Authors: Drucie Anne Taylor
ALSO BY DRUCIE ANNE TAYLOR
Coral Gables Series
Rough: Daunting Temptation
Avery: Sensual Desire
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, organizations, places, events, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Text copyright © 2014 Drucie Anne Taylor
Translation copyright © 2015 Kate Northrop
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.
Previously published as
Gavin: Pure Leidenschaft
by the author via the Kindle Direct Publishing platform in Germany in 2015. Translated from German by Kate Northrop. First published in English by AmazonCrossing in 2015.
Published by AmazonCrossing, Seattle
Amazon, the Amazon logo, and AmazonCrossing are trademarks of
, Inc., or its affiliates.
Cover design by bürosüd
The Hamptons series tells the love stories of a fictional clique surrounding the fictional boyband Downstair Alley. Every book is a story in itself, and can be read separately from the others. However, the characters often reappear in the following books.
The stories are set in the cities of New York and Miami, but due to artistic interpretation they have been mixed with cities that exist only in my imagination.
I hope you enjoy the story of Gavin and Madeleine!
I can’t believe this! My job at
Celebrity Dance Hall
was snatched out from under me by Julie Cavanaugh, and now I don’t know if I’m going to be able to pay my rent anymore. Sure, I have a few gigs, but they don’t nearly cover the unpaid vacation time at the dance school where I teach a few classes. And being Julie’s stand-in means nothing, since she almost never injures herself. The only thing I can hope for is that one of the other dancers cancels, or that I can dance in the group scenes. But that probably won’t earn me much, because the ensemble appearances are usually so short.
I sigh and throw myself onto the bed, hoping that I’ll be able to get along with Jonah, at least. He’s been my ex for two weeks now, and unfortunately he’s also my competition dance partner. Life is hell these days. Since the last season of
Celebrity Dance Hall
, I have loads of haters who always spam my Facebook page, and my roommate, Macey, isn’t around to commiserate. She doesn’t even know that my boyfriend is now my ex-boyfriend. I haven’t seen her for ages, since she got a part in a Broadway musical. I’m happy for her, of course, but it also gives me an inferiority complex.
I really should teach more, preferably for Mr. Coltraine, my previous employer. I had to leave his dance school because he was having financial problems, but maybe I can convince him to let me teach a summer class. Plenty of mothers love sending their daughters to ballet lessons in summer, and I’d have the security of regular income in my bank account. I could pay my rent, and I wouldn’t be in the situation I’m in now, being afraid of Macey’s reaction when I ask her if she can pay my share this month. Things will work out, somehow.
Feeling a little more motivated, I pull myself up off the bed and pack a bag. Then I change my clothes. I usually go to practice wearing my workout clothes, and then change afterward. It’s much easier that way, because with my luck, the dressing rooms are always occupied.
An hour later I knock on the door of Mr. Coltraine’s office.
“Come in!” he calls.
“Hi, Mr. Coltraine.”
“Miss Dubois! How nice to see you.” He smiles, stands up, and shakes my hand. I don’t know why he’s being so formal—he’s not much older than I am. I’m twenty-two, and he’s twenty-four. His name is Jake.
“Why don’t you use my first name?” I ask, smiling.
“Because you never asked me to.” He grins. “What brings you here, Madeleine?”
“A couple of questions,” I answer. He gestures at a chair, and I sit.
“Tell me what’s on your mind.”
I take a deep breath to gather my courage, otherwise I’d run away screaming. “I desperately need a summer job. This year it didn’t work out with the dance show, and I can’t earn enough from competitions to get me through the summer. That’s why I wanted to ask if I could use one of your rooms for a ballet class.”
Jake leans back for a moment to size me up. “No, I’m afraid not. But I can offer you a ballroom class, because Julie is working at the show, as you know.”
Since when did that stupid cow actually have the talent to take my job away from me? Back when I was working here, she hadn’t been hired yet. “Couldn’t I teach the ballet class, too? I’d pay rent for the room and offer the lessons in the morning, so the space would still be free for your afternoon classes.” I’m hoping I don’t seem as desperate as I actually feel at the moment.
“You really need the job, don’t you?” he asks.
I nod slowly. “Otherwise I wouldn’t be here.”
Jake sighs. “OK. You can do the ballet class in the morning, and take the ballroom class in the afternoon or evening. And it’s fine if you want to practice here, too.”
I stop holding my breath. I’m incredibly relieved that he’s helping me. I certainly can’t expect financial support from my parents, who have always pushed me toward a professional career. They wouldn’t give me anything. Or maybe they would, but my pride won’t let me beg them for money. “Oh, God, thanks, Jake.” I stand up, walk around the desk, and give him a hug.
He seems to be taken completely by surprise. “But I want something in return,” he says. Then he smiles.
I step back from him, perplexed. “Um, what did you have in mind?”
He snorts. “Nothing. Well, maybe you’d be interested in going dancing with us sometimes, but I’m not demanding anything.”
Jake nods. “Yes. With me and the other teachers.”
I smile widely. “I’d love to.”
“We have parties here sometimes, too, so it would be great if you would join us as a new-old member of the team.”
“Thanks, Jake. I’d definitely like to be in on it.”
“Good.” He eyes me critically. “Given the way you’re dressed, it looks like you want to practice now, am I right?”
“Yeah. Can I use a room?” I ask hopefully.
“Sure, but not room one. Julie and her partner are practicing in there.”
Celebrity Dance Hall
“Yeah. That guy Gavin McLeod is here.”
The name sounds familiar, but I don’t really know who he is. “I’ll go in room two, then. Thanks a lot.”
He grins at me. “Maybe I’ll come by and see what you’re up to.”
“Just a little ballet,” I say with a wink, and walk to the door.
“That’s something I’ve always loved to watch, Madeleine. See you later.”
I leave his office and go to room two. After turning on the music, I sit on the floor and put on my ballet slippers. I look through the bulletproof glass wall into room one. Jake explained to me a few years ago why the glass is bulletproof. It has to be able to survive the impact if someone crashes into it, and not kill anyone if it breaks. I see Julie dancing with that Gavin guy. That is, if you could actually call it dancing. It looks more like squirrels on speed. Considering the way she’s bouncing around in front of him, I don’t think he’s got much chance in the show. I can’t imagine she’ll get very far with her shoulder shimmies. In salsa it’s totally OK to sex it up a little, but she’s actually waving her boobs in his face. Or does she want to knock him over? If that’s an attempt at seduction and it works, then I really don’t understand men anymore. She’s as cheap as a third-rate porn flick. Not that I’ve seen very many. I actually think all porn is third-rate.
I stand up and go to the barre, where I stretch and warm up. I started dancing ballet when I was three, and I still love it. Unfortunately, I traded it in for ballroom dance at the age of thirteen, and stopped pursuing it professionally. I could have attended so many wonderful ballet schools.
As soon as I start dancing, I forget the rest of the world and my financial problems for a while. I let myself be carried away by the music and the dance. It heals my soul, which has a few scars on it. Actually, I’m not very self-assured, but I’ve learned over the years to cover it up with sarcasm.
Every time I spin, I look into the other classroom and I see Julie trying to get the poor guy to lift her up. He looks strangely familiar to me, but I can’t quite place him. I feel sorry for him because Julie isn’t exactly light. As a professional dancer, you almost have to be because of the lifts. At five foot nine and 128 pounds, I’m in the normal range. A guy can lift me, throw me, or carry me around without getting serious back problems. But when I look at Julie, I can easily see she weighs more than I do. And she’s shorter, too. I’m not usually such a superficial person, but in her case, I’m pretty bitchy. She’s a dumb fat cow who took my job away from me, even though I’m a better dancer than she is. Much better!
While I do my pirouettes, rise up on my toes, and occasionally steal looks at the other two in the next room, I completely lose track of time. After a while I realize someone is clearing his throat, and I stop in the middle of a pirouette.
“I love watching you. You always look like you’re in another world,” Jake says with a smile.
I respond uncertainly. “Thanks.”
He comes toward me and holds out his hand. “Will you dance with me?”
I put my hand in his. “Sure, but not to ballet music,” I answer.
Jake pulls me over to the stereo. “Do you have any other CDs with you, or shall we take something from my collection?”
“It depends what style you want to dance.” Then I grin.
“Tango,” he says without hesitation.
“OK. I don’t have any CDs for that.”
“Then I’ll choose something.” He laughs and goes to the CD shelf. He finds what he’s looking for, and a few seconds later, I hear the first bars of “Dance with Me” by Debelah Morgan. We go to the middle of the room, get in the home position, and begin to dance. I really like sweeping over the parquet with Jake because he radiates pure joie de vivre, even though his dance school isn’t really working anymore. Just for a change, we dance in four-four instead of two-four time. We switch between slow, lingering steps and short, snappy ones. The calm gliding of our upper bodies creates a counterpoint to the quick movements of our heads, while we let the music carry us. I love to dance with someone who’s good at it.
We end the tango with a lift, and then he sets me on my feet again. “And now some salsa,” Jake says happily.
“Actually, I wanted to dance ballet,” I reply.
“Actually, salsa is more fun.”
“OK, you’re right,” I say, giggling.
We take the home position and start dancing again. Salsa is one of my favorite dances, just like tango, because it can look so incredibly sexy. In other ballroom dances, you look like a monkey trying to pick a banana. And no one can keep up a permanent smile. When I think about the expressions of other dancers like Julie, I have to laugh. She looks like a puffed-up frog. Her eyes bug out, her lips are pouty, and I won’t describe here what her thighs look like. Or maybe I will: frog’s legs. Skinny at the bottom, with thighs as wide as flank steaks. Oh, God, with this woman, I become totally catty out of pure hate. And she deserves it. Julie is totally out of place in the dance profession. Yeah, I’m jealous, but only because that cow is luckier than I am. I
I’m a better dancer. But she opens her legs for anyone to get the things she wants. Things that I have to fight for!
Our side-steps take us over to the bulletproof glass, and I see that Julie and her dance partner are watching us. I give her a saccharine smile, which could be interpreted as “What are you looking at, you dumb slut?” But of course that’s not what I mean. I’m pure benevolence. We take one more turn around the room, and the dance is over. Jake spins me one final time and lifts my hand, planting a kiss on the back of it. “Thank you for the wonderful dance, Madeleine.”
I laugh softly. “Please call me Lane. I really don’t like my full name very much.”
“But it’s so beautiful, Miss Dubois,” he says with a fake French accent.
“But it’s so old-fashioned.”
“You have a wonderful name, Lane.” He smiles. “I’d love to keep dancing with you, but I’ve got to get back to work.”
“No problem. Could you please give me the schedule for the classes?” I ask.
“Sure, I’ll print it out for you. Just stop by my office when you’re done.”
He leaves, and I change the CD so I can dance ballet again.