Four years ago, Zedekiah (Zed) Harrow and Alyona (Aly) Miller were rising stars in the Philadelphia Ballet. A near-fatal car accident changed their lives. Zed lost his leg, effectively ending his dancing career. The two lost touch and haven’t seen each other since that day.
Four years later, Aly is the principal dancer of the Philadelphia Ballet, but she’s on leave following a violent breakdown in practice. She had been struggling with depression and an eating disorder for a long time before her breakdown, so she’s staying with her mother in Washington, D.C. while she tries to get better. A chance encounter at a cafe brings her back to Zed, who moved to D.C. after the accident and found work as a theater teacher. He’s also had to deal with his own demons over the past few years; in addition to coping with his new disability, he’s a recovering alcoholic. There’s a lot of unspoken hurt and anger between them, but it’s also as if no time at all has passed.
The chapters alternate back and forth between Zed’s and Aly’s perspectives, so you’re left with a more complete picture of what each character is struggling with. But if you pick this up thinking that you’ll get to read about lots of dancing, think again. Ballet is more of a symbol of loss and tension in the book. That’s not a bad thing; it’s a source of tension for both Aly and Zed: for Aly, because the thing she loves more than anything in the world also puts a lot of mental and physical pressure on her; and for Zed, obviously, because he can no longer dance and because he doesn’t like what it does to Aly. Both of them have a lot to work through, on themselves and with each other — there’s a huge elephant in the room regarding the accident that neither of them is really willing to discuss.
This is a contemporary new adult romance steeped in realism (well, almost: some of Aly’s therapy sessions were kind of starting to drive me nuts because the banter between her and the therapist made me all, “who talks like that?!” But I digress). If you want a taste of Locke’s writing, you can read the prequel novella to this book, Turning Pointe, for free here.
Second Position is the first book in the District Ballet Company series. It was released today by Carina Press, an imprint of Harlequin.