Review: The Highland Duke by Amy Jarecki

“Do you think you’ll swoon again?”
He scowled over his shoulder. “Men do not swoon.”

The Highland Duke was a hoot to read! It’s nonstop action across the roaming hills of the highlands with lots of quick-witted banter and charm. Add in a dollop of romance and a touch of brogue? The start to this series was a home run.

30842455Akira Ayres is a gypsy healer. She lives in Scotland on English controlled soil, and she’s tasked with healing wounded Jacobite rebels before they are shipped off. It’s when she’s looking for any stragglers that she hears a masculine groan in the woods. Before she knows it, Akira’s agreed to help one a brawny and mysterious highlander with a musket ball in his leg. Now she’s an accomplice to the man’s escape with a regiment of dragoons on her tail. As if that wasn’t bad enough? She has a heavy and thoroughly unconscious Geordie against her back.

Geordie, the Duke of Gordon, is part of a Highland uprising against English soldiers. He’s shot and left behind, and with the English closing in, he knows he won’t survive long without Akira’s help. Akira agrees, but Geordie doesn’t expect to remain unconscious for most of their journey nor does he count on the tenacity of English soldiers. That’s before he falls hard for a sweet woman who doesn’t even know he’s a duke.

I adored both of these characters so much. Geordie is such an adorable grump! Granted, he gets shot in the leg, so who wouldn’t be? But Geordie is determined to take care of himself only to find he cannot. He needs Akira. It doesn’t sit well for him, but he doesn’t have much choice. It’s breakneck speed for much of the book. From complications with Geordie’s injury to the myriad escapes and maneuvers in eluding the enemy. Add in the attraction and lust dogging their steps, and it made for a quick read.

Akira has to be the sweetest heroine I’ve read in a long time. She’s gentle and soft-spoken and kind-hearted. She gets roped into helping Geordie because of this inherent nature. But in Akira fashion, she takes it like a trooper. This girl overcomes a lot of her fears and has many more still to face. However, sweet does not equal meek! Geordie growls at her so much in the beginning (again, he’s an adorable grump), before Akira just explodes. Ooooh boy, is Geordie not going to make that mistake again! I loved it!

Despite all of their obstacles, this story was just so romantic. Geordie doesn’t realize how tired of being a duke he is until he meets Akira. She speaks and looks at him like a man, and he can’t help but be charmed by her guilelessness. And Akira isn’t used to being looked upon with anything less than suspicion or scorn because of her gypsy heritage. Geordie only sees the selfless healer before him.

Akira was dear and beautiful and made sunshine radiate in his chest when she smiled.

Gah, this one was so swoony. Lots of tension and buildup, some scorching scenes that were just perfect, and a steady wooing that brought the sugar to Akira’s sweet. I’m highly anticipating the rest in Amy Jarecki’s Lords of the Highlands series. Just the read I was looking for!

*This will be cross-posted on Alpha Book Club. You can find it here.*

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Blog Tour+Review+Giveaway: The Black Lily by Juliette Cross

The Black Lily

by Juliette Cross
Publication Date: March 27, 2017
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Select Otherworld, Paranormal, Historical, Vampires, Cinderella Retelling

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SYNOPSIS:

Cinderella like you’ve never seen before…

With the threat of the vampire monarchy becoming stronger every day, the Black Lily must take drastic measures. As the leader of the underground resistance, Arabelle concocts the perfect idea to gain the attention of the Glass Tower. Her plan? Attend the vampire prince’s blood ball and kill him. Fortunately for Prince Marius, her assassination goes awry, and Arabelle flees, leaving behind only her dagger.

Marius is desperate to find the woman whose kiss turned into attempted murder, hunting for the mysterious assassin he can’t push out of his mind. But what he uncovers could change the course of his life forever…

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Review

She was a fiery beauty in the cold darkness, a beating heart among the lifeless, mundane world he knew too well.

Wow! This book starts with a BANG, and it doesn’t let up until the last page. I was so sad when it was over. The Black Lily is an exhilarating adventure that I can’t wait to re-explore.

Oh, what a merry chase our Arabelle gives the prince and his army. This girl has gumption out to the wazoo! I was so impressed by her. The story opens with her attempt to assassinate the prince, and she’s so self-assured and shows such badassery. She’s not afraid to use all weapons at her disposal to complete her task. Arabelle escapes by the skin of her teeth that night, and I was so excited to see the firecracker side of her. This girl has got it goin’ on! I laughed at how she keeps Marius (and really, the whole vampire community) on their toes.

And Marius? He completely knocks the wind out from Arabelle’s sails…by just being himself.

As soon as he catches sight of her at his ball, Marius is hooked. Arabelle is the last person he should want. She’s the Black Lily, the leader causing the uprising against the vampires. But when has that ever stopped love? Never, that’s when!

Marius doesn’t expect her complete hatred of his people, and even though Arabelle almost succeeds in killing him, it rejuvenates him almost. It’s a challenge he can’t help but rise to, and it opened him as a character. There’s a lot going on in the kingdom that he is unaware of, and Arabelle doesn’t fear showing him. I was on the edge of my seat every time they had a confrontation, and I couldn’t wait to see who came out on top. There’s an animal magnetism between them, a searching and meeting of wills.

Once in a blue moon, I’ll find a book that captures me heart and soul. This book is it. Arabelle astounded me with her fiery strength, with her vulnerability. Marius was dashing and daring and so sweet, it made my teeth ache. The Black Lily kept me anticipating every new page because it’s flowing with color and charm, with purpose. Overall, it’s a riot to read–Cinderella set in the dark, enticing woods of Maleficent.

I’m eagerly awaiting the next in this series. One of my favorite reads this year by far! 

ABOUT JULIETTE CROSS

Juliette is a multi-published author of paranormal and urban fantasy romance. She calls lush, moss-laden Louisiana home where she lives with her husband, four kids, and black lab named Kona. From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance–brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes. Even then, she not only longed to read more books set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.

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ARC Review: Insight by Santino Hassell

A mind-bending romantic thriller, Insight offers a unique concept that tugs at your heart and keeps you guessing the whole way through!

30364791Nathaniel comes from a line of psychics, but for some reason, he only has minor empath abilities. He’s never quite “fit” in anywhere, and his school life is twice as hard when it comes out that he’s gay. With the disappearances of his mother followed by the death of his twin, Nate travels to New York to understand what happened. And when he starts having visions that his brother’s suicide wasn’t one, he’s clotheslined by it.

Trent is heading back to school when he sees Nate hitchhiking along the road. It’s not the first time he’s run into Nate in that small town of Texas, so he thinks it’s fate and allows Nate to ride with him. Trent’s intrigued by the shadows that lurk inside Nate, and their cross-country journey challenges Nate’s barriers at the same time Trent realizes what they have is much more than friendship.

The plot captured my attention right off the bat, and the story starts with a BANG. While this is the first novel I’ve read with Hassell as a solo author – I’m a BIG fan of his and Megan Erickson’s Cyberloveseries – his characters always have a vulnerability that pulls the emotion right out of you. I expect to be invested, and Insight is no different. And it’s a road trip romance for the first half. These were my favorite parts! There’s nothing like learning about someone while trapped in a car and deciding what music to listen to. It was sweet and steamy, and I just loved these two so much!

Then the plot kicks into overdrive with Nate discovering The Community. The group proclaims to want to help psychics acclimate but with the disappearances piling up, Nate doesn’t know who to trust.

One thing that was off for me was the pacing throughout the middle. Information comes so quickly and from so many different sources that I had to stop a few times when a character’s name was mentioned and think about who they were and what their relationship was to Nate.

This was a great first installment to The Community series, and I can’t wait to see where Hassell takes his readers next.

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Review: If the Duke Demands by Anna Harrington

“Was that how all the Carlisle men saw her? As a silly country gel destined to marry a boring vicar or farmer and spend her life polishing church pews or chasing pigs on a farm?”

Miranda has crushed on her country neighbor, Robert Carlisle, since they were little and he gifted her with a kiss. Her problem? She’s all grown up now, but he’s entranced with another woman. Her solution? Why, dress in a fine and provocative gown, lie on his bed with her masked face, where they’ll make love before she declares herself and her heart. Too bad she ends up in bed with the wrong brother.

30364206Sebastian feels the weight of the dukedom on his shoulders. He’s determined to marry his perfect duchess. That isn’t Miranda with her bold maneuverings and her love of Milton and Shakespeare. No, the part of him that glories in her passion and intelligence doesn’t fit with the Sebastian he is now.

They strike a bargain: Miranda will help him find a suitable wife if he’ll help Miranda ensnare Robert. But damned if Sebastian doesn’t fall for her in the meantime.

This is a solid historical romance with all its humorous barbs and battles and just the right amount of passion. Miranda is a blend of bold, but shy; innocent, yet brave. She flowers under Sebastian’s attention, and she really needs someone to see her. Especially when all her attempts to capture Robert’s attention fail. It’s her wake up call. Does she want the man she’s loved for years or the one she’s just starting to know?

The best part is how Miranda’s passion and exuberance ignites the Sebastian he has tried so hard to subdue. But when they’re one-on-one, shrouded in an opera box or alone in the gardens, the devilish rogue comes out to play. It made for some scorching scenes.

“Does the opera stir your blood?”

He stared at her profile in the shadows, his gut tightening at the raw pull of her, and confessed, “You stir my blood, Miranda.”

But about halfway through, the pacing stalls out. Miranda always seems to be embarrassed, and she would make a decision regarding Sebastian only to flounder at the last minute. It made her seem wishy-washy, and I wanted her to stand up and tell him to sod off or realize he doesn’t want a straight-laced bride. He wants her.

It would have also helped the pacing with Sebastian’s inner turmoil. Sebastian brings up Miranda’s station and upbringing way too often, and while I can sympathize with Sebastian’s past, I didn’t think it was significant enough for him to hold off as long as he did. The back and forth became repetitive and a good editing would have rounded out the story better.

If the Duke Demands is a great start to this series, and I can imagine the books for the other Carlisle brothers will involve plenty more hijinks. This is a quick, fun read that offers lots of laughs and the feel-good moments I expect in a historical romance.

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*I was given an arc via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This review was cross-posted on Alpha Book Club and can be found here.*

Review: Rough & Tumble by Rhenna Morgan

“I think you’ve already got a clear picture in your head.”
“I’ve got an outline. I want you to color it in for me.”

Jace is the ultimate alpha male. Someone who’s protective; someone who would do anything for those he loves. Abrupt and honest, but able to stand back and allow his heroine to find her own strength and glory in it.

My heart’s still wrenching from the feels in this one.

roughtumbleVivienne spends her weekends saving her sister from one disastrous party to the next. It’s why she hides her own inner wild child, locking that part in one room of the staid townhome she can barely afford. It’s safer that way. That changes the night Callie’s SOS leads Viv to The Den where she faces an adversary who sees beneath her uppity suits and no-nonsense hairstyle. She shoves down the attraction. She’s never going to see him again anyway. Only an event planning opportunity comes up and Jace is behind it, offering her a lot more than business.

Jace takes one look at Viv and knows underneath there is something hot, aggressive, and his. It’s why when Viv agrees to plan some events for him and his brotherhood, Jace makes a bid for her. He prods here and pushes there until he insinuates himself into her life only to find he’s as hooked as she is.

If only Callie’s bad decisions and the enemy out for Jace’s blood didn’t threaten Vivienne’s safety. He’ll do anything to keep Viv, and when he brings her into the fold of Haven, the last thing Vivienne wants to do is leave.

She seriously needed to get a grip on her taste in men. Suits and education were a much safer choice. Manners and meaningful conversation. Not bloody T-shirts, smoky bars and panty-melting grins.

I adored Viv. She’s a smart, strong heroine and with Jace being so bold, she needed to be. The first time they meet, she’s entranced by the big, scowling hunk with the wicked tattoo. But he’s caring too. He handles Viv’s drunk sister and watches over Viv herself. These two were well-matched!

I also like how Viv’s insecurity doesn’t drag the pace of the story down. Viv knows her failings and owns up to them. Years of forcing herself into a mold only makes falling for Jace that much sweeter.

Jace has his own problems in the beginning. He owns other establishments besides the bar, but the bad PR (drug deals and fights) means his name stays out of the others. It made me so angry on his behalf and increased the tension on all sides.

Then there’s his pursuit of Viv. The only way he’ll get his chance with her is if he forces the proximity and boy, does he ever! Jace is honest to a fault, and while he accepts Viv’s distance, he’s always waiting in the wings, urging her to fly.

And then Jace says things like this that batter down Viv’s walls:

I’m not afraid to mix pleasure with my business, but I want to make sure you’re grounded in how much value you bring to the table before I show you how it’s done.

Hot. Dawg. (That’s written in my notes.) I’ve heard my share of lines before, but these are genuine and heartfelt and just so Jace. From the very beginning, he makes sure Vivienne knows the score. How refreshing is this? An alpha male that doesn’t go anywhere near the alphahole category. It sets the tone for the sweet and the smexy with a side bit of kink.

The secondary cast of Haven is to die for as well, and I can’t wait to see these men in action!

So, if you’re looking for a hot, badass alpha with a heart of gold who listens and challenges and just gets the smart and sassy heroine – you know, mixing a bit of his business with a whole lot of pleasure (ha! See what I did there?) – I’d get that one click finger ready for Rough & Tumble.

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*This was reviewed by Michaelene for the Alpha Book Club, and you can find the cross-post here.*

ARC Review: Hard Wired by Santino Hassell and Megan Erickson

I have adored this entire series and Hard Wired (Can we all admit that Hassell and Erickson’s title game is on point?) follows this pattern. Hold on to your angst meters, ya’ll. Things are about to get complicated!

33642764Ian is at FallenCon to do his drawings as Cerise (the emo, playboy artist) and meet his Twitch mod team as Cherrycakes (the cheery blonde-haired girl.) And then, downplay the fact that he’s not the cheery blonde-haired girl the other mods expect. His plans are shot to hell when he looks up and locks eyes with Jesse Garvy. The same Jesse that Ian has been crushing on hard.

This was supposed to be my unveiling. The day I finally stopped hiding behind an anonymous avatar and let everyone in Kai’s channel know about the other side of me. But I’d hoped…that somehow Jesse would know on his own.

To tell or not to tell? Ian chokes back the confession. The problem? Jesse is as sweet and charming offline as he on it, and Ian ends up ravishing the blonde surfer babe against a wall.

Now, what?

Jesse is fascinated by Ian with his tattoos and his black hair and his complete and utter talent. When Ian gives Jesse his first experience with a guy? He’s all in. If only he didn’t find Ian – aka Cerise, aka Cherrycakes -are all one and the same.

This story tore out my heart while slowly rebuilding it piece by agonizing piece. Ian hides behind Cerise, and when we learn the why of it, it wrecked me. He needs it to feel safe. When Jesse wants Ian to be Ian, he bolts. I wanted to give Ian a big hug at the same time I wanted to kick his hiney into gear and tell him to go get his man!

The split personalities of Cherrycakes/Cerise/Ian did confuse me at first, and I believe focusing on two personas might have uncomplicated the story a bit. That said, this is a key part of Ian’s character. This crippling, social anxiety is something he deals with every day. Without them, the story would have lost some of its magic.

There was no such thing as identifying someone by their fucking soul, but it was easy to trick yourself into thinking such things were possible when you lived your life primarily within the pages of manga, fanfic, and original slash.

Then there’s Jesse. He’s one of the most forthright and charming individuals I’ve come across in a romance novel. While he can’t stand up to his parents (who take advantage of his sweet soul), Jesse has no issues taking Ian to task. I was actually surprised by this because I, too, bought into Cerise’s outgoing personality. But that’s not Ian, and I love that Jesse became the aggressor. I didn’t expect him to be, and part of that is because he is so self-conscious. Jesse lacks the confidence to start his own Youtube channel (his dream) and almost sabotages himself. He wants to move to LA with his cousin, instead of working at a surf shop and bailing his parents out of debt.

I haven’t seen another series or book in romance tackle the gaming community so well and so succinctly, and while I am not caught up on all the players and how streaming works, the background is given in such a way that I understood the gist of it. It interested me enough that I even looked up Twitch and watched a few streams. Side note: it’s quite fascinating! Props to the authors on that!

This in-depth look into online and offline communication added another layer to this book, and boy, can these two make use of communication! Um…also? Phone sex, anyone? 😉 It also gave the opportunity to develop Ian further as a character. He has to draw the line between his online persona and the Ian he saves for Jesse.

While the romance portion is front and center, I found that the emotional, individual journeys were the primary focus for me. We see how they each heal the other, together. It’s relatable; it’s heartbreaking; it’s an essential part of them both.

That is a version of romance I think we can all relate with and strive for.

*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are 100% mine. Hard Wired is book 3 in the Cyberlove series and can be read as a standalone (although, I would recommend reading them all. They’re AWESOME!) Hard Wired releases February 7th.*

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ARC Review: The Lawrence Browne Affair by Cat Sebastian

30226770Cat Sebastian has done something for the romance genre with The Lawrence Browne Affair – and in particular, this historical period – that few have done in the market thus far. It has added diversity that’s needed while giving us all the essential elements of a great romance. I am so happy I found this one!

Lawrence and Georgie are the perfect match right from the beginning. I simply can’t resist a broody hero, but Lawrence is more than that. He’s sequestered himself alone, living in a broken down home, and thinking he’s mad simply because he desires men. How can you not just want to hug this man? This sweet person who doesn’t understand how amazing he is?

Don’t worry. It’s Georgie to the rescue. He’s funny, snarky and brutally honest. He made this book for me! In one scene, they are working on Lawrence’s experiments – yes, Lawrence is super sexy smart and handy too! – and Georgie sends him a message. Two words, and Ack! The tension killed me. I just wanted to shout, “Atta boy, Georgie! Get your man!” And when Lawrence reins in his ghosts and throws around his brute strength and title…watch out!

Their story is the perfect mix of sweet and spicy, and any book that makes me sigh in happiness is a 5-star read for me. It’s books like these that have me so excited for the historical fiction genre as a whole as much as it cements my love for them.

I highly recommend this one!

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ARC Review: The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne

4.5 stars!

Byrne is an author who delivers stripped-down characters – pitting their best selves against their own darkest parts. This book doesn’t back down from controversy, from the raw and gritty, from the vulnerable and damaged.

From behind the elegant veneer of the illustrious duke, cousin to the queen, herself, peered the eyes of a predator. Calculating. Hungry. Lethal.

thedukeCollin Talmage, Duke of Trewyth starts as a soldier in this story, newly gaining the title after the loss of his father and brother, and he’s floundering, looking for salvation. He finds it for the night in Imogen’s bed.

Imogen Pritchard is in protection mode. Her father left their family swimming in debt, and Imogen strikes a deal with their debtor. She’ll waitress in his establishment as Ginny as long as he doesn’t sell her companionship for the evening. Her luck runs out the night she meets Trewyth. He’s gentle and compassionate that night – sharing his burdens – and it stays with her.

Years later, Trewyth shows up at a hospital – the hospital where Imogen works as a nurse. He has been tortured, left with one arm and narrowly escaping death. Imogen’s premonition about his condition saves him, but Trewyth didn’t want to be saved. Nor does he recognize his nurse. The pain Imogen feels when he wakes up and hates her tore me apart. And what she loses in the process…

Both of these characters are so damaged; not just physically, but mentally and emotionally, and my heart bleeds for them both. Trewyth changes, likens himself to an animal, and his only saving grace in all this is his night with the mysterious Ginny.

This beast was no longer dormant within him, but prowling beneath the surface of his skin, wanting to mark his territory.

There is also the added conflict of someone being after Imogen, but I thought the story simply didn’t need it. These two are so broken as individuals that seeing them heal each other – slowly and with each resisting to the end – is enough.

Every second I held my breath wondering when Imogen will reveal herself and what Trewyth would do when her identity came out. The charade goes on a little longer than I anticipated, but it kept me on the edge of my seat!

That being said, the tension between them is on point. Though Trewyth likens himself to a base animal, Imogen sees beneath the veneer, and her reaction always surprises Trewyth. You can’t scare her, Duke!

This story stuck with me and Byrne is on my auto-buy shelf – right next to Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas – because of it. Any lover of historical fiction with a taste for a darker romance should pick this one up. Stat!

*The Duke is the fourth book in Byrne’s Victorian Rebels series, but it can be read as a standalone. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are 100% my own*

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Review: Branded by Flames by Sean Michael

img_0321I’m still recovering from how HAWT this dragon-laced romance was. My fingers were burning and as long as you like kink in your stories (and lots of it), I recommend this one!

Shae is an artist who sculpts dragons, and when the new neighbors call the cops for welding in his front yard, he’s not in a good mood. Until he catches sight of a sexy firefighter.

Jake is a dragon, and he sees signs that Shae just may be the submissive he needs. Things get complicated quickly when Jake realizes the man has his family’s crest emblazoned on his body and with it, his dragon name – Jakob-meine.

What follows is an erotic adventure about finding love in unexpected places and being able to accept – and celebrate – in one’s true self.

The beginning of this book starts slow for me. Their interactions seem disjointed and a tad awkward. About a quarter of the way through, however, things heat up.  I like how Shae is a mature hero (a silver fox, if you will), and he makes Jake work for it. The plot has just enough backstory to keep it moving and more than enough internal conflict to keep me turning pages. And again, there’s kink on top of kink. I’ve read my share of kink, ya’ll, and even I had my brows shoot up a time or two.

Now, onto a few downsides. Something I’ve noticed in Sean Michael’s other books is the dialogue isn’t very realistic.  I can’t picture men saying some of these things, and I skimmed over certain parts that brought me out of the story.

One other point I find important is that Shae, in particular, morphs into a different character in my head. Shae is an older human male. By the middle of the story, I began picturing a young buck who is shy and uncertain. Granted, lots of changes come about, but I missed the confident, older tone he exhibits earlier in the book.

That, however, was the extent of my complaints. So, if you want your erotica EROTIC, pick this book up, stat! The shaky beginning dissipates, and Jake, the dragon, is to die for. I will definitely pick up the next book in this series. These dragons are too hot to miss!

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Review: Finding Your Feet by Cass Lennox

As a librarian, I have made it my mission to diversify our shelves and read outside of my norm.  I ran across Finding your Feet by Cass Lennox as I browsed Netgalley, and fell in love with the premise as well as the characters.

Evie Whitmore meets an ace like her on Tumblr and travels to Toronto.  She accidentally auditions for a dance competition between two queer dance studios. The problem? She doesn’t dance. The kicker? Her partner is the enigmatic Tyler Davis.images

Tyler is a transgender teen who has been burned hard. He doesn’t want to teach a newbie to dance. Especially one he’s attracted to. That’s not even considering the one week timeline and the fact they are up against the premiere dance studio in Toronto.  What he doesn’t expect is Evie with her sharp wit and take-no-prisoners attitude.

Soon, it’s all they can do to separate their emotions when  dancing brings them so close together.

Evie was a refreshing character for me. She’s tough, and even though she hasn’t found the acceptance she needs from her family, she demands it of Tyler. It’s the kind of girl he needs, especially after the number his ex did on him. Evie just gets him.

…knowing that people came in a variety of genders and that sometimes people had to make physical changes to transition to their true gender was one thing; remembering it and applying it when looking at people—interrupting the socialized, automatic need to identify everyone’s presented gender—was another.

Their connection is immediate, an inexplicable attraction  that Tyler can’t deny, especially as his routine challenges them both to let go of their past.

She’d liked that he trusted her to handle him that way. No guy had ever asked her to lift him except as a dare. Tyler had been excited about it; he’d lit up as soon as he knew she was strong.

It had been quite a while since she’d spent time in another person’s space like that.

Tyler broke my heart throughout this book. The one woman he thought he had loved – that he had shared the intimacy of dancing with – drained his self-confidence. He has such fears that Evie will find him lacking in some way.

Which is ridiculous because when they dance together – talk and laugh and take selfies with Godzilla (Read the book ;)) – he’s so much more. Equal parts playful and serious; a leader, but a follower; confident but shy. It’s a combination that grabs Evie’s attention and doesn’t let go.

“See how easy you move now?” he pointed out.

She turned to face him, blushing but smiling. “Yes, I got it. Thank you for letting me vent. You’re good to talk to.”

Pride filled his chest. “Girl, I had so much therapy when I was younger, I should be charging you for this. Dr. Davis’s patented dance therapy.”

She stroked her chin thoughtfully. “I see, I see. I’m indeed grateful, Dr. Davis. Is this first consultation free?”

Ha. “Hey now, nothing’s free in this world.”

“Then how should I pay you, Dr. Davis?”

“For starters, you can stop stealing the lead.”

She dipped him. “Never.”

Which leads to the great and diverse cast of characters that Lennox brings to the stage – a true representation of what makes us human. Different and yet similar, all at once. Tyler is transgender, half black/half white. Evie is asexual. Gigi – Tyler’s best friend – is a homosexual male. And that’s simply naming a few characters.  Their dynamics together make them such a great and supportive group. I loved them all.

At first, I was confused on all the various players. There are a LOT of names and identities thrown out, so I had to reread to make sure I got everyone’s relationship – past and present – to the other. But seeing as I haven’t read book one in the Toronto Connections series, this librarian plans to make up for the oversight immediately.

I highly recommend this sweet and touching book which is guaranteed to pull at your heartstrings.