Rhys and Kai’s journey in My Soul to Keep, the first book in the Soul series, is a slow, sweet, hot build, and that is the way we are about to meet them! As we unveil chapter by chapter, we get a small taste of the way their friendship blossoms into a love that builds then burns, and today, I have the third chapter for you. You can find the first two chapters on the author’s website. Enjoy!
Chapter Three – Rhyson
When I was eleven years old taking the stage at Royal Albert Hall in London for the first time, I told myself it was a sea of faces out there in the audience. I never allowed myself to focus on one particular person. In every venue since, whether before thousands or a group as small as Grady’s vocal class, I always block out the faces. I smile. I may even bow, but I blur the faces to remain blissfully oblivious to their expressions of approval, pleasure, or disdain. It insulates me from the crowd and cocoons me inside the music, which is the safest place I have found so far.
Except today, I open my eyes at the end of the Chopin piece, prepared to blindly glance over the crowd in Grady’s studio, when I see a face. A particular face in a sea of faces. Everyone around her claps, but she doesn’t. Her hands hang at her sides, and her expression hovers somewhere between devastation and delight. When music truly affects me, I don’t clap either. I don’t stand to my feet. I absorb. I let the music change me, touch me, and possess me. That’s what she’s doing. I recognize it. Everyone around her appreciated my music, but I can see that she, this girl, communed with it.
She is looking at me. I am looking at her. Her face…I wish I had the right words. I write songs and create music for a living. I practically bleed my thoughts and feelings into everything I compose, into every lyric. But I can’t find the words to adequately describe this girl. Maybe I’ve seen girls prettier than she is, but it’s hard to tell, because even with the width of Grady’s small music room separating us, it’s like I’ve been hurled into an electrical storm. My brain is charged and my thoughts are icy water suspended and trapped inside my head. It’s a face I can only inadequately describe as…extravagant. Like God spared no expense when He made this girl.
If I take her in parts, maybe I will do a better job of this. She has this wide mouth the color of fire-blasted rose petals. Her chin is slightly pointed, narrow, but her face widens and flares at her high cheekbones. Her eyes, the darkest, richest sable—glintless, fleckless, bottomless brown—carry a dramatic tilt, and I am sure a glance from her could seduce me. This, combined with her honeyed skin, make me wonder if she has Asian ancestry somewhere down the line. Her eyebrows are thick and smooth over an abundance of eyelashes. So thick and so long they look fake, but I know they are not. There is nothing fake about this girl. No artifice. Not even makeup. Her beauty is raw and unfiltered. Long, dark hair runs down her back. Of all things, she wears a Madonna T-shirt from the The Virgin Tour. Her skinny jeans mold her slim legs. Small feet in Toms. Simple silver musical notes in her pierced ears. She is this heady mixture of exotic and mundane, and just being in the same room is giving me a buzz. Imagine if I touched her. Imagine if I kissed her. Imagine if I fucked her. I’d be done for.
But I suspect she’d be worth it.
Grady’s hand on my shoulder, his words of praise, and the students crowding around me pry my attention from the petite girl by the door. And when my eyes again seek out that particular face in the sea of faces, she’s gone.