Dance With Me, by Heidi Cullinan
Publisher: Self-Published (Re-released August 28, 2015)
Page Count: 282 pages
Genre: Gay (M/M) Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5
(Note: I unashamedly spent an hour googling men’s ballet and ballroom dancing instead of writing this review.)
Ever since reading Lonely Hearts and seeing Ed and Laurie’s cameo appearances in that novel, I’ve been chomping at the bit for Dance With Me to come out! It was originally released several years ago, but was out of print when Lonely Hearts came out, so I had to wait until it was re-released to finally get Ed and Laurie’s story. And yes, it was definitely worth the wait!
Ed used to play semi-pro football, until he was almost killed during a game and received a terrible injury to his neck. He volunteers in the evenings at the Halcyon Center, which is where he meets Laurie. At first, he thinks Laurie is stuck-up and vindictive, and Laurie clearly doesn’t think very highly of Ed in return. But when Laurie finds himself in need of a dance partner once a week at the studio where he teaches, he ropes Ed in to help, and the two men quickly realize that there’s more to the other than meets the eye.
“You told me I was beautiful when I danced. You told me when you watched me move, it made you ache inside. You told me you wanted to move with me.” (ePub page 95)
I really love the way Heidi writes characters that are opposites at first glance, but that fit together perfectly. Laurie comes from a wealthy family, and was once a famous ballet star. Ed, on the other hand, is a not-so-refined, openly gay jock who has a deep love of Brittany Spears and Juicy Lucy burgers (which looks SO DELICIOUS!!).
“Ed would never be interested in me. He’s a football player. He’s big and handsome and flirty.”
Oliver smiled. “He sounds perfect.”
“Yes. And perfect men aren’t interested in skinny, uptight, neurotic messes.” (ePub page 64)
The best part is how the two men balance each other. Laurie is amazing with Ed when Ed’s football injury starts acting up. He’s there to take care of him through the hardest of times, and he’s stubborn enough not to back down when Ed gets depressed. Likewise, I loved Ed’s way of encouraging Laurie to be true to himself, and the way he is 100% supportive of Laurie’s dancing (even when Laurie himself isn’t). But the highlight is definitely the way they dance together, and how their dancing mimics their relationship.
Heidi Cullinan is without a doubt one of my favorite authors in the M/M romance genre, and Dance With Me was another fantastic read. (Also, if you like her books you should check out her Patreon page!)
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