Release date: 24 February 2014
Their dancing duo was an overnight sensation at the posh Martinique hotel. It seemed like instant success, but Kristin knew that hard work and Leon’s driving ambition had brought them tot his point. Kristin was only beginning to realize that she was Leon’s ticket to stardom—and he was not going to lose her to anyone—not even to the handsome owner of the hotel who wanted to give her the world in exchange for her heart.
by Peggy Gaddis
Sensuality Level: Behind Closed Doors
Eroline Pearl Gaddis Dern (1895 – 1966) began her literary career editing trade journals and fan magazines. For thirty years she wrote traditional romances for a single publisher, Arcadia House. For the last ten of those years she wrote principally nurse novels. She also wrote “love novels,” a romance genre invented by lending-library publishers that was considered a bit racier for the times.
An excerpt from Caribbean Melody:
Kristen Dillard perched uncomfortably on the edge of a kitchen chair and looked about her at the rehearsal studio. It was small, drab, dingy. But it was not unlike many others in which she had waited for an audition. Outside, the chill rain of an early October day did nothing to alleviate the dinginess. The room held a chill all its own that added to Kristen’s discouragement. She’d wait half an hour longer, and then go.
Suddenly the door burst open and a tall, dark, spectacularly good-looking young man came swiftly into the room. He wore a somewhat battered raincoat, snugly belted, and looked so much like a television star doing a “foreign intrigue” program that Kristen almost listened for the background music with its slow, ominous beat.
“Oh, hello, were you waiting to see me?” he asked Kristen sharply.
“If you’re Leon Westerman, I am.”
His eyes swept her from head to foot, and he asked, “And you’re who?”
“Kristen Dillard. My agent sent me over to see you about a job as your dancing partner.”
Once more the man’s eyes swept her in a glance that traveled from her copper-colored hair to the tips of her small, neat shoes, and then suddenly he held out his hand to her.
“Come here,” he ordered so peremptorily that Kristen’s green eyes sparkled and her red head went up. “Come on; make it snappy.”
Kristen rose and walked to him. To her startled surprise, he took her swiftly into his arms, and as she stiffened instinctively, he whirled her about so they were both facing a full-length mirror. It was obvious that he had no interest in her as a woman, and Kristen followed the direction of his eyes.
“We make a very handsome couple, I’d say, wouldn’t you?” he suggested casually.
“I suppose so.”
“Now if only you can dance,” he said, and his tone indicated that he was by no means sure she could. “Can you?”
“Would I have come for an audition if I couldn’t?”
“You’d be surprised how many do,” he drawled. “For two solid weeks, with time wasting away, I’ve auditioned girls who had two left feet and a tin ear. Girls who were either too short or too tall; girls who were so thin I wanted to run out and buy them a meal, or so fat that trying to lift one would have wrenched my back.”
He released her, walked to a portable record player in a corner, set it in motion. When the music swelled out into the room, he came back to her, once more took her into his arms, and they glided out on the floor in an intricate, brief dance.