Book Review: A New Way To Dance By Sean Michael

Seth is a successful dancer in Toronto, until a serious car crash destroys his career. At his lowest ebb, he runs into Brook, who’s the brother of his best friend, Lizzie, and who he met briefly on the night of his accident. There’s an obvious attraction between the two of them, but Seth has too many scars, both physical and mental, to consider getting involved with anyone. Brook, however, is determined to help Seth overcome his demons and realize that his identity is bound up in more than being a dancer.

Set against the backdrop of a snowy Ottawa winter and written in Sean Michael’s usual straightforward, unfussy style, A New Way To Dance is a contemporary romance that deals with some complex emotional issues. Though he doesn’t acknowledge it at first, Seth has a serious eating disorder that’s only made worse by his refusal to give up on everything associated with being a dancer. In his mind, he can’t let go of his old way of life, and it’s up to Brook to make him see that things need to change if they’re going to have any chance of happiness. Brook turns out to be selfless and devoted to making Seth well, while Seth struggles with getting close to someone again after his previous sub ended their relationship in the nastiest way possible.

As you’d expect, there is plenty of hot and very loving sex, as Seth and Brook learn everything about each other’s needs and desires. However, the story takes an abrupt tonal shift towards the end, as the last couple of chapters turn into a long and involved piercing scenario. It’s almost as if, having wrapped things up to a satisfying conclusion, the author then thought readers wouldn’t be happy unless the book contained some heavy BDSM action. Fans of hurt/comfort fiction, though, will enjoy seeing how Brook helps Seth heal, and the many descriptions of Seth being fed will appeal whether or not that’s your particular fetish. (Though seriously, ‘ants on a log’? Celery, peanut butter and raisins combined as a snack? That’s wrong on too many levels to count…)

A New Way To Dance is available from Amazon and Evil Plot Bunny. I was given a copy of the book by Indigo Marketing and Design in return for an honest review.

Book Review – Compromised by Bailey Queen

compromisedBen Diggs is an FBI Special Agent, based in Baltimore. His time serving in the armed forces in Iraq has left him traumatised and unable to get close to anyone, and the fact he’s still in the closet about his sexuality only adds another layer to his impermeable shell. An impulsive one-night stand with rancher Tanner Bagley in the small town of Middle Creek soothes his pain, and  he feels no guilt about running out on Tanner without even a goodbye note the following morning. After all, he reckons, he’s never going to see the man again. What he hasn’t counted on is a series of murders that shake Middle Creek – all the victims being gay men who have some intimate connection to Tanner Bagley. As the investigation progresses, and the deaths become more vicious, suspicion falls on Tanner. Ben wants to believe in Tanner’s innocence as much as he wants to keep him safe from harm, and volunteers for a protective detail in Tanner’s home. Tanner, however, can’t forgive Ben for treating him so shabbily, and the two circle each other in an atmosphere of deep mistrust and growing desire. Will Ben lower his guard enough to let the caring, compassionate Tanner into his life, and in doing so will he irreparably compromise both the case and his job?

Compromised is an intense thriller that mixes the a serial killer on the loose and a broken man searching for the lover who can make him whole. It’s very melodramatic – there’s barely a chapter goes by where neither Ben nor Tanner is yelling and/or in tears – and unless you’re a serious fan of heavy hurt/comfort fiction that can become a little wearying. But there’s much to enjoy in Ben’s  path to redemption, the sex scenes are tender and sensual, and even if you guess the identity of the murderer before the end, you won’t be expecting the chilling reasons for his behaviour. if you want a book to leave you feeling thoroughly wrung out, but still uplifted, Compromised is the one for you.

Compromised can be found on Goodreads, and is available from Amazon US/Amazon UK.

(A copy of this book was received in exchange for a honest review)