Thursday, April 7, 2016

Heartfall by J.B. McGee


Claire Ross has never been good enough.  Not for the girls in the elite group of dancers in her class and
certainly not for the approval of her ballet teacher, Mr. Robins.  She definitely doesn’t like what she sees
in the mirror.  Simply put, she doesn’t love herself, so how could she possibly love someone else?
After twelve years of friendship, Sebastian Reyes’ adoring gaze holds more.  They soon find themselves
unable to control their feelings for one another.
When tragedy strikes, Claire finds herself in a very unlikely and unfavorable position.  Regardless of the
weight of the emotion, she must make difficult decisions that impact the rest of her life.
Will Claire see that her true love has been right in front of her?  Happily ever after isn’t just for fairy
tales.  To get hers, all she has to do is trust, open her heart and fall.

Sebastian turns on the stereo. It’s an instrumental piece, but I know it, and it’s not
classical. “This is The Civil Wars.”
“The Violet Hour.”
“Why did you pick this? It’s one thing for Robins to ruin classical music by playing it on
repeat because I don’t really like classical music, but I freakin’ love The Civil Wars. You’re
going to ruin them for me.”
He pulls a bandana from a drawer and wraps it around my eyes. “What are you doing?”
“Three things, Claire. Trust, balance, and timing. Listen to the music. Feel the beat. Do
you feel it?”
I nod, swallowing. I swear my heart starts to beat to the rhythm. It reminds me of some
kind of sea song, of something that would be played at a harbor, of ship horns as they’re passing
by in the night. It’s ominous and dark. The opposite of the brightness that has been shining
through the windows prior to him covering my eyes. Something about it moves me, and I want to
dance, but I don’t know the area, how much room I have.
“Count it out loud, Claire.”
“One, two, three. Four, five, six.” My voice sounds much too breathy. “One, two, three.
Four, five, six.”
He reaches down and takes my hand. “You trust me, right?”
I nod. “We established that,” I mutter. “I survived the Ferris wheel.”
He chuckles. “Trust is key, but so is balance. In lifts and turns, if either of us is off, one
or both of us could fall. We could get hurt.” He squeezes my fingers. “They go hand in hand in
order to keep us safe. Got it?”
“Uh huh.”
“Remember the trust exercise when you fell and I kissed you?”
How could I ever forget? I bring my other hand to my lips and caress them.
He removes it. “Pay attention.”
Sebastian is serious in his studio. “Yes, I remember, but you’re the one who brought up
the kissing and distracted me.”
“The trust exercise. Remember the trust exercise?”
“If you lose your balance, don’t try to catch yourself. Let me do it for you.”
“If I lose my balance, and you catch me, does it include a kiss?”
Is he not interested in me anymore? Was he just being sweet to get what he wanted,
which was me as his little student? But I’m not in a position to walk away. Even if I wasn’t
craving his hands all over my body after less than twenty-four hours, what has me stuck in his
grasps, literally, is the stupid deal we made in his Jeep. The promise of training me and the hope
of being good enough for a scholarship. “Claire!”
I shake my head, frustrated that I allowed myself to lose concentration that fast. “Sorry. It
won’t happen again.”
“Focus on the music. Feel it.” I’m feeling it all right. I’m already starting to have a love
hate relationship with The Violet Hour. I may rename it The Violet Eternity. “Now pirouette.”
I do as I’m told, and when I feel my balance shift and start to shift my weight, his
breathing, the music, and his hand remind me to let him do it for me. He makes a slight
adjustment and I’m back to where I need to be. We continue for a couple more rotations. “That’s
enough,” he says. So, I stop.
Having no idea where he is in proximity to me, I wait for his next move. Hands are on
my hips. “This is where I have the most control over your body.” He lifts me slowly and lowers
me. “Go up.” Once again, I do as I’m told. He moves my body to the left in perfect syncopation
of the music. My neck is exposed, and I feel air from what I assume is a vent above my head.
Chills erupt over my body as Sebastian’s lips plant a soft kiss on my dewy skin.
He straightens me, then leans me the other side as The Violet Hour loops on repeat,
suddenly becoming my favorite song. He repeats the kiss on the other side of my neck. His hands
tighten around my waist as he straightens me and turns me, pulling me flush against his body,
and snatches the blindfold from my eyes. His green orbs stare back at me with a vibrancy I’ve
never seen before. “This is our song.” He kisses me. It’s short, but it’s intense like everything
else in this room has been. Like this kiss means so much more than the others he’s given me.
“It’s reminded me of you since the first time I heard it. I’m not sure why.”
“I’m not sure if that’s a compliment. It’s dreary and sad.”
He shakes his head, lifts, spins, and then puts me down on my feet. This is the most
carefree I’ve seen Sebastian since we got here. “I mean, it is all of those things, but deep down
beneath the dreary and sadness, there’s hope and this rare, simple, and exquisite beauty.” He
dances around me to the music, and I find myself following his lead. “It’s like it’s at war with
itself. And I think you’re at war with yourself.” He kisses my nose. “Because I think you know
you’re beautiful deep down, but people have buried you with so many hateful words that you’re
lost beneath them.”
“So, why is this our song? Sounds like it’s more my song.”
He shrugs. “Because I think us dancing together is going to be what leads you from the
darkness back into the light. And this is the song we’re going to dance to. Every time you hear it
or anything by The Civil Wars, you’re going to think about being at war with yourself and about
rare, simple, exquisite beauty. And dancing with me.”
“That’s deep.”
“And romantic.” He’s grinning like a fool, and I know I am too. He’s right. It is romantic.
I’ll forever love The Violet Hour and The Civil Wars. And maybe one day, I’ll love me.

J.B. McGee was born and raised in Aiken, South Carolina. She is the mother of two beautiful children and a stay at home mom/entrepreneur. She finished her Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood
Education at the University of South Carolina-Aiken in 2006. During her time studying children's literature, a professor encouraged her to become a writer.
In 2011, it was discovered that both her children, she, and her husband have Mitochondrial Disease, a disease that has no cure or treatments. Being a writer allows J.B. to remain close to her family, raise
awareness for mito, and to lose herself in the stories that she creates for her readers.
J.B. McGee and her family now reside in Buford, Georgia. She is an Amazon Top 100 bestselling author of her debut series, the 'THIS' Series.

Website:  http://www.jbmcgee