I am in love with the 30's and 40's. I think it's my favorite time period, in regards to history. If I could just get more people to love it as much as I do - and buy stories about it - I'd write a hell of a lot more set in that time period, that's for sure.
The one story I do have is Two Lives in Waltz Time. It's the longest of all my novels, and probably the most romance-y. I was lucky enough, too, for it to be a 2006 RT Award Nominee. But I got to play in that playground, which made me happy, and ultimately, that's what it's all about.
Art restorer Maddy Cardinale loves her job. In fact, the only downside to working the night shift at her prestigious New York museum is fellow restorer Cash Vinci. As charismatic as they come, Cash is the most confident man she has ever known. He’s also handsome, sexy as hell, and determined to get under her skin, no matter what the cost.
When an unusual painting arrives at the museum, neither of them anticipates the magic unleashed by a fleeting touch of the canvas. Suddenly, Cash and Maddy aren’t in their workshop any more. They are both dressed to kill, plunged into the alternate reality of the posh 1940’s nightclub portrayed in the painting. Even worse, the couple learns all too quickly that the club sells more than drinks, and the only reason Maddy doesn’t have to offer more than a dance to the male clientele is because everyone believes she is engaged to Cash.
Dependent on one another as never before, the pair must work together in order to unravel the spell that has them trapped. Vengeful ex-girlfriends, jealous mobsters, and surprise enemies drive the couple into each other’s beds and hearts, sharing secrets as well as passions. The only question is, will they survive long enough to admit their true feelings to each other? Or will their dance be cut short?
“What is it you think you’re going to do for the rest of the day?” he asked as she headed straight for her bedroom.
She hadn’t given it much thought. Her only plan had been to get as far away from him as possible.
“Can I make a suggestion then?” he continued when she didn’t bother to reply.
Maddy paused at her door, glancing back to see Cash walk to the large unit along the wall. When he opened it, she saw an antiquated record player tucked inside, complete with records lined up next to it. “What’re you doing?” she asked.
He ignored her query, flipping through the record sleeves before extracting one to place on the table. The quiet strains of something her grandmother used to listen to filled the room, its jazzy undertones warming her with familiarity.
“You don’t know how to dance, do you?” He didn’t pose the question with animosity. It was more of a statement of fact; he’d witnessed her feeble attempts firsthand. “So, unless you want to continue with the barfly routine, maybe I should show you a few steps.”
“You know how to dance?”
The incredulity in her voice earned her a brilliant smile. “You really think I’m going to pass on a way to pull beautiful women?”
When he put it that way… “I thought I was doing fine last night.”
“You were. And you have the hangover to prove it.”
She stood there silently, long enough for the first song to end and the second to begin. Cash never made a move, waiting patiently by the record player, dancing eyes watching her with growing amusement.
“You know this only works if you’re actually within touching distance, don’t you?” he asked when the second song ended as well.
“I’m still thinking about it.”
“Think a little bit closer then.” With a long step, he marched forward and took her hand, leading her back to the open space in the middle of the room. “You didn’t have this much of a problem dancing with me last night.”
Maddy colored at the reminder. “I was drunk, remember?”
The song was a slow waltz, and Cash settled his hand at the small of her back to pull her gently against his body. He didn’t start moving his feet right away, though. Instead, he leaned in, his mouth hovering just next to her ear. “Don’t tell me you can only dance with me when you’re drunk,” he murmured. “Because something tells me you’d feel even better in my arms stone cold sober.”
Then they were gliding, feet shifting those few inches as the music coaxed them into a familiar pattern, torsos melding in a sinuous grace that was pure instinct. She didn’t respond to his playful taunt; there was nothing she could say that wouldn’t incriminate her further.
But as he led her through that first lesson, Maddy hid away her pleased smile. He was right about one thing.
It definitely worked best when they were touching.
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