Desperate to return, has Iliana’s chance at love faded beyond reach?
After being torn away from her lover by accidentally stepping through an unseen portal, Iliana isn’t sure she can convince Brandon she hadn’t meant to go. Heck, she still doesn’t know how or why she can cross dimensions. So when she finally returns, ten months have passed and he’s mourned and moved on, building a new life for himself. He’s furious at her unexpected return, but she’s determined to convince him she never meant to leave.
Brandon gives her a chance, and a job as an instructor at his school, in hopes of rebuilding their relationship. But their fragile reconciliation is threatened by more misunderstandings and forces who’d rather see them apart. When rumors circulate, calling into question her qualifications as an instructor, Iliana wonders if she’s made the wrong choice coming back to his world.
The only way to prove she’s telling the truth about crossing dimensions is to show him—by leaving. But if Brandon can’t trust her, no matter how fantastical her story, she may have to give up on him, and their love, forever.
A Dance Between Worlds is the third story in the four-part serial recounting Iliana’s journey along the Ivory Road.
The scents of the world around Iliana changed from wet, damp bush to balmy, lush deciduous forest when the rainbows and white light cleared from her vision. Her voice carried into the rainy afternoon, echoing through the trees as Aristotle cantered into an open field.
“Whoa.” Iliana sat back hard and Aristotle skidded to a stop.
Rolling hills covered in green wheat fields undulated gently in the silvery rain as the wind brushed the fronds. A hard-packed road wound its way through the grasses and reminded her of the set for the movie Toys. A driveway split off from the road lined by tall cypress evergreens and several buildings stood beyond their deep green smudge. Stucco walls showed between them with red tiled roofs on matching buildings of various sizes.
The air filled with humidity and smelled of the rain sheeting down over the fields. Iliana tipped her head back and let the cool drops wash her face above the face veil. Wait, veil? She brought her hands up to her head and found the turban had replaced her hat. The black surcoat with silver embroidery kept the rain off her shoulders and her sword belt secured it to her waist.
She laughed. “I’m definitely not in Australia anymore.”
“As if there was ever a question.” Aristotle’s snarky response made her grin.
“So this is Starveshon?” She urged him into a walk toward the road.
“Yes. The village of Los Arboles is behind us. That’s Brandon’s estate ahead.”
“Wow. Guess he had enough treasure to buy that.”
Aristotle snorted. “Buy it, remodel it, and I suspect he still has leftovers.”
She’d known the treasure he’d hauled out of the Karobis was valuable, but she had no idea it could buy an entire estate several times over. The rain pattered against the dirt road and Aristotle’s hooves squelched in the developing mud. She wondered if Brandon had paved his courtyard with flagstones to keep the mud to a minimum.
She bit her bottom lip and curled her gloved hand in the hem of her surcoat. Would he welcome her or would he turn her away? Would her Karobis costume bring back painful memories or good ones?
Iliana took a deep breath and tried to focus on the positive. She’d returned, for good or ill, to make amends with Brandon and to try to explain why she simply disappeared without a word. I should find out if he can read and be sure to leave a note next time.
If there’d be a next time.
“Aristotle, do you think I’ll go back to my world, ever?”
The horse snorted. “Of course you will. Once the ability is gained, you’re only stuck in one world or another if you die there. You were given this ability. You don’t just stop using it because you made it to one destination or another.” He shook his head and the bridle bits jingled. “Remember what I said about finishing tasks? You finish your task here and there’s something for you to do there. That’s the way it works.”
She shot a dry look at the backs of his ears. “So, I should definitely look over those scripts my agent emailed me, then.”
“If you want to have a paying job when you get back, yes.”
“Horse. I’m a horse.”
She snorted as she turned her gaze to the vista ahead. The fields stretched along the road to the horizon. Mountains arched into the sky in the distant west as she rode north. The muddy road wound its way past the estate on the hill ahead, with a drive arching up to the front gate. Iliana’s stomach tightened. The rain left Morse code ripples in the puddles and she wished they conveyed more than S.O.S. as she rode toward making amends with Brandon.
If he’ll even speak to me. She’d seen him disgusted and frustrated, but never truly angry. Yeah, I guess I was saving the best for last.
She picked at the hem of her surcoat as they approached the open arched gates.
“Glory, I look like a Knalish assassin in this outfit.” She scowled at her clothes, uncomfortable with the image she portrayed. “It’s liable to bring back bad memories.”
“Knalish assassins don’t wear gold earrings or have silver horse clasps on their robes.” Aristotle shook his head as she fondled her ears. “You look like a rich southern horseman. He will come to see what you want.”
“Yeah, and likely slam the door in my face.”
“Or throw a punch at you. It’s debatable.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence.”