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Excerpt Thursday! Undiscovered Territory

Hurrying by with a quick excerpt from my short, Undiscovered Territory.

Summary: Little Miss Colburn's music recital attracts both mommy and daddy, a man for whom music teacher Layne feels an immediate attraction. But three strikes – he's married, he's a father, and he's straight – convince Layne that it's never to be. Then Mr. Colburn calls about finding a new instructor for his daughter…

Read a review at Fallen Angels: http://fallenangelreviews.com/2009/February/Teresa-UndiscoveredTerritory.htm



He smiled automatically at a beaming pair of grandparents across the room and waved at some of the parents of students he’d taught for several years before he turned to head to the stage and managed to bump into a man behind him.

“I’m so sorry.” Layne automatically extended his hand in greeting, his eyes widening at his first glimpse of the attractive stranger. Wow. He couldn’t help but wonder which student this man belonged to.

Layne would never forget the first time he rode in a hot air balloon. With his fear of heights it had been the result of a drunken dare from friends whose names he didn’t even remember now at some fairground he couldn’t really recall being at.

Afraid he was going to be sick he’d closed his eyes, clutching at the ropes that led from the woven basket to the brightly colored silk above. He didn’t even know when they had lifted off the ground. There had just been a gentle sway, a slight rocking and when he was finally brave enough to look down it was into undiscovered territory.

Nothing existed for Layne at that moment except the heat from the burner, the slight queasiness of his stomach, the crisp rush of wind and the silence that blanketed everything around him leaving him breathless and aware of the music that played through his head. Music his fingers itched to bring to life.

That’s exactly what he was feeling now as the callused hand slid slowly away from his.

It was only a handshake.

But something about it touched the parts of him that he thought were dead and atrophied with Ian’s betrayal and he could feel music swelling within him for the first time in months, demanding he find an instrument and set it free.

Layne’s joy at the unexpected feeling was tempered by his realization that this had to be a parent of one of his students.

“So you’re the man responsible for my misery?” Hazel eyes glinted in his direction and Layne could only shiver in unexpected response. It really wasn’t fair! The feel of that voice was as sensuous as the touch of the hand.

It made a music all it’s own, one that rasped and thrilled along his nerve endings and Layne struggled to keep his eyes open, wanting nothing more than to let them close and sink into the unexpected sensations the voice created along his spine.

“I’m Terry Colburn, by the way.” There was a slightly wolfish appeal to the half-smile, a teasing glimpse of canines that only accented the comparison.

“I’m sorry to hear you feel that way, Mr. Colburn.” Layne tried to shrug off both the quick rush of lust and the faint hurt he felt at the man’s unintended insult.

“When her mom told me about the music lessons I don’t think I expected the accordion.” The surprise was still evident in that delicious voice.

“Most parents don’t.” Layne replied a bit more calmly as he placed the man with the small face of one of his students. He was used to justifying the unusual choice of instruments he preferred to concerned parents. This was a parent after all; he reminded himself. He needed to focus and pull things together.

“I don’t mean to offend you. It’s just…” Broad shoulders shrugged and Layne had to struggle not to stare at the movement of the powerful muscles. “…I was thinking maybe the piano or flute.”

If Layne allowed himself to look any deeper into those amazing eyes he might almost convince himself that was real concern for his feelings shining out of them. But that couldn’t be possible.

“Perhaps later.” Layne brought his thoughts back to the child in question. “Your daughter had a hard time opening up and expressing her emotions. That’s not all together unusual. I’ve found that in such cases, especially for younger children the accordion and the noises they can create with it seem to help.”

“Her mom would say she gets that from me.” There was more than a hint of embarrassment in the deep voice.

Keep it calm! Layne told himself as he watched those eyes crinkle from the rueful smile that crossed the attractive face. Keep it professional. Hitting on the parents of his students was not the best way to do business. Hitting on the apparently straight parents of his students was both personal and career suicide.

“You are right about the noises, though.” Confessions out of the way, Mr. Colburn seemed to relax. “She seems to love the scary ones. Reminds me of an old Saturday television program. You know, the old horror movies.” Oh now that unfettered grin was totally unfair, Layne could only groan internally as his body wanted to react.

“Y’alright there?” That was definitely concern in that amazing voice. “You look a trifle uncomfortable.”

You have no idea. Layne needed to reach down and adjust himself but reminded himself once again where he was. Maybe once he got behind the curtain he could rearrange his vital bits. “Probably just nerves.” Layne wasn’t sure how he managed to smile.

“Performance anxiety?” A hearty clap to Layne’s shoulder accompanied the cheerful words

Right.

Layne reminded himself that banging his head on the nearest wall was not what one could consider professional behavior.

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