New Adult / Contemporary Romance
Date Published: June 10, 2015
Rory’s once promising ballet career was destroyed by family tragedy and illness. She turned her life around and became a lawyer. Now at the start of her legal career, she lacks passion in her work and self-confidence in her abilities. But when she meets gorgeous, mysterious Russian ballroom dancer, Sasha, at a firm holiday party, her passions for life and dance are immediately re-kindled.
Since being torn from his Siberian family as a child, Sasha’s life ambition has been to be world ballroom champion, a path he was destined for until his former partner pulled the plug on their partnership. She went on to win the world title, leaving him, without a partner equal in ability, forever in second place. The instant he lays eyes on Rory, he recognizes the depth of her passion and talent, and falls hard for her in more ways than one.
But she also reminds him of great pain from his past. He must not only overcome his own demons but convince her to leave her demanding law career, and all that she has worked for in her adult life, to train with him full-time in order for their partnership – both on and off the dance floor – to work.
This is part one in a continuing three-book series.
Tonya Plank, Excerpt from Fever: A Ballroom Romance, Book Two
The corners of his mouth turned up ever so slightly again. “We are going to have to do this the hard way, no?”
I took a step back. I had no idea what he meant. “No?” I said more as a question than answer.
“I’ll be back,” he said and left the room.
Hmmm. I wondered what he was doing as I heard him climb the winding staircase and tap around upstairs. I looked at myself in the mirror and self-consciously began a rumba basic.
Within seconds he flew down the stairs, holding what appeared to be a large white silk sash. It was quite elegant.
I stopped and turned to him. “That’s pretty. What are you going—” I began.
But in a flash, he was behind me. I could see in the mirror that he was pulling the scarf sash thing lengthways and folding it over a few times.
“I’m so glad you think so,” he said as he raised it over my head and began placing it over my eyes.
“What? What are you doing? You can’t do that,” I yelled, pushing it out of the way and turning around to face him.
“Rory, please. Please just try this.”
“I need you to understand that I need my eyesight,” I said, panicked. “This floor, this room. I don’t know it that well. What if I go flying out the—” I pointed to the huge patio door.
“Roryyyy,” he moaned, rolling his eyes. “Do you really think I would let anything happen to you?”
I folded my arms in front of me. “I think you would try to prevent something bad from happening. But, but, but, you may not be able to control everything if we get…out of control,” I stuttered, trying to come up with something. I just didn’t want to be blindfolded.
“Exactly how fast do you think we’re going to be moving?” He smiled wickedly, moving toward me ever so slowly.
I took a step back. “Well if we’re doing samba or paso—”
“We will do only rumba with you blindfolded. Okay?”
“Well, what’s on the other side of that, anyway? A cliff? We never go out there.”
His smile grew more wicked and he stepped closer. “We haven’t been out yet because it’s always been night when you are here and we are practicing. There will be plenty of time for you to see the backyard—and the hot tub—later.” He stroked the length of the sash. “It’s really very soft. There is nothing to be scared of, Rory.” Now the mischievous smile was replaced by a completely innocent-looking grin.
I kept my arms crossed in front of me. “I don’t like this,” I said.
“Rory, this is just for a few minutes. Just until I show you that your sense of sight shouldn’t always control. That you also have other senses, like a sense of touch. Please just trust me.” He raised his brows and held the scarf toward me like it was an offering. His innocent grin produced those boyish dimples that made him completely irresistible. “Have I let you down before?” he asked.
I remembered the lifts and the trust holds. No. He hadn’t. “Fine,” I said, uncrossing my arms. “But if I get too weirded out, it’s coming off immediately. And don’t tie it too tight.”
His grin widened as he walked behind me, still stroking the material. “Yes, my dear,” he said playfully.
It was silky and perfumed and actually felt cool and comforting against my skin. He was very gentle and he wrapped it around and tied the back. It still freaked me out when he released me and I was standing in the middle of the room with no support.
“That might be too tight. I might get a migraine,” I protested.
He chuckled. “It is very loose, Rory. See.” He placed a finger between the knot and the back of my head and wiggled it around a bit.
“No, I can’t see. That’s the problem.”
His chuckle turned into a laugh. “But you felt it, right?”
I didn’t answer. Right now I just wanted to be stubborn and pout.
“I know you did.” He patted my hair down in back as he removed his finger from under the blindfold. Then he walked away, leaving me standing alone.
“Sasha?” I called out. I would have felt more comfortable in my own place. I knew where things were. His dance floor was so blasted huge. It made me anxious when he wasn’t touching me.
“I’m just finding the music.”
“The Look of Love” came back on, and I could feel the heat of his body moving toward me. I held my hands out, ready to feel him. His fingertips touched mine. He positioned me in our closed handhold, placing the fingers of my left hand around his right bicep and clasping my right hand with his left. Our basic handhold, the feel of which I was now, with no sense of sight, hyper-aware.
“Okay, we will try again.”
“Just go slowly. And don’t expect me to get everything right.” I was perturbed. If he thought he was going to be at all hard on me like this he was really going to get an earful.
He didn’t say anything. Instead he just began moving. He shifted his weight to his left, my right, without taking a step, then shifted back to the other side. He was doing a basic cucharacha. I did as he did. Then his hand on my back began pressing under my shoulder blade. I felt his body turn to the right and his left arm raise my right one. His hand under my left shoulder blade pushed me into a slight diagonal. Okay, he wanted me to do an alemana, underarm turn. I brought my left elbow close to my body so I wouldn’t smack him in the chest with it on my way past his body.
“If you get elbowed or stepped on it’s your fault,” I warned.
“A chance I will take.” I could hear the sly grin in his voice. “But you’d better not do it on purpose.”
“But how would you know if I did it on purpose or not?”
“I’d know,” he said, squeezing the palm of my raised hand. “Believe me. And then I might do something far, far more harsh.” He elongated the end of his sentence. I could still hear the grin.
All of a sudden, he released my hand and with both arms whipped me around by the waist. What the—?
“Eeek,” I screamed. I stood on one leg, holding the other up with a slight turnout, in an attitude position in back—simply because it was the position that came most naturally to me from ballet. I put my weight as close as possible to the toe of the shoe I stood on so I’d continue turning without stopping abruptly, and so I’d maintain my balance. I held my center in and straightened my back as much as possible and just let him spin me for a few seconds. He kept spinning me around by the waist with his hands. It was a ballet move and I soon realized he knew I could do it. Finally, he stopped me abruptly by grabbing my waist, and brought me toward him, holding me in his arms close to him, both arms around my back.
“Okay, I seriously feel like I’m going to throw up all over you,” I said, not exaggerating all that much. I was dizzy from the spinning. Normally, I’d either spot—which I couldn’t do with the blindfold on—or, if I’d known the spin was coming, I would have held my head back to try to stabilize my equilibrium.
Surprisingly, he said nothing. Instead I felt his breath on me as he sighed deeply. His lips were very close to mine. My heart began to race as I wondered for a second if he was going to kiss me.
After working for many years as a criminal appeals attorney in New York, Tonya Plank now lives and writes in Southern California. A former amateur ballroom dancer, she wrote the dance blog, Swan Lake Samba Girl. Her first novel, Swallow, won several awards, including gold medals in the Independent Publisher and the Living Now Book Awards, and was a finalist in ForeWord’s Book of the Year and the National Indie Excellence Awards.
When not writing, she enjoys taking road trips with her rescue dog, Sofia, devouring Mexican food and Cadillac margaritas, sweating to dance-based workouts, cuddling up with her cats and a good book, and seeing dance performances of any kind. Her favorite places in the world are Lincoln Center in New York City, the Pacific Coast Highway from Laguna Beach to San Francisco, and the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah.
To connect with her, please find her at www.tonyaplank.com where she tries to blog regularly.