Title: Death Dancer (Dangerous Dancers: Book Two)
Author: Tara Lain
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Length: 199 Pages
Category: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
At a Glance: I highly recommend this book for those who love their romance liberally sprinkled with dead bodies and the suspense that comes between a hot ginger cop and a power bottom of a ballet dancer with buns of steel.
Reviewed By: Carrie
Blurb: 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.
Reader Advisory: This book contains descriptions of murder scenes, brief allusions to past child abuse and a scene of violence.
Review: Ahh, the tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. I LOVED this book. When you read the blurb for this story, it touts ballet, sex and murder, and that is exactly what you get from this latest installment in the Dangerous Dancers Series from Tara Lain. The first book in the series, Golden Dancer, was really well written, so much so I worried for the second book having such a high bar to live up to. Death Dancer surpasses it. Valentin is a grounded, solidly sexy (and he knows it) MC, and pairing him with an OCD detective with strong Dom overtones truly sets you up for an amazing story. You don’t really have to read the first book before this one, but the trio of MCs from the first book do reappear here as supporting characters. I loved the ballet settings, the appropriate ballet terminology used, and the real life feel of Val’s life in his dance troupe. You can tell there was quite a bit of research into life in the ballet, and I appreciate that in an author.
Valentin “Val” Aalto is a complicated man. At twenty-one years old, he has been living and working at the New York Ballet since he was a child. Snarky, sexy, aware of his body as only a dancer can be, he is out and proud of all he has accomplished in his short life. However, it seems he has hit a ceiling on how far he can go at the ballet corp. Hardesty is the present lead male dancer, and he despises Val. The enmity between the two is well known; it doesn’t matter that there is enmity between Hardesty and the whole company—especially when he winds up dead. There is a serial killer stalking the dancers of NY, and the victims are not just within their own troupe. All leads start to point to Val for a variety of reasons, but at the same time, that same evidence could mean the killer is really after Val as his next victim.
Andrew Preston decided on a police career for a lot of reasons. The top reason being he needs to be in control of his life, and the thoughtful, methodical plodding of police work gives him that. Coming from a disjointed, chaotic childhood, Andrew NEEDS the step-by-step rigid rules of the law. He recognizes this in himself, but that doesn’t mean he can change it. Val represents so much chaos to him. Val is a dancer, a free spirit, a man with a mind of his own and not afraid to let you know it. Andrew is drawn to Val like a moth to a flame—scared to death of what havoc the man will wreak in his life but powerless to stop the pull.
This book is pure romantic suspense. The mystery and intrigue draw a story around the MCs, and help to push them together as a couple. The story is well paced, it’s action driven as opposed to character driven, but we still get well rounded, solidly written characters. The secondary characters are colorful and help support the storyline nicely. I positively loved Andrew’s partner Ilke, with her hot pink Doc Martens. The mystery is a good one, the killer not obvious right away, and the chemistry between the MCs is off the charts, along with the sex.
Val wasn’t huge, but solid muscle weighed a lot. Andrew carried him like he was a blushing ninety-pound bride. From Andrew’s softly smiling expression, he might as well have been. Val shook his head. “Who the hell are you?” Andrew winked. Actually winked. “Your dream come true.” Much as he hated to admit it, that might be one hundred percent correct.
I highly recommend this book for those who love their romance liberally sprinkled with dead bodies and the suspense that comes between a hot ginger cop and a power bottom of a ballet dancer with buns of steel.
You can buy Death Dancer here: