Ballet is the only thing Brandi Alexandra Jameson has ever known. When an accident leaves her dance partner dead and herself unable to dance again, she tries to accept the situation, but some pain goes too deep to be set aside so easily. Lost, alone, frightened, all she wants to do is hide away, but her family has a different idea.
Jarrett Sullivan has been in love with Brandi from the first day he saw her and blacked a kid’s eye for calling her names. Shy, unsure of himself, he stayed in the background, looking out for her, but before he could make his move, she left Victoria for the stage in Toronto. Now that she’s back, he’ll do whatever it takes to win her heart. After badgering her sister, he earns the right to escort the woman he’s always wanted to the event of the year.
When Brandi discovers Jarrett paid an exorbitant amount for an Alexandra Jameson poster, she assumes he’s lied to her and is nothing but another crazed fan. Her heart broken she flees Victoria and ends up in Geneva where she hopes to learn to cope with what’s happened to her.
Can Jarrett find her and explain what happened or will a spiteful woman’s half-truths keep them apart forever?
“You’re here and dressed for the occasion,” Jane said, her grin so wide it split her face. “I almost expected you to back out.”
“I came close,” Brandi answered, leaning into him for support. “But I figured you wouldn’t let me and, as I’ve learned on the way over, he would’ve dragged me here as you’d requested.”
“Not sure he’d have gone that far,” Jane laughed, winking at him. “But, I’m sure he’d have tried to persuade you to attend. Now, come on over here and say hello to everyone.”
Brandi followed her sister into the room, leaning on him for support even though she held her cane with her left forearm and hand.
“Auntie B!” The small ball of energy dressed in red and white chiffon separated herself from her father and ran toward her, almost knocking Brandi down with her exuberant hug.
“Whoa, munchkin,” Brandi said, and laughed. “I’m not that steady on my feet, yet. Don’t you look pretty?”
The vivacious, tiny brunette, hands above her head, pirouetted to show off her fancy dress.
Jarrett watched Brandi blink away tears. Would she ever be able to see this without hurting?
“I learned that at dance class. I even stood on my tippy-toes,” Hope said. “It’s called a parette. I’m going to be a ballerina, just like you one day.”
“You’ll be a much better dancer than me,” Brandi answered and smiled. “Now, tell me about your beautiful dress.”
“Nana bought it for me. I look like a princess.”
“You do,” she agreed.
“Come on, Hope,” Jane said, her face slightly flushed. “You can talk to Aunt B later. Right now, they have games and prizes for the kids in the salon.”
The child clapped her hands and reached up to take her mother’s. She waved at them as they left the room.
“Nice to see you again, Jarrett. Thanks for bringing my girl here,” Phil Jameson said, reaching for his daughter.
Jarrett reluctantly let go of her and moved out of the way, but stayed close by her side. She was his date tonight, and he wanted every one of the ravenous wolves in the room, looking at her as if she were the blue plate special, to know it.
“You look wonderful, darling,” her dad said, kissing her. “How’s the house?”
“It’s great. You did a magnificent job.”
“Not me,” he said, and chuckled. “Your escort here did all the work.”
“Why didn’t you mention that on the drive over?” she asked, turning to look up at him.
His face heated. This was another thing he’d hoped to keep quiet. The last thing he wanted was for her to feel beholden to him.
“It wasn’t very much really—moving a few walls, redoing the bathroom, putting in sturdier staircases and railings, refinishing the woodwork and staining the wood furniture to match—and it isn’t as if I did all of the work myself.”
He’d done most of it though, considering it a labor of love.
“Of course not. You’re the boss, but I appreciate it. Please tell your men how happy I am with everything.”
“I’ll pass it along,” he said, trying not to preen.
Brandi turned to her father once more.
“I’m more solid on my feet now but, after a while, I get tired and when I do, my back aches, the way it did after a particularly, grueling rehearsal.”
“Jarrett,” a silver-haired woman in black stepped up beside Phil and extended her hand. “Thank you so much for picking her up.”
“It was my pleasure, Reverend Jameson,” he answered.
“Please, call me Clarice. After all, we’re almost family.”
She reached over and pulled Brandi into a tight hug and then held her at arms’ length. “Darling, you look lovely, but you’re still too thin.”
“Mom, you saw me just last week.” The exasperation in Brandi’s voice was clear. “I can’t gain weight that quickly….”
“I know, but you’re even smaller than you were when you danced.” Clarice’s face turned a deep red. “I’m so sorry….”
“Mom, it’s okay. I used to be a prima ballerina. Now, I’m not. I’ve accepted that. We can’t keep dancing around the elephant in the room, pardon the pun.”
Canadian author Susanne Matthews lives in Cornwall, Ontario. A retired educator, she spends her time writing and creating adventures for her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel.