Review & Giveaway: Dance with Me by Heidi Cullinan

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. 







This book caught me off guard.

I never expected to fall in love with it and when I found myself CRYING at the end all I could think was, 'DAMN YOU, HC! And your feels sorcery!'

I thought it would be a nice little enemies to lovers dancing story! Y'know sweet and cute with some blazing sex. Uh ho ho! Never underestimate the power of HC. The sorcery is strong with that one.




Laurie and Ed have been snarking at each other over a PA system at the community center they both volunteer at that's intrusive and annoying. Ed comes to Laurie in the middle of his aerobics class to strike a deal and Laurie takes him up on his offer to "do anything" on a lark. He asks Ed to be his assistant for another class teaching retirees ballroom dancing and the die is cast.

Laurie was on track to becoming the next Baryshnikov until his career imploded on a Toronto stage. He's listless and looking for something that speaks to him. Something he can be passionate about again.






Ed is a former semi-pro football player who suffered an injury in a game that had it been a millimeter or two over would have put him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Ed is also that guy. You know that guy. The one everyone loves because he can talk to a leper and make them feel like his long lost buddy. Ed oozes charm, but Ed also excels at subterfuge. 

Ed's stuffed all of his anger and sadness about the loss of his former pain free self and because of his continued denial about his limitations he suffers both physically and emotionally. To go from being a professional athlete capable of bench pressing a car to struggling through hydrotherapy in a class full of geriatrics is both humbling and depressing for him. It doesn't help that his job brings additional stress because everyone's always on pins and needles wondering whether or not they'll be the next to go in yet another round of lay offs. A job he pretty much hates but needs for the health insurance.

His acceptance of his new reality comes in fits and starts. 

What made me fall in love with Ed and Laurie was vulnerability they both harbor about life and love and the future all of which is shown through HC's poignant narrative. They both need each other, rely on each other, are passionate about each other and they both love to dance. With each other most of all. And in each other they find what they've been looking for.




As odd as this statement may strike some of you I appreciated that they didn't jump into butt sex. Laurie's carrying much confusion over his sexuality and has never really enjoyed sex. Ed never rushes him instead showing him love and acceptance so when it does happen Laurie has none of his usual anxieties. HC managed to make me feel a little like a voyeur peeking into their intimate act, but I have no shame. I'm a hedonist and every filthy sweet nothing, every 'please' I squirreled away like a chipmunk readying for winter.


He wanted Laurie so desperately that a part of him wanted to plow through and take him, strip him bare and suck him and fuck him until the man couldn't move, couldn't leave Ed's arms.

In all honesty there were a couple things that I would've liked expounded upon, but my love of this couple overshadowed everything else and the ending was so very satisfying. I actually sighed with relief to see there is a follow up novella coming soon. Ed and Laurie and their dancing are infinitely deserving of more page time because sometimes life does require a partner. 

I'm still in love with you
[I'm gonna find a place to live
Give you all I've got to give]
When we dance, angels will run and hide their wings
When we dance, angels will run and hide their wings

Come and live with me
We'll have children of our own
I would love you more than life
If you'll come and be my [husband]
When we dance, angels will run and hide their wings
When we dance, angels will run and hide their wings
When we dance, angels will run and hide their wings
When we dance, angels will run and hide their wings

I'm gonna love you more than life
If you will only be my [husband]
I'm gonna love you more than life
If you will only be my [husband]
I'm gonna love you night and day
I'm gonna try in every way

(I had a dream last night
I dreamt you were by my side
Walking with me baby
My heart was filled with pride
I had a dream last night)

~Sting


I couldn't recommend this re-issue more. It's not a fussy or fancy tale. It's a story of two men who at one point in time couldn't stand the other and then that changed and then they built a life together and it's exquisite in its simplicity. 



HC has generously offered to give away a copy of this book to one lucky reader. Leave a comment with your email address to be entered to win. Contest ends at 12:00 a.m. CST November 1st.

You don't want to miss this book. Trust me.






A review copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.


Find out more on Goodreads.

13 comments:

  1. Thanks for the great review. Looks like a good read.
    Mthompsonbsn@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. looks like a realy interesting story, I loved the cover


    ticuv@yahoo.com

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  3. This sounds wonderful. Men dancing are so beautiful, like in the pictures above.. If I can say beautiful that about a man.

    flutterfli (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  4. I love the pictures. They are amazing. thanks for the great post.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Beautiful cover. This sounds like the perfect fall read.

    komal0603@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Looks like a great read.
    lizzy2006_@hotmail.com

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  7. This looks fantastic! The cover is spectacular. I have a couple HC books on my TBR pile & hope to add this one as well.
    Lilyspinella@gmail.com

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  8. I would love to read this. Thanks for the great review.

    waxapplelover (at) gmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Really enjoyed your review and the beautiful pictures. This book sounds awesome.
    lgrant1@san.rr.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great review! cwhitefield2007@hotmail.com

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  11. Looks awesome!

    fallschangingheart@hotmail.com

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  12. Oh, gods! Those pictures and the gif! *drools* Beautiful!! The book sounds quite appealing. Then again, it's a Heidi book. Nuf said.
    taina1959 @ yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks for all the comments! A winner was chosen but we have contests running throughout the month that may appeal to you as well.

    Be sure to come back & if at first you don't succeed, try, try again!

    xoxo

    ReplyDelete