The Dancing Floor by Barbara Michaels
In Barbara Michael’s The Dancing Floor, twenty-something Heather Tradescant is taking the trip she’s dreamed of since she was a little girl—paying visits to great historical gardens in Britain. However, it’s a sorrowful journey as her hen-pecked but beloved father was supposed to be her traveling companion. They had planned it together, after all, and then he died unexpectedly. But Heather is determined to see it through, even if that means breaking into Troyton House to check out the garden. She is prepared with a camera and a notebook, but she is not prepared to be frightened out of her wits by something lurking in what might have been—and possibly still is—a sacrificial glade.
Overcome by a feeling as though something ancient and evil were hounding her into deepest part of the overgrown garden maze, Heather bursts from the thicket and onto the estate’s open lawn where she interrupts the wealthy father and son enjoying a leisurely breakfast. Though broken (or at least sprained) and bloodied, Heather is surprised when the older gentleman changes very quickly from wanting to bind her up and call the police to treating her as an honored guest. His sarcastic and handsome son Jordan is equally mystified. Mr. Frank Karim is cantankerous and single-minded, as befits a titan of business. Why should he offer generous hospitality to such a one as Heather Tradescant, intruding girl klutz?
As Heather’s first days at the estate lengthen into weeks, she learns why Frank Karim took a delighted second look at her. And he is not the only one looking. Jordan’s gorgeous friend Sean, sort of a combination bodyguard and companion, is paying her lots of friendly attention. She is also a subject of gossipy interest for the women in the village, both at the white magic shop and at the old restaurant in the tourist town known for its ties to the notorious Demdike witches. Their scandals and betrayals from centuries ago are determinedly reasserting themselves into the modern world, with death lying at the heart of the maze.
Barbara Michaels writes amusing yet gripping books, many of which stand alone outside of a series. There’s usually a nice mix of romance, history, and the supernatural but the main focus is on the characters. Light diversions, they are perfect for spring or summer reading.