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Stronger Together: A Life Partner

Stronger Together: A Life Partner

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Stronger Together: A Life Partner

106 pagine
1 ora
Aug 9, 2019


Stronger Together: A Life Partner

Esme's whole life has been dedicated to dancing. Day in and day out, she's practiced and competed side-by-side by a lifelong friend, but now as they near the biggest competition of their lives, her health and her heart threaten to derail everything.

Nathan worked hard to get to this point, but the ups and downs of life have taken their toll on him. The sacrifices he's made will pay off if he can get through the ballroom dance competition and reconcile his growing feelings for the girl, he's called his partner for most of his life.

If the competitive dancers can harness their feelings and use it to push them forward in the competition, they may find something much bigger than accolades. They just may find a happily-ever-after, waiting for them on the other side.

Aug 9, 2019

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Stronger Together - Selena Cantrell


Stronger Together  Copyright © 2019 ISBN: 9781072875642

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from Selena Cantrell. Reviewers may quote brief passages in reviews.


No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical or electronic, including photocopying or recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, or transmitted by email without permission in writing from the publisher.

While all attempts have been made to verify the information provided in this publication, neither the author nor the publisher assumes any responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretations of the subject matter herein.

This book is for entertainment purposes only. The views expressed are those of the author alone, and should not be taken as expert instruction or commands. The reader is responsible for his or her own actions.

Adherence to all applicable laws and regulations, including international, federal, state, and local governing professional licensing, business practices, advertising, and all other aspects of doing business in the US, Canada, or any

other jurisdiction is the sole responsibility of the purchaser or reader.

Stronger Together


If someone had to ask Barbara McMillan how she felt about Nathan, and she could give a fully honest response, it would be, How much time do you have because it’s complicated?

SHE WILL NEVER FORGET the first time she meets him. On that particular day, she is approached by Esme’s coach, Nina. Who tells her that Esme and her nephew had danced together during the last ballet practice and they seemed to match well for partners in ballroom dance. They are of similar skill levels and the right height.

Barbara looks over all the little boys dancing around the floor to try to guess one Esme could be paired with. Some are too tall or too heavy on their feet to fit the description provided by Coach Nina. There is one dark-haired little guy who seems to fit the description, size-wise, but he is a holy terror on the floor. As Barbara watches, he takes off like a shot down the floor weaving between other dancers and generally causing havoc. Barbara is used to boys with two sons of her own, but this kid is in a league of his own. His energy appears to be limitless. She mentally shakes her head and feels a wave of pity for his parents. They must have a huge store of patience to deal with that amount of energy full-time in their house if, in fact, their house is still standing.

Nina says, Would you be agreeable to having Esme try ballroom dancing for a while instead of ballet?

She replies, I would really like to see what this is all about before making any decisions. And I will need to discuss it with Esme.

Of course, says the coach. I wouldn’t expect you to give an answer today. Would you be able to give me an answer by next week?


Nina calls out over the floor. Nathan! Can you come over here please?

Barbara is floored when the holy terror is the one who makes his way over. Hi, Aunt Nina.

Nathan, can you please take Esme for a dance?

With obvious reluctance, he holds out his hand for Esme and she slips her tiny hand into his. Barbara watches as they begin dancing. It might be the sweetest thing she has ever seen, but she isn’t sure how her shy, quiet daughter will cope with this rambunctious boy. She voices this concern to Nina.

You would never say it to look at him, but he’s a good kid. He’s also used to ballroom dancing.

Barbara is surprised. Really? But he’s so little!

He’s nine. He had a partner last year, but she decided not to continue. We’ve been looking for someone to pair Nathan with and I really think Esme is a good fit. But the final decision is up to you. If you’re not interested, I’ll just keep looking for someone else. No pressure.

As Barbara watches their progress, she notices that Nathan makes the occasional comment to Esme who nods or says a couple of words in return. And then, out of nowhere, she sees her youngest child break into a fit of giggles. Maybe this boy would be a good fit for Esme? Maybe he can bring her out of her shell?

When they complete their exercises, they stop in front of Nina. She says, Nathan, this is Esme’s mother, Mrs. McMillan.

Nathan looks up at her with soft brown eyes and a wide smile. Hello, ma’am. Nice to meet you.

Hello, Nathan. It’s nice to meet you, too.

Looking into those earnest hazel eyes, Barbara feels the beginning of a bond with a child to whom she is not related. That bond would grow into a love that would lay the foundation for all the emotions that were to follow. If she knew decades ago what she knows now, she may not have loved him so much. Then again, that love carried her through many highs and lows over the years to get to today.

BARBARA SITS IN THE stands and watches as Esme and Nathan take their opening position at the center of the dance floor. Even though they are slightly bigger now than when they started dancing more than a year ago, they look tiny on the large dance floor.

All the Darleys are there along with the McMillans. A big contingent for such little competitors. The music begins and the pair began to move around the floor performing the dance they had been practicing for several months.

At one point, either Nathan or Esme are out of sync, but Barbara can’t determine which one is having difficulty. She is far from fluent in the language of ballroom dance.

This is only the second competition for the pair. Nathan’s mother, Christina, is a ballroom dance coach and kind enough to explain some of the basics to Barbara. Christina provides as much detail as Barbara wants without going overboard on technical elements that Esme is nowhere close to performing. This skill set of providing the right balance of information is one that Barbara appreciates.

She is sure that her face is giving away her confusion as she watches the action on the floor. There is something strange going on that she didn’t notice in any of the most recent practices. As if hearing her internal confusion, one of the Darley boys asks, What’s going on, Mom? Nathan looks really weird.

Christina, always taking her boys actions in stride, says, Oh, don’t worry. Nathan just forgot the steps.

The brothers burst into laughter.

The pair finishes their dance and walks back to Coach Nina. Both families cheer loudly regardless of mistakes. The pair have fun dancing and that’s all that really matters.

On the way home, Nathan wants to ride with Esme because they’re planning to get ice cream to celebrate the end of the competition. The Darleys have to make a detour to another dance arena to watch the ballet group perform in a couple of hours.

Nathan would much rather have ice cream than go see the performance. It is agreed that the McMillans will take Nathan home with them and the Darleys will pick him up later.

In the line-up at Dairy Queen, Barbara overhears Nathan say to her daughter, I’m really sorry, Essie. I messed up the steps.

She replies in a soft voice, That’s okay, Nathan, without looking at him.

He looks at the floor and whispers, Will you still dance with me?

Esme quickly turns to look at him. We’re a team. I’ll always dance with you.

Barbara looks at Desmond with a smile and gives him a wink. She’s glad that Esme is so loyal to her ballroom dance partner, that forgiveness comes easily. Barbara is not sure what they are doing right as parents, but it must be something because loyalty and forgiveness don’t always come naturally to humans.

In lockstep with her pleasure in Esme’s response to Nathan is a tightening of her heartstrings for the little boy. He is brave enough to admit he made a mistake. That’s not easy when

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