Guest Post and Excerpt – Like No One Is Watching by Jaime Samms

Hello Tea House visitors! I am so pleased to have a chance to share a bit of Charlie’s space today. I’m excited to talk about my new book that is just freshly digitized and pixilated! It’s called Like No One Is Watching, and is dear to my because of my very own dancer in my family who helped to inspire it.

The book, actually, the entire series, is themed around a few lines from a song I heard years ago.

“Dance like no one is watching, love like you’ve never been hurt and live like it’s heaven on earth.”

Those aren’t the exact lines of the song, but they carry the gist of the idea that if something you want is worth having, if a thing you love is worth doing, you have to be all in.

I remember when I first brought my own daughter into a ballet studio. She was a tiny little thing, and I had brought her to the studio of a woman I had come to trust as a friend and mentor. It’s never easy to let go of your child into something new, but you have do it, eventually. So there I was, watching through the window at the small dancers, some of them crying, some playing with teddy bears, two of them skipping in circles, hand-in-hand, and mine, staring up at her new teacher like she was seeing either an alien, or an angel. I don’t think any of us, including the girl, knew which.

That was twelve years ago. Today, she calls this teacher her “other mom” or her “dance mom” and when I watch her on stage, I think what an amazing thing it is that she found her bliss so quickly in life. How incredible that she has embraced this thing and knows where she is headed in life. It’s exhilarating to see, and frightening to contemplate what could happen if it doesn’t work out.

And like all writers, from the fear, excitement, wishing, daydreaming of life, I birthed a story, and this is it. Because the enthusiasm of my kid’s youth has reminded me, as I had begun to flag over my writing: If you want something, if you believe in it, you have to do it. For real. Like no one is watching and like you’ll never get hurt. Because the world is what we make by our own actions: Heaven or Hell, we have the choice to make it either one.


She came to rest in front and to the right of him. He reached for her and she looked back. For an instant, he thought she was going to rush away again, the flight of a wild thing in her eyes. But she didn’t. She rose up on pointe and held a hand for him. He had to go to her, and he did so with as much flourish as he dared.

When he reached her, she smiled wickedly. “Spin me.”

“I—” He wasn’t sure he trusted his knee to remain steady.

“You can do this,” she told him. “Trust your body.”

That was the last thing he could do, but she looked so free, so truly a dancer, and he didn’t dare break her out of this newfound exhilaration, so he nodded, taking her hand and lifting their arms.

Of course, she did most of the work. His job was to remain still and steady, a point for her to come back to, her fulcrum. She managed four spins before she wobbled, and he placed a hand on her waist as she lowered her foot to the ground and sank into his grip.

He braced himself, but he needn’t have worried. As though his body remembered what his brain had tried hard to forget, he caught her and spun her, one last time, so they faced front together and she could curtsey and he could bow. They separated, repeating the curtsey and the bow to the mirrors, huge grins on their faces.

“You see?” he crowed. “I knew you could—”

Applause from the doorway interrupted him, and they both looked beyond the mirrors and each other to see the room filled with Eliza’s fellow students and Conrad, all clapping and smiling.

“Oh!” Eliza lifted a hand over her mouth in shock. “I didn’t realize….”

“And so it should always be,” Dusty whispered to her. “Always dance like no else is watching. You are very gifted. Trust yourself.”

She looked at him, flushing, her eyes shining with wetness, but she was also smiling, and she nodded.

“I think that will suffice for your class demonstration, Eliza. Thank you, Mr. Hatch”—Conrad directed his clapping to Dusty—“for a fine illustration.”

“Um.” Dusty flashed a grin. “Sure. Not a problem.”

Hurriedly, Dusty moved to the periphery of the room as Eliza’s classmates surrounded her.

“I’m impressed,” Conrad said, following him to the stereo table. “That was quite a show.”

“I did nothing,” Dusty pointed out. “I walked and I stood.”

“You gave her confidence. She trusted you.”

Dusty shrugged. “Well. It was all her idea, really.”

Conrad nodded. “She usually has good ones, when I can get her to open up. It’s hard for her. I don’t know why, but partner work is her weakness. She hesitates, and that’s when people get hurt. She didn’t with you.” “I’m just glad she managed to let go a bit.” “As am I. You managed to teach her something I could not.”

Dusty’s face heated. “I didn’t teach her anything. I just reminded her what she already knows. She did all the work.”

“Still.” Conrad touched his shoulder. “I’m grateful.”

Dusty wanted to lean into that touch. He didn’t. Gently, he moved away from it. “You’re welcome, then. I hope it helps her.”

He hurried out of the studio, unwilling to disrupt class any more than he already had. Eliza might be thrilled with what she had accomplished with all of her classmates watching, but Dusty was less than pleased that his weakness had been so prominently displayed. The last thing he needed was to reignite the yearning for something he couldn’t have back. If only he had never set foot in the damn studio in the first place.

Buy the book:

So this is my thing; writing. It’s what I do regardless of who is watching. Or, reading, in this case, I guess. What’s your thing? What is it you do, or want to do, that requires that leap of faith in your own abilities? Tell me in the comments, and I will chose a reply from your comments for a copy of a title from my back list.

As always, Ms. Cochet, thank you so much for letting me visit. (I’ll be watching the Dreamspinner site for Ethan’s HEA. 😉


Leave a Reply