Saturday, January 18, 2014

An Excerpt from Preachin' to the Choir

Preachin’ to the Choir
by Cynthianna
Available at Mojocastle Press

Jonathan could do nothing to aid his wife’s losing battle with cancer. With twenty years into the ministry, he can’t believe the Lord would leave him suddenly with both an empty nest and empty spot on the other side of the bed. 

Katrina, music teacher and mother of grown twins, feels settled in small town Texas. Life may be dull, but at least it’s predictable–unlike her life with her late ex-husband. “Kat” has come to the conclusion that if nuns can live celibate for years, then why can’t she make it the next fifty? 

One Sunday Jonathan sees a golden beam alighting upon a radiant Kat as she directs the singers. He hadn’t noticed how beautiful she was before! From here on out he knows that he’ll be preachin’ to the choir. But will Kat—and his congregation—let him? 

Excerpt: Kat tries to give a piano lesson to Jonathan, but everything seems to go wrong…

Kat caught herself the second before she practically threw herself into Jonathan’s lap. What the heck got into her? Was she openly flirting with her student? For some unknown reason the room had become stifling hot. She reached to open the top button of her blouse, then thought the better of it.

“Excuse me a second. I need to go check the A/C. Why don’t you go over the same measure again and try to make the notes sound more even, more connected this time.”

Kat dashed straight to the kitchen, where she promptly gulped down a large glass of water. Had it been the touch of Jonathan’s hands as they met hers, or the way he had looked deep into her eyes, like he could read her mind, that had affected her so?

Maybe this was all something hormonal? Her doctor did tell her the last time she came in for a Pap test to be on the look-out for hot flashes. More than likely the heat she felt pulsing through her frame, lingering a little longer than necessary in her belly, was simply caused by a power surge blanking her programmed thermostat and shutting down the air conditioning. She went into the hall, hit a few buttons and checked the read-out on the climate control panel. Funny, it seemed to be doing its job.

Rubbing the cold glass against her warm forehead, Kat intently listened to Jonathan’s playing in the next room. It sounded like he was trying to pick out the melody of Amazing Grace.

“You didn’t tell me that you could play by ear!”

Jonathan started at her entrance, but continued with his hunting and pecking. “No, I’m just using my fingers like I do on a keyboard. It’s not the most efficient way to play a piano, I’ve discovered.”

“You got that right. It does help, though, if you have some notion as to how the song you want to play goes already.” She crossed to stand beside the piano once more and waited patiently as he finished his impromptu concert. “There’s a beginner’s book of favorite hymns I think you’ll want to get. After a few pointers on how to read the music, you’ll be able to play a more recognizable version of Amazing Grace before you know it.”

His eyes widened. “You could tell what I was trying to plunk out?”

“If I can tell someone’s playing Mary Had a Little Lamb while missing practically every note, then I certainly can make out what you were attempting to play.”

“I’m that good, huh?”

Kat felt drawn to him like a magnet to steel. Her gaze settled on Jonathan’s full lips as he spoke. Would their touch be as electrifying as the feel of his fingers sliding over hers across the keyboard? “Good?” She blinked twice to break the warm, damp fog settling in her brain. She really needed to finish her nap. That explained it. She was sleep deprived. “Yes, I think you play quite well.”

Kat’s eyes drifted toward Jonathan’s lips again, then lower. Six foot three with hands that could easily reach twelve keys and possessed an almost magnetic touch… What kinds of things could he do with those hands?

Kat nervously pounced on the stack of sheet music Jonathan brought to the lesson. “Um, would you like me to play the version you brought?”

“Please do.” 

She sorted out the copy from the others and opened it across the music stand. “Sorry, but we need to switch places. I need to sit where you’re sitting in order to play properly.”

Jonathan stood and side-stepped over to the left to give her access to his stool. Kat flashed him a grin in gratitude and sat down without looking. Immediately she found herself deposited on her rear end. “Ouch!” she cried, rubbing her bruised tailbone. “I missed.”

“You seem to be doing quite a bit of falling on your backside lately.” Jonathan chuckled. Placing his large hands under her arms, he lifted her to her feet in one easy motion. “There you go. You all right?”

“I… I’m fine,” she managed, taking a step back. The warmth of where his palms contacted her bare flesh lingered, sending tingles of awareness down her arms. “I just need to adjust the height a little.”
Kat bent to twirl the stool in order to raise the seat. To her horror, it stuck.

Jonathan grimaced. “Did I break it? I apologize if I did.”

She straightened slowly and shook her head. “Don’t worry. It isn’t broken. It probably needs to be greased a bit. Why don’t we try relocating the bench?”

Jonathan swiftly removed the stool. Kat grabbed the bench and started dragging it into position. Without a word, both promptly seated themselves side by side, thighs touching.

Kat shuddered inwardly at the delicious sensation of Jonathan’s near presence. This isn’t the appropriate time or place for playing footsies, but wouldn’t it be nice sometime? Swallowing hard, Kat focused her attention on the music.

Just as she was about to turn to the first page over, there came a small moan of wood, then snap! The wounded bench decided it couldn’t handle their combined weight any longer. A back leg collapsed. The seat tilted left, throwing her against Jonathan’s hard body as they tumbled to the floor.

Preachin’ to the Choir now available in e-formats from Mojocastle Press and All Romance eBooks.

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