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Dance For Me (Fenbrook Academy, #1) by…

Dance For Me (Fenbrook Academy, #1)

by Helena Newbury

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Natasha's a ballet student who uses dance as one of her ways of coping with her demons, not always successfully. Darrell's an engineering genius who designs weapon delivery systems as a way of coping with _his_ demons. Darrell's stuck on his latest design, and then finds inspiration in watching a ballerina dance - so much so that he hires Natasha to dance for him privately at his workshop. They fall for one another, but they're very damaged people and the road will be hard, even without someone deliberately trying to break the relationship up before it really gets started. Cue much angst before the happy ending. That happy ending acknowledges that True Love doesn't magically fix everything, and Natasha and Darrell have a long way to go before their demons are vanquished. That the characters recognise this make it much more believable that they really will make it work in the long run.

This wasn't a bad read, but it did need rather a lot of willing suspension of disbelief regarding a lone genius being allowed to work on a a secret defence contract in his garage. It also leans heavily on the Evil Brit trope for the plot's antagonist; which doubtless appeals to many not-British readers, but was merely irritating to me. I'm glad I read it and would happily read the next, but I'm not desperate to rush out and buy it. ( )
  JulesJones | Dec 30, 2015 |
4.5 Review to come ( )
  amdase | Nov 4, 2014 |
Natasha (21) and Darrell (25?) are both orphans, both obsessed by their professions, both hiding secrets related to the death of their parents. (Doesn't hurt that they are both attractive and well-built.)

Natasha is a dancer/dancing student by day, bartender by night. Darrell is an engineer who builds bombs. As he struggles with his newest design, he stumbles on the idea of dance, ballet in particular, that just might hold the key to his design problem. Obsessed, he crashes an audition while Natasha is mid-leap. Eyes lock, time stops, etc., but the author tells this part of the story in a way that feels new and fresh. Darrell decides to hire Natasha to dance for him, in private - both because he wants to see more of her, on a personal level, but also because he believes dancing holds the key to designing a bomb that can twist, turn, and avoid missiles aimed to destroy it. This concept and the way it's laid out is ingenious, IMO.

Because he's learned that few people are as enthusiastic about bombs as Darrell's mentor/project supervisor/sexy cougar Carol, he hides that his project is a bomb from Natasha. All she knows is he's designing... something - a car, maybe, or a motorcycle.

One of Natasha's secrets is that she's a cutter. Cutting helps keep her from sliding into memories too painful to cope, from losing what little equilibrium she has left. The rituals and descriptions of cutting are graphic enough that I suspect it could be triggering to someone recovering from that behavior (or, it could be cathartic). The reason she cuts we don't find out till near the end of the book.

Natasha and Darrell are compelling characters, and there's a charming "B" romance between Natasha's rich roommate Clarissa and Darrell's dirty-biker friend Neil. My peeves are 1) Natasha cuts-and-runs a little too much for my taste; I'd have liked to see her TRY to stand up without her standby helpers or her new romance with Darrell. 2) There were very few typos I noticed in the book, but in TWO different steamy sex scenes I got knocked out of the story by them. Things like, "he reached over and did X, then WE did Y." Felt like a splash of cold water in the face at the wrong moment.

On the whole, this was very well-written, the sex scenes were hot, and the characters felt new, fresh, and very real. ( )
  writerbeverly | May 1, 2014 |
I received this ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

This is about Natasha, a dancer–-ballet being her favourite–-who goes to an audition for a role in an advert but gets distracted during the audition by someone running into the room. Darrell, the distractor, is captivated by her and the ballet she performs and asks her to dance for him as his muse so he can figure out a way to make his latest project work.

Darrell was rather intriguing from the start and I liked how we saw him from Natasha’s POV first before seeing how he came to be at the audition from his own POV.

Helena must have done ballet at some point or this is one really well researched book.

Several chapters had me wanting to look online at the moves Natasha was performing with how well they were written; how beautiful it all sounded. Maybe it was Natasha’s feelings at those points in the book that made them seem so charged and captivating. And this coming from someone who has never had an interest in ballet.

I liked Clarissa. And Neil. And Jasmine. I liked everything!

Would recommend you read this if you like a nice love story. It certainly had me captivated from early on. ( )
  lcrabtree | Jul 17, 2013 |
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