Author: Jaime Samms
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages
At a Glance: Like You’ve Never Been Hurt is a worthy second installment in a series that I feel gets stronger with each new story.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: About to lose the only thing he ever loved, Adam Pittaluga is at a crossroads in a dancing career that has hardly begun. He has always wanted to be a ballet dancer, but now that it’s impossible, he turns to Peridot for comfort. Peridot has been rebuilding his life after losing his ability to dance professionally, his marriage, and very nearly his daughter. He has a lot of reasons to be leery of starting something new, especially with a man as young as Adam.
Adam and Peridot have to believe that starting again can lead to love and success and that sometimes, the strength needed to love like you’ve never been hurt can be borrowed from unexpected places for a while. But ultimately, they must find it inside themselves to be each other’s happy ending.
Review: Author Jamie Samms has offered up a second installment in the Dance, Love, Live series entitled, Like You’ve Never Been Hurt. I really felt that in many ways the characters in this novel were even more magnetic than Conrad and Dusty from the first. Peridot (Perry) is a former lover of Conrad’s, and those who read the previous book will remember him returning and he and Conrad coming to terms with their past.The second main man in this new novel, Adam, was also a mere side character in Like No One Is Watching. He was a former student of Conrad’s and is a bit older than the others were in his class. Now battling an injury, Adam is confined to teaching while he grapples with the idea that he may never fulfill his deceased mother’s dream of becoming a world-class ballet star. It’s in the studio where Perry and Adam will meet, and despite Perry’s worries over their age difference (some 12 years), the two men are deeply attracted to each other.
The story revolves around Perry’s coming to grips with his feelings for Adam and his struggle to introduce him into the life he has created for himself and his daughter. Perry has fought back from a life-altering addiction that nearly cost him everything, and the idea that he might disrupt the safe cocoon he has built around he and his daughter is frightening to say the least. At the same time, Adam is falling to pieces over the fact that he will never be the dancer he had always envisioned. Between trying to rebuild his life around something other than ballet and the resistance Perry has in letting the world know they are a couple, Adam is hanging on by threads. In the end, all this and so much more will threaten the tenuous relationship these two are so desperately trying to build together.
I really liked these two men. While both were flawed and a bit lost, the gentle way in which they came together and their genuine feelings for each other held this story together, even though the plot faltered occasionally. In fact, the slow build to their romance and the first three quarters of this story were real magic. You were pulled into Adam’s pain and despair over the idea that everything he had been building toward was crashing down around him due to a dodgy hip. The ties he had to his brother and his father made this plot point really strong–it was Adam who was coming down hard on himself, no one else. There was a particularly poignant scene with his father that left me in tears it was that good.
Also the compassion and kindness in Perry and the way he treated Adam was rather breathtaking. Here was a genuinely sweet man who pushed past the age barrier and absolutely melted in Adam’s arms. But Perry came with heaps of baggage, and not the least of it was his daughter and their very close relationship. There was nothing fake about these pre-established family ties. In fact, the genuine quality they had only made this story more realistic and believable. One could not help but root for these two guys to get themselves together and make this work. Unlike the first novel where the relationship between Dusty and Conrad was a bit iffy, the end of this novel leaves no doubt as to whether or not Perry and Adam make it as a couple.
This was a good novel; however, the last fourth of it seemed a bit disjointed. It was as though the struggle to keep both Perry and Adam’s different crises in development was too much. As a result, I found myself shaking my head at some of Perry’s maneuvers and decisions. His disappearance act to care for a sick friend, and telling no one his whereabouts, was a bit strange given the incredibly close ties he had to Conrad and the studio—not to mention to his daughter, whom I assume got sent off to the grandparents That was never made clear. And, since the big angst in Adam and Perry’s relationship centered around her for a good portion of the novel, to have her disappear for a while was a bit confusing to say the least. Between that and the rushed feel to the ending, the tidy wrap up of all the loose ends and worries, the novel fell just short of the mark.
Like You’ve Never Been Hurt is a worthy second installment in a series that I feel gets stronger with each new story. I really look forward to the next tale this author will weave with this ever-growing cast of dynamic and engaging characters.
You can buy Like You’ve Never Been Hurt here: