Publication Date: June 8, 2014
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Julia is a book-loving publisher’s assistant. Jack is a famous British rock star. “Opposites attract” is an understatement.
It’s 1981. Twenty-four-year-old Julia Nash has recently arrived in Manhattan, where she works as a publisher’s assistant. She dreams of becoming an editor with her own stable of bestselling authors—but it is hard to get promoted in the recession-clobbered book biz.
Julia blows off steam by going dancing downtown with her best friend, Vicky. One night, a hot British guitarist invites them into his VIP section. Despite an entourage of models and groupies, Jack chooses Julia as his girl for the evening—and when Jack Kipling picks you, you go with it. The trouble is … he’s never met a girl like her before. And she resists being just one in a long line.
Jack exposes her to new experiences, from exclusive nightclubs in SoHo to the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood; from mind-bending recording sessions to wild backstage parties. Yet Julia is afraid to fall for him. Past relationships have left her fragile; one more betrayal just might break her.
As she fends off her grabby boss and tries to move up the corporate ladder, Julia’s torrid relationship with Jack takes her to heights she’s never known—and plunges her into depths she’s never imagined.
With a fascinating inside look at publishing, this entertaining story of a bookish young woman’s adventures with a rock superstar is witty, moving, and toe-curlingly steamy.
Come Dancing Bonus Scenes
Praise for Come Dancing
“Leslie Wells brings to life all the eclectic, edgy style of New York City at the dawn of the 1980s as she spins a story of spine-tingling romance and the complex issues that can threaten a relationship. Through her effervescent writing style she catapults the reader into a world of excess and indulgence, while delving into some honest and heartfelt struggles along the way. … Come Dancing is a love story with lots of heart and plenty of heat.” — Casee Marie, Literary Inklings Book Reviews
“5 Blushing Stars!! Come Dancing is quite the story. I loved this story and could not put it down. I got lost in the story, imagining the rock stars and their groupies partying it up, while finding themselves and falling in love. Opposites certainly do attract and make for an explosive time! You will love the many layers of Jack; you will also want to smack him at times too. Julia will have you rooting for the underdog and wishing she had a better clothes fund 🙂 Through it all, the many naysayers and people out to split them up, they make it work! Fate seems to finally take its stand and allows for this fairytale story to end the way it should—hot, sexy and combustible!” – Kellie, Blushing Divas Book Reviews
“I’m never sure what to expect when I venture away from historical fiction, but I found Leslie Wells’ Come Dancing quite enjoyable. Though more contemporary than my usual fare, I think the novel has a lot of heart and is a story many people will be able to relate to.
By far, my favorite aspects of the piece were the atmospheric qualities of the narrative. This is a New York before cell phones and digital cameras. It has different rhythm to it and follows a social structure that is entirely different from the New York of today. There is a contrast in that, something both familiar and almost foreign that really appealed to me.
There is a tangible affection between Julia and Jack which I truly appreciated, and I admired the journey their relationship takes over the course of the story. . .. A pleasant fiction, Come Dancing is brimming with both humor and heart. A realistic romance that is sure to entertain.” – Erin, Flashlight Commentary Book Blog
1: One Way or Another
“Are you ever getting out of there?” my friend Vicky complained.
I crooked the receiver in my shoulder, scrabbling papers together. “I’m heading out now. Harvey dumped a bunch of stuff on me right before he took off.” My boss, the publisher, liked to clear his desk at the end of the week—which meant I got to stay late every Friday night.
“About time. I’ll see you at your place in an hour.”
“We’re going to stick together tonight, right? Avoid the meat market?” I loved dancing off my pent-up energy from long hours sitting at my desk. Vicky saw it more as a smorgasbord of men, served up buffet-style.
“Depends what’s on the menu. See you in a few.”
The minute she hung up, my line rang again. “Is this Julia?” a familiar voice screeched.
“Hi, Louise. How’s it going in Seattle?” Our high-strung author was on a twelve-city tour for her new thriller, and the campaign had been plagued with problems. A celebrated Texas crime reporter, she had braved drug dealers’ bullets but couldn’t cope with delayed flights and lumpy hotel pillows. Harvey had stopped taking her calls a week ago, and ever since she’d been haranguing me.
“The escort hasn’t shown up yet. Why can’t these people be prompt?” Louise fretted.
I held back from pointing out that it was over three hours until her event. “Let me see if anyone’s left in publicity; maybe they can locate her.”
I scurried around the corner to the desolate PR department. The lights in Erin’s cubicle were still on, which gave me hope. A few doors down, I found her on her knees in front of the copy machine. Erin looked up at me and smiled. “Got it!” she exclaimed, extracting an inky wad.
“Could you come deal with Louise? She’s all pumped up for her signing, but the escort has gone awol.” I rolled my eyes.
“God forbid she should ask the front desk to call her a cab,” Erin grumbled as she followed me down the hall. “She’s stared down gun-toting Mafiosi, but on the road she turns into a quivering mass of jelly.”
“Typical of her,” I said. Most of our authors were great, but a few were real doozies. “Do you want to come out with me and Vicky later? We’re going to hit the Palladium around eleven.”
“I have to finish a press release for that astrology guide. Another glam night in the big city.”
“Okay, be that way. Call me if you change your mind.” I ducked into my office and switched Louise over to Erin, covered my typewriter, then crammed my weekend reading into my backpack.
I sprinted down the deserted hall past shelves overflowing with manuscripts, a few framed awards gathering dust. Our titles ranged from literary to pure fluff; with the economy still in the pits, we were hawking anything from pop psychology to diet fads. This had been a shock when I’d arrived as a starry-eyed editorial assistant after a brief stint in grad school, thinking I’d be spending my weekends holed up with hot talent from The New Yorker. But now I was seasoned enough to plow through the B-list celebrity memoirs and breastfeeding manuals, while relishing any good novels that came my way.
I caught the elevator with a jittery messenger who bounced his bike tire, making the floor shimmy. I waved to the security guard and headed down lower Park Avenue in the balmy air. Usually I walked home to save money on subway tokens; I figured I had time tonight since my best friend was probably still primping.
Vicky had left the company a few months ago to join the publicity department of a larger midtown publisher. I missed her at the office, and I was also envious of her escape from assistantdom. But we still got together on weekends, and now I couldn’t wait to go to our favorite club. We liked the Palladium for its edgy mix of punks, rockers, and regular people like us.
I wove through some guys hissing “Sens, sensimilla!” in Washington Square and stopped at a street vendor selling earrings. A pair with long strands of beads and feathers caught my eye. I fingered them for a minute, calculating. Seven bucks for drinks; three for a cab home tonight … Reluctantly I put them back.
Halfway down MacDougal, I came to a screeching halt. An absolutely perfect small table was sitting right in the middle of the sidewalk. I stepped close for a better look. Gold leaf curlicues adorned its surface, and ornate lion heads were carved into its corners. I gave it a shake to see if the legs were loose, but it didn’t even wobble. I couldn’t believe someone had thrown out something this nice—it wasn’t even large garbage night! At last I could get rid of the stacked milk crates I ate on.
Now I just had to get it home. My place on Broome Street was eight blocks away, and the table was about three feet square. Maybe if I swung my backpack around to the front and hoisted the table on my back …
As I stood there considering, a guy in a dirty tee-shirt approached, holding a can of beer. “You need some help with that?” he asked, swaying a little.
“I think I can get it. Thanks anyway.”
The man leaned against the brick wall of the apartment building to watch. Turning around, I backed up to the table. I tried to reach behind and grasp its sides, but I couldn’t bend back far enough—why I’d always stunk at the limbo-la. Maybe if I bent lower … I crouched down, the backpack wedged against my belly like an unwanted pregnancy, and strained to get a grip on its legs.
Suddenly a woman ran screeching out of the building. “Stop that! What are you doing with my table?”
I stared at her. “This is yours? I thought somebody was throwing it away.”
“Are you kidding? This is an antique! You couldn’t have thought it was being thrown out.” The woman glared at me, hand on her hip.
Oh my god, how embarrassing. “I didn’t realize—I mean, it was sitting here all by itself with no note on it or anything. I thought it was meant for the garbage.”
“The garbage!” the woman shrieked. “I paid six hundred dollars for that! I was waiting for my husband to bring it upstairs! You should keep your paws off things that aren’t yours,” she huffed as she flounced back inside.
The man in the tee-shirt smiled and took a gulp of beer. “Baby, you just took a bite of the B-i-i-i-g Apple.”
“Actually, I think it just bit me.”
Come Dancing Soundtrack
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Buy the Book
It is my pleasure to welcome Leslie Wells, author of Come Dancing, to Room With Books.
What do you do when you are not writing?
When I’m not writing, I am editing. My “day job” is being a book editor, and I’ve worked on hundreds of published books in my thirty-plus year career. I love helping authors improve their work. And when I’m not working, I’m hanging out with my husband, kids, and dog.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you either growing up, or as an adult?
Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors; she paved the way for romance writers for the ages. Every few years I re-read Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, my two favorites. I love her subtlety, her humor, and the romantic tension between her characters. I also re-read Great Expectations every Christmas.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
My greatest challenge was getting the manuscript to the place where I was satisfied with it. Being an editor myself, I’m so picky; every word had to be just right. I rewrote the whole thing eight times, and then I cut ten thousand words. I worked on Come Dancing for over four years before I was ready to send it out into the world.
If you could have any superpower, what would you choose?
I would love not to require any sleep—I could get so much more done!
What was your first job?
My first real job (as opposed to waitressing in the summers) was as a book publisher’s assistant in New York City. That’s what I came to Manhattan for, although I did go to graduate school for a year. Many of Julia’s experiences in Come Dancing reflect my first few years in the city: going out to downtown nightclubs, attending wild parties, going to concerts, editing celebrity authors, working for a grabby boss.
What types of books do you write?
I write contemporary romance/smart women’s fiction.
Who’s your main audience?
My audience is composed of readers who enjoy humor combined with romance that includes steamy scenes. Also anyone who loves rock and roll, New York City, book publishing, and/or the Eighties.
Out of all of your characters, which is your favorite?
One of my favorite characters is Vicky, Julia’s best friend who is her opposite. Vicky never lets her heart get broken; she goes out with lots of different guys and treats her relationships like a man would, not getting emotionally involved. Vicky is a book publicist, and is very blasé about dealing with famous authors who freak out at signings.
My other favorite character is Dot, Julia’s mother, who comes to visit from her small town in Pennsylvania. It’s her first time in the Big Apple, and her first time meeting a famous rock star. Here’s one of my favorite lines when Jack and Julia take Dot out to dinner:
“I had to jump through hoops to get your daughter to go out with me,” Jack said.
“I can’t imagine why. She hasn’t had a date in ages.”
What does your writing schedule look like?
I use my daytime hours for my editing my authors, so I write in the wee hours of the morning (often 3 am to 7 am).
Do you use your OWN experiences?
Oh, yes. Many of the book publishing scenarios and fiascos in the novel are directly related to my own experiences—as are some of the nightclub, party, concert, and romantic elements.
Was it easy to pick the title for your book?
Not in the least. I had two previous titles: the first was Amplitude (too pretentious); and the second was Playing It By Ear, which sounded like a guide to learning how to play the guitar. Finally I settled upon Come Dancing, which seemed just right; an invitation to step inside Julia’s world.
If you could pick one profession, other than an author, which would you would choose?
I have to admit that I already have my dream profession: being a book editor.
What are you currently working on?
Right now I’m working on the sequel. It picks up right where Come Dancing left off; Julia goes with Jack to his Mum’s house in England. As in the first book, they have many ups and downs! You can sign up to receive an email when the new book comes out: http://lesliewellsbooks.us8.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=e6fb7057620b84f4a2445a4bd&id=f8b6d94533
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Pistachio.
Night owl, or early bird? Very early bird. I have insomnia, but it helps me get a lot done.
Red, or white wine? White/Pinio grigio. Although I’ve been known to finish my husband’s merlot.
Roller Coasters or Water Rides? Water rides, but my favorite would be the merry-go-round.
Swimming in the ocean or a pool? Both! I love the tang of salt water and also the scent of chlorine.
Walking or fitness club? I’m a runner—or at this point, you might call me a “trudger”.
Any last words?
I really love to hear from readers, and I always respond to emails: email@example.com
I’d like to know what in particular you liked about Come Dancing: the publishing scenes, the rock and roll bad boy, Julia’s mom, New York City in the eighties. Was there anything you’d want to see more of (or less of) in the sequel? I take your point of view very seriously. Many thanks in advance!
Also, if any of you are writers, I blog about writing tips every Monday at http://lesliewellsbooks.com/blog/feed/
Thank you for taking time to chat with our readers, and for allowing Room With Books to be part of your tour.
About the Author
Leslie Wells left her small Southern town in 1979 for graduate school in Manhattan, after which she got her first job in book publishing. She has edited forty-eight New York Times bestsellers in her over thirty-year career, including thirteen number one New York Times bestsellers. Leslie has worked with numerous internationally known authors, musicians, actors, actresses, television and radio personalities, athletes, and coaches. She lives on Long Island, New York.
Come Dancing Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, September 8
Review at Blushing Divas Book Reviews
Tuesday, September 9
Review & Giveaway at SOS Aloha
Wednesday, September 10
Review & Excerpt at What’s On the Bookshelf
Thursday, September 11
Spotlight at Sizzling Hot Books
Friday, September 12
Review & Giveaway at The Boyfriend Bookmark
Tuesday, September 16
Review, Interview & Giveaway at A Dirty Book Review
Wednesday, September 17
Interview at Romance Book Junkies
Thursday, September 18
Review & Excerpt at Shelly’s Book Blog
Friday, September 19
Review at Must Read Books or Die
Tuesday, September 23
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, September 24
Review at Book Nerd
Thursday, September 25
Spotlight & Giveaway at Paranormal Book Club
Sunday, September 28
Review at Devilishly Delicious Book Blog
Monday, September 29
Review at Lustful Literature
Wednesday, October 8
Review at The Life & Times of a Book Addict
Friday, October 10
Review at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Tuesday, October 14
Review & Excerpt at Michelle & Leslie’s Book Picks
Wednesday, October 22
Interview at Room with Books
Thursday, October 23
Review at Lusty Penguin Reviews
Monday, October 27
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Tuesday, October 28
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter
Thursday, October 30
Review at The Danish Bookaholic