06 September 2013

Love Waltzes In by Alana Albertson - Book Tour, Book Review

Contemporary Romance
Date Published: July 15, 2013


To her millions of fans, ballroom champion Selena Marcil seems to have the perfect life: a great dance partner, a hit reality show, and celebrity perks. But underneath the glamorous ball gowns, Selena longs to find someone to share her life with when the stage lights dim. 

Selena’s childhood sweetheart, Bret Lord, hung up his dance shoes after winning two national titles with her as a teenager, and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He never saw his former fiancée again, except on television and on the cover of men’s magazines. Ten years and three deployments later, Bret gets an offer to audition for Selena’s dance show. When the Marine Corps gives him temporary leave to appear on the series, Bret can’t refuse the quick cash that will enable him to provide financially for the widow of his buddy, even if it does mean coming face to face with his past. 

When Bret shows up at her national championship, Selena is shocked. For years she searched for him to no avail. After spending time with Bret, Selena realizes despite their past romance, they have no future. He has no desire to live under a spotlight and she has no desire to leave it. Can Selena and Bret recognize when Love Waltzes In?

Selena Marcil is a star in the dance-floor. This ballroom champion seemed to have the perfect life: an amazing dance partner, a star of a hit reality show and of course, celebrity perks. But what she really wanted was simple – she wanted someone to share this type of life with the moment the curtain closes – she wanted love, family and security. Something she had some years back and let go because of her dreams.
Here’s our military hero, Bret Lord who gave up his dancing shoes after winning national titles as a teenager. He enlisted himself in the US Marine Corps the moment he was able too. He never saw his ex-fiancee again, except on television and magazines. A decade later, Bret had an offer of a lifetime – he gets to audition for Selena’s dance show. The marine gave him thumbs up to join and appear in the show. He couldn’t refuse the opportunity knowing that this offers quick cash that will enable him to provide for his buddy’s widow and children. Even if it means seeing Selena again.
The moment Bret shows up at the national championship, Selena was more than surprised. She tries to stalk him on the internet, but he doesn’t exist in there. The only thing that comforted her was the fact that his name doesn’t come up with the casualty. They were once again forced to work together for the show, and the more they spent time together, the more they realize that breaking up was the best for them. Bret wanted only ONE season, and Selena didn’t want to quit until she won the finals. Would they ever give it a risk one more time and consider a compromise? Or would they just allow second to walk right past them?
I don’t know how to dance, but I love watching these types of shows. I love what the ladies wore, and how graceful they dance. I couldn’t just get that mental picture of a Marine who dances like he was born to. OMG. That would have been very, very sexy! Well, Bret is everything and he’s frustrating at times, especially at the beginning. All he sees is black and white, with no gray areas in between. It was either you were good or bad. It took a while before I warmed up to him (yes, despite the oozing sex-appeal, I still want my man open-minded).
What I like about this novel is every two chapters were separated by the names of dances with description. The author gave her readers the soul of each dance. She also gave us a glimpse about Hollywood lifestyle, the relationships, deceits, and everything behind the camera – (now I know why Bret opted to stay out of the limelight!). Love Waltzes in is about second chances and compromise. It’s about two people who is about to learn that it takes two to tango!

Staff Sergeant Bret Lord sat on the dirty floor of his tent, going through the day’s mail: the latest Men’s Fitness magazine from his sister, a care package from his mom. He ripped open the package—socks, lip balm, sunflower seeds, and a thin letter that contained an old magazine clipping.

Dear Bret,
I miss you very much. Benny asked me to send you this article. I really wish you would consider his offer. Please stay safe.
Love, Mom

He swallowed hard. A neon sticky pressed on the wrinkled page had a note scrawled on it from his former master dance coach.

Bret, m’boy,
We’ll make it worth your time.
Cheers, Benny.

Thumbing the edge of the article, Bret stared at the sixteen-year-old boy in the picture and could barely recognize himself. His shoulder length, wavy blond hair was slicked back, not shorn in a “high and tight” like his current haircut. No signs of the tattoos or muscles that currently defined his body. Golden skin stained from a bottle, not the harsh sun of Iraq. His arms were wrapped around a gorgeous, curvy young girl with long jet-black hair. The jade Latin gown she wore matched the color of her almond-shaped eyes.

Bret tossed the article aside and removed his nine-mil pistol from his holster to clean it.

Lance Corporal Hernandez walked by Bret and snatched the article off his cot. After staring at it, Hernandez’s face brightened.

“Hey, Staff Sergeant, this you?”

“No, it’s my clone who’s also named Bret Lord.” Bret slid the rail back on his weapon and began disassembling it.

“Staff Sergeant, you know Selena Marcil? Did you hit that?”

“Shut up, Hernandez, or the one getting hit will be you—with the butt stock of my rifle.” Bret grabbed the paper out of Hernandez’s hands, and smacked him on the side of the head. The kid didn’t flinch.

“Staff Sergeant Twinkle Toes. Hey—can you hook me up with Selena? I’ll be her boy toy. I love her. Man, she’s smoking. Has the nicest ass. Not like all those skinny, Russian chicks on that show.” He nodded to himself with an eyebrow dancing. “Selena’s on my list. She’s Latina, too. We’d be perfect together. What was she doing with a gringo like you?”

“Hernandez, you’re way out of line.” Bret reassembled his pistol.

“My bad, Staff Sergeant.”

Bret grabbed the article, his pack, and his rifle. It was impossible to get some privacy in the tent. His only option was to sit outside in a sandstorm but even that sounded like a welcome retreat from his immature men. He walked about five hundred feet, then plopped down in the hot sand.

The red sky hung above him, thick from smoke from the nearby town. Bret struggled to catch a glimpse of the distant mountains. Sand seemed to pelt down from the heavens, blinding him and settling into every crevice in his body. He closed his eyes against the sting of the sand, and turned his thoughts to Selena. Was she the diva the tabloids made her out to be? Even after ten years, he could almost smell her buttery-coconut scent. A welcome change from the overflowing shitters, toxic diesel, and stench of his fellow Marines who hadn’t bathed in three weeks.

Purchase Links
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Alana Albertson is the former President of both Romance Writers of Americas’s Young Adult and  Chick Lit chapters and the founder of Academe Advantage, a college admissions & test preparation company. Alana Albertson holds a Masters of Education from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Stanford University. A recovering professional ballroom dancer, Alana currently writes contemporary romance and young adult fiction. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband, two young sons, and four dogs. When she’s not spending her time needlepointing,  dancing, or saving dogs from high kill shelters through  Pugs N Roses, the rescue she founded, she can be found watching episodes of House Hunters, Homeland, or Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team.

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