Welcome to MidWeek Tease hosted by Angelica Dawson!
Today, enjoy a tease from Racy Nights 10 - SCHOOLING THEIR RACY TEACHER. This is my Tara Rose debut series, published with Siren-BookStrand, and contains 15 books total.
You can purchase the entire Racy Nights series from Siren-BookStrand by clicking HERE.
In this snippet, Ava Harmony is checking out what will soon be her new music shop in Racy, along with Racy native and friend Kari Tye, when Dom and English teacher Jake Malloy shows up...
Ava didn’t have the chance to continue the conversation because Jake opened the door and walked in. She caught a whiff of cologne that she couldn’t identify, but it was so similar to what Leo used to wear that she had to glance away from Jake’s gaze for a few seconds.
Jake wasn’t Leo. And plenty of men wore Calvin Klein.
“Hi there,” said Kari. “How are you?”
“Fine. How’s business?”
Ava frowned at the tone in Kari’s voice. There was something off about it, but she had no clue what it was. What was clear was that Kari didn’t particularly care for Jake Malloy.
“Have you met Ava Harmony? This is her shop.”
Jake gave Ava a measured glance and took off his right glove, sticking out his hand. “Jake Malloy. Welcome to Racy.”
She shook it, and wished she could pretend that she didn’t feel the tiny sparks zinging up her arm, but they were all too real. What was that about? “Thank you. It’s nice to meet you. Kari tells me you teach at the middle school.”
Jake raised his eyebrows slightly, and she wished she hadn’t said anything. Now he’d know they’d been talking about him. “That’s right. English. And I coach track as well.”
“Are you interested in music, too?”
He still hadn’t let go of her hand, a fact which Kari had obviously noticed as well, judging by the way she glanced at their hands before shooting Jake a curious look. Again Ava wondered what was going on with Kari’s reaction to this man.
“I’m interested in people who teach it.”
She eased her hand out of his grasp, not because she didn’t want to hang onto him, but because it had gone beyond a quick handshake. She couldn’t seem to focus her thoughts while this man touched her. The look in his eyes wasn’t angry or smug. It was a combination of interest and his own agenda, but that wasn’t what held her spellbound. It was his aura. So much like Leo’s, but without the undercurrent of a predator or a snake oil salesman. Ava found it charming and irresistible, and once again she had to glance away for a second and try to recover her brain functions.
“I don’t teach it. At least, not right now.”
“But there are rumors in town that you’ve been talking to the principals of all three schools.”
Kari snorted softly. “Is this really the best way to welcome new residents and business owners?”
Jake glanced at her. “I like to keep everything open and up-front.”
“That’s an interesting statement, coming from you.”
Ava began to wish she’d come to look at the shop during the week when Jake would have been inside a classroom. And what the heck was going on between him and Kari? Why had she said that to him just now? Was he hiding something? And if so, what was it?
He and Kari stared each other down, which didn’t surprise Ava at all. Kari was a submissive, but she was no doormat. Was Jake aware of that part of her life? Ava knew there were plenty of kinksters in Racy, but she also knew they didn’t flaunt it or draw undue attention to their lifestyle. Jake acted like most of the Doms she’d met, but then, so did plenty of men who weren’t in the lifestyle. She’d have to ask Kari for the scoop on him once he left.
But this was getting uncomfortable, so Ava decided to answer his question. Maybe if she did, these two would back off each other. She wanted to hate him on sight because it was obvious that something about him bothered Kari, but she couldn’t. He had charisma, and she felt compelled to keep him here, even though it was clear now his mission hadn’t been one of a friendly Racy resident welcoming a new member to the community.
A horrible thought occurred to her. Was she drawn to him because he reminded her of the few good things in Leo? She hoped not. The last thing she needed was a rebound romance.
“I have been talking to them. The principals of the schools, that is.” That did it. He finally broke eye contact with Kari and turned his full attention toward her. “But I also know the budget in this state isn’t exactly overflowing with money.”
“Well, that’s good to know.” He seemed a bit off-balance now, and she resisted the urge to smile. Had he expected her to deny it? “Because I’ve been fighting to keep track and field as part of the sports programs for a long time now, and—”
“And you’d hate to see some newbie come along and sway the school board to funnel money into the struggling music program, in favor of a sport.” He looked annoyed that she’d cut him off, but she didn’t care. She didn’t need a lecture on budgets. “I get it, okay? I was part of an orchestra in Chicago that had to fight for every dime, even to put on free programs in schools. I know what it’s like. But I also know what music can do for a child’s mind. I know how it can improve their school performance, even if all they get is a chance to listen to it.”
She planted her feet when his gaze turned intense and challenging. The corners of his mouth lifted slightly. She wasn’t sure if he was mocking her or impressed by what she’d just said, but she wasn’t about to be intimidated by this gorgeous man. She’d let that happen with Leo, and the results had been disastrous. She hadn’t moved here and started a business to have it happen all over again.
“And I think it was rude of you to come here for the purpose of lecturing me, or to check up on what I have or have not been saying to people in the school system.”
“Would you rather I have made assumptions on my own, then, without asking you face-to-face?” His voice sounded soft, but it held the same tone she’d heard in Leo’s voice when he was trying to control his emotions about something. Ava swallowed hard. This man wasn’t Leo. She had to get a grip on her memories.
“Look, I’m not here to run you or anyone else out of a job. I’m here because I like this town, and because I have something new to offer it.”
He frowned slightly, cut his gaze toward Kari for a second, then turned his attention back to her with a curious look. “I didn’t realize you were so familiar with our charming little town.”
“I’ve been living here for a month.”
Kari jumped in. “Ava and I met when I lived in Manhattan and we’ve kept in touch since then.”
Jake nodded slowly. “I see. In that case, I owe you both an apology. I didn’t realize you two knew each other so well. I also didn’t mean to come stomping in here like gangbusters. I care about the kids in this town, but it appears you care about children and their education as well.” He extended his hand again, but Ava merely stared at it. “Do you forgive me? Can we start over?”
Oh, he was a charmer all right. And she was being sucked right in. He flashed a grin that made her pussy wet in the short space of time it took her to shake his hand again, then pull it away as though he’d burned her.
Shit. She was in deep trouble here.
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