Private Melody

By: Altonya Washington

A low sigh of male satisfaction left his throat when Therin straightened and drew Kianti snug against his chest




Resting against the side of the piano, he deepened the kiss, thrusting his tongue slowly yet unrelentingly.

Kianti’s hands kneaded his forearms and biceps, to test the strength beneath the dark fabric of his shirt. She moaned in the midst of suckling his tongue. Arching closer and rubbing herself against him in shameless abandon, she cursed the dress covering her skin.

Back off, Therin told himself, but he chose to set aside the order for a few seconds. He wanted longer to indulge in just a bit more of her. The serenity she radiated took on a more potent aura during their second kiss. He had no intention of stopping it.

The sound of her soft, helpless yet deliberate moans sent the strength right from his legs, causing him to lean more fully into the piano.

Kianti shuddered and snuggled deeper into the embrace as she assumed a more controlling role in the duel being fought between their tongues. She gripped his shirt as though it were her lifeline while inhaling the appealing scent of his cologne. There was that familiar voice in her head still singing its same old song. It told her to end this, but how could she when this was so sweet and so dearly missed….



Chapter 1




Spokane, Washington

Provocative, Powerful, Pulsating… Therin Rucker thought he’d puke after reading the program and finding it riddled by a slew of Ps boasting of pianist Kianti Lawrence. He supposed the creators of the gold-edged publication thought it was all in good promoting. He shook his head to clear his thoughts. Perhaps it was simply the current state of his mood that lent to his opinion of the accolades aimed at the woman on the stage. Over the course of the last twenty minutes, however, his negative opinions had changed.

Fist propped to chin, Therin could feel his gaze narrowing as it focused more intently upon the gleaming hardwood stage set beneath the soft gold lighting. Uncontrolled, a low sound rose from his throat. Therin was aware that the sound was one of appreciation.

Whether that appreciation was in reference to the woman’s exquisite talent or her exquisite looks was something Therin refused to dwell on even for a moment.

Vaughn Burgess thought differently and slanted his best friend a glance while a smirk crinkled his gaze. Therin’s set expression was easy to read—for Vaughn, anyway. He’d seen the look often enough to know Therin was captivated—not so much by the music as by the woman performing it.

Therin switched his stance, propping his chin against the opposite fist. His crystalline hazel stare lost none of its intensity.

The charity concert for the Pacific Northwest political organization EYES—Educate Youth Encourage Success—was for a worthy cause and one close to Therin’s heart. However, he’d have much preferred diving right into the heart of the matter at hand instead of sitting through a piano recital. That was before he took his seat and had his attention and…other things captivated by the lovely artist in his midst.

The performance was nearing its conclusion. After the final stanza was complete, Therin lent his attention to the room. Despite the unexpected musical treat, he knew his evening wouldn’t end on a high note.

It was wildly rumored that the money funneled into the EYES organization could claim standing in the high nine figures. EYES was certainly a force to be reckoned with and it made good on its promises. While the EYES organization held the noblest intentions, there were those who would have preferred its influential members spend their time and considerable wealth on other endeavors.

The applause was deafening in the Hotel Currey’s concert hall. There were even chants for an encore. Kianti Lawrence laughed vibrantly while raising her hands to wave off the requests.

Therin didn’t leave his seat right away. Tugging at the crisp white cuffs peeking out from his tuxedo jacket sleeve, he merely observed the scene. The smile on his face then was more rueful than amused. If only the crowd there could come together in agreement over situations more prevalent….

No, the evening would not end on a high note. Many in that room held similar opinions on the way he spent his time, money…and resources. They thought it out of place for the young American ex-ambassador to Canada to hold such a topic as education as his passion. Therin’s dedication and his almost magical ability to sway influential friends to dedicate themselves toward the same purpose had earned him an almost equal number of enemies.



Kianti gave one last low curtsy and prayed that her legs wouldn’t give out from beneath her. Silently, she sent up other prayers of thanks that the audience couldn’t see her legs shaking beneath the floor-length hemline of her gown. She left the group with her customary double wave and almost sprinted from the stage.

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