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Something Blue: Something Borrowed, #5
Something Blue: Something Borrowed, #5
Something Blue: Something Borrowed, #5
Электронная книга219 страниц3 часа

Something Blue: Something Borrowed, #5

Автор Louisa George

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She's the zen yoga teacher. His preferred exercise is with odd-shaped balls. But when these two opposites work together to heal his rugby injury there's a lot more going on than yoga therapy.

Saskia Hall is finally in a good space. She's put her bad relationships and nomadic life behind her and is concentrating on putting down roots by means of a business, a mortgage and a home in Portobello, London.

Josh Daly's contract with the London Blues is coming to an end and he's finally heading back to New Zealand to be with his four year old son. But when his feelings for his yoga teacher turn to something much deeper than he wants or needs, he's torn. Is this just a fling? Or can he persuade Saskia to take a chance on him and a new life far away… forever?

ЯзыкEnglish
ИздательLouisa George
Дата выпуска7 мая 2019 г.
ISBN9781386994510
Something Blue: Something Borrowed, #5
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Louisa George

A lifelong reader of most genres, Louisa discovered romance novels later than most, but immediately fell in love with the intensity of emotion, the high drama and the family focus of Medical Romance. With a Bachelors Degree in Communication and a nursing qualification under her belt, writing Medical Romance seemed a natural progression, and the perfect combination of her two interests. And making things up is a great way to spend the day! An English ex-pat, Louisa now lives north of Auckland, New Zealand, with her husband, two teenage sons and two male cats. Writing romance is her opportunity to covertly inject a hefty dose of pink into her heavily testosterone-dominated household. When she's not writing or researching Louisa loves to spend time with her family and friends, enjoys traveling, and adores great food. She's also hopelessly addicted to zumba.

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    Something Blue - Louisa George

    Chapter 1

    ‘So, just how desperate does a guy have to be to come to a private yoga class?’ Josh Daly side-mouthed to his rugby teammate Ryan. He cast his eye around the softly lit yoga studio that smelt like his mother’s New Zealand garden in the summer, and had a soundtrack that sounded like someone strangling a whale. Bad karma, surely? His heart sank further than he thought possible. He wasn’t sure how whales and omming and crystals were going to help him, but at this point in the very poor non-healing injury stakes he was up for trying anything. ‘Pretty bloody desperate, that’s how much.’

    ‘Don’t knock it, Brains.’ Ryan slipped off his shoes, then picked up a mat from one of the cubbyholes at the side of the room and flipped it out onto the floor. ‘It’s either that or face another season playing water boy waiting for your leg to heal. If I were you I’d do anything to get back on that field. Or do you like it when I take your job as team captain?’

    ‘Good point. Sidelining’s not an option going forward.’ If Josh was going to impress the selectors, fixing his hamstring had to become priority number one. Hence the private lessons. Doing yoga in a large class had meant he’d not got to grips with all the moves. Asanas, he corrected himself. So somehow he’d agreed to private tuition in the hope of hurrying things along.

    He swallowed what little pride he had left and grabbed a mat, two wooden blocks, a long black strap, a thick purple velvet bolster and two blankets. At least the last two things were soft, unlike the other torture implements he had alongside him. Covering the walls were photographs of stick-thin, lycra-clad people in impossible positions, a grinning cross-legged Buddha statue sat on a table at the far end of the room, and strings of pastel-coloured bunting laced across the walls. The studio was so soft and feminine that, scraping six feet and weighing two hundred and eleven pounds, he felt completely and utterly out of his depth. Like a bull in a doll’s house.

    A flutter of air had them turning as the yoga teacher stepped out from behind a beaded curtain that partitioned the bathroom facilities and changing room from the studio. His gut plummeted.

    Great.

    Where was Janine, the middle-aged mum of six who had taught the other classes?

    This not-Janine woman was the studio owner, Saskia Hall. Until now he’d only seen her briefly when he’d been leaving and she’d come in to take a different class. And once, in his local pub when he’d been with his teammates, he’d seen her across the room and couldn’t help but look at her. And she’d looked at him too, he was certain. Intrigued by her, he’d asked around for her name. Turned out she was a friend of a friend. Even more weird, they were going to be in a bridal party together in a few months—he the best man, she a bridesmaid.

    If he was still here. His life was twelve thousand miles away, not here in London. So he had no right being intrigued.

    She was beautiful, but glacial. Aloof and with a haughty manner that was all kinds of ice queen sexy. And he was tight and ungainly with a broken nose and boot-stud scars on his body, and the least graceful person he knew. Top of the field in everything he’d ever attempted sports-wise, he wasn’t used to feeling less capable than anyone else, but when it came to yoga he was top in the duffers league.

    Now Saskia moved—no, floated, towards them in black lycra leggings and a pale yellow racer-back top that wafted over a long torso and skimmed tight buns. A river of white blonde hair swung loosely down her back as she moved towards them, graceful as a ballet dancer. There wasn’t an inch of fat on her. Her arms were toned and strong, her legs shapely and long.

    But it was her face that commandeered his attention every time he saw her. She had smooth, ivory skin kissed with a smattering of freckles, a perfectly shaped nose and a mouth that was full and sexy…at least he imagined it would be if she deigned to smile. Not once had he ever seen her crack so much as a smirk, and he wondered how it would be to see the full beam smile he thought she could have. If she tried. If he tried hard enough to make it happen.

    But he had a strict look but don’t touch policy when it came to women—he’d been burned too badly in the past to take anything any further. Besides, his son was the only person in the world that mattered these days and going halfway round the world to New Zealand to be with him was his only goal.

    Still, this yoga woman was damned good to look at. Like, stunning. Janine was warm and funny and did nothing to his libido. Where was Janine?

    The ice queen—she looked like Scandinavian royalty—settled herself on her mat in the centre of the room and eased her legs into a lotus position. Her knees flattened perfectly onto the floor. Clearly, she hadn’t torn her hamstring in a ruck.

    Her body language might have been zen, but her expression was far from it. Her brow was lined and her lips pursed. ‘Hi, Ryan and—’

    ‘This is Josh.’ Ryan butted in.

    ‘Yes, I know who you are.’ She eyed Josh suspiciously.

    ‘Of course. Everyone knows the captain of the hottest team of the year, right?’ Ryan grinned. ‘He’s been to a couple of Janine’s group classes, but he’s a Neanderthal and cynical as to the benefits of yoga. I’m hoping you can sort him, Saskia. He blew his hamstring and needs a good stretch. Oh, and a brain transplant.’

    She nodded. ‘Good to see you again, Ryan. Although, it’s a shame your desperate friend hasn’t quite reached the same level of evolution as you have.’ She turned to Josh. Cool blue—okay, icy—eyes looked him up and down. Slowly. So damned slowly and so damned critically he felt weirdly exposed. So, she’d heard him say he must be desperate if he had to come to yoga. And? He was.

    ‘I’m Saskia, Saskia Hall, and I’ll be teaching your private lessons for the next four weeks. I know you booked in with Janine, but unfortunately her mother is sick and she has to step back a little from here to care for her. But I hope you’ll open yourself up to the possibility of the benefits. Yoga is good for everyone’s mind, body and heart.’

    ‘I just want to stretch my hammies.’ Josh shrugged, pointing to the offending left leg that had cramped up and then popped weeks ago, preventing him from stepping onto a field unless carrying the water bottles for the players.

    ‘Give it a month. You’ll see such a difference. Yoga won’t just have changed your body, it will have changed your life.’

    She was obviously a card-carrying member of the hippy dippy club. Okaaay. He threw some shade at his man Ryan by way of a frown. Thanks for this, mate. Not.

    ‘I just want to fix my leg thanks, Saskia. My life is fine.’ Never mind that it wasn’t, but he wasn’t going to admit that to her. Skype didn’t make up for lost cuddles or bedtime stories no matter how much you pretended it did. Yoga wasn’t going to fix that, but he hoped it would help in getting the Auckland Jets selectors to believe he was fit for purpose as a number nine. Then he could go home to his boy. He wasn’t sure how or when the rest of the hot mess of his life would be fixed.

    ‘I’m sure Janine has helped you use the props to get into the correct alignment for the poses.’ Saskia’s back was ramrod straight but she visibly relaxed her shoulders. Her voice was slow and mesmerising and he wondered if they got taught that at yoga school the way he’d been taught to shout orders at the guys in a scrum. Talk about opposites. ‘Don’t try to fight using them, we all do. Props are for the wise, we like to say, not the weak. We’re going to start, can you sit cross-legged?’

    ‘Not usually.’ Proving just how inflexible he was, he tugged his right leg up and scrunched his heel under his left thigh. Unlike her tucked-in, flattened-to-the-floor legs, his knee stuck up proudly, pointing to the ceiling. He tried again, realised his back was more Quasimodo than Yogi bloody…bear? His left leg was worse. He shrugged. A month? He needed a lifetime or jelly legs to get to sit like her. ‘Weak?’ he grunted, as he wrestled his left leg down only to have it immediately pop back up. ‘Clearly you haven’t played the Saracens in a finals match.’

    ‘No, clearly I haven’t. That’s not my idea of fun at all.’ Her expression told him she couldn’t think of anything worse than rugby…unless, maybe, private yoga lessons with rugby players. She put her hands into a prayer position, her thumbs grazing her chest bone in between her breasts. His eyes were drawn there as she said, ‘Interesting accent. Australian?’

    He sighed. Every time. He’d been in England for three years and every time he opened his mouth someone accused him of being an Aussie. He dragged his eyes back to her face and was surprised to feel a jolt of embarrassment that he’d been caught looking at her chest. But hell, he was a red-blooded male and she was hot despite the grump. ‘No. Kiwi. I’m from New Zealand.’

    ‘Okay.’

    ‘You’ve been?’ He knew he was just trying to delay the inevitable painful tying himself in knots by engaging her in conversation.

    ‘No.’ She turned a little away from him and breathed in deeply through her nose. Then again. She lowered her head and closed her eyes.

    Okay, so not much of a conversationalist.

    To his left Ryan was doing the same thing; closing his eyes and breathing audibly in and out. Shoot. Josh copied, taking two deep breaths, closing one eye but keeping the other open so he could see what to do next. He needn’t have worried, as Saskia’s soft voice floated across the room. ‘Take a few moments to commit to your practice. Observe your breath. In for three and out. Two… Three…’

    He much preferred observing her and the way her eyelashes grazed her cheeks. The way her lips softened from tight and cross to a relaxed plump line. And he wondered what it would take to put a smile on her face.

    ‘One… Two… Three…’

    But as he closed his other eye his son’s face floated into his head, the tears on little Zeke’s cheeks as he’d gone through passport control clutching Little Bunny and waving goodbye after their last holiday together. Then Tanya’s stony-faced grimace, and all the heated emotions he had for her filled his chest alongside the wave of different ones for his boy. The weight of the promises Josh had made, that they’d be together soon, pressed in on his ribcage.

    Anger at the reason they’d had to leave their home in the first place—the lies that had been printed and the taunts on social media—stalled his breath even now. Then the disappointment at the tight shock of pain that had spiralled round his thigh and the thought of those rapidly dying promises cut into his gut. Because what good was a broke father with no job? He needed to pay for two houses, one here and one in Auckland—

    ‘Josh? Josh?

    ‘What?’ His heart thundered when he heard his name.

    ‘Are you with us?’

    ‘Oh. Yes.’ The other two had moved on while he’d observed not just his breath but his life. It didn’t look good from this angle. Good thing, though, it looked like all they were doing now was standing up.

    Saskia’s cool eyes settled on him. ‘Would you like to join us in tadasana?

    ‘Sure. Sorry. I got distracted.’ He scrambled up to his feet and almost tripped over in his hurry. He righted himself on his mat. ‘Shit… I mean, sorry, again. I’ve got stuff happening and I was thinking about—never mind.’ He was mumbling like a teenager and all the while he could feel Ryan’s amusement building. God, he was going to be roasted by the rest of the team. Josh’s big yoga fail. Couldn’t even stand up properly. Wittering on like an idiot.

    ‘It happens.’ The cool blue warmed a little. ‘Just let the thoughts come and go, don’t dwell on them but don’t fight them either.’

    If only it was that easy. Guilt and doubt had a habit of taking root. He put his feet together, arms by his sides, fingers splayed just like she was showing them. ‘This right?’

    ‘Almost. Big toes together. Feet in line with the edges of the mat. Okay, tighten your thigh muscles against the bone. Allow your stomach to drop back a little. Buttocks down. Chest up. Shoulders down, head up and back.’

    He felt as if he was tensing every muscle and holding everything tight. Trying to remember everything she said as she said it made him forget what she’d just said. Or maybe it was her melodic voice that was doing that. ‘And don’t forget to breathe.’

    ‘Shit.’ He tried to breathe normally as he sucked in his belly and lowered his chest, or was it supposed to be up? He’d forgotten. ‘We’re only standing up. Why is it so hard?’ He was so damned taut and stretched his voice sounded as if he was squeezing it through a bagpipe.

    ‘Josh.’ She took a few steps towards him. This close to her he could smell her fresh summery scent. It wasn’t some fancy air freshener he’d breathed in when he entered the studio, it was her; flowers and something fresh like the pure alpine air in Queenstown. ‘It’s important to engage both your body and your mind in your practice.’

    ‘’Kay.’ It was all he could manage as he stretched his arms down by his sides, copying her.

    ‘She means stop saying shit,’ Ryan whispered, although his voice reverberated around the room.

    ‘I’m so sorry, Saskia. Force of habit.’ Way to impress her, Joshie boy. He was never disrespectful—that wasn’t how he’d been brought up or how he behaved to any woman. But something about the whole rarified atmosphere made him nervous and that wasn’t a trait he liked. Or maybe it was because he’d only been here ten minutes and he’d already had to look inside himself as well as at himself and that wasn’t a great spectator sport for anyone. ‘I spend far too much time around rugby players and not enough in polite company. You can take the boy out of rugby, but not rugby out of the boy, right?’

    ‘Right.’ But as he caught Saskia’s eye, her mouth twitched. There! She was human after all.

    Why was impressing her important? He did as she suggested and let that thought go. Then another one arrived…she was damned hot and smelled good.

    Ryan shook his head and did one of his famous eye rolls. ‘Maybe just shut the hell up completely, and listen.’

    In this standing up position Josh’s shoulders were being forced back and so close together he thought his neck muscles might snap. ‘I’m a…what do you call it?’

    ‘No-hope douchebag who can’t keep his mouth closed?’ His friend laughed.

    No matter how much shade Ryan threw at him, Josh couldn’t help laughing too. ‘A verbal learner. Words. I like words.’

    ‘Well, keep them in your head, mate. I’m trying to learn here too, and I do it by watching.’ A sigh. ‘In silence.’

    ‘A visual learner then.’ Josh couldn’t help himself, but with two sets of darkened eyes staring at him he got the message and buttoned his lip. ‘Okay, now I’ll be quiet.’

    ‘Are you both done? Can we move on? Downward Facing Dog.’ Saskia breezed her arms forward to the floor and placed her hands onto the mat. ‘Arms shoulder-width apart, legs hip-width.’

    Josh bent forward, his arms reaching the floor, but his legs were never going to straighten like hers no matter how much he tried. He muffled a cry as pain zipped up his left thigh.

    She was by his side in an instant. ‘Are you okay?’

    ‘Ugh.’ The pain intensified.

    ‘Where does it hurt?’

    ‘Ugh.’ He rubbed the back of his leg and tried to focus on her face rather than the sting of pain. She really was beautiful. And all concern as her eyes wandered over his thigh.

    ‘You can speak, Josh. It’s fine. Really.’

    ‘You do not want to hear what I want to say.’ He stretched out his leg and wiggled his toes. ‘Because it’s going to be a lot worse than shi—’

    ‘Okay.’ Saskia jumped in, biting her lip, and he could have sworn she almost smiled. ‘We can ease off this pose if you like.’

    ‘I’m fine, I just need to do it slowly.’ He was not going to be treated like someone who couldn’t do it. Defeat wasn’t part of his vocabulary…or some such fighting talk like that, that he’d been fed from the age of eight, first by his father then every rugby coach he’d ever had. Fight. Attack. Push. Win at all and any cost, including a family life or meaningful lasting relationships.

    ‘Is it okay if I help you? It means I’ll have to touch your body. I have to ask because some people don’t like it.’

    ‘Sure.’ Why wouldn’t anyone like it? He resumed Downward Facing Dog position.

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