No, prima donna ballerina Jessica Carmichael isn’t interested in the rough-and-tumble rodeo cowboy she met in physical therapy. In fact, she’s actively uninterested in his cocky smile, and his go-with-the-flow attitude, and how his silly little bets make her work harder than ever to fix her knee. She’d like nothing more than to strangle him, if she wasn’t so busy thinking about kissing him.
Matt Walker’s best hope of getting back in the saddle is charming Jessica into teaching him ballet. He needs to get back on the bronc…even if he has to get there in tights. Only the uptight ballerina lives in a completely different world, one he wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot mechanical bull. But maybe the one thing she needs more than control is to lose control for once—with him.
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“Dance with me?” Jessica hesitated for a moment, her eyes resting on his. She didn’t want to seem too eager though, at that moment, at the top of The Peninsula Hotel on 5th Avenue, there was nothing in the world she wanted more than to dance with Matt Walker. She placed her hand in his, and he helped her down.
As they danced close to the creamy smooth sounds of that soulful wedding singer, Jessica moved her face and cheeks in close to his shoulder. His hand on her waist made her lose her train of thought and, for a moment, she tried to imagine his body pressed against hers, him kissing her softly then harder as passion took over, and he started to lose control. She tried to ID his cologne, but couldn’t place the scent. Her cheek brushed against his, and she could feel his stubble scratch her face. In his cowboy attire he was woefully underdressed and, though she’d at least managed to slip on a sleeveless summer dress for the reception crashing, so was she. The evening was cool up on the roof, and the heat lamps were on, but Jessica felt warm and flushed in Matt’s arms.
With each word your tenderness grows, tearing my fears apart…
The auburn-haired singer moved into the final verse, and Jessica suddenly wanted her to slow down, maybe start all over again or meld into an encore: maybe something like Still by the Commodores or At Last. The ballerina wasn’t ready to let go quite yet. She felt a weakness in her knees, a light-headedness and wondered if Matt felt the same. Then he looked at her, as if he could feel her thoughts on him.
“You know what, Tiny?”
“What?” Jessica said. “She smiled up at him. He was taller than she thought, yet she figured he wouldn’t have to bend down too far to kiss her. Again, she imagined that kiss, wondered if he was imagining it, too. She wondered what his stubble would feel like. She tried to remember if she’d ever kissed a man with stubble and knew immediately she hadn’t. Up to this point in her life, she’d been a clean-shaven kinda girl. Then she remembered that he was about to say something, and she tried to look curious and attentive.
“For a ballerina,” he said, “you’ve got a serious set of balls.”
Jessica smiled as the music swelled and the singer held the final note. It was the nicest thing anyone had ever said to her. “So, Mad Dog, guess what time it is?” she said.
Matt gave her a crooked smile. “Why do I get the feeling you’re not talking about the actual time?”
Jessica smiled. “It’s time for you to pay up. I gave a toast to the groom and groom, you’re going to sing to them. Our bull riding bet, remember?”
Matt grinned. “I was hoping you’d forgotten about that.”
“Oh no,” Jessica said. “Not a chance. And I’ve got the perfect song.”
|Reviewed on my blog, Becky on Books, on 8/16/18.
A cute story about opposites attracting–the cowboy and the ballerina!
Jessica and Matt’s meet cute at the rehab center was adorable–I loved how their competitive natures were brought out as they became reluctant rehab partners, and continued later on as Jessica tried to help him to rehab further on the outside (or tried to get him to quit…? You decide her real goals there ;))
There were some pretty convenient coincidences/plot points along the way–that their big nights were on the same night in the same city, even though he’s a rodeo star from Montana and she is a New York ballerina; that we’re supposed to believe a NYC police horse could go all through her pregnancy to delivery day without anyone knowing she was pregnant, for example–and their relationship woes do seem to resolve themselves pretty quickly in the end…but by that time you’re pulling for them pretty hard, so you almost don’t even notice.
Still, this was a light, cute read. My first book from this author, but definitely not my last 🙂
Rating: 4 stars / B
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Meet the Author:
Robert Tate Miller was raised in the North Carolina mountain town of Hendersonville and began writing at an early age. He began his writing career with homespun essays of small town life that were published in such publications as Reader’s Digest, The Christian Science Monitor and the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. He moved to Los Angeles in the late 1980s and wrote hugely successful family-oriented telefilms for NBC, ABC Family and the Hallmark Channel. Robert lives in Northridge, CA..
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