The Music Box
by Alyssa Drake
A victim of obligation, Gabrielle spends her days slogging away in a dead-end job, fending off the unwanted advances of her manager. At night, she spoon-feeds memories to her mother, a resident at an assisted-living facility, which specializes in dementia.
The only highpoint in her life is Luciano, the grandson of another patient. When his grandmother passes away, Luciano bequeaths Gabrielle an antique music box, which plays a hauntingly familiar tune, her mother’s favorite song.
However, the music box hides a dark secret, one which could rip apart the budding relationship. Once the truth is revealed, Gabrielle must decide what she is willing to sacrifice for love.
Inspiration: This story is dedicated to my first muse, my mother, who passed prior to the publication of this story. It was written during the final weeks of her life. I hope her memory will live on in these pages. -Alyssa Drake
“I didn’t know you could dance,” a deep voice stated from her futon sofa.
Gabrielle screamed and spun, her hands flying to her mouth. “Luciano!” she exclaimed, shocked to find him reclining against her pillows. “How did you get in here?”
“Do you want me to leave?” He tilted his head toward the door.
“Well, no.” Gabrielle’s gaze dropped to the carpet briefly, before her eyes returned to his. “I honestly didn’t expect to see you again.”
He extended his arms widely. “And yet, here I am.” He rose, stalking to her side, eyes glowing. “Would you like to dance?”
She nodded mutely. He wrapped her in his arms, pressed his body tightly against her, and whirled her expertly across the floor. Electricity shot through Gabrielle as Luciano’s hand adjusted its hold on her waist. Her stomach clenched, desire flooding her body. Her eyes fell on his lips. She wondered if they were as soft as they looked.
“Am I dreaming?” she asked reluctantly.
“Possibly. Do you dance in your dreams?”
“Not that I know,” Gabrielle shook her head, her teeth worrying her lower lip. “But how else could you be here?”
“Fair point,” he replied, dipping her low, his mouth lightly touched the hollow of her throat. Gabrielle quivered, the tremor racing through her nerves, burning each one with need.
“Definitely dreaming,” she decided.
Luciano raised a dark eyebrow. “Why do you say that? Is this something you’ve fantasized about?”
“Possibly,” hedged Gabrielle, a red tint creeping through her skin.
He stroked a finger down her cheek, lifting her chin, his mouth a whisper from hers. “What else do you dream about? This?” His lips touched hers, a soft caress, brushing tingles across her mouth.
Connect with Alyssa Drake
Best-selling, award winning, author Alyssa Drake has been creating stories since she could hold a pen, preferring to construct her own bedtime tales instead of reading the titles in her bookshelves. Enraptured with many different types of genres, Alyssa currently writes Historical romance, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy romance, Contemporary romance, and Dark romance stories. She thoroughly enjoys strong heroines and often laughs aloud when imagining conversations between her characters.
Alyssa graduated from the University of the Pacific, with a B.S. in business and a concentration in French literature. Currently she resides in Northern California with her blended family, where she works full-time at a chocolate factory.
She believes everyone is motivated by love of someone or something. One of her favorite diversions is fabricating stories about strangers surrounding her on public transportation. Alyssa can often be found madly scribbling notes on a train or daydreaming out the window as the scenery whips past.