Touch Me and TangoBy: Alicia Street & Roy Street
Dance ‘n’ Luv Series Book Two
Driving samba music blared from the speakers. Tanya immersed herself in a familiar routine of turns and whisks, her hips swiveling, legs and feet moving at breakneck speed to the percussive rhythm.
“You okay?” Andre asked when their heads bent close to each other’s.
“Yes.” But how could she be? Mark’s marriage proposal at breakfast today sent her mind reeling off course. And when the mind goes off, the body tends to follow.
Andre spun toward her and reached his arm out to catch Tanya’s back in a deep drop. She met him several beats behind their musical cue.
He growled under his breath. “Get it together, please.”
Every second in a dance performance was like a lifetime. There was no room for hesitation or error, especially in the screaming fast samba they’d created to impress the crowd. Her moment of hesitation was enough to ruin their timing for the complicated lift they’d rehearsed so many times she’d run out of Advil.
Andre still managed to press Tanya over his head as her leg opened in a high développé. She felt herself off kilter. On the landing, her feet fumbled slightly when she touched down, but she regained her balance and seemed solid.
Until she smelled the lilacs. Or thought she did. Am I losing it? This is a ballroom in the center of London.
“Wake up,” Andre hissed.
She snapped out of her daze and tried to compensate. But in her attempt to get back in sync, Tanya rushed a pattern of ball changes that led to her next turn. Before she knew it, her foot slipped, and she went down on her butt.
She quickly flung out a dramatic arm, trying to make the fall look intentional. Andre gripped her hand and yanked her to standing, barely masking his fury.
The music hit a crescendo. Tanya struck her final pose with Andre and waited for the applause. Having toured Europe and Asia for the last eight years performing in all sorts of venues and in front of all kinds of crowds, she knew the difference between a fired up audience and one that was merely being polite.
Two guesses which kind they got tonight.
After taking their bows, the pair bounded off hand-in-hand.
As soon as they hit the darkened corridor leading to the dressing rooms, Andre glared at her in disbelief. He spit out his words through a thick French accent. “I hope you have a good reason for what just happened.”
She heaved a remorseful sigh, grateful the show was only an exhibition and not a competition. “Sorry about that.”
“People came from miles around to see us. You have a growing reputation as an international star. Or at least you did.”
Her fingers nervously twisted the shiny fringe on her dress. She couldn’t blame him for hating her right now. “I feel terrible. Something came up today and I’m having trouble dealing with it.”
“Makes no difference. You’re a professional. And one of the best. Otherwise I wouldn’t have agreed to do this tonight.”
“I apologize. There’s no excuse.”
“I have never seen you do anything like this. I don’t get it.”
“Neither do I.” Her mouth crumpled. She turned and rushed to her dressing room before anyone saw her tears.
Shutting the door, Tanya perched on a wire-back vanity stool in front of the makeup mirror. No, she didn’t get it at all. She dug through her purse and pulled out a small velvet box, opened it, and gazed at the sizable diamond in the ring’s beautiful setting. Why couldn’t she make herself put it on?
Her relationship with Mark was custom made. From the start it had been fast and effortless. Her catching Mark’s eye on the dance floor in a club near Piccadilly. Two Americans with a nasty case of the hots for each other. Purely physical at first, their chronic lovemaking evolved into an amiable affair that had lasted ¬over a year.
Of course Tanya credited that to the fact that they both traveled so much, rarely spent a full week together, and allowed each other a very long leash.
She glanced into the makeup mirror. Most women would kill for her camera-ready face and body. And not many could wear a dress like this one. Short, backless and shiny, with high slits in the skirt, a plunging neckline to highlight her full breasts, and cutout sections along the torso to reveal her tight waist. But who was she?