Authors: Melody Grace
Copyright © 2014 by Melody Grace
rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or
transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and
retrieval system, without permission in writing.
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the
product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously,
and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events, or
locales is entirely coincidental.
author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of
various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been
used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is
not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owner.
All rights reserved.
Photo credit copyright Regina Wamba
Cover design by Louisa Maggio
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A woman dances the same way she fucks.
Soft and self-conscious; lithe and graceful.
Or wild. Passionate.
It’s not just women either. If you want
to know how a man will perform between the sheets, just take him to
the nearest dance floor. You’ll learn everything you need to
know. His stamina, his rhythm, the slow grind of his hips. Some
people are born to it, others learn through years of careful study.
And dancers? We fuck best of all.
Our bodies are our instruments, and we use
them in a symphony of pure pleasure. We know just how far to push
you, the breathless pacing of true art. The rise and fall that will
make you beg for mercy; the ache of satisfaction when we give it to
you hard and strong.
Dancing is the ultimate in sensual pleasure, a
timeless erotic ritual that needs no words.
I thought I knew what it was like to dance
with a skilled partner, a woman who could match my every step. My
Then I met
Every step she takes conjures wild, dark
fantasies in my mind. Every sway of those hips demands satisfaction.
My hands on her body. Her lips parted in the sweet gasp of release.
Easing those sweet thighs apart and sinking inside deep her, inch by
Her innocence is intoxicating. My lust is
To watch her dance is to know the torment of
She will be mine.
I’m in a gorgeous square in the middle of Rome, staring at the
most beautiful fountain I’ve ever seen, when it hits me: I
think I’ve just made the biggest mistake of my life.
Around me, the rest of my dance company are happily snapping photos
of the view, but when I look into the water, all I see is the
impossible task ahead of me. Two months to dance like I’ve
never danced before. Two months to save my career before it’s
over for good.
Maybe I should just go home.
. I stop that thought dead. There’s no way I can ever
It was a last-minute thing. I came home to find my mom dragging my
suitcases out of storage, a determined look on her face. “Someone
dropped out of the touring company,” she announced. “I
pulled some strings and got you the spot. You leave for Rome
I stared at her. “I don’t understand.”
“I was dancing solos at your age,” Mom reminded me, as if
I didn’t already know. “
The Black Swan
... But you’re still in the
corps de ballet
she said, referring to the lowest rung of the company, the nameless,
faceless group who dance behind the major stars, out of the
There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s where all dancers
start. I freaked out the day the letter arrived. I’d been
accepted into the American Ballet Company, the most prestigious dance
company in New York. All of my hard work, the years of training and
sacrifice, had paid off. Maybe now, Mom would finally give me a
I could make her proud.
But the shimmer of membership quickly faded. Soon, just being one of
the company wasn’t enough. It was about moving up, getting
noticed, winning solos and larger roles. The training got harder, the
competition more fierce. For the past year, I’d felt like I was
running on a treadmill that only went faster: pushing myself harder,
just to stay in the same place.
“I’m trying, Mom,” I protested. “You’ve
seen how hard I’ve worked.”
“Not lately.” She gave me a cool look. “You’ve
only been at the studio late four nights this week. When I was your
age, I danced every night until my toes bled, and went straight back
in the morning for more.”
I felt a flush of shame as she looked me up and down, adding, “And
don’t think I haven’t noticed your weight creep up. We
need to cut back again.”
I can’t escape my mother’s legacy. She was one of the
of her era, and she still she has tons
of fans—and a long list of people she trampled on her way to
“But what does this mean about Rome?” I asked, confused.
“All the top dancers are staying here for the fall season,”
Mom added scathingly. “This is the only way we can get you
noticed. The other girls will be out partying, messing around. You
can beat them. That is, unless you want to throw away everything
we’ve worked for.”
For a moment, I thought about saying ‘no.’ The truth is,
I wasn’t so certain I wanted this anymore—the work, the
long hours, all the counting calories and missing out on normal
teenage life. But I knew only one answer would do. “I’m
ready,” I said quietly, and went to start packing.
But now, one week and a thousand miles later, I wish I’d been
strong enough to tell the truth. Because here, away from my usual
routine filling every hour of every day, I can’t help but hear
the whispers of doubt I’ve fought so hard to keep at bay.
What if you’re just not good enough?
“Make a wish.”
A voice interrupts my thoughts and I snap my head up. An old Italian
woman is hawking souvenirs around the crowd, carrying racks of
keychains and cheap jewelry.
I stare at her, confused. She nods at the fountain, already sparkling
with coins that shine through the clear waters. “You make a
wish in the Trevi Fountain, it always comes true.”
I dig a Euro coin from my pocket.
“Wish for happiness and love.” The old woman winks at me,
then moves off into the crowd.
I pause, turning the coin over in my hand. Wishing for happiness ...
I give a wry smile. The woman has clearly never met a ballerina. We
could never waste a wish on that, not with a lifetime of hard
sacrifice behind us, training for hours every day, dancing until our
toes bleed and our limbs ache.
We don’t dance to be happy. We dance because we have to. That
instinct driving us on.
I flip the coin into the air, watching as the sunlight reflects on
metal: a dazzling beam in the bright afternoon.
Please let me win the solo. Please let me be good enough. Please
let me make her proud.
The coin slips into the water with a ripple, lost in the bed of other
coins, other hopeful wishes.
I just pray that mine comes true.
“Is it just me, or are these ancient Roman guys kind of on the
small side?” My roommate, Karla, scrolls through her photos as
we wait in line to board the tour bus. She’s the closest thing
I have to a friend in the company, a street-smart girl from Chicago
who danced her way into a full scholarship for school, and then
straight into the Company.
“You can’t say that!” I laugh. “Those things
are religious relics.”
“So?” Karla grins. “Look at him.” She zooms
in on a statue from the Trevi Fountain, a gorgeous sculpture of a man
wrestling with a wild horse. “You would have thought he’d
slip the sculptor a fifty to make sure he was, you know, immortalized
the way he’d want.”
“Maybe he slept with the artist’s wife or something, and
this is the revenge,” I giggle.
Karla smirks. “Or maybe the ancient Romans were growers, not
“Ladies.” She’s interrupted by someone clearing her
throat. Our chaperone, Mademoiselle Ninette, appears behind us, so
fast I jump. “Everything good, ladies?” she demands in
her thick French accent.
“Yes, Mademoiselle.” Karla gives her best innocent smile.
“We were admiring the statue. The work is magnificent.”
Mademoiselle doesn’t look like she believes us. “Don’t
hold up the line,” she barks. “We have a tight schedule.”
She moves to herd up some stragglers, her trademark silk scarf
fluttering in the air behind her.
“Karla!” I break down in giggles the moment she’s
gone. “You know she heard everything.”
“Oh relax.” Karla grins, climbing on board. “I’ve
seen her, perving over the male dancers in their tights.”
“Eww!” I cry, following her down the aisle. “I do
not need that image in my head.”
“And you know what they say about dancers, even the old ones.
That flexibility never goes away!” Karla gives me a wicked
grin. “Just ask your mother.”
“Double eww!” I cry, pushing her down into a spare seat
and sliding in next to her. “Never talk about my mother and ...
. Just, never!”
Karla laughs, settling in her seat and pulling out her tour guide to
Rome. “What’s next?” she asks, flipping through the
“The Colosseum,” another voice speaks up. Rosalie, our
third roommate, pops her head over from the seat behind. She’s
clutching a clipboard and map, her long copper braid already
unraveling in the autumn heat. “Then the Spanish Steps, the
Forum, and St. Peter’s.”
“In one day?” I exclaim. Rosalie just named every major
tourist spot in the whole city. “I thought we’d get some
time to wander, you know, really explore.”
Rosalie shrugs. “I don’t make the rules, I just wrestle
with the copy machine until I’ve got ink permanently tattooed
on my hands.” She shows us the marks, smudged halfway up her
arms. Although she’s nineteen, like us, and part of the group,
Rosalie hasn’t danced an
in her life. She’s
here as Mademoiselle’s long-suffering assistant, running after
her every minute of the day.
“I’ve got some Oxyclean back in the room,” I offer.
“It got those smudges off my pointe shoes, so it might be worth
“Or your skin will peel off,” Karla adds. “Either
way, it’ll get the marks out.”
Rosalie laughs. “Thanks, I’ll take it.” Then, as if
she has a sixth sense, Rosalie turns to the front of the bus. Two
seconds later, Mademoiselle’s voice rings out.
“Rosalie? Where are you?”
“Back to work,” she says with a rueful smile. “Some
of us aren’t lucky enough to get the day off.”
She makes her way obediently to the front of the bus, just as the
engine starts, and the bus pulls away. Rosalie loses her balance at
the sudden motion, and goes flying into the nearest person’s
“It’s obvious who isn’t a dancer here.” The
girl, Lucia, shoves Rosalie upright, scowling. “Maybe you
should sit in on a class, learn something about being graceful.”
“You can talk,” Karla yells down the aisle. “Didn’t
you get so dizzy turning
you puked all over the
Lucia glares. Rosalie blushes, and scurries on up front.
“She’s such a bitch,” Karla murmurs.
“Yes, but her
put us all to shame.”
I watch Lucia plug in her iPod and slouch lower in her seat,
pointedly ignoring the beautiful city passing by outside the windows.
She’s Italian, and hasn’t missed a chance to remind us,
heaping scorn on our halting accents and halfhearted requests for
uno espresso, per favore.
’ “You think
she’ll get a solo?”
Karla bites her lip. “There are only four to go around.”
“You’ll take one,” I say. Karla doesn’t
disagree. It’s not ego, it’s simple fact: she’s one
of the best dancers in the company. I wish I could be as fearless as
her, in life as well as dance.