Title: Danced Close (Portland Heat, #6)
Author: Annabeth Albert
Publisher: Lyrical Shine, Kensington Books
Expected Publishing Date: March 14, 2017
Genre: Contemporary, M/M Romance
Page Count: 132
Rating: 3.5 Stars Rounded UP
Portland, Oregon, is one of the hottest cities in America. Just ask all the hard-working men sweating it up behind the counters of the restaurants, boutiques, and cafés all over town …
Newly clean and sober, Todd’s taken a shine to his job at Portland’s most talked about bakery. It’s not just the delicious desserts they sell, but the tasty treats who keep walking through the door. That certainly includes Kendall Rose, a wedding planner with eyes the color of brown sugar and skin to match. Todd doesn’t try to hide his attraction to Kendall’s elegant confidence and unique style, even as he worries about exposing the secrets of his past.
For Kendall, the attention is just part of the anything-goes Portland he’s grown to love. But he’s still looking for that special someone who will embrace all of him—including his gender fluidity. So he takes a chance and asks Todd to be his partner in a dance class leading to a fundraiser. When the music starts and he takes Todd in his arms, Kendall is shocked at how good it feels. Turns out taking the lead for once isn’t a mistake. In fact, it might be time to take the next step and follow his heart …
♦ Personal Thought ♦
Portland Heat series for me is feel good mixed with angsty stories; they brought to live genuine and sensible characters, each with baggage of their own. Just like in Danced Close.
Having fallen into drug use in his late teen and lived on the street altered Todd’s life. Now clean and sober, he’s rebuilding his life with the help of his gran and volunteer from the shelter. His fascination of Kendall, a genderqueer wedding planner who’s a regular at the bakery he worked, soon brought dancing back into Todd’s life.
There’s so much feel I have for the pair of young men in this story; Todd who had been through a lot in his relatively young age and Kendall who – despite his carefree outward appearance – long for someone who could take him as he is. The gradual friendship between Todd and Kellan that blossom into something more felt so natural. Similarly their initial wariness in rushing into romantic relationship because of past experiences.
Yes, I had the usual issue(s) with the characters over indecision that occurred along the way (unfortunately a habit of mine when reading stories with NA age range characters). But all in all Danced Close is a beautiful and engaging story of courage and personal redemption starring a pair of appealing characters. This is one Portland Heat story not to be missed!
Advanced copy of this book is kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.