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The Dance of the Firefly

The Dance of the Firefly

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The Dance of the Firefly

Longueur:
208 pages
3 heures
Sortie:
Feb 11, 2015
ISBN:
9781613338094
Format:
Livre

Description

Mix together a beautiful ballerina and ballet teacher, a sexy single dad, and a precocious-yet-sweet daughter, and emotions run high. Add racial and cultural differences, work contracts coming to an end, and hurts and memories from the past and sparks fly.

Rowena loves to dance but has ended up teaching ballet instead. When she helps out Cameron’s difficult daughter, a bond develops between the two dancers. Cameron makes Rowena uncomfortable because he stirs up new, unwanted feelings which make no sense when he intends to leave Zambia soon when his contract ends.

Cameron can’t resist sanguine live-wire Rowena who makes his daughter smile for the first time in years. But can he risk his heart again when memories of his late wife come back to haunt him? And Rowena has a lot more at stake in giving her all.

Sortie:
Feb 11, 2015
ISBN:
9781613338094
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Kathy lives in South Africa, where the summers are hot, the winters cool, and bugs thrive. She writes fiction in many forms, most of the time with women who feel deeply, men who care strongly, and characters who learn lessons along the way. Every so often, she sprinkles a little magic in her stories. When she’s not hectically busy, she loves reading, going dancing, watching movies, water painting, and exploring the spiritual world.If you’re inclined to keep up with Kathy’s book news, you can follow her on her website: http://www.kathybosman.com or subscribe to her newsletter: http://eepurl.com/NokET

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The Dance of the Firefly - Kathy Bosman

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Please purchase only authorized electronic editions and do not participate in, or encourage, the electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

The Dance of the Firefly

Smashwords Edition

Copyright © 2015 by Kathy Bosman

ISBN: 978-1-61333-809-4

Cover art by Tibbs Designs

All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work, in whole or in part, in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.

Published by Decadent Publishing Company, LLC

Look for us online at:

www.decadentpublishing.com

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Dedication

To my late mother, Sylvia. I still miss you and wish I could tell you all that’s happened in my life. We only had six years together but you left me with precious, happy memories.

The Dance of the Firefly

By

Kathy Bosman

Chapter One

Rowena Chisanga slipped her foot into her second ballet pointe shoe, feeling the lambskin pad her toes against the roughness of the box at the bottom. She hadn’t adjusted to the modern silicone boxes yet. Taking a deep breath, she stood tentatively, one foot flat, the other en pointe. Her wan expression blinked back at her from the mirror taking up the whole wall of her teaching studio. It had been years since the dream had died. But the sensual pull of her muscles hadn’t dissipated. She stood on the tips of her shoes and twirled in a gentle pirouette. All her steps came back to her. Without music, she danced about, her breath coming in gasps and feet aching, but she felt alive.

She snuck a peek at the mirror. By now, she could have been a prima ballerina. Yet, she appeared ancient in her reflection, her arms stiffened, her face pale. Dark, puffy rings sat below her eyes.

Mom, she whispered.

The words, I miss you, didn’t come out, but she felt them right down to the aching hole in the middle of her gut.

Mmmh mmmh. A harsh throat clearing came from the door. Rowena spun en pointe to face the entrance to her studio and brought her arms down in a gentle fall. One of the parents stood there, hands on hips. One of the fathers. She swallowed the frustration. The last student had left an hour ago. What did he want?

Hi. Life had to continue, even through the numbness. May I help you?

I wish to discuss something with you. I’m Jamey’s father.

Oh. Cold shivers ran down her spine, mingling with the cooling sweat from the brief exertion that had sapped all her energy. Jamey. Her most trying student. The one who made her wish she didn’t live in a remote African country where no ballet star could ever rise to prominence, hence her having to teach instead of perform.

She padded toward him on the soles of her pointes, the leather and boxes making soft knocks—one of her favorite sounds—against the springy wood floor. On closer scrutiny, the man’s eyes were narrowed, his ginger-brown eyebrows jagged.

What would you like to discuss with me?

He seemed to brace himself, a vein popping in his forehead. My daughter came home from her ballet lesson today in tears. I want to know why it’s necessary for you to shout at her continuously.

Rowena clenched her teeth together and counted to five in her head. She managed to speak in a calm voice. Jamey doesn’t listen in class. She wants to play.

She’s only six.

I know, but I’m trying to teach them a dance for the recital coming up. She won’t cooperate with even one sequence. Instead, she talks and giggles, clowning around.

Then you don’t have control over your students.

She’s only six, she said.

The man’s eyebrows lifted, a minuscule movement. Was he amused? Look, I can take her to another studio if you can’t handle her.

Rowena stared at him. Where? She was the only ballet teacher in Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia—the womb of Africa, as people called the country. Her country was shaped like a fetus in a womb and found in the bottom-central part of Africa. Landlocked, hot, tropical, and the only home she’d known.

Be my guest. She turned her back to him and took graceful, pointed steps to the mirror. She lifted her leg against the barre and stretched open, all the time hiding the racing of her pulse. What could she say to him? For once, she didn’t care. Too much had happened in the last week. She couldn’t handle another problem.

She’d expected him to disappear. Instead, she jumped as a shadow appeared in front of her. The man stood a foot from her. Close up, his presence seemed to permeate her. For a brief moment, her gnawing sorrow vanished, and attraction surged in like a current of potent goodness. His features were clear-cut yet contrasting: bronzed skin against almost ginger hair. It could pass for golden brown. Speckles of day-old matching beard. Light brown eyes like the earth near Lake Kariba. Sturdy posture, straight and purposeful. Broad shoulders. Strength she could rely on at this time.

She pushed the crazy thoughts away.

His expression had changed to almost lost. Patience settled upon her, sweet and refreshing after days of pure irritation at everything that moved.

Maybe you could help Jamey.

I’m sorry?

He raked his fingers through his hair. There was anxiety there. Suffering. She took her leg down to give him her full attention.

"What could I do?"

You could give her extra lessons.

I’m full up already, Mr. Hosking. I don’t have time….

Jamey loves to dance. Her late mother was a ballet dancer. It’s her only connection with her.

Late mother! Rowena’s lungs drained of air. Oh, how she could identify with her pain. Although her mother’s death was recent, only six days ago, and she wasn’t a child, she suddenly wanted to hug Jamey and fill her heart with love to take away the lonely hopelessness. How could she have been so impatient with the child? No wonder she was so restless. The recital had become more important than the children. Creating a good image for her studio to increase the size of her classes had taken precedence over putting something into the ones she had.

He peered into her frozen face. I’ll pay you double the price of a normal lesson. Please.

She nodded. I will. Of course.

He instinctively grabbed her hand. You won’t regret it. Jamey’s a very bright child, and she’s crazy about you.

Her insides shuddered, and her toes curled at the simple contact. His hand was warm, and he squeezed a little too hard, but suddenly she wished he would keep it there. But he didn’t.

Really?

He laughed. Yes. She says you’re so beautiful, like her mommy. You do look a bit like her. His eyes became dreamy and distant, as though a lifetime of memories passed through his mind.

A pang shot through her. Imagine a man like him loving her with the intensity he directed toward his late wife? What a selfish thought. He was still grieving.

I think that was why she was so upset you shouted at her today.

I’m sorry. She wiped a loose strand of hair away from her face. It’s been…let’s say it hasn’t been the best week of my life. Maybe the worst. I’ll make it up to her.

Thanks. His voice came out strong, confident, less pleading. His gaze—intense and staring right through her—suddenly made her want to flee.

Shall we make a time, a day?

Would Saturday be a problem? I know she’ll be more relaxed, as I’m not at work.

Would he be watching the lesson? Um…I prefer the parents not sit in. It’s distracting for the students. She couldn’t bear those scrutinizing brown eyes upon her while she taught, watching her every move, making sure she didn’t say anything offensive.

Of course. I’m saying, she doesn’t go to school on Saturdays, and we normally have some quality time together. I think the class gets her hyped up at times, but there’s nowhere else for her.

Sure. I’m pretty full up the rest of the week, anyway.

He sighed. I’d better go. Jamey’s at my colleague’s house at the moment.

Sure. Say at ten?

Perfect.

He walked out of her studio as she studied his work attire—smart-casual chinos and a checked short-sleeved shirt, beige and white. What did he do? What was he like?

He’s single.

What had gotten into her? She’d lost her mother to heart disease only six days before and had sworn off dating several years ago to get her business established. Maybe her heart was in such a weak state it was going wonky.

She walked to the music system by her desk and played some Tchaikovsky ballet music, her favorite. The steps came back to her in waves, and her energy seemed to return. Why had she stopped dancing properly the last few months? She’d done fitness, simple steps, and stretches, but nothing with complex movement. Partly her mother’s illness, but also busyness and a little bitterness, since she hadn’t gotten the part in the South African ballet company she had been sure she would get. But the rejection had happened five years ago. She should have gotten over it by now.

The flow of her limbs to the music brought fresh tears to her eyes. She pictured her mom standing there as she used to, leaning on one leg, neatly dressed in her sleek pants and a soft blouse—usually pink or peach—admiration pouring from her gaze with a half-smile and half-pursed-lip concentration. She would take in every step she made, every nuance of form. Afterwards, she would tell her how she did, and Rowena would nod because that was what she’d felt her body do.

The music reached a crescendo, mirroring her somber mood. Every cell in her body took on new power—the power of drama and oozing emotion, through her movements. As the piece climaxed, she slid into the splits and flopped her arms down in an exaggerated descend.

She could still do it. After all these years.

***

Cameron slipped out the door before Rowena spotted him watching her. His heart rate betrayed his surprise. He’d never seen anything so beautiful. Samantha used to dance beautifully, but not with so much feeling. His late wife’s ballet had been a perfect craft. Each step melded into the next neatly and graciously, without anything out of line. He felt like he could almost see the imaginary lines on the stage when she danced. The perfect spaces she kept on.

Not this woman. Her dancing was rough, raw, and deep. In those few moments of watching Rowena through the high studio window from the dark outside, his whole soul had been shaken to the core. It was as if she’d touched something deep inside of him.

Since Samantha died, the only human being who mattered was Jamey. Few people understood what it was like to lose a spouse after six years of marriage and eight years together. It was like losing a leg or an arm. Everything you did was crippled. Every moment of every day, you remembered your loss and felt less capable of achieving your goals.

So how could he be so fascinated with another woman? He climbed into his Land Rover and took a potholed road to Kalundu to pick up Jamey. The familiar jarring of the huge gashes in the tar forced him to drive slowly. In some places, the surface of the road consisted of more dirt than tar. Boredom lulled him into a dream world.

Flashes of the teacher’s dance came back to him. Why couldn’t he stop thinking of it? Why did he suddenly long to take the woman in his arms and kiss her thoroughly? Her pertinence had attracted him. The raw energy she displayed had drawn him. The young woman’s unusual appearance had fascinated him. He’d been mesmerized by her fake blonde streaks against dark, straightened locks pulled into a tight ponytail, clear green eyes, and caramel skin. The unusual coloring and bone structure, with her high cheekbones and pointy chin, were softened by the smoothest-looking skin he’d even seen and rounded cheeks.

Saturday was going to be interesting. Not like he would pursue anything. He wasn’t ready for a romantic relationship. But browsing was free. Experiencing a person from a distance should be safe. Pity he couldn’t spy on the class. He had the means to, but would his conscience let him? A small smile tugged at his mouth. He could watch her before and after the lesson. In his mind’s eye, Samantha peered at him from the stage, her body poised in an elevated step, questioning him with her gaze, her gentle smile warming his heart. Yeah, it wasn’t time yet. Would his memories ever let him think of anyone other than his late wife?

He took the flatter, main road to Kalundu, thinking of his last few years in Zambia. He’d moved from South Africa a year after Samantha’s death—partly because of the great financial offer given him and also to get away from the memories of his times with Samantha. In a way, the struggles of living in a third-world country had numbed him to the pain of her death. The first few months had been pure survival: protecting Jamey from malaria and dysentery, obtaining a source of clean water, and navigating the treacherous roads.

The last year had been a settling. Parts of the country astounded him. The continual rains from November to January painted the grass in his yard the greenest green he’d ever set eyes on. Then there was the wildness of the rural areas, the beauty of the art of the native people, and the friendliness of everyone. South Africa remained his home, but the Zambian people had a certain charm. Even if their kitchen was empty, they would buy a huge meal for their guests. His servant girl came across humble and friendly, never rude. The people in the shops peered at him in the eye with interest. The deep racial hurt found in South Africa had passed Zambia by.

But his daughter hadn’t settled. She had friends, but his love, attention, and ice cream-and-cinema dates couldn’t

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