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Dance of Dreams

Nora Roberts

  Nora Roberts

  Hot Ice

  Sacred Sins

  Brazen Virtue

  Sweet Revenge

  Public Secrets

  Genuine Lies

  Carnal Innocence

  Divine Evil

  Honest Illusions

  Private Scandals

  Hidden Riches

  True Betrayals

  Montana Sky



  The Reef

  River’s End

  Carolina Moon

  The Villa

  Midnight Bayou

  Three Fates


  Northern Lights

  Blue Smoke

  Angels Fall

  High Noon


  Black Hills

  The Search

  Chasing Fire

  The Witness

  Whiskey Beach


  Irish Born Trilogy

  Born in Fire

  Born in Ice

  Born in Shame

  Dream Trilogy

  Daring to Dream

  Holding the Dream

  Finding the Dream

  Chesapeake Bay Saga

  Sea Swept

  Rising Tides

  Inner Harbor

  Chesapeake Blue

  Gallaghers of Ardmore Trilogy

  Jewels of the Sun

  Tears of the Moon

  Heart of the Sea

  Three Sisters Island Trilogy

  Dance Upon the Air

  Heaven and Earth

  Face the Fire

  Key Trilogy

  Key of Light

  Key of Knowledge

  Key of Valor

  In the Garden Trilogy

  Blue Dahlia

  Black Rose

  Red Lily

  Circle Trilogy

  Morrigan’s Cross

  Dance of the Gods

  Valley of Silence

  Sign of Seven Trilogy

  Blood Brothers

  The Hollow

  The Pagan Stone

  Bride Quartet

  Vision in White

  Bed of Roses

  Savor the Moment

  Happy Ever After

  The Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy

  The Next Always

  The Last Boyfriend

  The Perfect Hope


  The O’Hurleys

  The Last Honest Woman

  Dance to the Piper

  Skin Deep

  Without a Trace

  The Donovan Legacy





  Cordina’s Royal Family

  Affaire Royale

  Command Performance

  The Playboy Prince

  Cordina’s Crown Jewel

  The MacGregors

  Playing the Odds

  Tempting Fate

  All the Possibilities

  One Man’s Art

  For Now, Forever

  The MacGregor Brides

  The Winning Hand

  The MacGregor Grooms

  The Perfect Neighbor

  Rebellion & In from the Cold

  Night Tales

  Night Shift

  Night Shadow


  Night Smoke

  Night Shield

  The Calhouns

  Courting Catherine

  A Man for Amanda

  For the Love of Lilah

  Suzanna’s Surrender

  Megan’s Mate

  Irish Legacy Trilogy

  Irish Thoroughbred

  Irish Rose

  Irish Rebel

  Best Laid Plans

  Loving Jack


  Summer Love

  Boundary Lines

  Dual Image

  First Impressions

  The Law Is a Lady

  Local Hero

  This Magic Moment

  The Name of the Game



  The Welcoming

  Opposites Attract

  Time Was

  Times Change

  Gabriel’s Angel

  Holiday Wishes

  The Heart’s Victory

  The Right Path

  Rules of the Game

  Search for Love

  Blithe Images

  From This Day

  Song of the West

  Island of Flowers

  Her Mother’s Keeper


  Sullivan’s Woman

  Less of a Stranger


  Dance of Dreams

  Storm Warning

  Once More with Feeling

  Nora Roberts & J. D. Robb

  Remember When

  J. D. Robb

  Naked in Death

  Glory in Death

  Immortal in Death

  Rapture in Death

  Ceremony in Death

  Vengeance in Death

  Holiday in Death

  Conspiracy in Death

  Loyalty in Death

  Witness in Death

  Judgment in Death

  Betrayal in Death

  Seduction in Death

  Reunion in Death

  Purity in Death

  Portrait in Death

  Imitation in Death

  Divided in Death

  Visions in Death

  Survivor in Death

  Origin in Death

  Memory in Death

  Born in Death

  Innocent in Death

  Creation in Death

  Strangers in Death

  Salvation in Death

  Promises in Death

  Kindred in Death

  Fantasy in Death

  Indulgence in Death

  Treachery in Death

  New York to Dallas

  Celebrity in Death

  Delusion in Death

  Calculated in Death


  From the Heart

  A Little Magic

  A Little Fate

  Moon Shadows

  (with Jill Gregory, Ruth Ryan Langan, and Marianne Willman)

  The Once Upon Series

  (with Jill Gregory, Ruth Ryan Langan, and Marianne Willman)

  Once Upon a Castle

  Once Upon a Rose

  Once Upon a Star

  Once Upon a Kiss

  Once Upon a Dream

  Once Upon a Midnight

  Silent Night

  (with Susan Plunkett, Dee Holmes, and Claire Cross)

  Out of This World

  (with Laurell K. Hamilton, Susan Krinard, and Maggie Shayne)

  Bump in the Night

  Dead of Night

  Three in Death

  Suite 606

  (with Mary Blayney, Ruth Ryan Langan, and Mary Kay McComas)

  In Death

  The Lost

  (with Patricia Gaffney, Mary Blayney, and Ruth Ryan Langan)

  The Other Side

  (with Mary Blayney, Patricia Gaffney, Ruth Ryan Langan, and Mary Kay McComas) />
  The Unquiet

  (with Mary Blayney, Patricia Gaffney, Ruth Ryan Langan, and Mary Kay McComas)

  Also available...

  The Official Nora Roberts Companion

  (edited by Denise Little and Laura Hayden)


  Published by the Penguin Group

  Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

  375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

  USA | Canada | UK | Ireland | Australia | New Zealand | India | South Africa | China

  Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

  For more information about the Penguin Group visit

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have control over and does not have any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.


  An InterMix Book / published by arrangement with the author


  Harlequin Books edition / August 2008

  InterMix eBook edition / July 2013

  Copyright © 1992 by Nora Roberts.

  Excerpt from Dark Witch copyright © 2013 by Nora Roberts.

  Cover design by Sarah Oberrender.

  Photo: Ballerina in blue © iStockphoto / Thinkstock.

  All rights reserved.

  No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

  For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,

  a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

  375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

  ISBN: 978-1-101-60229-4


  InterMix Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group

  and New American Library, divisions of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

  375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

  INTERMIX and the “IM” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.


  Also by Nora Roberts

  Title Page



  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Special Excerpt from Dark Witch

  About the Author

  For Cora Spasibo.

  Chapter One

  The cat lay absolutely still on his back, eyes closed, front paws resting on his white chest. The last rays of the sun slanted through the long vertical blinds and shone on his orange fur. He was undisturbed by the sound of a key in the lock which broke the silence of the apartment. He half-opened his eyes when he heard his mistress’s voice but closed them again, just as lazily, when he noted she was not alone. She’d brought that man home with her again, and the cat had no liking for him. He went back to sleep.

  “But Ruth, it’s barely eight o’clock. The sun’s still up.”

  Ruth dropped her keys on the dainty Queen Anne table beside the door, then turned with a smile. “Donald, I told you I had to make it an early evening. Dinner was lovely. I’m glad you talked me into going out.”

  “In that case,” he said, taking her into his arms in a practiced move, “let me talk you into extending the evening.”

  Ruth accepted the kiss, enjoyed the gentle surge of warmth just under her skin. But when he pulled her closer, she drew away. “Donald.” Her smile was the same easy one she had worn before the kiss. “You really have to go.”

  “A nightcap,” he murmured, kissing her again, lightly, persuasively.

  “Not tonight.” She moved firmly out of his arms. “I have an early class tomorrow, Donald, plus a full day of rehearsals and fittings.”

  He gave her a quick kiss on the forehead. “It’d be easier for me if it were another man, but this passion for dancing . . .” He shrugged before reluctantly turning to leave. Was he losing his touch? he wondered.

  Ruth Bannion was the first woman in over ten years who had held him off so consistently and successfully. Why, he asked himself, did he keep coming back? She opened the door for him, giving him one last, lingering smile as she urged him through. A glimpse of her silhouette in the dim light before she shut the door on him answered his question. She was more than beautiful—she was unique.

  Ruth was still smiling as she hooked the chain and security lock. She enjoyed Donald Keyser. He was tall and dark and stylishly handsome, with an acerbic humor and exquisite taste. She respected his talents as a designer, wore a number of his creations herself and was able to relax in his company—when she found the time. Of course, she was aware that Donald would have preferred a more intimate relationship.

  It had been a simple matter for Ruth to decide against it. She was attracted to Donald and was fond of him. But he simply did not stir her emotions. While she knew he could make her laugh, she doubted very much that he could make her cry. Turning into the darkened apartment, Ruth felt a twinge of regret. She felt abruptly, unexpectedly alone.

  Ruth turned to study herself in the gilt-framed, rectangular mirror that hung in the hallway. It was one of the first pieces she had bought when she had moved into the apartment. The glass was old, and she had paid a ridiculous price for it, despite the dark spots near the top right-hand corner. It had meant a great deal to Ruth to be able to hang it on the wall of her own apartment, her own home. Now, as the light grew dim, she stared at her reflection.

  She had left her hair down for the evening, and it flowed over her shoulders to swing past her elbows. With an impatient move, she tossed it back. It lifted, then settled behind her, black and thick. Her face, like her frame, was small and delicate, but her features weren’t even. Her mouth was generous, her nose small and straight, her chin a subtle point. Though the bones in her face were elegant, the deep brown eyes were huge and slanted catlike. The brows over them were dark and straight. An exotic face, she had been told, yet she saw no beauty in it. She knew that with the right makeup and lighting she could look stunning, but that was different. That was an illusion, a role, not Ruth Bannion.

  With a sigh, Ruth turned away from the mirror and crossed to the plush-covered Victorian sofa. Knowing she was now alone, Nijinsky rolled over, stretched and yawned luxuriously, then padded over to curl in her lap. Ruth scratched his ears absently. Who was Ruth Bannion? she wondered.

  Five years before, she had been a very green, very eager student beginning a new phase of her training in New York. Thanks to Lindsay, Ruth remembered with a smile. Lindsay Dunne, teacher, friend, idol—the finest classical ballerina Ruth had ever seen. She had convinced Uncle Seth to let her come here. It warmed Ruth to think of them now, married, living in the Cliff House in Connecticut with their children. Every time she visited them, the love and happiness lingered with her for weeks afterward. She had never seen two people more right for each other or more in love. Except perhaps her own parents.

  Even after six years, thinking of her parents brought on a wave of sadness—for herself and for the tragic loss of two bright, warm people. But in a strange way Ruth knew it had been their death that had brought her to where she was today.

  Seth Bannion had become her guardian, and their move to the
small seacoast town in Connecticut had brought them both to Lindsay. It had been through Lindsay that Seth had been made to see Ruth’s need for more training. Ruth knew it hadn’t been easy for her uncle to allow her to make the move to New York when she had been only seventeen. She had, of course, been well cared for by the Evanstons, but it had been difficult for Seth to give her up to a life he knew to be so difficult and demanding. It was love that had made him hesitate and love that had ultimately ruled his decision. Her life had changed forever.

  Or perhaps, Ruth reflected, it had changed that first time she had walked into Lindsay’s school to dance. It had been there that she had first danced for Davidov.

  How terrified she had been! She had stood there in front of a man who had been heralded as the finest dancer of the decade. A master, a legend. Nikolai Davidov, who had partnered only the most gifted ballerinas, including Lindsay Dunne. Indeed, he had come to Connecticut to convince Lindsay to return to New York as the star in a ballet he had written. Ruth had been overwhelmed by his presence and almost too stunned to move when he had ordered her to dance for him. But he had been charming. A smile touched Ruth’s mouth as she leaned her head back on the cushions. And who, she thought lazily, could be more charming than Nick when he chose to be? She had obeyed, losing herself in the movement and the music. Then he had spoken those simple, stunning words.

  “When you come to New York, come to me.”

  She had been very young and had thought of Nikolai Davidov as a name to be whispered reverently. She would have danced barefoot down Broadway if he had told her to.

  She had worked hard to please him, terrified of the sting of his temper, unable to bear the coldness of his disapproval. And he had pushed her. Ruth remembered how he had been constantly, mercilessly demanding. There had been nights she had curled up in bed, too exhausted to even weep. But then he would smile or toss off a compliment, and every moment of pain would vanish.

  She had danced with him, fought with him, laughed with him, watching the gradual changes in him over the years, and still, there was an elusive quality about him.

  Perhaps that was the secret of his attraction for women, she thought: the subtle air of mystery, his foreign accent, his reticence about his past. She had gotten over her infatuation with him years ago. She smiled, remembering the intensity of her crush on him. He hadn’t appeared to even notice it. She had been scarcely eighteen. He’d been nearly thirty and surrounded by beautiful women. And still is, she reminded herself, smiling in rueful amusement as she stood to stretch. The cat, now dislodged from her lap, stalked huffily away.