Whew! I’ve been crazy busy this past week! Family and weddings – enough said! 😉 But I’m excited to have for you an excerpt of Rachel Jones’ book To Dance One More Day. These are the kind of stories I can melt into! 😀
From her early teens, ballet has been an integral part of Jillian Russell’s life. One by one, she loses her parents, grandparent, husband and child. If being alone in the world wasn’t bad enough, a medical diagnosis takes away her chance to become a prima ballerina.
Knowing a part of her will die if she walks away from ballet, she changes her focus and builds a ballet company and opens a dance school. This endeavor takes all her resources and leaves no time to build new relationships outside her world of dance. Jillian rationalizes if she doesn’t build relationships, she can’t be deserted. And she’s not sure she would survive another loss.
Handsome trauma surgeon, Alan Armstrong has relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina for a fresh start. Until a few years ago, he had always envisioned his future to include a wife and children. But after his father died in a plane crash from lack of medical attention, his focus for the future has shifted to equip himself professionally to set up a rural clinic. A supporter of the arts, Alan finds himself on the board of the North Carolina Ballet Company. He has always had a penchant for fixing things. Realizing Jillian’s professional life could use some help, it is not long before he realizes he is drawn to her romantically as well.
They fall in love, but when Alan discovers Jillian has been misdiagnosed, he tells her she must decide between their love or a performance career in ballet.
Alan tuned out Jillian’s lighthearted chatter as he focused on the grand piano on the stage. Reagan was here in Charlotte! And he would see her backstage after the concert. He had had such high hopes for the night when he had heard Jillian’s news. But now to have his past collide with his future was almost comical. The house lights dimmed and a hush fell over the audience.
Reagan walked onto the stage amid the applause of the excited audience. She bowed at her waist, a graceful bow, before taking her seat at the piano. Alan felt his breath catch in his throat. She was stunning in a muted turquoise lace mermaid gown. The neckline was sheer with beautiful beading. The skirt flowed to the ground. As usual her long, dark brown hair was swept in an updo.
She opened with Beethoven’s Sonata No. 8 in C minor. It was executed with a flawless precision, no surprise to Alan. He watched as her body moved in a familiar rhythm to the sounds she produced, movement that he remembered as clear as if he had watched her play yesterday. Her fingers flew over the keys and twenty minutes after she began, she ended the piece with a stellar finish. Reagan stood, bowed and left the stage. The house lights remained dimmed.
Jillian gave a light touch to Alan’s arm. “She’s magnificent. I can’t wait to meet her. I’ll have to get Barb a nice thank you gift for the tickets.”
Alan nodded. If the lights had been up Jillian would have seen his trans-like state as he replied, “She’s just as I remember her.”
Reagan returned and resumed the first portion of the program. Schubert’s Impromptu in G flat major was followed by Rachmanioff’s Prelude Op. 23 No. 5. As Reagan bowed, Alan glanced at the program. She’s ending the first half with Chopin. The polonaise was short, but had a powerful ending. Reagan exited the stage amid a thunder of applause as the house lights came up. People began leaving their seats to move about during the intermission. Alan and Jillian walked through the noisy lobby without attempting to talk. He took a place in line for two glasses of wine while Jillian went in search of the ladies room. How was he going to handle seeing Reagan after all these years, after all the pain he had endured? He didn’t know any way to convince Jillian to skip the backstage meeting. Should he tell her about knowing Reagan, about loving Reagan?
Buy links for To Dance One More Day:
In 1977 Rachel earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education and taught music for ten years. After the birth of her second child, she returned to school and in 1991 earned her Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing and passed the state boards for registered nurses. She has been a labor & delivery and antepartum nurse since that time.
Anticipating her retirement from healthcare, Rachel decided to write her first novel at age fifty-seven. For years she had experienced scenes of heroes and heroines rambling about in her thoughts and spilling into her dreams. So it was a no-brainer that she should attempt to capture these thoughts on paper.
Rachel resides in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband of thirty-seven years. She has three adult children, who help spoil their Labrador retriever. She is a member of Georgia Romance Writers, Southeastern Writers Association and is a PRO member of Romance Writers of America.
I can be found at: