Jordan Steele’s life began when he was ten. When he was taken from his parents and a house that was never a home. When he met his brothers, the other lost and abandoned boys in his group home. When he learned what friendship and family and love looked like.
Now he’s made good, touring the world with the band he and his brothers formed in that crowded group home. No one but his found family really knows the man under the fame and fortune, the scars he hides behind the rockstar lifestyle. Until he sees her through the windows of the National Ballet, dancing, and suddenly the world doesn’t seem so dark.
Aleksandra Artemov ticks all the ballet boxes. Father a legendary Kirov dancer. Check. Prepping since birth for classical ballet. Check. Compulsive control over the food she eats. Check. Principal dancer at The National Ballet of Canada. Check. But what she craves is freedom.
She craves Jordan.
Everything about him should terrify her. His size, his tattoos, his edge. But he doesn’t. He stirs her very soul. Jordan has nothing but himself to offer her, and he’s never been good enough for anyone. Can he figure out how to face his own demons before he loses his light for good?
“I think it would be fair to say that I haven’t had a welcome home like that before either,” Jordan said. He pressed his lips to her forehead and wrapped his arms around her shoulders.
A part of her knew she should be embarrassed by the way Jordan manhandled her on the street. Lord knew that if her father had seen it, he would be in a state of apoplexy. But she didn’t have it in her to care. It was the most perfect reunion. She’d worn her favorite cream wool dress, cinched with a brown leather belt, but underneath it she was wearing new underwear from Victoria’s Secret in the hope that he might take her back to his place later. It was forward, she knew, but the last nine days of talking to the deeply thoughtful, and unintentionally sullen, man who currently had his body pressed up against hers had her all wound up.
Jordan’s brow furrowed as he studied her, like he was checking her over for injury.
“Do you ever really smile?” she asked. “Because I think I saw the glimmer of a smile when we went on our first date.”
“I do occasionally,” he replied gruffly
“If I kiss you again, will you smile for me?”
Jordan leaned forward and placed his lips right next to her ear. “If you kiss me again, I might just end up taking you standing up against this pillar. So I strongly suggest you take that pretty little ass of yours inside before I change my mind and do it anyway.”
Lexi shivered as his breath whispered across her skin and his words made her ache in the places that longed for his touch.
He reached for her hand and carefully peeled off her glove. Silently, he folded it and tucked it into her pocket. Then he repeated the process with her other hand.
She swallowed as he took her hand, scrambling to regain her control. They needed small talk, something less . . . flammable. “Are you looking forward to going inside?” she asked. It had been years since she’d visited the AGO, and when he’d asked her where she’d like to go, it was the first place she’d thought of.
“Yeah, I am,” he said, leading her in through the double doors. He leaned his head toward her again. “I’m really hoping that looking at stuffy old paintings and relics will help kill the boner you just gave me.”