You Shouldn't Kiss Me Like This by Karenna Colcroft
erotic contemporary romance novella
Cover Art by Winterheart Design
Erin enjoys dancing, but losing her competition partner Scott to a car accident a year ago nearly killed her love of dance. Now she instructs others in West Coast Swing and spends each class lusting after her fellow instructor, Stefan. Stefan’s admission of his feelings thrills Erin and the two begin dating. But when he asks her to partner him in a charity competition honoring the sister he lost to leukemia, Erin doesn’t know if she’s ready. She hasn’t competed since Scott’s death. Is she ready to try again on the dance floor, and try again with love?
Looking up into Stefan’s deep brown eyes, Erin placed her hand in his. With a smile, he stepped backward on the polished hardwood floor, leading her in the pattern of the dance. The count she’d learned years ago echoed in her mind as she followed him, moving perfectly through the steps.“So you all see how it’s done, yeah?” Stefan smiled at Erin and released her hand to turn and address the class. “Same count and steps you just learned. Now you’ll be doing them with a partner. Ready?”
Erin sighed and scuffed over to the laptop computer that contained the class playlist. For six months now, since she’d decided to return to dancing after a few months’ break, she’d assisted Stefan in teaching the adult beginner West Coast Swing class at the dance studio near her home. For six months, she and Stefan had touched, gazed into each other’s eyes—
And gone their separate ways at the end of each night. They were instructor and assistant, nothing more, regardless of the shivery, tingly effect Stefan’s touch had on her. Sometimes she felt like a kid at a junior high dance around him, which both amused and annoyed her.
She cued up the song Stefan had chosen for this part of the class. Each night, they met an hour before class time to go over the steps and music. Each night, during that hour, Erin hoped that for once Stefan would take his attention off the class preparations and actually look at her. Speak to her as one person to another, instead of as an instructor to his assistant. Of course, that had never happened.
The music began to play, and the students began to move together. Erin and Stefan stood back and watched, checking the students’ footwork and partnering skills. One of the women tripped over her partner’s foot, and Stefan went over to correct their mistake.
As he demonstrated to the man what had gone wrong and how to do the steps correctly, Erin watched. Stefan moved more gracefully than any man she’d ever known. He made the dance look easy, even though she knew from experience how complex the patterns were. Anyone watching him would think they’d be able to dance as well as he did, even if they’d never been on a dance floor before. Seeing how fluidly he moved took her breath away.
Dancing with him, even more so.
After a couple minutes of working with the pair who’d tripped, Stefan signaled for Erin to stop the music. For the next half hour, they continued demonstrating steps, then watching the class attempt to perform them. Most of them seemed to enjoy themselves, and two or three caught on quickly enough and seemed to enjoy dancing enough that Erin expected they would continue on in classes. They might even make good competitive dancers someday if they chose to try.
Others seemed frustrated and tired. They probably wouldn’t be back.
Finally, Stefan held up his hands to quiet the chatter of the group. “Thank you all for coming. Remember, beginners’ classes every Tuesday and Thursday at seven. The more advanced class meets downstairs at the same time. If you want to stick around, social dancing will begin downstairs in about twenty minutes, and if you have any questions, Erin and I’ll be here.”
Several of the students gathered around them, asking about the classes and the steps. Stefan answered all questions with the same calm tone. Only his fidgeting and occasional narrowed eyes gave away his impatience. Erin doubted the students noticed, since they didn’t know him as well as she did.
Why is he in such a hurry tonight?
Soon all the students had gone downstairs for the two-hour dance that the studio held every class night so people would have the opportunity to practice the skills they’d learned. The dance was open to previous students as well as students from the beginner and advanced classes, and a former instructor who’d started a DJ business ran it. Stefan unplugged his laptop and gathered up the attached cords. “Class went pretty well tonight.”
“I think some of them were disappointed that they didn’t dance as well as you right off the bat.” She bent down to take his laptop case off the floor. “You make them believe it’s easy.”
“So do you. That’s why we’re the instructors.” He winked and took the case from her. “You did great with that one woman. I thought she was about to walk out until you went over and started working with her. She said she’s going to stay for the dancing downstairs.”
“Oh, good.” The woman he referred to had almost been in tears after the fourth time she’d tangled herself up in her own feet. She’d only needed a few minutes of one-on-one instruction to catch on, and Erin had been happy to help. She loved dancing, and even more, she loved helping others learn to dance.
“You staying for the dance?” Stefan asked.