Twenty years ago, Willow Dwyer nearly died in
a school shooting that stole the life of her true love, James. Now she’s forty,
infertile, newly divorced from a man who refuses to leave her alone, and on the
brink of a breakdown.
Even after all this time, she still finds herself unable to move forward from the dream of a life and family she lost that day of the shooting. At the suggestion of her therapist, Willow takes up the tango, the dance she’d mastered with James before his death. It seems an innocent enough plan, until Willow dances with Merrick Montagne.
Merrick is a strikingly handsome, twenty-year-old college student with an uncanny ability for the tango. He makes her heart race for the first time in she can’t remember how long, and the strangest thing is, he claims he’s been searching for her his entire life. Willow doesn’t know if she believes him, or if she can handle the scrutiny she’s sure to get for dating someone so much younger than her. Yet no matter how hard she tries, she just can’t seem to walk away. When revelations begin to connect Merrick even further to her past, Willow must decide how much she’s willing to risk for a love that should be impossible, a love she’s not sure she could survive losing again.
Willow wanted nothing more. Within moments, she was again near his chest and breathing in his scent, lost in the beauty of this younger man. Triplet after triplet, he refused to let her go. Soon he was leading her in a familiar sequence of steps, reminding her of the last dance she’d choreographed with James.
The room grew smaller, her desire changing into the short breaths she knew signaled a panic attack.
Stop, she said to herself, recalling her therapist’s word for this—transference. He reminds you of James because he’s young, has blue eyes, and is a god on the dance floor.
Yet the moves were too familiar, sequences she’d practiced over and over with James in college. The tango had been their favorite form of foreplay, but they’d also performed in college, and both she and James had been competitive in their own way.
Stop. James is dead.
She was losing the battle with her mind. The young man in her arms embraced her even closer, his fingers entwined with hers in her right hand, his own right hand cupping lower on her back, drawing her closer to his chest.
“Willow, it’s so good to see you again,” he said into her neck.
Chills ran up and down her body as she considered her options. It was a crazy thought—she’d been at the milonga only a few hours and hadn’t had a one-night stand in a long time. But damn, she might have a chance here. She was in need on so many levels, and Merrick fit the bill.
“You have anywhere you need to be tonight, young man?” she asked.
He leaned into her face, his lips millimeters from hers. His breath was hot on her cheek, and she swallowed back her desire.
“The reason I’m here is to meet you,” he said as he leaned in for a kiss.
At once, Willow felt as if she were both a nebula at the edge of the universe and the specks of dust in the room, and every bit of matter in between, experiencing a timelessness she’d never known before. No one had ever kissed her this way, or had they? What had just happened? One minute, she was dancing the tango to get over her traumatic past; the next, she was kissing the most beautiful creature on earth.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Nicole Sallak Anderson is Computer Science graduate from Purdue University, and former CTO for a small Silicon Valley startup, turned novelist, speaker, and blogger. Her essays range from AI and Zen to direct democracy to the loneliness of modern parenting— featured as a top twenty story on Medium. She is the author of The Song of the King’s Heart Trilogy, is a series about the last native Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt and his quest to take back his ancestral kingdom from the Ptolemaic Empire. All three installments, Origins, Blood and Chaos, and Civilization’s End, are available on Amazon. Origins is also available on Audible.
Her recent novel, It Takes Two, is about forty-year-old Willow Dwyer, who takes up the tango and finds herself dancing in the arms of Merrick Montagne, a man half her age who claims he’s been searching for her all his life.
You can keep up with all her latest writing on her website nicolesallakanderson.com or by following @NSallakAnderson on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Medium. Feel free to contact her, she always answers any query or comment!
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