Say You Love Me (Pine Valley Book 3)(2)

By: Heather B. Moore

Instantly Clara was annoyed. Although she closed her eyes during most of her poses, she didn’t want to be too close to anyone else. She didn’t want to hear someone else breathing or moving. It cut into her concentration.

Then, Clara caught sight of the new arrival—a man—who was setting a mat on the floor kitty corner to her.

Even in the dim light, she could see that the man looked like he worked out plenty. He wore gym shorts, and his sculpted form showed through his fitted T-shirt.

He moved easily into the next yoga position Leslie called out. In fact, he was absolutely lithe, which only made Clara self-conscious about her own awkwardness.

Two men were regulars in the class that was otherwise made up of women. But their average builds and average looks had never drawn the attention this newcomer did. All of the women kept glancing over at him, trying to be discreet in their curiosity. The new arrival had caught everyone’s attention.

Including Clara’s.

She hid a sigh of frustration. The last thing she needed in her yoga class—her one place of solace—was someone distracting her.

If Leslie had been bothered by the interruption, she hadn’t shown it. In fact, now that Clara focused on the instructor, it seemed that Leslie was smiling just a little.

And, there it was.

Leslie was looking at the new arrival with a half-smile on her face. She knew him! Maybe he was her boyfriend?

That would explain it, although Clara hated that Leslie would bend her rules for even a boyfriend. And having him in this class might mean that Leslie, too, would now be distracted . . . not to mention the other women, who were suddenly doing deeper stretches and longer poses than Clara had ever seen them do before. And she should know, since she always set up at the back of the room. She didn’t like the feeling of someone observing her poses. It helped with her concentration to think that no one watched her movements.

Clara knew she needed to clear her mind, to not worry about who may or may not be in the class, to just focus on her workout. If she didn’t, the tension would return, and she’d have another lousy night again. Insomnia had been her close friend the last few weeks. Ever since February 1, the date of her grandma’s birthday. The woman would have been seventy-four. Young, really. But the stroke had paralyzed her so severely that a second stroke a couple days later had been a blessing.

As much as Clara hated to think her grandma’s death had been a blessing, she knew the spunky Phoebe Benson would have never been happy living as a paralytic.

The music shifted, and Leslie called out the next position, which meant that now Clara needed to turn in the direction of the new class member. She turned before he did and was surprised when she caught him looking at her.

She quickly looked away, but he didn’t. Out of her peripheral vision, she felt him watching her, and Clara began to heat up. She never really perspired in yoga class. Tonight would be an exception.

She suddenly decided she would go to the later session on Fridays. She never had any plans anyway, and McKenna taught the later class. Clara wouldn’t have to deal with this new man in class whom Leslie seemed to know.

Finally he looked away, which only meant Clara caught herself stealing glances in his direction. How was he so good at yoga? She’d never seen him in class before, and she’d come religiously for three months, four to five sessions a week.

Clara forced herself to not look in the man’s direction again and kept her eyes closed as much as possible. But as fate would have it, his close proximity meant she was pretty much aware of all of his movements anyway.

“And that’s it for today,” Leslie said in a soft, low voice. “The lights will stay dimmed for another few minutes so you slowly release from your meditation. See you next time, everyone.”

Clara opened her eyes as Leslie stood and took off her headset. The instructor then walked through the maze of mats toward the man next to Clara.

Leslie leaned down and talked to the man for a minute in hushed tones. Whatever was being said, it was flirty. Leslie was positively beaming—even in the dimness of the room, that was clear.

The man’s hushed tones were deep and resonated through Clara, even though she couldn’t distinguish what he was saying. Then Leslie straightened and went back to the front of the room. She said goodbye to the class members as they passed her to exit.