careful not to slosh, and walked to his guitar case. “Some of everything, really.” He set the mug down and opened the case. “Let’s see how you fared, old friend.”
He plucked his thumb on the strings, checking their tune, then started playing a combination of embellished scales. At least to Jennifer’s knowledge, he was really good. He pushed his sleeves up a bit, revealing toned forearms with corded muscles that twitched and flexed when he played. Then he started humming something she didn’t know and switched melodies. Soft words escaped his lips, like he couldn’t help singing it instead of merely humming along. A smooth pretty baritone that made her tummy flutter.
She stared as he lost himself in the music, his eyes closed and head bobbing in time. It had turned into an intimate moment. She was sure he’d forgotten he had an audience and…wow, was it hot in here?
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Romance writer. Weaver. Retired singer. Debuting in 2011, Carla Krae lives in California with a house full of crazy cats and a tech guy.
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