Title: Dance With Me
Author: Heidi Cullinan
Series: – –
Genre: M/M Romance
Sometimes life requires a partner.
Ed Maurer has bounced back, more or less, from the neck injury that permanently benched his semipro 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.
Source: Bought it
Okay, I’ll admit it, it was the cover that captured my attention. It’s beautiful. However, it was the author that clinched the deal. I’ve only recently discovered Heidi Cullinan, but I have to say she’s fast becoming a favourite – and this book was no exception.
I loved both Laurie and Ed. Individually they are very different people – Laurie is uptight and somewhat conflicted inside about his sexual identity thanks to certain influences in his life, while Ed is easy going and so cheerful on the outside, yet eaten up with pain and worries on the inside – but together they are wonderful. This should (and could) have been such a simple story of opposites attracting, perhaps sparking antagonistic sparks off each other, then finding common ground with dance – but it is so much more than that.
Laurie has demons, ones that have almost stopped him from dancing altogether. He has daddy issues and mommy issues and a friend who seems to put claims upon him without him even noticing. Outwardly he seems out and proud to be who he is, but inwardly he’s all kinds of conflicted. He’s stressy and prissy and talented and caring and I couldn’t help but like him a lot. His relationship with Ed definitely brings out the best in him.
As for Ed, he’s even more mixed up than Laurie. On the surface he seems so simple, but he’s not. He’s a big jock who’s also proudly gay, loved football and lost the ability to play it, is great with troubled teens, works a job he hates because he needs the insurance, has wonderfully supportive parents, loves to dance with Laurie, and can’t quite bring himself to admit to the limits of his neck injury. He’s a complicated guy, battling with loss and grief and depression and unwilling at times to admit to any of them. There were times I wanted to shout at him to stop being so stupid, but it’s not so much that he refuses to accept his limitations than because he’s scared to face the truth.
I really liked that there are no magic fixes for either of them. This isn’t a straight forward HEA-type tale where dance and love solve everything and it all gets wrapped up in the neatest of neat bows. They help, a lot, but both men have a lot of soul searching to do and things to work out and I enjoyed reading about how they attempted to do this. Okay, if I’m totally honest the hot tub scene didn’t seem to fit with the rest. I know Laurie needed to accept his sexuality more, but that did feel a bit out of place.
However, the dancing. Oh, the dancing! I loved all the dancing. It was beautiful and I loved how it helped them both reach a better understanding with their demons.
Overall I really enjoyed this. It’s moving in places, funny in others, sexy and snarky and full of dance. It was beautiful.
Dance With Me is Out Now!
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