Dance with Me by Hazel Hughes

For the love of the Bolshoi, why can’t the ballerinas of the world just get along?!

What’s it About?

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When reporter Sherry Wilson-Wong wakes up in bed with ballet bad-boy Alexi Davydenko, she knows she’s crossed the line. But the dancer with the body of Apollo and the panty-removing stare wasn’t talking, so what choice did she have? Playing his little drinking game – a shot and a kiss for every answer – seemed like the perfect way to loosen his sexy lips. She gets her story, he gets his fun, win-win. But his answers only lead to more questions. And Alexi wants more than fun.

Investigating into the ballet company’s shadowy secrets, Sherry learns that the beauty on stage masks ugly dealings, some of which seem to bear Alexi’s signature. But the more truths she exposes, the more lies she is forced to tell herself. That digging up dirt on a company with ties to the Russian mob isn’t dangerous. That licking every inch of Alexi’s naked body while hunting down evidence of his guilt isn’t a conflict of interest. That with each touch, each kiss, she isn’t falling deeper in love with the very man who could destroy her.

First Impressions

Seriously, if I ever came across a professional ballerina in real life, I’d probably pull them aside and conspiratorially whisper, “Alright, who did you have to deceive, maim, or kill to get where you are today? I won’t tell anyone, promise! Just my own curiosity.” I know sometimes you’ve gotta do what you gotta do to succeed, but goodness, these artists can really take it to the extreme. Maybe it’s from the unfortunate lack of calories.

Joy Womack, a 17-year-old dancer who is to become the first American to graduate from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, takes part in a lesson at the academy buildings in Moscow

 

Sexy Meet Cute

This book has a lot going for it, from a sexy male lead, to some journalistic intrigue, and even a few interesting family dynamics thrown in as well. My favorite part of the novel though would have to be how our two love-birds first meet. She’s interviewing him for an article, and he’s always close-lipped when it comes to talking with the press. To mix things up a bit, Alexi suggests a rather adult version of 20 questions.

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Basically, nothing is off limits, it includes a bottle of vodka, and Alexi gets a kiss for every question asked. Needless to say, things escalate pretty quickly. My only complaint is that we aren’t witness to all the drunken revelries throughout the evening, just the expected hangover the morning after. Don’t let that fool you though, these two are smoking hot in the bedroom. And hallway. And alleyway behind a bar.

Drama at the Ballet

The mystery and intrigue in this novel was also pretty unique. I must say it’s the first novel I’ve read that deals with possible criminal activities at the ballet which don’t involve two ballerinas trying to kill each other over a lead role.

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It was compelling to see the development of what was initially a puff piece written by Sherry evolve into something more dangerous. That being said, I really think this aspect of the story could have been taken one step further as it progressed. In my opinion, the criminal mastermind was kind of predictable, and I kept hoping for one final twist to the story which would throw off all your preconceived assumptions.

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Nope

Should you read it? A sexy read to be sure! I did feel there was more focus on our couple in the bedroom rather than an in-depth exploration of the ballet conundrum. I would’ve liked to see a bit more of the journalistic side of things as well!

Smut Level: Alexi’s mother tongue might not be English, but that doesn’t mean the man doesn’t know how to talk dirty. Let’s say he’s rather obsessed with Sherry’s “petals”.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Evernight Publishing. 175 Pages.

 

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Midnight Serenade by Alli Sinclair

This book makes me want to learn to tango. And re-watch Evita for about the fiftieth time. And find an amazingly artistic male lover to do a little tango beneath the sheets. Unfortunately, none of those are going to happen because I essentially have two left feet, Evita isn’t currently streaming on Netflix, and well…who are we kidding? That last one was never gonna happen!

What’s it About?

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After twenty years of wondering why her mother chose the tango over her, Dani McKenna finally travels to Argentina. What was it about this beautiful, mysterious land that enticed one woman away from her own child—and broke another’s heart? As a journalist, Dani may have the opportunity to find out. And an enigmatic tango dancer may hold the key to her quest—if she can break down his defensive walls.

Carlos Escudero had been Dani’s mother’s protégé. Tragedy ended his career and he refuses to be interviewed. But he will give Dani some insights, on one condition: she must agree to his tango lessons. As the two begin the intricate dance of passion, Dani’s quiet, logical world is exchanged for one of music, motion—and mystery. For the clues to a tango legend’s murder may lead Dani to the truth about the past and its impact on her family—and free her to move toward a future she can claim as her own at last…

First Impressions

Honestly, it takes a few chapters before this book finally finds it’s direction. There’s a lot going on in this novel, and although this helps to constantly keep you on your toes, it also makes it seem a tad unfocused at times. I think the main contributing factor to this is the fact that we’re dealing with a multi-generational novel. Dani might initially seem to be the lead of the novel with her journey to Argentina and flirtations with a handsome tango dancer, but then we find out the book is just as much about her mother and grandmother as it is about her. Not to mention a few other dashing characters who get thrown into the mix.

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From Dani’s search for her estranged mother, to her tango lessons with a devastatingly strict teacher, and even a 1950s murder mystery, I questioned whether or not the multitude of story lines presented in this novel could come together and form one cohesive plot. Happy to announce I was pleasantly surprised, as well as emotionally floored at the way all of these stories converge into one beautiful ending that will have you reaching for the tissues.

 

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The Tango of Life

Throughout the novel, there are many references and equivalencies to how tango is just like life and love. In my opinion, there may have been a few too many comparisons at how they all contain overwhelming joy, sadness, heartache, passion and melancholy. However, in the end you can’t deny that tango has a supreme impact on every single character presented in this novel. At times it might seem like a curse, but it can also result in a deep connection with your perfect partner.

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From 1953 to Today

While Dani is the main focus of the present day story line, we are also concurrently reading about the tumultuous tale of Louisa Gilchrest in 1953 Argentina, and her love affair with a talented musician who is pretty much off limits. I almost thought this historical romance could have been a book in and of itself. It was this story that had the bulk of the mystery, intrigue, political upheaval, and tragedy. It also made me slightly antsy, as there’s nothing that makes me squirm more with discomfort than someone who is accused of a murder they didn’t commit.

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Eventually we do see how these two stories are connected through something much more than tango. As these two tales start to merge together at the end it almost becomes a race against time for all of the puzzle pieces to fall into place. But when they do? Oh…my…God.  Devastatingly beautiful. It might not be the happiest of happy endings with prancing unicorns and bunny rabbits, but it will make you realize that life is always full of unexpected surprises.

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: The Dance Card Series

Should you read it? The multi-generational aspect of this novel is definitely one of it’s most unique features. However, at the beginning this is also one of the main detriments of the novel, as it’s almost too many stories going on at once. Definitely worth sticking around though for the ending. You’ll also learn a bit about the history of tango, which is pretty interesting.

Smut Level: The characters of this novel insist that one of the main misconceptions about tango is that it’s all about sex. Though love and passion are a main feature of this novel, sex isn’t too much of a focus.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Lyrical Press. 326 Pages.

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Fever: A Ballroom Romance by Tonya Plank

I have read many a romance novel where the male and female lead don’t do the hibbety jibbety until over halfway through the book. However, I think this might be the first one ever where it’s taken over 50% of the novel before they even introduce themselves to one another!

What’s it About? 

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Rory’s once promising ballet career was destroyed by family tragedy and illness. She turned her life around and became a lawyer. Now at the start of her legal career, she lacks passion in her work and self-confidence in her abilities. But when she meets gorgeous, mysterious Russian ballroom dancer, Sasha, at a firm holiday party, her passions for life and dance are immediately re-kindled. Since being torn from his Siberian family as a child, Sasha’s life ambition has been to be world ballroom champion, a path he was destined for until his former partner pulled the plug on their partnership. She went on to win the world title, leaving him, without a partner equal in ability, forever in second place. The instant he lays eyes on Rory, he recognizes the depth of her passion and talent, and falls hard for her in more ways than one. But she also reminds him of great pain from his past. He must not only overcome his own demons but convince her to leave her demanding law career, and all that she has worked for in her adult life, to train with him full-time in order for their partnership – both on and off the dance floor – to work.

First Impressions

I’ve gotta give props to the author for focusing so much attention on the intricacies involved with ballroom dancing. I only danced one year of jazz way back in the day, and I’ve watched a few seasons of So You Think You Can Dance. Basically, I have no dance background to speak of. I’ll admit that there were times when I found it difficult to picture the exact movements being described in the novel. However, overall the author did a great job at describing the details of the moves so that I could easily visualize the steps of the dancers. Throw in some great ballroom tunes that I was actually familiar with, and even I found myself swinging my hips every now and again.

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Sex on Hardwood

This entire book was a build-up of sexual tension. Rory and Sasha have an obvious connection, and a definite abundance of sexual chemistry. She can actually sense when he’s staring at her with his trademark devilish smirk. And don’t even get me started on when they dance. The close proximity of their hips moving back and forth; his hand around her waist; the gentle brushes of his fingers along her neck; the intense longing in their eyes…so delicious it’s like sex on hardwood. Even though these two never kiss throughout the entire book, it’s clear that it’s only a matter of time before their sexual tension will explode into a wild flame of passion in a future book.

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Excuse Me? 

I do think it was too long of a wait for Sasha and Rory to officially meet. Although, considering his incredibly high status within the ballroom dancing community, I guess it’s more realistic that she didn’t just waltz right into his bedroom within the first 50 pages. See what I did there? Waltz into his bedroom? Had to make at least one dancing pun.

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I will say at times I wanted to slap some people while reading this book. It goes into vivid detail about the unfortunate politics contained within the ballroom dancing world. Basically, the most talented dancers don’t necessarily win, but rather those who have the most money. This disgusting dynamic gave some bitches a sense of superiority, and I eagerly wanted to take them down a peg. Rory also needed to develop some backbone and stand up to them. Looks like she doesn’t just have issue with her posture when she’s dancing!

*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Infectious Rhythm, book 1. I needed book 2 like yesterday! Book 1 ends on a cliffhanger, and I need to find out what happens!!

Should you read it? It’s pretty unusual for a romance novel to not even have our lovebirds kiss, especially considering the amount of sexual tension teeming between them. Dance is a major feature of the book, and although it can be difficult to picture at times, it’s an interesting tale of indulging in whatever makes you happy.

Smut Level: No kissing or sex, but my goodness I had to fan myself a few times. Sasha pushes Rory to be the best, and is very demanding on the dance floor. Imagine what he’ll be like in the bedroom!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. This Kindle book is free! Dark Swan Press. 416 Pages.