About the Book
Author: Lisa Hahn
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cat Brown spends the first six years of her career as one of the lowest-ranking members of the Bretton Falls Ballet. Despite the dancer’s undisputable talent, artistic director Lillian Smith insists Cat is too short for a leading role. When Lillian is forced to retire, world-renowned ballet dancer Dmitri Fedorov takes over and casts Cat as the premier performer in his first production with the company. Cat struggles to fend off a host of distractions as she prepares for the most important role of her career: the most insurmountable of which is her instant attraction to the new boss.
Dmitri, once known for his theatrical performances and womanizing proclivities, disappears into seclusion after a horrific car accident shatters his knee and renders him unable to dance. Looking to escape the constant reminders of how far he’s fallen, Dmitri escapes to Bretton Falls in hopes of elevating the small ballet company there to international prestige. The task proves to be more challenging than Dmitri had bargained for when his surprising interest in Cat Brown becomes fodder for gossip among the company.
Cat and Dmitri both have a lot riding on their upcoming production of The Nutcracker, knowing that their careers depend upon the outcome. However, the biggest challenge they face will be staying away from one another.
Currently, Lisa and her husband live in northern New Jersey with their two dogs (Jonas and Cassie) and their cat (Blueberry). When she’s not writing, Lisa can be found reading, practicing yoga, working out, watching professional wrestling, stitching a piece of embroidery, making/eating vegan food, and rooting for the Seattle Seahawks.
Simon Clarke, the current assistant artistic director, and one of Cat’s biggest supporters, swept into the room just as the applause began to wane.
“Listen up, everyone.” He lifted his arm overhead in a willowy gesture that hinted at what a brilliant dancer he’d been. “Nutcracker rehearsals start tomorrow. The schedule and your roles are posted outside the locker room.”
The studio fell eerily silent at his announcement.
Phoebe Braxton, one of the most talented dancers in the small company, and one who often got the most coveted roles, spoke up first. “How can we put together a ballet without an artistic director? Are you assuming the position?”
The thought of Simon directing made Cat’s heart sing. He’d wanted her to be promoted to a soloist position after her first year, but Lillian had always been adamant about Cat’s place in the corps. So Cat continued to do her time as a backdrop for the soloists, and dreamed about progressing on her path from the corps to soloist to prestige, as a principal dancer.
“No.” Simon shook his head, a few wisps of black hair falling into his eyes. He delicately brushed them aside before clasping his hands behind his back. “The new director starts today. His name is Dmitri Fedorov.” He paused, smiling smugly as if he enjoyed dropping this bomb so unexpectedly. “You may know him from his illustrious career with American Ballet Theatre.”
A sharp knock sounded on the door, and Cat wondered who had come to complain to Simon about the part they’d been given. She’d been doing exactly that for six, long years.
Before Simon could respond, Dmitri Fedorov stepped into the room with a commanding presence and walked right past Cat as if she wasn’t even there. Normally, she’d be worried if the artistic director entered a room and didn’t acknowledge her. But this time, she wasn’t so concerned. It gave her the perfect opportunity to gawk at his tight ass in his worn jeans.
“How did everything go?” he asked in a deep, gravelly voice, forgoing a formal greeting and any pleasantries.
“Well enough.” Simon sat up straighter in his chair. A ballet god like Dmitri Fedorov wasn’t someone to be casual with, even if you were an assistant artistic director with a decent career of your own, like Simon. “They are pleased to have you on board, and they are anxious to start their season.”
Dmitri rested his cane against his leg and rubbed his palms together. “Hopefully they’re as eager to start as I am.”
“I’m sure they are.” Simon motioned to where Cat stood behind him. “In fact, Catherine came by to tell me how excited she is to tackle the role of Clara.”
At the mention of her name, Cat pried her eyes away from her new boss’s derriere just in time for him to turn around and face her. While she was careful to hide her appraisal of his body, Dmitri was not as shy. His gaze raked over her, examining her from the blunt tips of her pointe shoes to her brown hair wound into a neat bun. Self-consciously, she tugged at her powder blue wrap sweater.
She swallowed hard, feeling faint under his intense perusal.
“This Nutcracker is a very important show for me. It’s the start of my new career and my chance to prove myself.” He took a few steps toward her, stopping only a few inches from where she stood. “I’m counting on you.”
With that, he turned and left the room. Cat pulled her eyebrows together as she stared into his wake. Had Dmitri been sizing her up as a dancer or appreciating the way she looked in a leotard and tights? Was he trying to intimidate her with his “I’m counting on you” remark, or was he expressing the faith he had in her abilities?