He covered her hand with his. She immediately felt the warmth again.
“This is why.”
Janae gasped softly, her hand trembling in his. Why did this happen now, and with this particular man? She tried to get her hand back, but like the other time, he wouldn’t let go.
“You feel this, don’t you?”
“No... I... Yes.” Janae gently extricated her hand from his and took several steps backward. Being close to him short-circuited her brain, and she needed to think. Hadn’t she decided that men were only good for fantasies? He would definitely fit right in...okay, he would top the fantasy list. But that was all this could be—a really, really nice fantasy. No way would she allow herself to get caught up in a man like him who probably had women by the dozen. Besides, as a teacher, the last thing she needed was a parent seeing her face splashed across a tabloid under some crazy heading like Teacher Caught in Threesome with Popular Music Star.
He closed the distance between them. “Janae?”
When she glanced up at him, something flashed in his eyes, and before she could blink, he covered her mouth in an explosive kiss that stole her breath and weakened her knees. She was totally unprepared for the feel of his mouth on hers. The kiss was gentle, but infused with a passion and need she didn’t understand. Suddenly, a longing she’d never experienced took over her body. She pulled away sharply. “I...I have to...go.”
“No, don’t go.” He scrubbed a hand down his face. “I’m sorry. Please. Stay.”
She eyed him warily and clutched her chest, trying to control her runaway heart.
“Please. I just want to talk. Sit down, okay?”
Janae sat. He wisely took the chair farthest from her. She kept making furtive glances toward the door, hoping to see Karen so they could leave. An awkward silence settled over the room.
He cleared his throat. “So, Ms. Simms, I couldn’t help but notice your necklace. An apple? It’s very unique.”
“It was a gift from one of my students. I teach an elementary special education class,” she answered with a nervous smile.
“That must be challenging. What grade?”
“Fourth and fifth grades, and yes, it can be very challenging, but I love it.”
“Do you live here in San Francisco?”
“No, about an hour and a half away in San Jose. Where do you live?”
Before he could ask her another question, Karen returned with Donovan trailing behind her. Finally.
“Did you get your CD autographed yet, Janae?” Karen asked, reclaiming her seat.
“We hadn’t gotten around to that yet,” Monte answered. “Janae told me about her teaching. Do you teach, Ms. Morris?” He accepted the cup of tea from Donovan. “Thanks.”
“Yes, fourth grade. We teach at the same school.”
Janae retrieved the CD booklet from one of Monte’s projects out of her purse. “It’s getting late, Karen. We should let Monte sign our CDs and leave. I’m sure he’s tired.” She held out the booklet.
Monte took it, smiling knowingly. “Ms. Simms mentioned you live in San Jose. Are you ladies driving back tonight?”
“Goodness, no,” Karen said. “We’re staying the entire weekend.”
“Any big plans?” he asked after taking a sip of his tea.
“Nothing really big,” Karen said. “We’ll hit Ghirardelli Square, Pier 39, and maybe do one of the sunset cruises.”
Janae listened as Karen excitedly shared their plans. Monte smiled between sips of his tea.
“Sounds like a good time,” he said. “I’ve been to San Francisco several times, but never stayed here long enough to go sightseeing. A sunset cruise might be fun.”
“Don’t you have another show tomorrow?” Janae asked. She needed to get away from this man—fast—and didn’t want him getting any ideas.
A slow grin made its way across his face. “As a matter of fact, that was my last show for the next three weeks. I’m due for a little R & R.” He set his cup down. “I have a great idea. Would you ladies like some company tomorrow? Donovan and I would love to explore the city with you...that is, if your significant others don’t mind.”
“Hey, that sounds great,” Karen said. “That’s definitely not a problem for me.”
Monte stared intently at Janae. “What about your boyfriend, Ms. Simms?”
“I don’t have a boyfriend,” she answered, holding his gaze.
“Great. What time should we meet? We can come to your hotel.” When they finished making plans, Monte reached in his bag and pulled out a pen. “Let me sign your CDs so you can get going. It’s getting pretty late.”