Tuesday, September 12, 2006

New Review and an Excerpt of Nights in White Satin

I received a new review the other day for my story, Nights in White Satin, and I thought I'd share it with you.

Synopsis of Story:

Celine Valentini and Peter Cortland found the promise of love seven years ago. But an accident almost claiming Celine's life ripped away any future with Peter. Circumstances bring them together again. Can inner fears be overcome, or will unresolved jealousies in Celine's past succeed in causing her destruction.

An excerpt from the review:

"Nights in White Satin began with a most erotic dream that gave me a good clue as to what is to come. This story is packed with erotic passion between Celine and Peter, both of which must come to terms with their long-held fear in order for their lives together to go forward freely. Ms. Dane ended her story in a way that I found to be the perfect ending. ... If you are looking for a story to keep you warm at night you can't miss with Nights in White Satin..." --Jo, JoyfullyReviewed.com

An excerpt from the story:

"There's someone here to see you." Celine's assistant, Laura, hovered in the doorway.

Celine looked up from her computer screen and the spreadsheet she couldn't seem to get to balance. "Who is it?"

Laura shrugged. "I have no idea. I've never seen him before. He's not one of your regular clients."

Releasing a sigh, Celine leaned back in her chair. She didn't have time for unexpected visitors. She was leaving to meet Daniel in half an hour. "Did he give you a name?"

"Said his name's Peter Cortland. That it was a personal family matter and rather urgent."

"Personal, huh? I don't recognize the name, so I can't imagine what he could possibly want." She combed her fingers through her hair, leaned back, and groaned. "I guess you better send him in. He's not a salesman, is he?"

"No, he doesn't talk the talk, if you know what I mean. I can usually spot them within thirty seconds of them opening their mouths."

Celine laughed. "Yes, you can. Well. We'll see if you're right this time."

It wasn't long before there was a knock at the door. It opened and Laura leaned in. "Mr. Cortland for you, Celine."

Rising from her chair, she smoothed a hand down the front of her gray wool skirt, and looked toward the door. A tall man with caramel, sun kissed hair stepped inside and Laura closed the door behind him.

"Mr. Cortland. Please sit down. How can I help you?"

His gaze rose to meet hers, and Celine's shock turned her legs to liquid. If not for the tight grasp she maintained on the edge of her oak desk, she would have fallen. Disbelief widened her eyes when she glimpsed the familiar gold-flecked green of his. She'd recognize those eyes anywhere. She'd stared into them last night--in her erotic dream.

"Pele!" she gasped, sinking into her chair.

A small half-smile curled his sensuous mouth. He stepped further into the room. "Hello, Celine. It's been a long time."

Talk about understatement. "Uncle Alberto said you left the circus. What are you doing here?"

He arched a golden brow. "Al said I left? That's odd. Are you sure?"

Celine thought back, trying to remember her conversation. "Well, he said Pele left. I never knew your real name, did I? How is it that Pele left, yet you're here now? On a personal family matter?"

"Pele hasn't performed in quite some time. Your grandfather wanted a business partner a few years back. Alberto wasn't interested. You know how he is. He likes his freedom. Sebastian offered it to me. So I now have a half ownership in the circus."

She'd known seven years ago Pele didn't have the usual air of the wanderer, that there was much more to him. It's why she'd been drawn to him. There'd been a sad aura around him. Unfortunately, she'd never been able to penetrate the wall he seemed always to hide behind. Well, that wasn't actually true. There had been the one time.

He'd arrived at the circus at a time when her family had just begun to define her role in the trapeze act. They'd had a family meeting and agreed she should focus on the aerial ballet. They wanted to add a hook, so created the duo of Pele the Mime and Celine the Silken Temptress. The subtle sparks between them had kept the audience enthralled.

She would tease and flaunt herself to him and then the crowd, pretending to flirt elsewhere, and he would draw her back to him. Then when it came time for her to mount the rope webbing, her performance glittering and dangerous, Pele was there, her watcher, steadying her as she danced in the air.

Until the night she and the rope went spiraling toward the ground.

With some sort of superhuman ability, he'd been there, his body breaking her fall before she met the unforgiving earth, cushioning her from impact. She'd suffered a dislocated shoulder, some bruising, and a bad sprain to her ankle, but it would have been far worse without his quick thinking.

They'd never discovered what actually caused the accident. Equipment was always checked and double-checked, nothing left to chance. The rigger swore he'd checked the rigging immediately before the performance as usual and everything had been good. It shouldn't have happened, but it had.

After that night, for some reason Pele had pulled away from her emotionally. The loss of Pele and the unexpected fear of returning to the air gnawed at her. Finally, she'd left the circus, unable to bear the pain of daily contact with him. It had only been amplified by the fact she'd become a disappointment to her family as well. She couldn't ascend to the trapeze, let along perform on the ropes.

And now here he was before her in the flesh. Not her beloved Pele, but someone she didn't know. Peter Cortland. Businessman. She rolled the name through her mind. A stranger. Yet, when she looked into his eyes, all she saw was Pele.

She turned away to look out the window. "I don't have long, Pel--Peter. Why are you here?"

"Sebastian is ill. He wants to see you." His voice lowered a notch. "It's time for you to come home, Celine."

She felt the pull. Admitted to herself she'd felt it for a long time, this need to return to her roots.

Swiveling back, she faced him. "How bad is he? And why didn't I know about it before?"

"He started having chest pains a week ago. The doctors kept him in the hospital and ran some tests. He may need surgery. Before surgery, he wants to see you."

It was December. The winter break. They'd be in Florida now, practicing and preparing for the new season. She remembered the routine as if it was yesterday.

It was hard to think of her grandfather as ill. He'd always been the backbone of the family. After her parents were killed in a plane crash, he'd been the rock that kept her and her sister, Nina, from falling apart. He hadn't wanted her to leave. He'd told her she'd get over her fear of the trapeze, she just needed to give it time. If only that had been her sole reason. But Pele's coldness was the real driving force for staying away, not the trapeze.

"When does he go in for surgery?" She knew there was no choice.

"They've scheduled him for the fifth of January."

His voice offered no clue how he felt about her return, his expression bland. He might as well have been wearing the painted face of the mime he'd always hid behind.

Abruptly she stood and turned back to the window. "And you? How do you feel about my return?"

She hated herself for asking, but she had to know. Tense silence filled the room, long and drawn out until it stretched her nerves to the point of breaking.

Like in her dream, she felt him behind her. Close. She focused on the reflection in the glass, watched as he raised his hands and rested them on her shoulders. The touch sent a jolt of electricity surging through her. She tensed in reaction, fighting the burgeoning desire that had begun to spiral inside.

"I want you to come home, Celine." She felt his breath against her hair. "I know I hurt you before you left. I want a chance to--"

She whirled about and quickly moved away from him. "A chance to what? It's been seven years. At any time you could have come to me. I've been here the whole time." Waiting for you, she stopped herself from adding. Acknowledging for the first time that was exactly what she'd been doing. "Why didn't you come before this?" She could hear the frustrated pain in her voice and wanted to scream, to rage at him. All these years she'd waited for him to come. To realize he loved her.

Then finally, when she'd at last given up, knowing it was a false hope, when she'd made up her mind to give Daniel the answer he'd been waiting for--now he strolled back into her life, turning it upside down.

"Celine, I didn't know how to come to you. It's as simple as that." He ran a hand through his hair and she heard a deep sigh escape from him. "If it's too late, I know it's my fault. But when Sebastian asked me to come to you, I knew it was my chance."

"And what if this hadn't happened? Would you ever have come?"

"I don't know." The heavy words dropped between them. "I'd like to think I would have, but...there's so much you don't know about me. Things I should have told you and didn't, reasons I ended up hurting you."

"Can there be any reason good enough to do what you did? Do you have any idea how abandoned I felt? Did you even care? God! I loved you and you turned off just like that. No reason, no explanation. I don't know that I'm able to give you another chance." She shouldn't have said it. Why had she exposed herself like that to his ridicule?

A shadow of the dream came back to haunt her. In the dream she was naked--completely vulnerable. A shiver ran along her spine as the images of her erotic fantasy tangled in her mind. She'd wanted--needed his approval.

He stalked across the room and grabbed her by the shoulders. "Is this reason enough to consider what I have to say?" he growled.

Lowering his head, she saw a flash of green, and then he dipped and seized her lips in a hot, savage claiming. His hand tangled in her hair, holding her firm. His tongue penetrated, stealing her breath, demanding her response. With the other hand, he bent her to him. She felt his hard arousal and whimpered with need.

Hope you are having a wonderful week.!


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