The Storm Before the Calm

The Storm Before the Calm by Cate Ashwood Page A

Book: The Storm Before the Calm by Cate Ashwood Read Free Book Online
Authors: Cate Ashwood
laughed when he pulled away, his cheeks pink and his expression happy.
    “I’m so glad, Charlie. I thought you were going to back out, and I really, really didn’t want you to.”
    I still couldn’t quite believe this man, this confident, graceful, intelligent, sexy-as-all-get-out man, wanted me. But who was I to question his sanity when the thought of it made me so damn happy? “I considered it. But I’d like to know. I want to know what it’s like to be who I am for a change.”
    “I’m gonna do my very best to show you how good it can be. We’ll take things at your pace, though. You’re in charge. I’m not going to push you at all. You are driving this train, okay?”
    I nodded, grateful he understood. “Can we… maybe, can we keep it between us for now?”
    “Of course, Charlie. I’m not into outing people. You do what you’re comfortable with, and I’ll be along for the ride.”
    “You know… I think I’d be comfortable maybe kissing a little more.”
    “You got it, Sparky. Whatever you want.”
    I blushed at the pet name and reached up, experimentally carding my fingers through his hair. It was so soft, tangled around my fingers.
    “You drive me crazy,” Max said, and he kissed me again.

Chapter Twelve
    M AX AND I spent all day Sunday together dancing and kissing and touching. Well, mostly kissing and touching. The dancing inevitably led to more kissing and touching, so by the end of the day, my lips were a little swollen. Not that I was complaining. I hated to leave, but he said he had to get to work, a part-time thing at a club somewhere across town. We’d waved good-bye and gone our separate ways, but it wasn’t three minutes before my phone was buzzing with a message from him.
    Max: You taste so good.
    I blushed hard and typed back.
    Charlie: So do you.
    Max: When do I get to see you again?
    Charlie: Tomorrow?
    Not soon enough, but it’ll have to do. Text me later?
    Charlie: Definitely.
    M ONDAY ROLLED around, and I was more exhausted than ever. Exhausted and exhilarated. After I’d left Max, I’d gone home and made myself dinner, propped my feet up, and relaxed as I ate my tomato soup and grilled cheese. It was nice to be home alone, especially after the day I’d had. It gave me time to replay everything over again in my head. It had been wonderful the first time and just as good when I relived it. I was happier than I ever remembered being. I arrived at the studio, missing the weekend already yet pumped up to be at Free Rein. I’d spent most of the weekend dancing, but even an evening off and I began to feel restless. The prospect of seeing Max again didn’t hurt either.
    I hadn’t been there more than five minutes when Andy bounded up to me, her ponytail swinging as she moved. “Charlie!” she exclaimed as she threw her arms around me. It was like we were being reunited after years apart. I smiled and hugged her back.
    “Hey, Andy. How was your weekend?”
    “Totally boring. Mom made me help her reorganize our family photos. What did you do?”
    I thought about telling her the truth. It would be nice to have someone to confide in, someone to share my secrets with, but the look she’d given me the week before when I stayed behind to talk to Max made me wary of divulging too much too soon. Instead, I edited the truth.
    “Not much. I spent the weekend hanging out with my aunt. We ordered in then watched a movie. Kinda dull.”
    “That sucks. Maybe this weekend we can get together and do something more exciting,” she suggested.
    “Maybe,” I said noncommittally. I didn’t want her to know about Max and me, and I was hoping against hope I’d be spending the weekend with him again. I didn’t want to make concrete plans with her in case he was free.
    My phone buzzed in my pocket. I pulled it out and clicked on the screen to read the message.
    Max: I got competition?
    I looked up to see him watching Andy and me from across the room, an amused look on his

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