Spring is here and my heart is dancing along with my feet!
One of the things that always seems to wind up in my stories is dancing. My characters apparently love to dance. Everyone had to work so hard to carve out a life in the 1800s they had little free time. But on occasion, they had dances.
Up until 1814, dancing was confined to the quadrille, cotilion, baroque, and a few others. There was the barest of touching allowed. The fingertips and hand, but only brief touches at that. How in the world they managed to have children was a miracle. But I’m sure when they got in their carriages out of sight things were different. Oh yes, very different.
This was a time when the slightest glimpse of a lady’s ankle was titillating. Yet it’s strange to me that in a lot of pictures of the 1800s, women showed a lot of bosom. Far too much in fact. Kinda weird.
When the waltz came along in 1814, young people were more than ready for it. To dance so close in an “almost” embrace was quite scandalous! My, oh my. The waltz changed the landscape. At last couples could touch more than their hands and it really took off.
It’s a proven fact that I like to two-step and waltz. Sometimes I dance around my apartment just because it makes me feel good.
But back to the subject. In my recent release, Winning Maura’s Heart, I wrote a scene where Calhoun coaxes Maura into his arms. They have no music, only Calhoun humming. But Maura is swept away. Because she is the hangman’s daughter, she’s never been asked to a dance or courted, or even kissed. No man wanted the hangman to look his way.
Calhoun had no such reservations. He didn’t care who her father was. He liked Maura and nothing was going to make him stop. I loved that about him. He found a way to get what he wanted and wouldn’t let anything stop him.
I loved writing their short private dance. Here’s a little excerpt:
Holding her gaze, his dark eyes softening in the dim light, he silently took the pins from her hair. The mass of long tresses cascaded down her back, spilling over his hands like the whisper of a hope. She closed her eyes for a moment, as some strange desire surged through her veins, knocking her off kilter. Before she had time to adjust, he ran his hands through the long strands, murmuring low.
She raised her eyes and stared into his dark orbs that held so much emotion. “Calhoun.”
“Nothing can compare to your loveliness. I mean that. Nothing. You truly take my breath.” He bowed at the waist and extended his hand. “May I have this dance, Miss Maura?”
With his manners and handsome features, he could easily be a charming prince.
Maura’s heart fluttered. “Here? I’ve never danced in my life. Besides, we don’t have any music.”
“I’ll hum a song I know. The dance is simple. Just stand in one spot and sway.”
“Then I have to try.” She fitted her hand in his and placed the other on his shoulder. He didn’t know this fulfilled one of her secret fantasies.
Here with no one to see her make a fool of herself, she took a deep breath and relaxed. He hummed a song with a nice melody and the sound transported her to a ballroom in some castle. She was dancing with one of the most desirable men she’d ever seen.
In his arms, she felt safe and protected. A languid warmth spread through her and she leaned into the cocoon he’d created, resting her head on his shoulder. She swayed back and forth against him, imagining they were in some fancy place.
“See? I knew you could do it,” Calhoun murmured against her temple. “You’re doing fine.”
Do you like to dance? Or maybe you once did. Can you remember how it made you feel? Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for two e-book copies of Winning Maura’s Heart.