Best friends since sixth grade. A ten-year high school reunion. A truth they’ve danced around for a decade.
Unlucky-in-love Sophie Perez knows her divorce won’t be easy—but she doesn’t expect it to be dangerous. So when things get ugly, she agrees to move in with Pete Nicos, her commitment-phobic best friend since childhood. Pete has always been there for Sophie, just like she’s been there for him. At first, taking her in seems like the best option, but soon her tantalizing proximity blurs the lines of friendship. With their high school reunion on the horizon will they find closure, forgiveness, and new beginnings?
Ten Year Dance is a contemporary love story, rich with engaging and relatable characters trying to find themselves and each other. Ara Grigorian’s latest will stay with you long after you turn the final page.
— Pete —
THE SHERIFF DELIVERED the divorce papers. It's done.
My heart slams against my ribs. Did she finally leave that toxic relationship for good? I swerve to the curb to read Sophie's text again. Maybe I read it wrong. Maybe my wishful mind added words that aren't there.
The sheriff delivered the divorce papers. It's done.
Halle-freakin-lujah! I'm elated for her, but also worried. That imbalanced jerk is capable of anything.
I'm proud of you! I reply.
I'm not proud of myself… I hope you're on your way, she writes. Don't be late.
I pull away from the curb and accelerate toward the country club. She shouldn't be left alone now that Seth knows she's serious.
A few minutes later I park next to her black-on-black Mini. I glance up. Sophie is running laps around the court now. Still the All-American athlete she was in school. Which leads to one conclusion—she's going to hurt me. Again. I can practically feel the pain.
Watching her now, I can't help but beam. She's free.
I slide out of the car and grab the tennis racquet from my trunk. I don't know why I let her talk me into these things. After sixteen years you'd think I'd be able to say no to her once.
I stroll onto the court just as Sophie rounds the corner and heads toward me. "Hey, Soph."
She slows down as she reaches me. Her golden-cinnamon eyes latch onto mine. The breeze lifts her red hair. "You're late, Pete. Again."
"I am an advocate for delaying pain and humiliation."
She grins and her dimples appear, reminding me why I never say no to her. She's awesome. I chose well back in sixth grade. My best friend then, my best friend now.
"Dork." She punches my arm.
I hold her arm gently. "Soph, are you okay?"
She shrugs. "I think so.”
We stare at each other for a few moments. "You did the right thing."
She studies me. "I've never quit before. Ever." The last word catches in her throat.
I fold her into my chest. "You did not quit. You tried. For much longer than you should have."
Her taught body softens.
"Now what?" I ask.
"Learn how to breathe again. Care for myself. Begin to choose me first."
I kiss the top of her head. "Welcome to the singles club," I whisper.
She pulls back. "You broke up with Natalie?"
"No, but you know what I mean."
She steps away, shaking her head. "It's this cavalier attitude of yours about relationships that'll leave you alone and unloved." She walks toward her tennis bag.
I decide not to remind her where her idealistic notions of love have left her. "You love me," I say. "Who else do I need?"
"Yes, I love both you and my pit bull," she says as she draws her blood-red racquet out of the bag and executes practice swings. "But in my dog's case"—she eyes me—"I had him fixed."
My leg muscles spasm and my hand instinctively reaches down to protect my vitals. "You're sick… And dangerous."
She glances at me with her divine smile. "And you're still the same snot-nosed twelve-year-old I met in sixth grade. C'mon, let's play."
About the Author
Armenian by heritage, born in Iran, lived in Barcelona, and escaped New York until he found his home in Los Angeles, Ara’s first eleven years were both busy and confusing. The fruit salad of languages would slow down his genetically encoded need to tell stories. Until then, an alter ego would be required…
He received an engineering degree from California State University Northridge and earned his MBA from the University of Southern California. Today, he is a technology executive in the entertainment industry. True to the Hollywood life, Ara wrote for a children’s television pilot that could have made him rich (but didn’t) and nearly sold a video game to a major publisher (who closed shop days later).
But something was amiss until his wife read him the riot act. “Will you stop talking about wanting to be a writer and just do it?” So with her support (and mandate), and their two boys serving as his muse, he wrote stories.
Fascinated by the human species, Ara writes about choices, relationships, and second chances. Always a sucker for a hopeful ending, he writes contemporary romance stories. He is an alumnus of both the Santa Barbara Writers Conference and Southern California Writers’ Conference (where he also serves as a workshop leader). Ara is an active member of the Romance Writers of America and its Los Angeles chapter.
Ara is represented by Stacey Donaghy.