Player Staci Hart ~ Page 1

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He"s a player.

He plays the bass with expert fingers. He plays women with intoxicating charm. And he"ll play me with the ease of a virtuoso.

Who better to teach me to play than the master himself"

I"m his model student, front row, pencil sharp. Pick up lines" I"ve got them. Free drinks" By the dozen. Kissing" Let me grab my chapstick.

But the most valuable lesson I"ve learned is that there"s so much I don"t know. Like why his touch sets off a chain reaction straight to my nethers. Or how I"m certain each kiss is the best I"ll ever have, until the moment his lips take mine again.

There"s so much I don"t know.

Like the fact that I"m only a bet.

But we are what we are. He"s a player, through and through.

And I"m the fool who fell in love with him.Books by Author:Staci Hart Books


Spit Shine


Sam turned me into a walking contradiction.

His ability to make me feel simultaneously mortified, stunned, and exhilarated was an act of sorcery I"d come to both look forward to and avoid at all costs.

In fairness, I didn"t interact with many men, particularly not men who were of the tall, dark, and handsome category. More the short, awkward, and swipe-left category.

But typically I could maintain at least a tentative sense of normal around the opposite sex. Thing was, Sam was anything but typical.

I"d felt his presence from the second he entered the orchestra pit for sound check and through every song in Wicked from "No One Mourns the Wicked" to "For Good."

It was ridiculous really, just how obsessed with him I was.

I wished I could have said obsessed was too strong of a word, but there I was, playing on Broadway, and my dream job was the last thing on my mind. I"d spent the last month"ever since I"d secured my chair"daydreaming about Sam. That, and trying not to make an ass out of myself in front of him.

I"d been failing miserably on both counts, in case you were wondering.

The pit buzzed with chatter as musicians packed up their things. But above it all, I heard him laugh from behind me, near the enclosed drum booth where his buddy played. The velvety timbre of his voice plucked a string in me, setting it vibrating, humming a note only he could produce.

On that recognition, I did my level best to turn my focus anywhere but on him.

I polished off the brass bell of my trumpet, watching the blur of my distorted reflection in the curving metal. Once it gleamed, I pointed the bell at the ground, brought my lips to the mouthpiece, pressed the lever to open my spit valve, and emptied my lungs. The accumulated moisture in the tubes shot out of the little hole in a brilliant, disgusting fan of saliva and DNA.

The shoe wasn"t there, and then it was, glistening with my spit and stopped dead in front of me. It was a big shoe, the leather of his high-top oxfords dotted with condensation. In a protracted turn, it shifted until its toe pointed at me in accusation, its mate following suit.

Horror rose in my chest.

My eyes climbed the length of his long body, cataloging every detail in the hopes it wasn"t him. Because if the face I found at the top was the one I thought it might be, there was a very high likelihood that I would be leaving the theater on a stretcher.

His legs went on forever, his dark jeans tight enough to see the cords of his calves and thighs, loose enough that they still bunched artfully at his ankles and knees. His narrow waist, his belt punctuating a place my eyes wanted to linger. His torso widened to a broad chest that was still lean but strong"the discs of his pecs were visible under his shirt, the proportion of waist to wings to shoulders mathematically perfect. I mean, if I did math. Which, in that moment, I most definitely did not. I couldn"t have counted bananas unless they were hooked in his belt.

If he hadn"t already scrambled my wits, the second I laid eyes on his face, my wits would have willingly grabbed a whisk and scrambled themselves.

Dark. Dark and hard, from the cut of his jaw to his ebony hairline. From his stubbled beard to his strong brow.

Soft and light, his skin tan and glowing"actually glowing like a commercial for miracle cream that turned you into an immortal. His lips were a dusty rose, thick and luscious"the bow strong, the curve gentle, the corners curled up in amusement.

But it was his eyes that knocked the air out of my lungs. They were the color of sand, a burnished brown so light, they defied logic, the color contained by a dark ring circling the irises. His lids were edged with lashes so black, so thick, they looked like they were lined with kohl.

He was far, far above me, figuratively and literally.

"Oh my God," I breathed, setting down my trumpet and swiping my towel in the same motion. Without thinking, I hit the floor on all fours and mopped at his shoe with my towel. "I am so sorry," I said as I scrubbed with far more vigor than necessary. "I-I didn"t see you coming, or I never"I mean, I wouldn"t have ever intentionally""

He chuckled through closed lips. "A good spit shine never hurt anybody."

My cheeks flamed, and I crawled to the side a little so I could get the outside of his shoe. "I can"t believe I did this. I can"t believe I didn"t see you."

"Maybe I should wear a bell."

A small, singular laugh escaped me.

Like that would help keep my mind off you.


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