Dancing in the Sand
by Maria Imbalzano
An accomplished dance major in New York City, Ava Woodward is pursuing her dream of becoming a professional in a national dance company. But a celebratory weekend in Newport, where she meets the man of her fantasies, has devastating consequences that change her life forever.
Brian Stanhope, a Harvard graduate, poised to join his father’s company, suffers a brain injury in a horseback riding accident, which affects his memory. He has no recollection of his graduation party weekend or the beautiful dancer who turned his head and stole his heart.
When they reunite eight years later, the magic of their powerful attraction binds them together, but the past holds a secret that even love may not be able to overcome.
“Are you married?”
Not the question she was expecting. “No.”
He smiled. A very sexy, very familiar smile. Was he flirting?
Ava shook her head. “No. What about you?” The words fell out of her mouth before she had time to catch them, and she inwardly winced. “Never mind. That’s none of my business.”
“It can be. Especially since I’m not married or entangled either.”
There could be no mistaking it now. His easy banter. The way he drew a person in with a direct and open question. The mating game, according to Brian. It
all came back. The way he had enticed her before. So simple for him—the master. But she knew better than to fall for him a second time.
“We should stick to our working relationship.” Ava hoped her regret in that decision didn’t shine through. She picked up the signed fee agreement. “I’ll have my secretary make a copy for you.” She rose and moved around the desk. “How would you like to pay the retainer? Check? Credit card?”
Brian raised an eyebrow. “All business, I see.” Yet, the hint of a smile tugged at his lips. “Check. Do I make it out to you?”
So playful. Like he’d been that weekend. If she didn’t keep her wits about her, she’d fall right down the same rabbit hole.
“No. The firm. I’ll be right back.”
Out in the hall, she stopped to fan herself. The heat he generated should be captured for raw energy. No need to frack. She wiped away the smile inching over
her lips. Do not cave in. You’ll only get hurt. Again.
Reentering her tiny, airless office with his copy of the agreement in hand, she snapped into business mode.
“Thank you so much for giving our firm the chance to represent you. You won’t be sorry.” She held out her hand to shake his.
He stood, following her lead. “I’m sure I won’t.”
She would have preferred to end their contact there, but she couldn’t let him meander through the halls trying to find the exit. “I’ll show you out.”
Avoiding further conversation, Ava led Brian to the reception area, just as Peter emerged from his office.
“Brian, I’ll get back to you shortly, after I have a chance to review your documents.” Peter clapped Brian on the back.
“Great,” said Brian. “By the way, I have tickets to the Knicks game Saturday night. Floor seats. Would you and Ava like to join me?”
Ava’s brain screamed no, as Peter accepted for both of them. Of course, he was a rabid Knicks fan and why would it cross his mind that a lowly associate
would have better things to do on a weekend night than generate good will with a new client?
She gave a tight smile in assent, as she knew she had to, turned and strode straight to her office where she closed the door and bit her finger to keep her shriek
from reaching the lobby.
Q. How long have you been writing?
A. I began writing when my younger daughter started Kindergarten. She just graduated from college. Seventeen years ago, I knew nothing about point of view, conflict, characterization or dialogue, so my first manuscript will forever remain in my drawer, as well as the manuscript after that.
Q. How long have you been a published author?
A. One year and nine months. It wasn’t until I wrote my fifth manuscript, “Unchained Memories” that I got published. Persistence is a good thing.
Q. What titles do you have available?
A “Unchained Memories” was released in January, 2014. It won the Wisconsin Romance Writers Write Touch Readers’ Award and finaled in NJ Romance Writers Golden Leaf, New England Chapter of RWA’s Reader’s Choice Contest and ACRA Heart of Excellence Contest. “Dancing in the Sand” was released last month (August, 2015).
Q. What made you choose the subject of this book?
A. The premise for “Dancing in the Sand” came to me in a dream. Young, passionate love exploded over the course of a weekend–the kind of forbidden, but oh so exciting love. Horseback riding was involved along with an accident. The dream was so vivid, so romantic, and a little disturbing, that I wrote it down the second I woke up. From there, I created the heroine to be a dance major at NYU. I love dance and took lessons for years including ballet, tap and modern jazz. I suppose Ava is my alter-ego.
Q. Do you have any new titles coming soon?
A. “Dancing in the Sand” is my newest release, having been published just last month. I’ve been working on a series called Weekend Diaries. There will be four books, each one telling the story of one of four high school friends who are now in their early thirties and going through some traumas in their lives. The first book is called “Changing Tides” and it is ready to send out. I’ve been holding it back because I’m writing the second book now and I keep getting caught up in the time line and changing things.
Q. What is your favorite genre and why?
A. I love contemporary, single title romance. I am familiar with the present and as they say “write what you know.” It’s closer to real life and it’s easier to draw from real life experiences – whether my own or someone else’s. While I will read historical, I know nothing about that era’s lifestyles and it would take an enormous amount of research and studying to learn it enough to write about it. I suppose I don’t have enough creativity to write paranormal since I would have to build my own world. Besides, I don’t like to read paranormal, so I know I wouldn’t want to write it. Contemporary romance is the place for me.
Q. What is the most exciting part of the writing process?
A. After I complete my very in-depth outline, I sit at my computer and write the first draft of my story. I love working through that first draft, where my characters come to life and I get to know them really well. While I think I know where I’m going (because of my outline), my characters often have a mind of their own and they take me to places I never imagined.
Q. If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why?
A. Frankly, I don’t think I would like to co-author a book. It would be too hard to meld the different voices. Also, I like to be in control of my manuscript. I’m not sure I’d be a great collaborator.
Q. Where can readers find you on the web?
A. My website is at http://www.mariaimbalzano.com
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Maria Imbalzano is a matrimonial lawyer in central New Jersey where she not only uses her law degree to navigate her clients through the court system, but her psychology degree to guide them through their personal struggles. While writing motions, legal memoranda, and briefs is fascinating, it pales in comparison to creating memorable characters and taking them on their emotional journeys.
In addition to practicing law and writing fiction, Maria enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters either at home or at the Jersey Shore.
Maria Imbalzano will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: