Читать онлайн "Just Play" автора Hart Taylor - RuLit - Страница 9

 
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Tiffany threw her hands up in the air and started washing dishes. “I have confidence, Mama.” She didn’t look at Sam.

At this point, Sam stood, making his way toward the kitchen, reaching out, and picking up a carrot that had been peeled on the counter.

“Hey, that’s for dinner.” Tiffany glanced at him.

He grinned, and he realized the muscles in his face were actually kind of hurting from smiling so much since he’d arrived. He chomped down on it. “Well, maybe we’ll have to save dinner for tomorrow.”

Confused, she frowned at him. “Why would we do that?”

He turned to Reese and winked at her. “Because I might just have to take you out for dinner after your show…if I like it.”

“I don’t even want company. Plus, you probably don’t even like country music.”

He hesitated. “Of course I like country music.” He kept his face expressionless as he delivered the bold-faced lie.

He heard Reese whooping with laughter. “I like you even more, Sam.”

Sam walked toward the stairs. “I’ll get my wallet, and then we can go.”

“I’m not taking you,” she replied stubbornly.

He turned back and flashed her his media smile before climbing the stairs. “Of course you are. Your mama likes me.”

At this, Reese hooted out another laugh.

6

Tiffany didn’t engage him on the drive to Ogden. It was like they’d both silently agreed not to talk. She put on her favorite country station and sang along to the songs. What did she care if he liked the way she sounded or not? She didn’t. After Brett had told her he’d found someone else, she’d told herself she was done with men. Done trying to make a man happy. Done being something for a man. It still ticked her off that she’d let Brett have so much power over her.

After ten minutes of no talking, only singing, Sam turned to her, turning down the radio.

“Don’t touch the radio please,” she said, her voice clipped as she kept her eyes on the road.

“You have a good, clear sound.”

She hadn’t been expecting the compliment, and she chose to ignore it.

He turned the sound back up and looked back out the passenger side window.

Slightly shaken, by his easy compliment, she felt her voice falter. She stole a glance over at him. The smell of what she recognized as the shaving cream he’d left on the bathroom sink that morning wafted off of him.

Crap. She didn’t want to think about the way he smelled. She didn’t want to think about how she’d noticed his black t-shirt stretched gloriously over his broad shoulders as he’d opened the truck door for her. She absolutely was not going to think about the way his dark hair, shaved on the sides and longer on top, fell into his eyes when he looked at her a certain way. She sucked in a breath.

Focus. She had to focus on getting through her first official gig without Brett. And she didn’t need Sam Dumont and his too good looks distracting her.

7

On the drive down to Ogden, Sam decided he liked Utah. The Salt Lake Valley was beautiful. He loved the way the mountains felt close enough to touch. Actually, they looked like cardboard cutouts he could push over with a flick of his fingers. Today the sun was bright, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. He noticed Ogden touted having a four-year University called Weber State. The place was bigger than he’d thought it would be.

“So who is your favorite artist?”

She immediately smiled. “That’s easy. Luke Bryant.”

“Ah,” he said, not knowing what Luke sang.

“You have no idea who that is, do you?”

“I know who it is. Kind of.”

She laughed. “That’s okay. You don’t have to be a country fan. I’ll convert you.”

“I’m a fan of all music,” he stated sincerely.

Tiffany took the Ogden exit and kept driving past a bunch of shops. Before long they arrived in the middle of town. She stopped next to an older looking hotel. “We’re early.”

Sam looked up at the sign. “The Ben Lomax?”

Putting the truck into gear, Tiffany turned to face him and gave him a measured look. “Yeah. It’s the oldest hotel in Ogden.” She looked up at the hotel that had a plaque labeled ‘Historic Building.’

Sam looked at the white washed walls of the building and the gold fixtures. He wouldn’t have imagined that this would be a place for country music. “This is where the gig is?”

“Yep.”

She turned off the engine, and he got out. They both walked up the steps to the hotel. It wasn’t anything like the old buildings he’d been around in New York. Those buildings were huge, but it did have some similarities. The chandeliers and the black and white checkered polished floor were comparable to some. There was no one at the front desk, so he and Tiffany sauntered through, noting on the side that there was a long room set up that looked like it could be used for a wedding. Green fabric covered the chairs with perfectly tied white ribbons circling the chair backs. The whole place had arched ceilings that made it feel kind of like a church.

Tiffany grinned at him. “I haven’t been here for while, but the first time my parents brought me here I freaked out a bit.”

“Why?” Sam looked around, not thinking anything felt freaky.

She let out a light laugh. “My daddy loved this place because it’s haunted.”

Sam was intrigued. “Really?”

Strangely, Tiffany seemed to come to life when she was talking about this hotel. She pumped her eyebrows. “People say one lady came to stay here after World War II, waiting for her beau to come home from the war. After almost two months, she got word that he had died in France. Broken hearted, she took her life that night by jumping into the elevator shaft.”

A shiver went down his spine, and he felt cold.

“And the first time we came here to stay, the elevator took us to different floors.”

“What do you mean by different floors?”

“We’d push eight, it would stop at seven.”

“No.” After hearing the story, he looked around. Now it felt creepier. He stopped walking, glancing around the lobby and focusing in on some old framed photos. He stepped closer to the wall, looking at them.

Tiffany stood next to him. Her voice had dropped to a whisper. “The town was settled after the western and continental railroads came together forty miles from here. It became the spot where the West and East United States were now connected by the railroad. This area boomed with immigrants coming in to work on the railroad and then to work in the coal mines that the railroads shipped coal for. During the early 1800’s, it was a rough wild west kind of town, with gangs and opium dens.”

Even though he found her hushed voice and the historical facts interesting, he was even more attuned to the light vanilla scent that confused his senses. It’d been slightly less than a year since Sheena had dumped him. He’d been out a few times with different women, but he didn’t remember the way any of them smelled. “Ya don’t say?” He turned and saw she was close. Kissable close.

She turned her head and seemed to realize how close she was because she jolted back. “Oh.” She shook her head and looked disoriented for a moment. “Freaky, huh?”

His heart rate had picked up a notch. He looked her up and down. For a second, his mouth went dry and nervous butterflies thrummed into his gut.

She crossed her arms and sucked in a breath. “Do you feel that?” She glanced from side to side.

“What?” He looked around and tried to calm his heart, noticing that this kind of racing heart and dry mouth was nothing like a panic attack. No. He felt like he was twelve and had just run into Marsha Ritter, his sixth grade crush, in the hall at school.

     

 

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