He cupped his hands gently around her face and lost himself for a few minutes in the heat of her kiss. He probably shouldn’t have done it right then, given Maren’s vulnerability, but damn if she didn’t look so beautiful and happy… His mind wandered eagerly in the direction of the bedroom as he explored her mouth with his tongue. He wanted her. But not yet. He fought the urge to let his hands wander South; that would be too much, too fast. And he didn’t want to scare her. Of course, by the way she had her hands fisted in his shirt, he didn’t think that would be too big of an issue…

He gently brought the kiss to a close. Taking her hands in his own, he kissed her knuckles one by one. “I’ve wanted to do that for so long,” he said with a smile.

Maren’s cheeks turned red. She gave him a shy look. “I can’t believe we did that,” she whispered. Cal grinned.

“I’m glad,” he said, and she flushed again. He couldn’t stop himself from touching her face or trying to kiss her again. The second time was gentler, and he leisurely tasted her. Maren leaned into him, and he smiled against her mouth before pulling away.

“Do you want to practice some more?” he asked.

She gave him a coy look. “The kissing or the music?”

God, he loved her. He grinned. “Both, but I was thinking the music.”

She glanced at her watch. “It’s pretty late,” she murmured.

“You’re right. Want me to see you out?”

“Please,” she said shyly.

Cal hopped up from the bench and offered her his hand. She took it and he was over the moon as they walked to the back door. Holding hands with her felt natural, having her next to him felt natural. The heavy metal rear door clanged as he pushed it open for her and held it.

She placed her hand lightly of his chest. “Goodnight, Cal,” she said, leaning up on her toes to give him a parting kiss. He lowered his lips to hers and time spun in brief, hot circles. They parted, and their breath fogged up the chill Autumn air.

“Goodnight, Maren,” he said, his voice husky. He watched until she got into her car and pulled out of the parking lot. Then he stepped back inside and shut the door. Damn, he thought, rubbing his hand through his hair. He hadn’t expected that to happen. Hot damn. Another giddy smile broke across his features. He started for his office.

Partway across the backstage, he came upon an eerie feeling. Warm thoughts of Maren fled as he turned, carefully inspecting the shadowy rear of his theatre. He felt watched. His shoes scuffed on the floor, the only noise in the tight, tense silence. He bumped into a set piece, a fake stone wall with dramatic bloodstains on it. Something about the wall looked wrong, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. The hair on the back of his neck rose.

Get a grip, man, he told himself severely. Cal hustled toward his office. Old buildings were creepy after dark, and the Old Brisby Theatre was no exception. He’d been here too long today anyway. Good thing though… His thoughts turned back to Maren as he walked down the hall.

* * *

The piano rumbled and growled to itself. The manager had to go. The stupid man was going to ruin everything!

* * *
This is part of an ongoing story — catch up via the Serials page!

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