A motorcycle tore up the street going the same direction as she was. Sasha barely glanced at it. But the broad, leather jacket-clad back looked familiar. The bike slowed and stopped a few yards ahead of her. Sasha continued walking, her legs and heart suddenly very jittery. The man swung a muscular leg over the seat and turned to face her, removing his helmet as he did. Sasha gawped at the magnificence of him.
“Hey,” he said, extending his hand. “I heard you sing in church there. You have an amazing voice. I’m Sam. Sam Stone.” His voice was all chocolaty seeming. A baritone, her brain informed her automatically. She realized that up until this point she’d never actually heard him speak.
She took his big hand in her sweaty little one. “I know,” she said. “I know.” And then because he was now looking at her quizzically, she added, “I went to Raven Ridge High. I was a few years behind you. You probably didn’t know me. Sasha Green.”
“Nice to meet you.” He did a double-take, letting his eyes not so subtly slide down her generous chest in an idle sort of way that made her toes curl and her panties grow damp. “You must have been way younger. I can’t believe I wouldn’t have noticed you.”
Sasha’s mouth twitched into a giddy sort of smile, although her feminist side suspected that she should be mortified that he was talking to her this way. Her non-feminist side wanted to hop right on the back of his bike and wrap her legs around his waist.
“I’ve changed a fair bit,” she said, trying not to think about her former awkward self. She thrust one hip out to the side, pouted her lips, and looked Sam directly in the eye. She wasn’t that girl with braces and braids anymore.
Sam gave her an electrifying grin. Why had he stopped? Was he going to ask her out?
“Listen, some friends and I have a band. We were looking for a singer. It’s nothing pro or anything. But we practice every week in my garage. I was wondering if you’d be interested.”
Sasha’s eyebrows dropped and she felt her pout dissipate. He wanted her to sing in a garage band. Disappointment surged through her limbs. Why would she have thought that he was going to ask her out? He was probably with the hot vet that he shared his practice with.
“We’re not bad. I promise,” Sam said. “You know Andy and Ryan? Leif Pierce’s ranch hands?”
Sasha shook her head mutely.
“Well, Andy plays the guitar and Ryan’s got the drums. I’m on banjo. You could come out to our practice next week and make up your mind. We’ve got a bit of a bluegrass vibe going on. I understand if you’re only into church music.”
“I’m into all kinds of music,” Sasha said.
“You could come out this Wednesday,” Sam said. “We practice in my garage on Elmore Street. If you don’t want to sing right away, you can just have a beer, talk music and get to know us.”
“Sure,” Sasha said, her heart starting to pound again. It might not be a date, but she could spend time with Sam Stone, in his garage. His garage was probably even sexy.
He was standing very close to her. Was this how close men usually stood? She recalled drunken freshmen in college standing this close to her, their breath on her forehead, beer spilling on her feet, until they found out that she didn’t sleep around. Sam smelled of leather, and she wanted to press her nose against his sternum and inhale him, and then taste him.
“We start at seven and go for a few hours. Come any time.” He pulled a business card out of his wallet and scrawled something on the back. “Here’s the address.” He gave her a long, lingering look that turned her insides to liquid, then turned, got back on his motorcycle, and sped away.
Her need for release hit her like a brick wall. She could come right here on the street with just one touch. She closed her eyes and let out a little moan. Maybe she needed to get her own place here in Raven Ridge, so she could have some privacy and get away from her parents when she needed to. But that would mean committing to staying here, and getting a real job, and she wasn’t ready for that yet.
A car pulled up beside her and the window slid down. Her mother’s worried face loomed in front of her.
“Was that man bothering you, honey?”
Sasha blinked in surprise. Right. Her mother thought anyone who rode a motorcycle and dressed in black was trouble, probably just this side of devil-worship, knowing her mother. “No, not at all.”
“Do you know him?”
Sasha shook her head. Her father, she noted, stared straight ahead over the steering wheel. “No. He just wanted to compliment me on my singing.”
Her mother sniffed. “Strange that he would stop you in the street. He evidently doesn’t know how to dress for church.”
Sasha had a sudden urge to laugh. It almost bubbled out of her in a sort of delirious gasp. Sam clearly did not know how to dress for church, but she suspected he knew exactly how to dress for the bedroom.