Laura Kitchell - Romance written for the romantic reader
THE AIR SHE BREATHES

Available now in print and ebook everywhere ebooks are sold.



  
Manchester, UK



   Inside, Erol "Air" Finster joined the wedding party in the sanctuary for professional photos. He faked every smile until Dan kicked his shin and made him laugh. Air gave the bass player a hard shove, landing him in a monstrous flower arrangement that spewed petals across the burgundy carpet. He laughed harder, enjoying the glare Izzy shot him. This was more like it. A rock-n-roll wedding of merriment and mayhem.
   The guys joined his laughter, even Dan who stood and swiped flower bits and green foam puffs off of his tux. The photographer called it a wrap, so they piled into limousines and headed to the reception center. Everyone went inside, but Air stood at the curb and lit a cigarette.
   “Those’ll kill you, luv.” A blonde in a skin-tight yellow mini-dress and black stab-you-dead stilettos approached on stiff, mincing steps.
   The pink ends of her curling hair caught his attention, and he lifted one corner of his mouth in approval. She had good taste in color.
   Brushing his hand across the tips of his magenta spikes to make sure his hair gel held, he exhaled a cloud of smoke. “So will those shoes. A fall from that height could snap your pretty neck.”
   She laughed. “This height? You’ve got at least thirty centimeters on me.”
   “But I’m not tottering about on stilts.” He squinted as he drew from his fag.
   Her pale blue gaze lingered on his hair as she fingered a pink-tipped curl at her shoulder. “You’re in the band, aren’t you? I didn’t recognize you in your fancy suit.”
   Great. A fan. He glanced around for a security guard. In his mood, he’d say something he might regret if she asked for an autograph. If she tried to take a photo of him that could explode all over social media, God help her.
   “What’s your name? Sorry. Izzy’s the music fanatic.” She switched a tiny black clutch purse to her other hand and glanced at the reception’s entrance.
   So she knew Izzy. Turning from her, he said, “You don’t have to patronize me, sweet cheeks. Go on inside.”
   “It’s just that I’m running late. I don’t want Izzy to worry. I didn’t mean to sound patronizing, luv. I’m a bit nervous, I suppose.”
   Luv. She’d said it twice, but coming from her, it didn’t hurt. He cut a glance at her. Banging body. Cute face. She looked better than most of Vivian’s model friends, though much shorter despite her high heels. She had no reason to be nervous. “How do you know our back-up singer?”
   She sagged a little and smiled. “Izzy and I are long-time friends. We went to nursing school together. We shared a flat for years and worked at the same rehab hospital.”
   “Then go inside. If you two are so close, she’ll be thrilled to see you, especially since this is her first time back in Manchester since moving to Los Angeles.”
   She cast a furtive glance at the doorway. “Right. Of course.”
   When she didn’t move, he drew the last from his cigarette then squashed it in a dish of sand atop a trash bin. “I’m Air.”
   Beaming, she offered a delicate, long-fingered hand. “I’m so pleased to meet you. I’m Beatrice. Beatrice Cooper.”
   He took her cool fingers, but instead of shaking her hand, he gave her a gentle tug that made her squeal. Smiling, he held firmly and half-dragged her inside. “What has you so nervous?”
   “I don’t know anyone. There are famous and important people here. I’m just a nobody nurse from the Midlands.”
   He took her to the side, into a hallway marked by a sign directing to the loo. “You know Izzy, and now you know me. That makes you more of a somebody than the acquaintances in there who have some lame claim to fame. Nothing to fear. It’s just a party.”
   She sank pretty white teeth into her lush bottom lip, and he hesitated. The adorable woman made him want to kiss her. That gave him pause. When was the last time he’d wanted to kiss somebody? Too long, for certain.
   “A party.” She stood straighter. “Nothing to fear.”
   He let his gaze drift from her mouth to her high, round breasts then to her large eyes. This close, he realized her irises held a cerulean depth he could dive into. “Sweet cheeks, you should never fear anything or anyone. You’re fierce.”
   “I am?”
   He couldn’t resist her honesty. Grasping her tiny waist, he pulled her against him and lowered his mouth to hers. She wore flavored lip gloss, a sweet and fruity taste he liked way too much.
   “You taste good,” he murmured against her lips.
   Sighing, she melted against him. She felt warm and smelled like flowers. Her easy assent gentled him in a way he hadn’t expected, and he relaxed. He urged her to open. When he tentatively touched his tongue to hers, she jerked away.
   “You taste a bit like an ash bin smells, luv.” Her nose wrinkled.
   Shit. He’d just had a smoke. “Right then. Sorry about that.”
   Rather than rushing past in an effort to leave him behind, she stood before him with her small purse clutched in both hands and an expectant arch in her pale eyebrows. She couldn’t want him to kiss her again. She’d shown her distaste quite clearly.
   He wanted to ask if he could see her later. Instead, he said, “Perhaps it’s best if I take you to Izzy.”
   When she didn’t answer immediately, he smiled. She had kissed him without hesitation, yet she didn’t come across as easy. At odds with Vivian’s worldly confidence, she bore an air of innocence he found irresistible. Maybe Beatrice was what he needed. A fun, beautiful diversion to help him get past the numbness engulfing his heart.


 

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