Adair is perfect -- beautiful, intelligent, and a talented actor and singer, he's the star of Hawk Eye Theater Troupe.
Quiet and shy, Finely excels at making something out of nothing. A talented costume designer, he longs to share the spotlight with Adair, but he knows he has neither the talent nor the charisma to make the transition from backstage production to leading man -- until he finds a pair of magical shoes left by a mysterious benefactor.
Thanks to his newfound magic, Finley's life starts to turn around. Everything he wasn't, he becomes. Everything he wanted, he receives. But the closer they get to show time, the more Finley questions if the love he wants for Adair ends on stage or if what they've found can survive once the curtain falls and the magic goes back in the box.
Praise for Sole (Christmas Magic)
"I loved the fact that I ended up as surprised as Finley. If you like traveling theater troupes and their backstage drama, if an angsty guy coming into his own is your thing, and if you’re looking for an entertaining read with a nice twist at the end, then you will probably like this novella."
-- Serena Yates, Rainbow Book Reviews
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Sole (Christmas Magic)
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2017 Ana Raine
Adair Woodsley is a god. Maybe not the toga-wearing, lightning-throwing kind, but under the word perfection in the dictionary, his picture has got to be there. From his very first performance, his heavenly voice and toned body stole the show.
When it happened again, Hawk Eye Theater Troupe made sure he was cast in the lead for every single production. I watched his very first performance and now I was getting ready to watch his twentieth.
Every show was the same -- dozens of roses littering the stage, flocks of admirers begging for his attention, and an endless stream of people congratulating him at the after party. I was sure he'd had more than his fair share of women and men too. But he didn't have to settle. His admirers were high class, wealthy, and always gorgeous.
If I had been any of those things, I wouldn't have been Hawk Eye's costume designer. I would have been on stage with Adair.
Because Hawk Eye had a modest building in downtown Birmingham, the actors were used to the small black stage. Behind the refreshment table was a tiny closet room where Maisy and I worked tirelessly to sew and alter costumes for the season. Hawk Eye was definitely working on a budget, so most of the clothing we used was from local thrift stores and then altered.
At least we had our own space.
The set designers had to work around the actors as they practiced, sometimes setting up camp along the aisles to hastily draw, paint, and build the sets.
"Running to get coffee, Finley. Want some?" Maisy donned her bomber jacket, a personal creation, and headed for the door. With bright red hair and green eyes, she could've been on the stage with the other beautiful actresses. Except she cringed every time more than two people commanded her attention.
I put a pin in the blue satin, the beginnings of a jacket. "If by coffee you mean cream and sugar water, then yes."
"How is it you never get fat even though you drink sugar all day?"
"World's greatest mystery," I retorted, sliding a few more pins in place. "I thought you said being a bean pole was attractive."
Maisy scoffed, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. "Yea, except it's not my attention you're trying to get."
I flipped her off and refocused on the jacket. It was an easy design, and had to go onto the actress quickly after her dance scene. Rent had some of the best music I'd ever heard, but the costume changes were a bitch to work with. I'd just about managed to finish attaching the sleeves when a quiet knock on the door startled me half to death.
Maisy would never knock. And the director only visited when it was necessary.
"Come in." I nudged a heap of uncut fabric underneath the table to make some more room.
When I saw who walked in, I would've fallen over had I not been seated.
"Adair," I whispered, my voice so small I felt like a joke of a man. "What... what can I do for you?"
He was every inch a masterpiece, even in loose sweats and a T-shirt. His neat hair was as dark as mine was pale. Eyes the color of steel assessed me as if Adair were wondering what to make of the hovel he had entered.
For all the apprehension in his eyes, to his credit, he remained polite. I, on the other hand, resorted to a quivering, shaking mess who couldn't meet his gaze.
"Jeff is having a panic attack." He ran a hand through his hair, every strand falling perfectly back into place like his life. "Director's always prone to anxiety, but can't say I blame him this time."
I waited, urging my mouth to move but failing.
"Jared had an emergency back home and had to leave. So we're one Angel short."
"Angel? As in the lead?"
"Yea. So while he's sorting out that mess, I thought I'd come to tell you to halt his costumes until we find a replacement."
Christmas was our biggest time of year. Everyone was coming out to see shows and every single one had already been sold out. "We only have a month."
"You're telling me." Adair moved to a chair and for one breathless second, I thought he was going to sit. Looking over the fabric and hastily cut patterns, he seemed to think better of it and leaned on the table instead. "What can we do?"
Hawk Eye was already a small troupe, and finding another person on such short notice was going to be difficult. "Hold auditions?"
"Pretty sure Jeff is going to be all over that. Just as soon as he chills the fuck out."
"Uh-huh." I bent my head over my sewing machine, unable to thread the needle properly. Adair, the embodiment of my every fantasy, was inches away, and yet I was too scared to even take advantage and look at him.
He caught a strand of my hair in between his fingers. "You dyed your hair. Matches your eyes now."
My pale hair was perfect at catching color, so I'd opted for bright blue this time. "Thanks."
I stopped to remind myself not to get swept away. Adair was an actor. He delivered lines he never meant all the time. Adair released me, his tone lowering. "When are you going to take me up on my offer?"
"Which one?" I played dumb.
"The one where you come home with me."
I closed my eyes. Desperately, I wanted to be with this man. Wanted to be bent over and scream until my voice gave out. But his promises were empty, our future hollow. Without some sort of guarantee, I could never give in to his interest or I'd be destroyed. "Ha, right. Jeff is probably looking for you," I joked. "If you don't find a new Angel, you're going to have a lot of disappointed fans."
I held my breath, wishing Adair would try harder. Even if only a little bit and maybe, just maybe, it would be enough for me to finally give in.
What a magical night that would be.