Excerpt: Texas Heat (Book 4 in The Blake Boys Series)

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Release Date May 2, 2014!

Texas Heat is Tate’s story! 

It picks up at the end of The Blake Legacy

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I finally found a love interest for Tate!  Meet Isabelle Reed, Morgan’s cousin who is a concert violinist.  She has come to town to attend a family wedding and is staying with the Blakes.  Due to a scheduling mix up, Morgan and Seth are out of town on vacation and Tate and Isabelle are babysitting Jake.

Isabelle is attempting to conduct a music lesson with her students via web chat.

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“Good morning class!”  Isabelle bellowed into the microphone.

“Good morning Mrs. Johnson.”  The students returned the greeting in a droll tone.

A young lady with glasses got closer to the camera. It was her star pupil June.  “Sorry, we’re supposed to say Ms. Reed, right?”

“It’s okay June.  I’ll answer to both.”  She sipped her coffee.

The students then began firing off questions.

“Your background looks different, are you not home?”

“How’s the arm?”

“Is your name legally Ms. Reed again?”

“When are you returning to work?”

“Do you miss performing?”

“Do you want us to slash your ex-husband’s tires or break the car windows?”

Isabelle shook her head.  She wished they applied this much interest to their music lessons.  “I’m visiting my cousin Morgan in Philadelphia.  I told you about her.  The arm is getting better. Yes, it’s legally Ms. Reed again.  I hope, soon.  I miss performing but I don’t miss the draft in the concert hall.  No!  Not only would that not be nice, it would be illegal and hardly worth the trouble.  But thanks for the offer.”

“Holy crap!  You’re in Seth Blake’s house?”  Carlos, the oboe player, yelled out.

Isabelle laughed.  “Language.  We are playing classical music, we can at least pretend to be classy.  Can we get down to work?  Whose turn it this week to select the piece we’re going to practice?”

The kids looked at each other. June spoke up.

“We were actually arguing about that in the game room.  I think it’s mine but Donovan insists it’s his turn.”  The girl rolled her eyes.

“It is my turn.”  Donovan pushed June out of the way to hog the web camera.

Isabelle suppressed a smile.  She remembered the days of not being able to tell a boy she liked him.  Those two found some reason to fight each session.  She glanced at her notes.  “June, it is Donovan’s turn.”

Donovan blew a kiss at Isabelle.  “Thank you Ms. Reed.”

The boy’s action plan of making June jealous by showering the teacher with flattery was working.  June looked like she wanted to strangle him with a violin string.  Isabelle started her music lecture as she normally did with a witty anecdote about a famous Austrian composer.  She liked squeezing in some history about the instruments and the people who mastered them. 

Isabelle’s brood was comprised of kids who were, by some small miracle, more interested in playing a musical instrument than being bolted to their internet devices.  After the chatter subsided they began practicing Donovan’s selection.  Isabelle was pleasantly surprised that someone who was part of the group under duress had selected a great piece.   June was a violinist, like Isabelle.  She saw so much promise in the girl.  June was having trouble for weeks but unfortunately Isabelle’s broken left arm was preventing her from helping the girl work through some of her weak spots.

“It’s OK June.  Let’s try it again.”  Isabelle sighed.

When the girl came to a screeching halt, Isabelle thought it was time to take a break and they’d just started.

“Maybe I can help with that.”  A voice came from the doorway.

Isabelle looked up to see Tate leaning against the library doorframe.  “How so?”

“You tell me what positions to play and June can mimic me.  Is that okay with you June?”  Tate stepped in view of the webcam and waved.

“Sure.”  June’s cheeks turned a pretty pink and her smile got bigger by the second.

“Ms. Reed, who is this?”  Donovan was attempting to eyeball Tate.

“Class, this is Tate McGill.  He’s a country music singer.”

“Yes, he did that duet with Lana McNeal!”  The class erupted into a super storm of chatter.

Isabelle gave up, letting them have their disruptive moment.  She tried to not to look at the snug white t-shirt he was wearing with the Texas flag on it or the way his jeans seemed to be glued to his corded thighs.  “Are you sure you don’t mind?”

“Not a problem.  I just put Jake down for his nap.  He wouldn’t go to sleep until I checked the stock report for five companies that are apparently in his portfolio.”   Tate shook his head.

“You hold it like this.” Isabelle reluctantly gave him the violin and bow.  She didn’t want to make a big deal out of it but no one touched her violin.  It was like a part of her body that Tate was now holding gently in his hands.  It was hard focusing on showing him how to splay his hand on the fingerboard when his cologne was launching a sensual assault on her nose. It was a mixture something woodsy and masculine yet soft and enticing.  The past week that scent haunted her.  Isabelle closed her eyes and took a whiff.

“Isabelle?”  Tate drawled into her ear.

Her lids flew open.  “Yes?”

“I think the class is ready.”

Isabelle turned to find her entire class watching them.

“Mr. McGill, I loved your performance on the Sapphire Awards!  I loaded that single with you and Lana onto my iPod.”  June beamed.

“Thank you June.  Does that mean you’re a fan of my work now?”  Tate smiled.

“For sure!”  June squealed.

Isabelle cleared her throat.  “Okay, Mr. McGill is going to be our visual aid.”

“Can he change his shirt?  I don’t think he can play the violin with his shirt being that tight.”  Donovan murmured.

“It’s fine!”  Two of the girls in the back yelled.

“OK June, how about we play this piece together?”  Tate broke up the chatter.

Isabelle sat down and watched as Tate played in time with June.  She was so fixated on the way his arms moved as he handled her violin, she didn’t realize when they’d finished the piece.

“How long should I keep going?”  Tate smiled at her.

Isabelle swallowed.  “As long as you like.”

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I hope you enjoyed the excerpt!

Happy Reading


Copyright © 2013 Rhonda Laurel.  All Rights Reserved.

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