I CAN LOVE YOU
BY MACKENZIE JOY
Her heart. His song.
R&B sensation Tara Russell is at the top of her game. It’s cost her nearly everything, but her hard work and sacrifice has finally paid off. All she needs now is for her new album to succeed. Too bad her best friend and music producer thinks that won’t happen unless she opens up her heart, bleeds onto a page, and creates an epic love song. But how is she supposed to write a song like that when her only experience with love ended in devastation?
Quinton “Q” Ellis is on a mission. He’s determined to be the muse Tara needs to produce the best album of her career. If he can help her overcome everything she’s been through and set her emotions to music, she’ll become a legend. And if he’s really lucky, he might even be able to convince her that love without pain is possible … and to see him as more than just a friend.
It’s not long before the lines between friendship and passion blur. They’re hitting all the right notes together, but can two people with troubled pasts and a handful of heartbreaking secrets between them find their way to happily ever after?
Mats of many colors covered the floor with little space for anyone else to join the early morning class. Music played softly as those around Tara stretched and prepared for yoga.
Tara sat with her legs folded and stretched her tight muscles, hoping to rid herself of the same thoughts that had her tossing and turning all night.
“Don’t forget to grab blocks if you need them,” their instructor announced as she moved around the room greeting attendees and welcoming the newcomers.
Tara didn’t get the same greeting as everyone. She did get slight smiles. Knowing, poised ones as if saying ‘I know who you are, but I’ll let you enjoy your space today.’ A feeling she would appreciate any other time but looking around as others spent the few minutes before class chatting with old and new friends, the isolation left her empty while alone with her thoughts.
She closed her eyes, placed a hand on her knee and the other hand flat on the mat behind her. Tara twisted her body to its side and held it for an extended period before repeating in the opposite direction.
When she opened her eyes, she saw someone joining her in the space beside her, letting out a big oomph sound as he dropped to the ground to take his place on a mat.
“Quinton?” She restrained herself from jumping up to hug him out of respect for the instructor who started speaking to the group.
He yawned into his fist and stretched his sweatpants covered legs in front of him. “I want food after this, and you’re treating.”
In a hushed whisper, Tara grinned and said, “Sure. We have to make it quick. I fly out to Arizona today.”
“That’s right. More Zen crap, but why there?”
“Sydney suggested I visit this place. It’s a resort that specializes in health and wellness. It sounds divine. The best part about it is that they ensure my privacy while I’m there. I heard great things about it. Just waking to the beauty surrounding the place is worth the trip. You ever see the red rocks of Sedona?”
“Speaking of rocks.” Their instructor Dottie’s hovering nearby silencing them. The younger woman with dark glossy hair slicked back in a ponytail glanced between Tara and Quinton while shaking a clear plastic container with polished stones. Her eyes lingered on Quinton as she held out the box of smooth, dark rocks. “For those of you who are new, I brought consent stones.” She held one of them up for all to see. “If you’re okay with me offering additional assistance, correcting your form, place a stone on the corner of your mat. It tells me you’re okay with me touching you and offer consent. If you change your mind, just move your stone out of the way or tuck it under your mat.”
Tara heard the clunky sound of rocks banging against each other and saw Quinton grabbing a handful.
“I just adore your boyfriend.” Dottie grinned and moved on to offer stones to the other students while Quinton marked the perimeter of his mat.
“She said one.”
“Taking my shot at earning some extra credit.”
“We’re not being graded.”
Class began, and a hush sound from one of their fellow students stopped the bickering. Everyone around her started to move in sync, leaving Tara’s upright body poking out above the group. Tara looked at Quinton, who was mimicking Dottie’s movement and swiped her hand toward his mat, sending Quinton’s smooth dark stones into the aisle. “Next time I ask you to join me for yoga, do me a favor and keep your ass at home.”
He smirked as he got into the tabletop position with hands and knees on the mat. “I love when you get jealous,” he said in a whisper and winked.
ABOUT MACKENZIE JOY
I believe in…
playlists on repeat.
red lipstick and nudes.
brothers in timbs. please and thank you.
down blankets and pillows.
open windows when it rains.
dancing with no clothes on.
rum drinks with lime and sweet sugar cane.
Love more. Kiss more.