Title: The Blueberry Swirl Waltz
Author: Maria Imbalzano
Genre: Historical Romance (1950s)
After a family crisis, Katie Hathaway must return home to help out in the family's ice cream shop. She leaves behind her dream job of teaching ballroom dance to spend her summer scooping ice cream and mixing milkshakes.
Chaz Hollander, Katie's high school crush, has also returned to town to work in his family's business. After Katie treats him to a blueberry swirl sundae, he invites her to the town's upcoming dance. The only problem is he has two left feet.
When Katie starts giving Chaz dance lessons, their chemistry ignites, and the postponement of her dream doesn't seem as ominous. But financial woes and a suspicious business deal cast a shadow on their budding relationship.
“I’m going to teach you how to jitterbug.”
“What better time? You only have a few weeks until the dance.” Katie backed her way to the radio, making sure he didn’t dart out the front door. The radio was already tuned to a good dance station, which she listened to while working, sometimes doing a few dance steps behind the counter.
“Come on.” She held her arms in position, waiting for him to take her hands in his. “Okay. Follow me.” She did the steps in slow motion. “Step with your right foot, then your left, then back with your right foot, step left, step right.” She guided him through the steps several times, talking him through until he only stepped on her toes a few times.
“I’m really sorry. You’re going to have black-and-blue feet by the time we’re done. Are you sure you want to do this?”
“Absolutely.” Even if she wasn’t getting paid to teach, this was so much better. Chaz was holding her hands, their bodies were close, and every nerve ending in her body sizzled.
“My hands are sweating.” He wiped them against his slacks.
“Don’t worry.” She would take Chaz’s perspiring hands any day if it meant he was holding her close.
She ran through the steps with him over and over, each time picking up the pace. “Don’t overthink it. Feel the rhythm.” After a while she was able to synchronize with the music on the radio, and they were doing the first simple steps of the jitterbug. Together.
“This is fun,” he admitted, before stepping on her foot again. “Sorry.”
She laughed. “I’m glad you like it. Let’s try a turn now.”
She showed him the underarm turn and the inside turn, which they practiced during the next few songs. Katie could have gone on for hours, but Chaz had hit his limit.
He pulled her over to the stools, and they sat. “I need a break. Please, teacher, please.” But he never released her hand.
His smile dimmed and his eyes grew serious. She could barely breathe.
He lowered his head, and his lips were inches from her mouth. She gazed into the depths of his aqua eyes and spun into his cocoon. His lips brushed against hers, fleeting, delicious. She wanted more. Needed more.
She reached for his forearms to steady herself, fearful that his dizzying kiss would topple her. They stood as one, and his fluttery kisses turned harder, passionate. She was right there with him, seeking his warmth, his strength, as his hands slid over her back, sending dreamy sensations to every synapse in her body. She swayed against him, her mouth opening to his insistent tongue. Glorious.
Lost in the haze of Chaz, her palms running over muscled shoulders hidden beneath his white dress shirt, she fantasized about staying in his embrace forever. The floating sensation tumbled her stomach and maybe even a little piece of her heart.
All too soon, Chaz broke their connection and whispered, “That was nice.”
More than nice. Incredible. Spectacular. Fireworks worthy. But all she could do was nod.
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
“The Blueberry Swirl Waltz” is a love letter to my mother (who just turned 94). The heroine’s job is based on my mom’s career as a ballroom dance teacher and the setting is my grandmother’s ice cream and confectionery shop in Roebling, NJ.
From the moment, Katie spins on her toes after getting her dream job, through her disappointment in having to give it up, to her ultimate victory, you will root for her. This strong, loyal, and feisty heroine has what it takes to fight “city hall” all while falling in love with her high school crush.
This book will sweep you off your feet with its “well-developed and relatable characters, strong story lines and intriguing plots.” As one reviewer put it, sit back, relax, have a cup of tea, a glass of wine, or maybe some ice cream and enjoy.
This novella is part of the One Scoop or Two Series published by The Wild Rose Press.
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Maria Imbalzano is a retired matrimonial lawyer who now writes full time. Instead of drafting motions, legal memoranda, and briefs, although fascinating, she now spends her days creating memorable characters and taking them on their emotional journeys through her contemporary romance novels.
Her novel, “Unchained Memories,” won the Wisconsin Romance Writers Write Touch Readers’ Award and the ACRA Readers’ Choice Heart of Excellence Award. “Sworn to Forget,” the first of the four-book Sworn Sisters Series was a finalist for the illustrious RONE award as well as the Book Buyers Best Award. Her novellas, “The Blueberry Swirl Waltz” and “A Song For Another Day” each came in first in their category in the National Excellence in Story Telling contest.
Visit Maria at http://mariaimbalzano.com
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