Home > With a Twist (Bad Habits #1)

With a Twist (Bad Habits #1)
Staci Hart

LIFE GOALS

Lily

OH, MY GOD. I CANNOT believe this is actually happening.

It was the only thought in my brain, and it echoed over and over again as I stared in the studio mirror, gripping the barre as Blane Motherfucking Baker nailed me from behind.

Maybe I should explain.

I feel like I should definitely explain.

See, this isn’t the sort of thing I’d ever do under normal circumstances. I’d been busting my ass for years with the New York City Ballet — a job that left me with precious little social life or opportunity for dating — and even at that, I’d avoided hooking up with another dancer. Everybody else did it, but I’d seen the fallout. Not worth it.

But for Blane Baker I’d make an exception.

I still remember the first time I saw him. I was fifteen, far away from home on a scholarship to attend the School of American Ballet, sitting in the lunchroom by myself. He walked in with a tray, laughing with a friend, and my thoughts went something like this:

1)  nvfjrugncpqdhhHNGGGGG.

2) Please, God, don’t let him be gay.

3) HOLY SHIT, HE LOOKED RIGHT AT ME.

Which was the same moment I reached for my phone to cover the fact that I was drooling. My fingers bumped into the plastic cup, sending it flying, and orange juice hit the ground with a slap. The cup skittered across the floor to stop at his feet.

Attempt to look busy: backfire.

Blane laughed at me, that kind of unabashed laugh that makes a teenage girl consider moving to Iceland. He picked up the cup and brought it back to me, smiling genuinely as he set it back on the table with a wink. “Dropped something.”

I melted into a steaming puddle of viscous glop on the ground.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Nadia Anderson walked in behind him, taking in the scene with a horrible smile on her face. That smile said she wouldn’t forget, and when she hooked her arm in Blane’s and they walked away, the Lily-sized pile of goo turned into acid, and I melted through the floor.

She sometimes still called me JuicyFruit, even seven years later.

Whatever. I’m sure that kind of thing happened to him all the time. Blane looked like a freaking god — tall and blond, with blue eyes that I was absolutely certain could see through clothes, a smile so bright that girls literally tripped and fell when they saw it, and an ass that could probably crush a walnut, if it were positioned just so. And he just kept getting hotter with age.

I found out later that he and Nadia were in their last year at SAB, three years older than me, and had been dating since their first year.

Here are a few things you need to know about Nadia: she’s a harpy, she’s a remarkable dancer, and she owns Blane Baker. Nadia was the definitive reason why I would never have a chance with Blane — not during our one year together at SAB and not through our years working together in the company. He was always just a step ahead of me in the ranks, which kept us in each other’s eyesight, but we’d never run in the same group of friends.

Until now.

The universe had given me three supreme gifts, and there was no way in hell I’d waste them.

I’d been promoted to principal dancer with the New York City Ballet.

I’d landed the role of my life as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake.

Nadia had broken up with Blane’s sweet, sweet ass.

That same ass was currently flexing like a piston as he pounded me.

I glanced at my reflection, hoping I’d find myself looking sexy. In my head, I looked so sexy, all parted lips and long lashes, blond hair loose and wavy, like a bathing suit model in the Barbados. But no. I had the most awkward expression on my face, sort of a mix of surprise and confusion. I wiped it away and replaced it with something I hoped looked more appropriate. It was only marginally better, if not a little porny.

I gave up. He didn’t seem to be paying attention anyway.

Blane’s eyes were down, lush bottom lip between his teeth, hands on my hips as he moved faster, giving me a grand total of 6% of his attention, all of which was between my legs. He didn’t bother with the rest of my body at all. And I couldn’t find it in my heart to give one single shit.

Blane Baker, y’all. Blane Do-Whatever-You-Want-To-Me Baker. Making girls lose their minds since puberty, circa 1996.

Clearly, I was not immune.

He finally looked up, though not at me, making a face as he watched himself come with a sort of strangled grunt. I gasped and moaned, hoping I was giving him an appropriate amount of enthusiasm for his effort.

Blane slowed, trailing a hand down my back with a hum. “That was nice.”

I pretended to be out of breath. “Right?” I sounded like an idiot. Get your shit together, Lily. A-game.

“I’ve been thinking about that for a long time, Lily.” He smiled at me in the mirror as he pulled out and took off the condom, righting his pants when he turned for the trash.

My cheeks were on fire. “Me too.” I adjusted my leotard and shook my head at my reflection, taking a deep breath and smoothing my chiffon skirt to fortify myself. My hair was a wreck, and I tied back the mess as the awkward silence stretched on. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. Ask him out for coffee? No, too desperate. Rehearse? I mean, it wasn’t like that was actually what I expected to happen when he invited me to his ‘private studio.’ At least, I’d hoped that wasn’t what he really wanted to do. I’d shaved and everything.

I realize how juvenile I sounded, but being around him kicked me straight back to high school. Normally, I was a fairly rational adult, a professional ballet dancer. Responsible. Not a complete idiot. I wondered briefly if proximity to him could actually affect my IQ.

He turned, and I flashed a smile. Be charming, goddammit. “Rehearsal’s never been so exciting.”

It might have been the lamest statement of my life.

Blane laughed, the sound deep and easy as he sauntered back over to me. “Most definitely. I’m happy to rehearse any time.” He slipped a hand around my waist and kissed my hair.

My mental state deteriorated even further.

“Seriously,” he said. “I’ll give you tips anytime you want.”

A laugh bubbled out of me at the joke. “Your tip. That’s funny.” But when I glanced up at him, he looked a little confused. I watched hopefully as it dawned on him.

“Oh, tips. I get it,” he said with a chuckle.

At least he’s pretty.

Just like that, I had a handle on myself again. I kissed him on the cheek and strutted over to my bag. My pointe shoes lay neglected next to my bag — Blane had jumped me before I’d even had a chance to put them on. So I traded my skirt for leggings, slipped on my flats and picked up my bag.

“See you tomorrow, Blane.” I smiled and gave him the smolder eyes over my shoulder as I walked to the door. I hoped they smoldered, at least. After seeing what I looked like earlier, I couldn’t be sure. When he smiled back, my stomach did a flipflop, and I twiddled my fingers at him before I left the studio.

And by leave, I mean skipped.

I had to tell Rose.

West

My wooden office chair squeaked as I leaned back, squinting at the paper in my hand, not realizing how dark it had gotten, my eyes on the words as I spun the chair around and clicked on the lamp switch. The words jumped into focus, and I scratched at my beard absently, willing my brain to pay attention to the essay I was grading.

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