(Dangerous Dancers #2)
By Tara Lain
A tattooed dancer and a by-the-book detective dance with death in the ego-fueled halls of ballet.
Bad boy of ballet, Valentin “Val” Aalto stands poised on the verge of huge success -- except for one big obstacle. Influential lead dancer Harry Hardesty hates Val and cheats him out of the lead in Romeo and Juliet. When Hardesty winds up dead, Val looks like a prime suspect – and gets thrown under the detailed and methodical inspection of the handsome NY detective with the stick up his butt, Andrew Preston. At first, Preston believes Hardesty may be the victim of the chilling Dancer Killer who’s struck three victims, but evidence stacks up against Val. Still, Andrew can’t seem to keep his hands off his suspect and when the Dancer Killer starts stalking Val, Andrew is forced to choose between his dedication to a job he loves – and his growing passion for his beautiful dancer. Together Val and Andrew discover that chaos can be beautiful, one should choose desserts wisely, and love can even trump death in the rehearsal halls of ballet.
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Is that light? Val opened an eye and frowned at the sliver of brightness seeping around his closed blinds. What the f*ck time is it? Am I late for rehearsal? Jesus, he never slept like this. A lifetime of living with different relatives and in ballet school with all kinds of people had turned him into a light sleeper.
Wait. No weight on his back. No soft breathing. He’d heard breath earlier—hadn’t he? He sat up, the covers falling to his hips.
Across the room, Andrew was pulling on his sport coat as he watched his foot slide on a loafer, sockless.
“Leaving without saying goodbye?”
“Oh, uh, not necessarily, but you were sleeping quite soundly.”
“Yeah, well, I was f*cked into another dimension.” He rubbed a hand over his neck.
Andrew’s cheeks turned pink.
So, hello to the bumbling detective.
“Oddly, I slept like the dead. I usually wake up at the sound of a leaf. I can’t imagine what got into me.”
Val grinned. “I can. What time is it?”
“In the morning?”
“Holy sh*t! Don’t I remember something about a day off for you?”
“No, that was a night off. Night’s over.”
Val raised his legs and hugged his knees, the sheet covering them. “So, apparently, is your liaison with my ass.”
“I have to get to work.”
Val flipped the sheet off his lap to reveal a very upright example of morning erection. “That’s exactly what I was thinking.” He bared his teeth in his snarkiest grin.
“An impressive invitation.” That produced a small smile.
“A national characteristic. Us Finns are well endowed. It’s scientific fact.” Val eyed the proper law enforcement officer in front of him. “What’s your excuse?”
Another blush. “Well, my father was known as a horse’s ass. Maybe I got the c*ck?”
Val fell back against his pillow and laughed. Andrew amazed him. Funny, dry, witty—weird. “So, question.” He flipped on his side.
“In the throes last night, you on several occasions mentioned ‘the next time’. Is there going to be one?”
“I, uh, hope so.”
Andrew smiled shyly and walked toward the door.
“Who is that guy who f*cked my brains out last night?”
Wrinkles played across his forehead. “I’m not altogether sure.”
The door opened. Gone.
You can classify this one firmly in the romantic suspense category—it certainly had me on the edge of my seat. And you can trust NO ONE. Absolutely no one. Death Dancer was a great story that piqued my interest right from the very first page, and the further in I got, the tighter the hold it had on me.
Valentin actually didn’t strike me as a stereotypical high-strung, high-maintenance diva dancer type…he felt easier to relate to than that, with a touch of rebel in him (must be the tats!). He’s very independent thanks to the way he was brought up with his life focused on ballet from a very early age. Our detective, Andrew, almost comes across as a bit shy around Val…but once in the bedroom it’s like a whole other man comes out to play. Falling for a witness…maybe even suspect…in his case is not the wisest move on his part but then again the heart never pays attention to that stuff, right?
Val and Andrew definitely had physical chemistry together. Their intimate scenes do throw out a ton of sparks-to the point where I wouldn’t have minded having more of those scenes. For me, the emotional connection between them wasn’t fully there. It may just be me, but you know when you feel two characters just click together? I didn’t quite get to that point. Don’t get me wrong—I really did like them together. Great banter, hot scenes, and there is emotion on each of their parts at different points…I just didn’t get that final click. I think more scene time with them interacting together might have tipped it for me. Much of the story focused on the mystery/suspense aspect so there was less story time for the romance part.
I really liked all of the supporting characters, particularly Mac and Trelain…so of course now I’ve got to go back and read Golden Dancer to get their story (along with Daniel). That brings up the point that even though this book is the second in the Dangerous Dancers series, it can definitely be read as a standalone.
Overall, Death Dancer was a strong 4-star read for me, really just short of 4.5. It’s got great characters with depth and an intense, tension-filled storyline that kept my interest the whole way through. M/M romantic suspense fans will love this story, and it is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and M/M sexual content.
Dangerous Dancers Series
About the Author
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 32. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!
You can find Tara at Lain
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