Sometimes, life requires a partner.
Ed Maurer has bounced back, more or less, from the neck injury that permanently benched his semi-pro football career. He hates his soul-killing office job, but he loves volunteering at a local community center. The only fly in his ointment is the dance instructor, Laurie Parker, who can't seem to stay out of his way.
Laurie was once one of the most celebrated ballet dancers in the world, but now he volunteers at Halcyon Center to avoid his society mother's machinations. It would be a perfect escape, except for the oaf of a football player cutting him glares from across the room.
When Laurie has a ballroom dancing emergency and Ed stands in as his partner, their perceptions of each other turn upside down. Dancing leads to friendship, being friends leads to becoming lovers, but most important of all, their partnership shows them how to heal the pain of their pasts. Because with every turn across the floor, Ed and Laurie realize the only escape from their personal demons is to keep dancing - together.
This novel has been previously published and has been revised from its original release.
©2015 Heidi Cullinan (P)2015 Heidi Cullinan
Wonderful. I was a little undecided about the old version of the book which I read in 2013, as I found Oliver, Laurie's godfather, quite creepy but that pervy part seems to have been toned down in this new revised edition of the book (thank goodness, quite a few people seemed to find it squicky), and there was a lot more love to go around. Ed, in particular, was fantastic, and I love how they made an appearance in the Love Lessons series too. Iggy Toma does a great job of narrating as per usual with Heidi's work. 5 stars.
I loved the way the dance theme was followed both with chapter headings and the story. The two completely different lead characters made for some interesting conflicts and resolutions. I loved the humour that came with the various story lines too. I've listened to it twice and will do so again. A great read from my perspective
"Sweet story with definite Cullinan stamp on it"
I have enjoyed every Heidi Cullinan book I've listened to. I enjoy how Cullinan threads pop culture into her stories and often utilizes them for more than just back ground. I was first introduced to this couple as part of the cast of characters in Lonely Hearts and was excited to get to hear their story. I have to say that I was just a *little* disappointed in this story after the Love Lessons trilogy. I wish that Laurie, in particular, had a little more depth to him. I didn't fall in love with these guys in quite the same way that I fell in love with each of the couples in those books. I felt like the "conflict" and disparity in their personalities and backgrounds was written off a bit too easily ... and damn do I wish we'd gotten a bit more of Oliver's wickedness.
All in all though, this book will go on the playlist with the rest of H.C.'s books and I will undoubtedly revisit the series often as it is fun, sweet and while not all easy and hearts and flowers, is certainly, ultimately, feel-good reading. And of course, Iggy Toma as narrator doesn't hurt in being motivated to relisten, even a tiny bit.
I was moved to tears more than once. 'Twas a beautiful story that moved me greatly.
"Great Love Story"
A wonderful love story. I was swept away by the two main characters all the way to the end.
"Too many stereotypes"
Okay, before I start complaining about all the things that bugged me about this book, I'll tell you what I liked about it. After having listened to several long, epic sci-fi and fantasy novels, I felt like a nice, light bit of sweet romance to lighten the mood. This book, though heavy on the drama, did a good job providing that.
The writing is fine. Compared to most of the M/M romance novels I've read, the plot is well thought-out and has a good flow to it, though you could have cut a lot of the sex scenes. Not that I have anything against sex scenes, but when most of three or four hours is made up of the MC's licking and stroking and coming all over the place, interrupted by very brief snatches of actual plot developement, I tend to get a wee bit bored. At this point, I fastforwarded. A lot.
As for the MC's, I liked Laurie, though he was a bit on the neurotic side, and I also liked Ed. I liked the way the author built her story around dancing, making it into a metaphor for sex, love and in the end, life itself. For the most part, I have no complaints against the author's characterization. Sure, there were things about the main characters that made me feel annoyed and upset, but they were things that made the characters more flawed and human, and thus, made them feel more like real people.
So if the characters felt real to me, why do I whine about stereotypes?
Well, because there are so many of them:
Feminine, gay professional dancer who loves Barbra Streisand.
Big, macho footballplayer with a heart of gold.
Cold, high society mother, distant high society father and to contrast, the caring, fussy Mom who makes tuna casseroles and her counterpart, the hard-working, kind and wise Dad.
And then there's the creepy, gay godfather who thinks it's a great plan to "joke" with his godson about going to his house for orgies - oh, but only to make him accept his sexuality, of course!
This bunch of stereotypes is a short list of the things that trouble me about this book, and I'm sure there are people who will point out that the author deliberately plays around with the stereotypes, using them to call their validity into question. For me, however, the effort fell flat, and seemed more like the excusing way some will say "I don't want to sound prejudiced, but..." before, invariably, going on to sound exactly that way after all.
And it doesn't end there.
For instance, the author seems to repeatedly imply that if a gay man doesn't enjoy orgies and having indiscriminate sex with strangers, that has to mean that he hasn't accepted his sexuality - in a nutshell, if you don't sleep around a lot, that means you wish you were straight. And never mind the fact that Laurie (the supposedly repressed homosexual) had damaged his career and psyche because he wanted to show the world how great he looked dancing on a huge stage with his male partner. To me, that's the backstory of someone who is strong and proud, and I really don't understand how this can say less about Laurie's security in himself as a gay man than the question of how many one night stands he has had lately.
And then there's my all-time favorite - when Laurie asks for advice, asking why Ed has a problem with accepting his help, the answer to this question is: Because he's a man.
Right. Because if Ed had been a woman, he would have been fine with feeling weak and useless and needing to be helped and coddled.
I'm not generally a raging feminist,but come on!
Having said that, I think I might give another of this author's books a try. I really liked the narrator, and for the most part, I enjoyed the story. Good book to listen to on the train, or while cleaning or jogging or to give your brain a break before diving back into full study-mode. Just not the kind of thing I'd pull out of my backpack if I wanted to give a friend a book that demonstrates an enlightened attitude toward gay people, rich people, poor people, men, women, or, to put it briefly, humans in general.
"So worth it"
Absolutely beautiful story. I loved the premise, the characters, and enjoyed how they came together. I even learned something new which is always nice! Would read again and definitely suggest this to any romance lover!
"A good read and worth a credit"
Perhaps not the most believable of plots, but hey, it's fiction right? On the shelf dancer and muscle jock fall in love over a tango. Or was it a waltz. Anyway, new love, old insecurities and that kind of thing. Nice little novel - spend a credit or penny. You won't be sorry.
"Iggy Toma once again captivates me entirely."
Iggy Toma once again captivates me entirely. So much so I was resentful of intrusions that made me have to put it on pause. He manages to create a whole world that sucked me in and made me laugh, cry, and sigh. I can't ask for more than that with a story.
The story centers around Laurie and Ed, who couldn't be more different in some ways and more similar in others. The dichotomy of Ed and Laurie's personalities perfectly explain how well they ultimately compliment each other. They are yin and yang to each other, perfect in their opposition, and in what they bring to each other.
One of the things I loved so much about this story is the realism that's portrayed, woven seamlessly through the romance, so that it's not heavy-handed or brought me out of the lovely romantic story-telling. There were so many things that spoke to me personally, particularly of learning to live with the pain you have, to accept the limitations of your body after an injury, of being afraid you'll be less for it all...
Then ultimately learning to live with your own limitations and how to not just deal, but bloom under the strain of it all because of the love and acceptance of your own and your partner's.
I love this and know it will go into my rotation for re-listen.
"Tears, Laughter...Dance With Me..."
Dear Dear Heidi..you reached into the soul and brought life to The Dance in ways I never ever expected. I applaud you...I am moved with few words to express my thoughts for this story...I am awed at the depth of your love for these characters and most of all...for The Dance. Iggy, you brought the story alive...you made it real..you Danced..Dear Listener..open your heart...open your mind..and Dance...
"Silent illness the invisible problem"
in a heart beat, the story is sweet and deep The growing together of laurie and Ed happens soon organically u can't help but root for them
no 1st one
Ed seeing Laurie dance and what that did to him and how Ed kept fell hard
there are times that Laurie and Ed seems to be hard to like however once u get passed that it u learn what there hiding and what there both hiding and yet what there scared to share, it makes the story even more real
"Such a real and amazing love story"
Ed is an out and proud football player (semi-pro) who hurts his neck and has to look for alternative ways to stay in shape and rehabilitate against the debilitating pain.
Laurie is a dancer who runs a small studio but who used to be on the path to greatness until he and his then partner (both dance and life) tried to break into a couples dance competition as the only same sex couple and failed, epically.
At first these two are enemies – Ed plays the music too loud, Laurie is a priss, but then… magic (sigh). They begin to dance together and it is everything they’d hoped to find. Laurie loves how Ed can be the strong partner he’s always needed and Ed loves how Laurie can give him some of his self respect back.
Along the way they become lovers, too, and that, by far, is their most important relationship.
There are many road bumps – Laurie’s mom, Ed’s pain and ego, Laurie’s fear of rejection and his past sexual history, money…
But in the end they conquer them all for a very, very satisfying HEA.
This is one of those books I have read and then read again and again. I just love it so!
Some of the things I really appreciate about it:
The real sex. It’s not all hot and sweaty, panting and perfection. There’s pain, and gas, and preparation, and mess. Wonderful!
I love the scene in the hot tub with the other, older couple… again, real, messy, normal, but still hot.
The real problems. Pain and money and egos. Who hasn’t had one or both of those issues in their life – even to the point of ruining their relationship?
Their love. I just fell in love with them as a couple because they are so very different but when they put down their walls you can see just how perfect they are for one another.
All in all it was an amazing book that I can’t recommend more highly than: you must read this!
Iggy Toma has narrated a lot for Heidi and he does another really excellent job here. I love the depth of emotion he puts in to his characters. His pacing is wonderful and his voice is so easy to listen to. I highly recommend both the book and this narration.
I give it 6 of 5 stars – Amazing!
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