The Dance of the Firefly
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.
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."
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.
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.
After supper, Jamey pulled Rowena down the passage.
"Wow," she said. "What a pretty room." She wasn't just saying it. Cameron had put everything into his daughter's space: Disney Princess curtains and matching duvet set, with fluffy soft toys displayed on floating shelves shaped as crowns. In the corner sat a four-poster, with a pink net cascading down the sides, a requirement in Zambia to keep malaria mosquitoes away at night. The nets were inconvenient, but Cameron had used hers to add a dreamy effect.
"Even your mosquito net has lacy edges," she said, picking up a corner and fingering the sturdy lace. "Where did you get it?"
"My daddy asked a lady to make it girly."
"He's very kind."
"Look at my Barbie dolls. I have three ballerina ones. This one…." Her voice went quiet, almost reverent. "My mommy bought me this one a few months before she died. Her legs and arms bend, and she has a second pair of ballet shoes. Some black ones."
"Now that's pretty. I love black ballet shoes."
"I did my first principal role with black ballet shoes. I was the bad witch in a show we danced in."
Jamey stared at her. "Why did you want to be the witch?"
She suppressed a laugh. "I didn't want to be a bad person, but the role was the hardest, and I considered it a privilege to be chosen."
"Did you get a curtain call?"
"We all did. My teacher did a great job in writing the story and choreographing the ballet steps for us. The dance was so popular, we even did it in front of the president of Zambia."
"Wow. My mommy used to dance in front of thousands of people. She was very popular."
"What was her name?"
"She used her old name for her ballet name. Samantha Palmer."
"Oh." Rowena swallowed a lump in her throat. Samantha Palmer had been a well-known prima ballerina who danced for the South African Ballet Theatre, now called the South African Msanzi Ballet Company. She should know. She'd tried to get in there, with no success. Samantha had been one of her idols. The most graceful, delicate dancer she'd ever watched. Her role in Romeo and Juliet had been the highlight of her career, giving her international recognition. That had been five years ago. How long ago had she died? How had she died?
"Your mommy was a very talented dancer. You must have inherited some of her talent."
"You think so?" Jamey asked. "It's hard, though."
"Trying to dance like her."
Her breath hitched. The girl had a difficult act to follow.
"You don't have to dance like her. You must dance your own way. Everyone has his or her own style. You need to work on your strengths and concentrate on what you can do."
Jamey nodded. "But Daddy misses watching Mommy. I've seen him play her ballets on the DVD player all through the night. If I could dance like her, maybe Daddy would be happy again."
She suppressed a gasp. No wonder the kid had hated her ballet lessons. The pressure had been enormous on her.
"Your daddy is happy with you being a child and having fun. You don't have to be too serious with your ballet, yet. It takes years to learn how to dance like your mother did."
She nodded, her lips quivering.
"Your mommy would have wanted you to enjoy ballet. She wouldn't want it to be something hard and too serious."
"And it's not your mommy's ballet Daddy misses," she said, taking Jamey into her arms and giving her a tight squeeze. "It's her company at home. He watches her so he can remember her as a person."
Jamey's face was wet with tears.
"I'm sorry your mommy died." Rowena wiped a tear away with her hand. "My mommy died a few days ago. I miss her so much." She swallowed the lump in her throat. "I can imagine how you must miss her, being a kid."
"But your daddy loves you whole bunches. He cares for you deeply."
Jamey jumped off her lap and grabbed a puzzle. "This is my favorite. It's of a hedgehog and a mole."
"It's cute." Rowena was relieved to get away from the difficult subject of her deceased mother. She couldn't bear to see how much it hurt Jamey not to have her mother with her. As much as she hated being without her mom, at least she'd had her growing up.
"We can make the jigsaw on the table in the lounge while the others watch rugby. I can hear them all cheering in there." She lowered her voice to a whisper. "Don't tell anyone, but I hate rugby."
The girl giggled. "Me, too."
She linked pinky fingers with Jamey. "Perfect. Then we can build the picture together and pretend to watch. Okay?"
The child nodded, the box gripped in her arms, her eyes shining. The smile came back, and Rowena let out a breath she hadn't known she'd been holding. How could she become so attached to a kid so quickly? Something weird had happened. From worst student to tiny friend, a miracle had occurred. How could she push her new little friend away because her father made her feel uncomfortable—and too aware of her womanhood?
Kathy loves reading and writing even more. She homeschools her three kids, so in between unsuccessfully explaining the difference between subject and predicate or how to divide fractions, she enters an imaginary world of troubled and passionate characters whose stories take over the page. Kathy lives in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa, where the summers are hot, the winters cool, and bugs thrive. Her first published novel, Wedding Gown Girl, came out in 2012 with Astraea Press. She belongs to the Romance Writers of South Africa Group (ROSA) which has been her greatest support and inspiration the last few years.
Decadent Publishing: http://www.decadentpublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=1057&osCsid=psvv2pol3d6nv2hll70o53uja2
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-dance-of-the-firefly-kathy-bosman/1121203516?ean=2940149926367
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kathy_Bosman_The_Dance_of_the_Firefly?id=DN6EBgAAQBAJ
Online Links for Kathy:
Website and blog: http://www.kathybosman.com/
Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/KathleenBosman
Newsletter Subscription: http://eepurl.com/NokET