Dancing in the Sand

Dancing in the Sand Cover

Dancing in the Sand

An accomplished dance major in New York City, Ava Woodward is pursuing her dream of becoming a professional in a national dance company.  But a celebratory weekend in Newport, where she meets the man of her fantasies, has devastating consequences that change her life forever.

Brian Stanhope, a Harvard graduate, poised to join his father’s company, suffers a brain injury in a horseback riding accident, which affects his memory. He has no recollection of his graduation party weekend or the beautiful dancer who turned his head and stole his heart.

When they reunite eight years later, the magic of their powerful attraction binds them together, but the past holds a secret that even love may not be able to overcome.

"Dancing in the Sand" Awards


Firebird Book Award

Firebird Award - Dancing in the Sand 2023

Both sexy and thoughtful; smart and funny, Dancing in the Sand is a great read.

Wow! Maria has exalted the art of the romance novel with her latest book, Dancing in the Sand.
With lines like "Trust kept flying its white flag in her face, and she still refused to surrender" the pleasure of the read is as much in the carefully crafted prose as in the plot and character development. Speaking of plot, Maria brings depth and dimension to the story line from the first to the last page, satisfying not only the reader's wish for the romance to succeed, but also their hope for it to succeed in the context of good outcomes, all around. Both sexy and thoughtful; smart and funny, Dancing in the Sand is a great read. - review on Amazon


The characters drew me in right away, but the beautifully interwoven story lines captured me even more. Ava was real and genuine making what seemed to be 'right' decisions at the time, which only paved a difficult road for her young-adult life. Brian, an impressively handsome, charismatic and rich ivy-league college guy is a typical rogue, but some 7 years later has matured into the high-quality gentleman that Ava needs. I loved the emotional and situational interplay. Happy I read it and look forward to more from Maria I. - D. on Amazon

All I can think about is when will the movie be coming out!!!

I've met the author Maria Imbalzano through local networking. As soon as I finished the book I sent her an email asking if her next book is ready! All I can think about is when will the movie be coming out and who will she get to play Ava and Brian!!! Originally I planned to take it with me on an upcoming trip but when it was delivered I started to read it and picked it up to read every chance I had. That was just a few days ago. I LOVED this book!!! - Ann Laurie on Amazon

Excerpt from "Dancing in the Sand"

Approaching his sister’s dance studio to the right, he heard a pounding beat, not at all similar to the classical music that fueled Carrie’s usual dance practices. He stopped to watch through a small square window off to the side. Ava, dressed in a black leotard and tights, leaped and twirled through the air like a spinning top, set on its course around the circumference of the room while Carrie spun in a more confined area in the center of the room.

Brian’s eyes sought Ava as her tight body coiled and released, coiled and released. Her arms were at once fragile and muscled, highlighting biceps and long, graceful fingers, sweeping through the air to mirror her legs. Her leaps were huge, with powerful extension and maximum air between her and the floor. No sooner would she land than she’d pull her limbs into herself and pirouette on her toes, spinning fast enough to make him question the physics of it all. This was no prissy ballet. This was fast and furious modern dance where you could feel the beat in your throat. Okay, maybe he’d experienced a little too much dance in his life, but this was definitely as good as anything he’d seen on the New York stage. Ava was even better than his sister.

What happened to the shy, vulnerable girl he’d just met? On the dance floor, she was a powerhouse. Full of confidence, energy, and magnetism.

When the music ended, he stood rooted to the floor, and his hands came up in a spontaneous clap.

“Who’s out there?” Carrie flung open the door to reveal their intruder. “Brian, what are you doing here? I thought you were playing tennis.”

“I am. I was. I-I had to come in for more balls.”

He stared at Ava, with her dark brown hair pulled tight in a bun at the nape of her neck, drops of sweat beading on her chest just above the scoop of her leotard and above her full upper lip. Hot and sexy. He swallowed, fantasizing about licking the moisture from her mouth, her neck, molding that cute little powerful body into his.

“Then why are you just standing there?” Carrie placed her hands on her hips, challenging him to stop staring at her friend and walk away.

“I’m going.” He backed away from the door, but couldn’t seem to make his body turn and move down the hall.

Until Carrie slammed the door in his face.

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