Friday, 15 November 2013

Excerpt: Dancing on Air by Nicole Hurley-Moore

Please welcome Nicole to my blog today as she shares an excerpt from her Victorian romance, Dancing on Air. I've just started it and am loving it already!

‘You should not have come,’ Lisette said as she leaned against the darkened doorway of the prop room. She turned her head and looked down the corridor nervously.
‘I could not stay away,’ Evander said.
Lisette looked back at him and raised an eyebrow. ‘Pretty words again, my lord. However you did stay away, didn’t you?’
Evander reached over and took her hand in his. ‘It is not just pretty words, Lisette. I had family business to attend to with my brother. It was unavoidable. The truth is, I thought about you all the time I was gone. I know that we have barely met, but I want to learn all there is about you.’
‘Do you say that to all the girls you woo to your bed?’
Evander’s eyes widened and with a slight laugh he asked, ‘Really Lisette, what would you know of such things?’
‘I have grown up in a theatre... this theatre. I have seen the way of things; handsome lords and rich men weaving their pretty words to make the girls fall in love with them. Then when they are done — when their eyes catch onto the next prize — they leave the girls crying and wretched in their ruin and misery.’ 
‘Lisette, I swear to you this is different... I am different,’ Evander said.
‘Perhaps, but it would be better if you turned your attention elsewhere. I cannot be with you. I have a duty to my aunt and I cannot be swayed from my course.’
‘What duty?’
‘I must become a prima ballerina so I can repay her for all her sacrifices.’
Evander stared into her eyes. ‘She must love you very much.’
‘She doesn’t love me at all,’ Lisette answered with bitterness in her mouth. 
‘Then why are you obligated to her?’
‘She raised me when my mother died. She has trained me to succeed and I have given her my word that I shall.’ Lisette took her hand from his. ‘We should not meet again.’
‘Do you dislike me that much?’
Lisette stared at Evander. His tone seemed tinged with disappointment and even despondency. It moved her and tugged a little at her heart. ‘No, no of course not. But I cannot give you what you wish and my aunt will be furious if she was to discover us.’ 
‘Give me a chance, Lisette, and I will make you fall in love with me.’
‘I daren’t.’ Lisette took a breath. Evander was charming. He turned her head and had the power to sway her to his will. She teetered on the brink and as she looked into his eyes, she wondered if he would be her downfall.
‘I promise I will not abandon you.’
‘For now, my lord, but you will, eventually. I’m sorry, I cannot risk it.’ Lisette steeled herself. She could not afford to risk her future for a promise — promises were easily broken and quickly abandoned. 
‘If you do not risk, then you do not live. Surely there must be something beyond the walls of this theatre that you desire?’
His words wound around her resolve like the serpent in the garden, tempting and enticing her. He offered her affection and laughter; he was a bright flare in her otherwise dull world.  It was true, she did live her life in half fear. She never went against her aunt and was almost a prisoner of the theatre. The only time she felt totally free was when she danced and the feeling of euphoria was always fleeting. In the darkness of the night, she would dream of being loved and having a family. Perhaps then she would be able to reclaim the happiness she had felt as a little girl, when her mother still lived.
‘Lisette, please,’
Lisette’s head snapped up. For an instant a rose-tinted picture popped into her head. Would Evander be kind? Could she trust him? Or possibly the biggest question was...could she trust herself?
‘Will you leave me wretched, ruined and miserable?’
‘I swear Lisette, on everything I hold dear, that will never happen. Come, Lisette, let me show you that there is more to life than this theatre.’ 
‘I can’t. My aunt is still here and she will be suspicious if I do not accompany her home.’
‘Tomorrow then. Tomorrow, where we first met and at the same time.’
Lisette was silent for a moment as she weighed up the risks. ‘Very well, I shall meet you at the Hearth Fire. Now you must go before someone sees you.’
Evander caught her hand and brought it to his lips. ‘Thank you, Lisette. You will never regret it.’
‘We shall see, my lord... We shall see.’ 

Cinderella meets Swan Lake in this Victorian-era set story about a ballet dancer, an aristocrat, and their class-crossing romance...

Lisette yearns for freedom, security and love, but none are offered on the run-down stage of The Imperial Theatre. Instead she has hard work, a tyrannical aunt, and the hope of one day becoming a prima ballerina. Dancing on the stage she catches the attention of two powerful men: Lord Gainswith and Lord De Vale.

Lord Evander Gainswith never expected to fall in love, let alone with a woman so wholly unacceptable to his family and his peers. The sinister Lord De Vale covets Lisette's youth and strength, and is willing to pay well for it. Lisette may dance roles in fairy tales and fantasies, but the real world is about to intrude, bringing with it the harsh realities of life for a young girl with dreams of rising above the demimonde.

Nicole has always been a lover of fairy tales, history and romance. She grew up in Melbourne and has travelled extensively, whilst living her life through the romance of books. Her first passion in life has always been her family, but after studying and achieving her BA in History and Honours in Medieval Literature, she devoted her time to writing historic romance. She is a full time writer who lives in the Central Highlands of Victoria with her family, where they live in the peaceful surrounds of a semi-rural town.

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1 comment:

  1. This looks like a really great read! Tina :)