On the reality show Dance Off, pro rugby player Olivier Gautier and Olympic swimmer JC Webster each have one goal in mind: to stay on the show as long as possible to earn his charity of choice maximum exposure and a larger donation. As the competition heats up, their goals expand to catching each other’s interest, but Olivier is firmly in the closet and plans to stay there. JC is willing to be discreet, but not to hide forever.
Starting a romance with another man is challenge enough for any celebrity, but doing it under the microscope of reality TV—and one majorly intolerant costar—is even harder. Add in meddling dance pros, JC’s overbearing family, and the need to play up chemistry with dance partners to win America’s hearts, and JC and Olivier’s time together is looking more and more like a recipe for disaster.
As the pressure to stay in the competition mounts, JC and Olivier must face their inevitable separation at the end of the show as well as decide whether a relationship as complicated as theirs can survive in the real world, outside the bubble of the set and practice studios.
What a fun story! I am not a big reality TV fan, and have never watched DWTS, but this book is absolutely enjoyable…and makes me curious to indulge!
Olivier is a pro rugby player whose dashing good looks and sultry French accent is sure to be catnip for the female viewership, despite his relative anonymity. Thing is, Olivier’s gay. And, in the closet. He doesn’t know how being out will affect his opportunities in his sport, and he really doesn’t want to become the poster boy for gay rugby, either. He’s private…and very much attracted to his fellow co-star, Javier “JC”, an Olympic-medalist swimmer.
JC is out publicly at a bisexual, has been since he was in high school. He has kept a low profile on his relationships–he doesn’t want anyone else to have their privacy invaded due to his own celebrity. He’s drawn to Olivier form the start, and it’s a huge issue. He doesn’t know if Olivier would welcome his attention, and there’s another co-star who is a well-known conservative radio host, renown for his homophobia and hate speech. JC really doesn’t want to end up as a subject on that show.
The mutual attraction simmers, each man suffering in silence as they each prepare for the competition. I know there’s a reason some locales have banned dancing–whoa, boy it can really get hot in there!
JC, Olivier and their pro partners wow in the first week. Each is happy to return for more, and to have the chance to earn money for their charities. But each is also happy to figure out that, yes, the other is “into” him. They still keep everything on the down-low, but their partners quickly find out.
I loved how supportive the side characters are in this. Olivier is really intent on staying publicly quiet, but wants to share some of his joy of being with JC, of having not to hide his looks, or to be able to share even a casual embrace. Seeing how supportive the rest of the cast is with a gay pro, once the radio host is booted, gives Olivier the push to begin dropping his walls.
JC is loving and supportive throughout. He also knows his large, exuberant Mexican-American family will be quick to embrace Olivier as their own, if that’s a possibility. The main tension in the story comes from waiting to see who will be eliminated from the show, and when. Soon, JC and Olivier are not simply competing for the big prize, but for their fledgling relationship to stay cocooned in the guise of the show. They are always careful to hide their secret from the camera, but the promise of more time together becomes the biggest reason to make it to the finals.
I really, really liked this. It was a bit light on the heat factor, but emotionally I was right there the whole time. The judges were so fun, and the commentary was constantly humorous. The men and women swoon for both JC and Olivier–who swooned for each other just as much! The end was spot-on, and won’t leave the reader hanging on.
About the Authors:
Ariel Tachna lives outside of Houston with her husband, her daughter and son, and their two dogs. Before moving there, she traveled all over the world, having fallen in love with France, where she met her husband, and India, where she hopes to retire some day. She’s bilingual with snippets of four other languages to her credit and is as in love with languages as she is with writing.
Nessa L. Warin lives in a fantasy world that’s mostly inside her head, though her physical address is in southwestern Ohio. Her two cats kindly play along with her fantasies and graciously let her pay all the bills, but they do require her to provide pampering on a regular basis. Nessa enjoys exploring the wonders of this world through travel—something her cats strongly disapprove of as it cuts into their pampering time—and can find whimsy in the most mundane places. When the real world becomes too much, Nessa enjoys dressing in costume and going to Renaissance Festivals and fantasy conventions. A short trip to either does wonders for her state of mind, so she makes sure to attend at least one of each a year. These trips help Nessa add to her collection of faerie and dragon art, and she swears she will frame and hang all the prints she’s collected some time soon.
When she’s not living in a fantasy world, Nessa enjoys tasting and learning about wine, particularly since it’s one of the few things she and the rest of her family agree on. She’s a regular at the wine tastings held by her local wine shop, and considers it a sin for her wine rack to have more empty spots than full ones. She’d prefer her wine rack to be filled with Pinot Noir, Malbec, and Syrah, but one of her favorite things about wine is the way it can always surprise her. More than once she’s been taken aback by which wine she likes best at a tasting, and she loves the way her wine rack illustrates the joys of trying new things.
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Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!