by Lesa Howard
Release Date: 03/01/14
Summary from Goodreads:
Christine Dadey’s family uprooted their lives and moved to Houston for her to attend the prestigious Rousseau Academy of Dance. Now, two years later, Christine struggles to compete among the Academy’s finest dancers, her parents are on the brink of divorce, and she’s told no one about her debilitating performance anxiety and what she’s willing to do to cope with it.
Erik was a ballet prodigy, a savant, destined to be a star on the world’s stage, but a suspicious fire left Erik’s face horribly disfigured. Now, a lonely phantom forced to keep his scars hidden, he spends his nights haunting the theater halls, mourning all he’s lost. Then, from behind the curtain he sees the lovely Christine. The moldable, malleable Christine.
Drawn in by Erik’s unwavering confidence, Christine allows herself to believe Erik’s declarations that he can transform her into the dancer she longs to be. But Christine’s hope of achieving her dreams may be her undoing when she learns Erik is not everything he claims. And before long, Erik’s shadowy past jeopardizes Christine’s unstable present as his obsession with her becomes hopelessly entangled with his plans for revenge.
Read Excerpt:To avoid the elevator music, I pulled my iPod from my bag again and thumbed through the playlist. The doors started to slide into place when suddenly an arm jabbed through the narrow opening and forced them apart once more. A man in a business suit stepped inside, followed by a blond-haired guy I recognized from a few months back when I’d seen him by the rooftop pool. We made eye contact as he reached for the button panel, and I averted my gaze, at once aware how small the elevator was.When he’d pushed the button for his floor, he waved a hand in the air to get my attention. Then he pointed to the panel. I’d forgotten to choose my floor. Embarrassed, heat crept up my neck and I raised my hand, all five fingers spread apart. He smiled and pushed the fifth-floor button, and my stomach fluttered as I bit my lip to keep from smiling back at him.
In a few swaggering strides, the guy was across the elevator and leaning lazily against the handrail, stacking his suede chukkas one atop the other. After arranging his plaid over-shirt so that it hung loosely away from his tee, he clipped his thumbs casually into his jeans pockets.
For the second time in less than thirty minutes, I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I seriously wished I’d changed into street clothes before leaving the studio. Fighting the desire to adjust the waistband of my sweats, I pretended to have great interest in my iPod. If only I’d taken my hair down, rather than leave it in the somber bun I wore for school every day.
The doors closed and the elevator lifted, gently gliding skyward, and I glanced at the boy. He was cute, really cute, and my stomach fluttered again when he caught me looking at him.
When we stopped at the third floor, the door opened and the man exited. Slowly, the younger one dragged himself from the handrail, taking a wide step that brought him close to me. A full head taller than me, he paused long enough to nod slightly as if telling me goodbye. I sucked in a ragged breath, pulling in the smell of cologne that no doubt had the word noir in its name. He was so close I could have touched the cleft in his chin, and my fingers itched to. I’d never seen such an impressive dimple. And his silver-blue eyes were out of this world. Images of a lone werewolf popped into my mind. I’d definitely read too many of the paranormal romances passed around the Academy.
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I'm not the typical author. I didn't always enjoy reading or writing. While in school, I found it to be a chore I'd just as soon skip. I would rather have been daydreaming, my favorite past time. It wasn’t until I grew up and didn’t have to, that I realized reading was fun. I soon discovered that reading fueled my daydreaming. So, remembering a short story I'd written in high school, I began imagining expanding that story into a book. Before long I found I had loads of ideas for not just the short story but other books and stories as well. Fast forward a few years, a lot of studying about writing, practicing my writing, studying some more, taking classes from people who knew what they were doing, studying and practicing yet more, and ta-dah, author! In the same way I had learned I loved reading, I learned I loved writing, too. It’s just that writing is a lot harder than reading.
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