That Girl's the One I Love

That Girl's the One I Love by Alana Lorens Read Free Book Online

Book: That Girl's the One I Love by Alana Lorens Read Free Book Online
Authors: Alana Lorens
Tags: Romance, Contemporary
would soon be over. As the babble of the crowd died down after the final number was called, one seat remained empty. A young woman dressed in a black sequined dress walked along the front, checking ticket numbers. She handed a note up to Mike Chandler, who had joined Arran onstage.
    “Would everyone please check their tickets?” Chandler asked. “We’re missing our final contestant of the night.”
    He read off the number one more time. Leyla waited for someone to come running in from the restroom, or jump up, suddenly poked by their neighbor, but no one moved. Curious, she fumbled in her pocket for her own ticket, hastily shoved in there earlier once she’d cleared the door. She couldn’t remember seeing a number on it, but she thought she’d look. Just in case.
    She uncrumpled the paper ticket. A number jumped out at her. Not just a number. The number.
    She thought she’d faint.
    Realizing that every eye in the place would be on her if she stood up, she clenched her fist with the paper inside it. No way she could walk up front with everyone staring. Her heart pounded in her chest, in her ears. Chandler crossed to confer with Arran. The singer listened, then shook his head. Chandler gestured, hands open, but Arran shook his head again. The DJ sighed, then thumbed his mike.
    “Mr. Lake says he wants to give each of his fans a chance at this prize, so he won’t continue until this last seat is filled.”
    For a split second, Leyla debated handing the ticket to one of her neighbors, just to get on with the concert. A little voice inside nagged her to get up. Fate’s extending a hand here, woman. Take your shot. You’ve paid enough dues to earn it.
    Embarrassed, thrilled, and trembling with emotion, she forced herself out of her seat and walked forward, her eyes on the stage and Arran Lake. When the spotlight would have swung over to illuminate her, he waved a hand up toward the back of the theater. She was able to take the seat, second from the end of the row, in relative obscurity. She settled into the chair, still watching Arran, whose face had brightened into a genuine smile.
    He counted down for the band, then strummed the opening chords of Have You Lost Something You Can’t Find? The live version was a little more upbeat than the recorded song on the radio, which made it seem more hopeful than the plaintive ballad she’d first heard. Was Milla right? Had losing Leyla inspired him to write such a sad song?
    How conceited was that?
    She couldn’t accept it.
    But look at his eyes, how he watched her with that same loving expression he’d had that night they spent together, when he’d smoothed her hair and kissed her so gently after they’d made love.
    A tightness closed around her chest, the imaginary string with which she’d tied up her feelings for him straining to break free. She hadn’t imagined that seeing him so close, so real, would melt her carefully constructed boundaries, the walls that protected her from dreams she considered too dangerous—or painful—to dream.
    All too soon, he finished the last verse of the song to echoing applause. He took a gracious bow, then introduced his musicians to the crowd. “Just one more thing to do,” he said. “Mike, you want to do the honors?”
    The DJ came out, a large basket in hand. “I’ve got all the entries in here,” he said. “Is everyone ready?”
    A chorus of agreement rocked the room.
    Chandler held the basket high, then reached in, drawing out one ticket. “I’d like to congratulate all the winners tonight on behalf of the station,” he said. “I know you’ll enjoy Arran’s CD. Be sure to tell your friends to get it before it hits the top of the charts!”
    Arran grinned and waved at the audience.
    “And the winning number is…” Chandler waited for a drum roll from the band. When the cymbal clanged, he read off, “Number 8199!”
    Taking in the disappointed sighs she heard around her, Leyla didn’t need to look to know she had

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