To the Breaking Pointe: Cindy McDonald
A box of Pointe shoes and an auctioneer’s gavel holds the fate of many. Just how desperate would someone have to be to sell women and men to the highest bidder? What happens when one woman finds her ballet company in financial straits and is forced to sell of part of it and become a party to illegal business practices? Natalia Novikov has no moral scruples and finds herself in bed with the wrong people. Wanting to protect one young ballerina from the weekly private parties soon becomes impossible. Silja Ramsay becomes a pawn in a game so deadly that her life and the lives of others will become under the control of rich, powerful and dangerous man. Everyone has his or her own limits and at times we find ourselves mentally stressed out, physically challenged and emotionally drained. It is at this point many will break. “The point at which a condition or situation becomes critical. In human psychology, the breaking point is a moment of stress which a person breaks down or a situation becomes critical[
The intensity of environmental stress necessary to bring this about varies from individual to individual,” Wikipedia.
Natalia would move heaven and earth and sell her own soul in order to keep her ballet company alive. Aligning herself with her choreographer named Edvar would prove more than just dangerous but deadly. Anna Antkowiak is young, innocent and was replacing someone in the company that was injured and could not dance. Thinking this was a great honor little did she know that the opportunity afforded to her would cause her more pain that applause. Forced to attend, along with others, the weekly party to entertain and amuse men or women, little did she realize that the price paid for her would be quite dear. A box filled with Points Shoes, an auctioneer asks for the bids and the highest bidder gets first pick of the shoes. Ballad Crafton is rich, powerful, dangerous, a chameleon you might say and deadly. Coming across as kind, caring and only wanting Silja, he entices not only her but also others into a false sense of security making them believe he was a caring and wonderful benefactor and man. But, hidden beneath those dark and evil eyes is a man whose goal it is to create a drug in his lab to control minds. Those that cross the man find out the hard way what will happen. Death to his subjects is just a minor setback.
The first pair of shoes belonged to poor Anna and the highest bidder was a man named Belsky. If Ballard’s methods when alone with him seemed horrific this man’s was totally evil. Silja danced the principal role in the ballet Coppelia and although this was a Russian company her papers stated she was American, which allowed Natalia to exempt her from the parties. But, that would change when Ballard came up with a proposition that she could not turn down.
Edvar was the catalyst behind the parties and his lover, Dominik was also exempt from the parties even though many sought him. But, Ballard Crafton was devious, dangerous and would show his true colors when Silja’s fate was sealed when his proposal is revealed.
Within this complex novel we have another subplot and we meet Grant Ketchum the only man that Silja ever wants or wanted to be with but left behind for the ballet. Grant is a First Force Operative, has some powerful connections and we meet him and his team along with his precious daughter, Lil, when discussing their next mission. We met Jack Haliday in the Into the Crossfire the first in this series and along with Jack we meet Walt, Richard, Dan and Walt’s daughter Dr. Lee the love of Jack’s life if they would only give in to their feelings. But, things become tense as they plan a mission to grab the daughter of a high-ranking diplomat. Anita Salazar is into movies but not the kind any father wants seen on the silver screen. Author Cindy McDonald relates in detail how the mission goes down, adds a touch of comedy, makes it quite realistic since everything does not always go according to plan and the end result is priceless. You didn’t think I was going to give it away!
Grant for some reason become distracted when listening to the details of the next mission and his mind wanders to Silja. At the same time she is being told that her presence is now required at these parties that she knew nothing about. Eleni Babinski, one of the dancers enlightens her as Ballard finds his way into more than just her dressing room. Threatened, warned and just about told to do whatever this man wants or suffer the pain and consequences, Silja is about to enter another world, one no one would ever want to enter and one she might never be able to leave.
Adopted by an American couple that died and having no one in her real corner, Silja falls prey to the wiles of this dangerous man and the end result is shocking. A party that forces those in charge to take stock of what is happening to the girls involved. One man takes it too far as the girl she won is inexperienced and what he expected of her fell more than short. Tempers flared and the end result was horrifying. When the girl’s mother took her out of the company when she quits, those involved could care less. Girls could be replaced and the money from the parties important. But, Ballard had a proposal and desperate times lead to wrong decisions as he states that he will fund the company, take over the expenses and pay everyone handsomely as long as Silja becomes his personal companion. Selling her soul to the devil for her own needs did not seem to really give Natalia any pause for thought or others involved. Prodded by Dominik, she agrees when he states that he is rich, generous and they should satisfy him in any way. But, can anyone please this man? What happens when you make a mistake or cross him?
Silja allows herself to be lured at first by his charm but attending her first party she gets the full scope and sequence of what he wants and intends to have happen as her thoughts focus on Grant. As Silja is about to be whisked away and imprisoned you might say, she sends off a text to Grant for helping hoping it’s not too late.
Missions in place, discussions going on and Grant finally sees the text from Silja. But, before she can send it off Diminik shows up and he world collapses when she learns that Ballard wants her as his constant companion and that the freedom of everyone and the rest of those in the company hang in the balance and is in her hands. Silja is livid and the only hope is to contact Grant. But, will he come and will he get there in time? As her fears arise, Dominik takes something from her home and one man winds up dead and Silja is blamed.
Grant and his team are preparing for their next mission as his cell phone alerts him to a message.
Eleni and Silja discuss what her next move will be and because her feelings for Natalia and Edvar. But, her life is sealed and her fate unknown as she is now placed under the roof of this sadistic man. Running from Belsky, running for her life she arrives home and hopes to escape what is already in place. Her comfort her precious cat Greta but what happens next is frightening as Silja is forced to into a locked room, the man’s mercy and plus that of someone named Tess.
Grant is relentless and his team will back him up when the truth about Ballard comes out and why he moved his operation to Russia. Tense scenes follow as Silja is forced to please Ballard, fight for her life and hopefully Grant will come through. But, not everything goes according to plan and just as things look bleak, Grant shows up but getting away might not be so easy. Taking her to his mansion, greeted by Tess and forced into a bedroom made for just her, the author relates information about Eleni, how Ballard used her for his own purposes and the hidden truth behind what he really intended to do to her and others.
The tension runs high and the pace is fast and exciting as once again author Cindy McDonald creates high powered, high action, heart stopping scenes that will not only make your heart race but will keep you glued until the end. Ballard Crafton has his mind and desires set on owning Silja. Anna’s fate becomes in question when Ballard’s men capture her. But, Grant uses himself as a decoy, takes the punches and hits in order to bring Silja to safety but once again things take a different turn, shots go off, his team is in place but just how they create diversions and how they get into the mansion is the creative and brilliant writing of our author. Suspense runs high. Your adrenaline level will be raised and your heart will pump faster until you learn their fate. Lies, betrayals, deceits, greed, power, control and money are just some of the issues brought to light in this novel. An ending once again that will leave you breathless and twists and turns that will let the reader know that the First Force Team will definitely be back with another mission real soon. Silja and Grant: Will they wind up together or will she be Ballard’s pawn or will she finally reach her BREAKING POINTE?. Natalia, Edvar and Dominik: Will they continue to prosper? What about the company? Breaking Pointe: What happens will you reach yours?
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
Let’s give this one: FIVE GOLDEN POINTE SHOES and dedicate the review to the memory of my sister MJ who was a ballerina and had the most beautiful white Pointe shoes.