Author: Jaime Samms
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 204 Pages
At a Glance: Like Heaven on Earth is the best novel by far in this series.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Cobalt Winslow lost two loves when his ex-boyfriend, Calvin Denvers, infected him with HIV, taking his health and his place as principal danseur in their New York ballet company when Cobalt became too weak. Now dealing with the aftermath as best he can, Cobalt teaches dance in Toronto with the support of his oldest friends, Conrad and Peridot. The one bright spot in his life is Malory Preston, his brother’s driver and a man who is always there when Cobalt needs him. Kind and attentive, Preston embodies everything Calvin lacks, but Cobalt can’t let go of his unhealthy, long-distance relationship with his ex.
Calvin brings a messy and violent end to their affair, but offers a chance for Cobalt to return to New York—as Calvin’s understudy—just when he’s on the verge of a real and lasting relationship with Preston. Now Cobalt faces a choice between two loves: dancing and Preston. Preston must show Cobalt that he has the power and support to make the life he wants and deserves, no matter what he decides.
Review: Cobalt Winslow is a dancer without a stage. Even though he as returned home and found work training a new modern dance company, the ballet he loved was left behind in the wake of his discovering he had AIDS—something his current lover was responsible for giving him. Not only that but the love/hate relationship he and Calvin have is destroying both of them, steadily, and neither can really bring himself to admit it is. On top of all this, Cobalt chafes at his brother, Azure, as he tries to control parts of his life, including providing a driver whom, it turns out, is a man that has been in Cobalt’s life since he was young.
Preston has always been there for Cobalt, so often standing in the shadows and waiting to catch him, watching out for him and, yes, loving him. When Calvin loses control and becomes violent, everything comes to a head, and the aftermath threatens to be Cobalt’s undoing, pushing him toward a black void where he fears he will lose himself. Seeing Cobalt so emotionally frail and unhappy, Preston knows it is time to finally speak, to let Cobalt know he has another choice—that Preston loves him. But there is more than just the broken relationship with Cal that’s unfinished business for Cobalt; there is the other matter of a chance to dance again professionally. Now he must decide whether he will leave Preston and the fragile relationship they are building, or never get closure with Cal and forfeit the second chance he’s been offered to do what he has always loved—dance.
Jaime Samms went over the top with this third novel, Like Heaven on Earth, in the Dance, Love, Live series. Cobalt is most assuredly one of the most beautiful characters to date, both fragile and yet undeniably strong, and so very in need of a safe haven—a home. Cal is the most despicable of men, a bully in so many ways, and as is typical of his kind, that angry violence he wears like a shield hides the pain and unhappiness that festers inside him. Then there is Preston, kind beyond belief, patient as well. He has hidden his love for Cobalt for so many years, and although it nearly kills him to see how destructive Cal can be for Cobalt, he steps aside, offering his love and letting his lover go. Cobalt must end this twisted relationship he has built with Cal—and he must do it alone. At the same time he must discover if dancing is now something he can still do, or something he can only fail at, and that idea alone leaves him terrified.
The interactions of this incredibly well drawn trio prove time and again just who they are and what they are willing to sacrifice for the one they love. Cobalt must face down his fears that dancing may never really be a part of his life again—going to New York to understudy Cal’s role gives him the opportunity to see if he still has it within himself. At the same time, he must end this thing with Cal—the vicious and ugly nightmare their relationship has become—if he is ever going to have room to love Preston, as he so deserves. Selfish Cal must finally come to grips with the fact that he is indeed HIV positive, the illness no longer lying dormant and the meds he must now take kicking his ass. And Preston must once again wait, hoping this time his beloved Cobalt will come home to him one day.
Author Jaime Samms used every page in this novel to take us more deeply into the hearts and minds of the characters. Cobalt plucked every emotional heartstring I had, and I found myself desperately wanting him not just to survive but to triumph in the end. I loathed Cal for the bully he was and if I could have fixed one thing in this story, it would have been for Cobalt to be much less forgiving than he was toward his ex. But, it was really Preston who stole my heart completely. He was strong and resilient, loving his man so selflessly by recognizing that to do anything less would be to lose Cobalt in the end.
Like Heaven on Earth is the best novel by far in this series. I believe the author really hit this one out of the park by giving us a glimpse into just how powerful true love can be—a love that stands aside and is deep enough to say I will be here when you are ready to come home.
You can buy Like Heaven on Earth here: