Sorry this is a bit late today. I’m in the middle of moving and expected to have my internet connected this morning. This is twice now the auto-post feature on here hasn’t worked for me. **Side eyes Word Press.** But here we have an absolutely titillating excerpt from The Muse by Jessica Evans- available soon! I’m really dying to get my hands on this book now!
Blurb for The Muse
Elizabeth Bennet, the newest corps de ballet dancer at Ballet Theater of New York, dreams of rising through the prestigious company’s ranks to become a prima ballerina. When she’s cast in superstar choreographer William Darcy’s newest work, she believes she’s one step closer to realizing her dream–until she meets him.
William Darcy, the former dance legend and ballet bad boy, is a jaded perfectionist who dancers both fear and admire. Although touted as the next big thing in the ballet world, he secretly battles a bad case of artist’s block–until he meets Elizabeth Bennet.
Tempers ignite between Elizabeth and Darcy, but he’s irresistibly drawn to the stubborn and beautiful corps de ballet dancer. Could she be the muse he needs to reignite his passion for ballet?
Excerpt: In a scene before this one, William Darcy, superstar choreographer, discovered his muse in Elizabeth Bennet, a member of the corps de ballet. In this scene, he asks her to stay for another rehearsal, against her will.
The next day the dancers glanced at each other in confusion and then up at the clock on the back wall. William Darcy had ended rehearsal thirty minutes early in a gracious, if uncharacteristic, gesture. Before he had a chance to take it back, they scrambled for their things and made their escape from the studio.
Smiling and raising her eyebrows at Charlotte, Elizabeth thought of all the things she could do with thirty extra minutes of daylight. She could stop at the supermarket, make dinner—
“Ms. Bennet, I’d like you to stay,” Darcy called. Elizabeth’s smile dissolved.
Charlotte furrowed her eyebrows in a silent question to her friend. After all, there would be no reason for the choreographer to see Elizabeth alone. Elizabeth waved Charlotte’s look away in a gesture that said, “I’ll fill you in later.”
With her hands on her hips, Elizabeth turned to face Darcy, trying to conceal the frantic rhythm of her pulse behind a mask of annoyance. He waited for the last dancer to leave before he rose from his chair, walked past her, and closed the door.
Elizabeth waited for him to speak, unsure about finding herself, once again, alone in a dance studio with him. Darcy stalked past her to the stereo.
“Hm?” he muttered, swiping his thumb intently across the screen of his iPod rather than dignifying Elizabeth’s presence with eye contact. Elizabeth’s blood pressure spiked. Finally, with his music cued, he looked up at her with a gaze that made her stomach wobble.
“Are you going to fill me in on why I’m here?” she asked.
Darcy frowned. “You’d rather not work anymore today?”
“It’s not that.” Elizabeth folded her arms across her chest. “Mr. Darcy, are you trying to intimidate me? Or prove a point?”
“It’s called choreography, Ms. Bennet.”
“This whole arrangement just isn’t…normal.” She folded her arms over her chest.
“I’m not a normal choreographer, and I don’t believe you’re a normal dancer either. Normal is mediocre.”
Unsure whether he’d just paid her a compliment, she looked at the floor. He showed no sign of relenting, so composing herself, Elizabeth swallowed down her annoyance and tried to make her voice sound light. “Okay.”
But she found it was not easy. The dark timbre in Darcy’s voice sent her flesh tingling. She hated herself for it. She hated the way she reacted to him. She hated that Darcy, despicable man though he was, made her quiver in fear, fury, and fervor.
“Let’s go from the top,” he said.
The music began. Her insides burning, Elizabeth danced the movements she knew, trying everything to avoid looking into his eyes because she didn’t want him to look into hers. She stopped in Darcy’s arms once the steps ran out, facing him.
“Lean your head back,” he murmured. When he choreographed, his voice reverberated erotically. Everything in her body raced, sparked, and pulsed.
Elizabeth complied, keeping her gaze on his chin. She arched backwards. One of his hands snaked up her back, the other down her thigh, pushing her right leg behind her into an arabesque. He waited, perhaps thinking, but her back hurt from the prolonged arch. He did not tell her to, but she was angry and felt too vulnerable bent backwards in front of him. The fury-fervor took over, and Elizabeth straightened her spine.
Darcy’s eyes widened. With her hands still supported in his, she leaned forward on the tip of her pointe shoe until she couldn’t support her weight alone anymore. Despite his shock, Darcy’s impeccable partner training took over, and he caught her. Elizabeth leaned into his chest, wrapping her arms around his neck for support. She thought that would be the end of it, but suddenly, he was twisting and lifting her. Her heartbeat surged in her ears. Her leg muscles melted. She responded to his improvisation, allowing herself to be swept into the music and his movements until the steps just naturally trailed off like a conversation.
They stared at each other.
“Let’s t-try that with the music,” Darcy stuttered, reddening as he walked away from her.
Elizabeth swallowed as she watched him. “I’m not sure I remember how it went.”
“I’m sure we can figure it out.”
The music began again, and they danced the choreographed portion of the pas de deux. Nearing the point of their improvisation, Elizabeth let herself be swept back into the music and his body. Neither seemed to want to stop dancing. Again, Darcy moved her, and she moved with him. Giving herself to the dance, Elizabeth became keenly aware of the smoothness of Darcy’s hands, the solidness of his chest, his deep, controlled breathing.
She leaned into him, her arms around his neck, their noses inches apart. Elizabeth stared at the deep bow of his upper lip. The music continued but Darcy remained. She raised her eyes up to his to find them slowly searching her face. Like Eve after The Fall, she was suddenly aware of her “nakedness,” and she blushed.
Pushing herself away from him, she rolled off pointe and looked away.
“I suppose we should try to figure that out,” he said.
“Figure what out?”
“Oh. Right,” Elizabeth said.
For the next fifteen minutes, they walked slowly through their movements, careful not to look at each other too closely and replay the strange intimacy they had shared. Darcy choreographed several more bars, speaking little beyond dance terminology. Elizabeth was grateful for it.
Finally, he thanked her for rehearsal, and she backed away from him.
And now that you’re dying for more you have a chance to win a free copy!! One ebook and one paperback copy are available, both open internationally. Please comment below and be sure the email address you enter is one I can contact you through. Giveaway entries end on December 14, 2014 at 11:9 pm EST. (Sorry it’s a little shorter than usual but I’m going on vacation and want to have all entries in before then). **Please mention which format you prefer to be entered for. Best of luck!
Buy now: Coming soon!
Jessica Evans cut her writer’s teeth in various fan fiction forums starting at fifteen. Although she discovered Jane Austen’s novels as a college sophomore, she didn’t begin writing Austenesque until several years later. The Muse: A Pride and Prejudice Variation is her debut novel.
Jessica teaches sixth grade English in New York City. In her spare time, she reads a lot of Young Adult literature, and cooks and eats as healthily as possible. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Other stops for The Muse: