The cover was designed by Delilah Stephens and the book will be released in July from MuseItUp Publishing http://bit.ly/MayIHaveThisDance
Returning to a summer resort in 1997, Elizabeth Ashley sits in the gazebo watching her granddaughter and a young man who reminds her so much of her first love. She fell in love with a boy her stern father didn’t approve of. One who didn’t come from the “right stock” as he put it. Her memory takes her back to 1955. Back to a time when life was fun and she was full of life and love.
Elizabeth watched a young man chase her granddaughter through the water, while enjoying the coolness of the shaded gazebo and relishing the gentle breeze. So much like that day so long ago. June 4th 1955, the day was etched in her memory. Only the splash of the water and sound of gulls broke the silence. The scene brought back a memory so vivid—it could have been yesterday instead of forty-two years ago. Elizabeth pushed her silver-streaked hair from her face, leaned back, closed her eyes, and remembered that summer. A summer when she was young and carefree like her granddaughter.
* * * *
Swaying to imaginary music, Elizabeth held her sundress out to the side and imagined the long flowing gown she’d wear at the ball. Bowing and smiling at an invisible partner, she twirled around the pavilion. Her long dark hair fell forward, covering her face. Tossing it back, Elizabeth laughed aloud and batted her long lashes, pretending to flirt with her imaginary partner.
“May I have this dance?” A masculine voice startled her into awareness.
Heat burned her cheeks. Embarrassed, Elizabeth turned and ran.
“Hey, wait.” He ran after her, caught up, and grabbed her arm. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.”
Elizabeth stopped, the light pressure of his grip sent a tingling sensation through her, igniting sparks deep inside her. Gathering her composure, she remembered her manners. “Are you new to Lakeview?” Her gaze caught his blue-green eyes and locked.
“Just arrived.” A smile twitched on his lips, as if he wanted to laugh but thought better of it. “Never been to a resort before. I’m staying with my aunt, Melissa James, maybe you know her?”
“Oh, Mrs. James, of course, you’re the nephew. I’m Elizabeth Ashley.” She extended her hand. “Do you live in Ohio?”
“Cleveland, matter of fact. But I’ll be working in New York come fall. How about you?” He took her hand and raised it to his mouth, in an old-fashioned gesture. His gaze never left hers as his lips brushed slowly across the top of her hand. “I’m Danny Sullivan, by the way.” A mischievous gleam twinkled in his eyes.
“Uh…” Pulling her hand away, she tucked it behind her, trying to cool the heat that coursed from her hand through her body. “I have to go.” Elizabeth twisted her hands behind her back, her usual calm reserve shaken. No one had ever caused a reaction in her like this. Her head spun. Her stomach felt like a million butterflies fluttered in it, and her heart throbbed so loud she knew he could hear it.
“Can I see you later?” He matched her quick strides. “Where do you live? I’ll walk you home.”
Elizabeth stared up at him. Lord, he must be six feet tall. She only came to his chest. “No, I mean, uh, I’ll see you around.” She raced off, leaving him to stare after her.
A few minutes later, Elizabeth danced into her room, dreamy eyed. Usually she hated the white, ruffled curtains at the window and the pink bedspread, but not today. Today, it didn’t even bother her that her sister picked everything out for the room. Talk about luck. She had to be one of the first to meet Mrs. James’s nephew. Danny Sullivan. Mrs. Danny Sullivan. Loving the sound of it, silly as it was, she couldn’t help herself. She was in love. Bouncing onto the bed, where her sister lay reading, Elizabeth pulled her knees up to her chest, circled her arms around them and rocked. Sighing loudly, she inhaled the scent of Lily of the Valley perfume, lingering from the morning.
“Do you have to jump on the bed like that?” Susan slammed her book closed. “If you want to talk to me, why can’t you be like normal people and say so, without trying to get my attention first?”
“Oh, Susie,” Elizabeth ignored her sister’s irritation. “I met the most handsome man. He’s tall with hair the color of an old rusty pail and eyes the color of sea foam.” Elizabeth stood up and danced around the sun-filled room. “I think I’m in love.”
“You’re always in love. Who is he this time?” Susan set her book aside. “I thought we knew everyone here.”
“His name is Danny Sullivan, Mrs. James’s nephew. Remember, she mentioned him the other night? He’s older and he kissed my hand and called me Beth.” Elizabeth paused for a breath. “No one has ever called me that.” Elizabeth hugged herself and continued to dance. “I can’t wait to see him again. I hope he’s at the ball tomorrow. Maybe he’ll dance with me.”
“Will you be still already and quit babbling.” Susan sat up, her slender body in perfect posture. The two sisters were as different as night and day. Susan, tall, blond, serious, like their father, while Elizabeth, impulsive, petite, and dark haired, favored their deceased mother.
“Father isn’t going to like this, Liz. You know how he feels about outsiders.”
“Oh quit being such a square! Wait till you see him, Susie. He’s so dreamy.” Elizabeth closed her eyes. Why couldn’t her sister be on her side, just once? “Besides, Father doesn’t like anyone, you know how he is.”