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Title: Wilde: Ballroom Series, Book 2
Author: Katherine Warwick

Published in October 2006 by Grove Creek Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
ISBN: 1-933963-95-6

Related Books: Dancing With His Heart, Book 1 Noon, Book 3

Anna is in awe of him as he performs the samba. Like stalking prey, he remains alert and steely, taking control of the dance floor and his partner. Her body tingles to dance with Jamie Wilde and royalty commands that she not be refused.

Jamie is aghast when his long standing partner decides to leave the team. A common occurrence in ballroom dance however, an incident he prefers not be associated. While storming out of his partner’s dressing room Jamie runs into a woman with the most striking green eyes. Excusing himself, Jamie walks away as her scent lingers on him. Arriving at his apartment, Jamie notices four black vehicles lined up in front of his four-plex. He races upstairs where his roommate explains that the trucks and ominous men-in-black have been waiting for him. Confused and a bit nervy, Jamie answers the knock at the door, where he is introduced to Princess Anna Zakharov of the Isles of Slovokia. Dumbfounded, he invites them in. Anna claims to have chosen Jamie for her dance partner. He’s stunned though agrees to further discuss their partnership tomorrow. This meeting means a lot to Anna, so much so that she couldn’t sleep for waiting. She knew Jamie’s talent comes from perfectionism, but knew nothing else about him. Today would hopefully correct that deficiency. Anna knows Jamie will find her talent and dedication appealing, because that is what he insists upon. Unknowingly they have a whole lot more in common; like stubbornness and wanting things done their own way. Anna and Jamie’s pairing makes for a fiery relationship.

With a signed contract in place Anna and Jamie begin their rehearsals. Immediately Anna finds Jamie and Reuben’s lack of focus on dancing irritating, whereas Jamie views her overbearing focal irrational. After their first day practicing Anna proves an apt dance but asserts no inner passion for the music and movements. Jamie’s thought his easy-going banter would relax her some, but her smiles are hard won as she thrives in his alluring manner. Yet, Anna remains unmoving, letting herself feel the passion in the music. Even a playful hip-hop doesn’t loosen her regal posterior. In the meantime royal confidant, Vladimir doesn’t approve of Anna’s pursuits into the more vigorous Latin dance; he reminds her to remain in the standard dance as promised. The duo still struggle with Anna’s lack of passion during practice sessions; not even Reuben’s brotherly urging opens her up. The pent up frustrations surface when Anna insists on competing in the Provo Utah Dancesport Nationals. He doesn’t think she is ready. Disagreeing, Anna exercises her ability to command and receive without question, bristling Jamie’s male ego. Letting her win this argument, Jamie declares that she prevails no more. Yet, Anna’s Papa finds out about their diverting from standard dance; of course, Vladimir’s fingerprints are all over that leak. She calms her father’s suspicions assuring that she is staying within the less lusty dance combinations. While her father speaks of her betrothed, who wants to visit, Anna begins to wonder what kind of woman Jamie finds pleasing. Inspiring her plan to entice Jamie, exposing the passion he and Reuben claim she lacks. Anna’s a woman with a mission. Instantly Jamie notices a change in Anna; she’s all together too nice. Smiling, agreeable, and even her manner is kindhearted towards Jamie. This unnerves him, so having his girlfriend Cheryl visit might help relax him. Anna conceals the hurt while greeting Cheryl warmly, but her rigid demeanor returns.

With the rigors of dancing and working with Anna, Jamie needs to get away. Camping rejuvenates him; clears his head and refreshes his body. Because of a mortality clause in his contract, Anna or one of her staff must accompany him. Jamie is livid, but makes the trip memorable for Anna. With no staff to carry out her orders, Anna learns to make a fire, drink stone soup and sleep in a snow cave. Jamie learns that Anna is formidable and a prankster; feigning illness from pretending to drink the stone soup. He also finds out she’s claustrophobic; the only weakness she has ever shown. After breaking camp they visit Jamie’s parents who inform him that Anna’s people are searching for her. Feeling deceived Jamie fumes as she calls Vladimir. Once back at the mansion, photographers and naval police greet them. At her apartment, he assures Cheryl that nothing happened on the trip, though she explains to him Anna’s attraction. Prided in keeping professionalism and personal separate, Jamie’s secretly admits to wanting Anna intimately but Anna, but stems its progress. The next day Jamie’s foul mood evident, they practice in the dark; to aid Anna in “feeling” the music and movements. In the privacy of the dark, Jamie feels Anna’s body, while she lightly kisses his cheek. Jamie’s resolve breaks. Pleasing Anna gives him harmony.

Lastly, Vladimir despises Anna’s growing fondness for Jamie. Believing women high maintenance and of no value, he still needs Anna to take the throne… so that he can rule. Vlad will curtail her stay in America, while making sure she does not abdicate the throne for love.

A brisk, fluid story, Wilde is absorbing as two similar people from differing backgrounds come together and fall in love. Dance coach Reuben La Bate returns, instructing these two dancers whose independent natures and fiery tempers scorch my fingers. Ms. Warwick’s characters are interesting though robust. Anna and Jamie are headstrong, compassionate people who consistently butt heads, which makes for a more entertaining read. Anna is sensitive and independent, and only desires to be loved without influence of her status. I chuckled when she made clear to the King choosing a husband would solely be her decision; choking on his rhubarb pudding. Jamie is a gregarious man who possesses strong methodical ideals. Since their meeting Anna has turned his orderly life into chaos as she turns into dust his “dance-no-make-love” standing. Published by Grove Creek Publishing, Wilde is a tender love story that can be read alone.

A dedicated reader,

Pamela Jenewein

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