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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dancing with Danger by Laura Sheehan

Dancing with Danger by Laura Sheehan
Publisher: Red Sage Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (238 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Aster

Lily Brookstone, the daughter of a workaholic United States Senator, defies her father's wishes by moving to Los Angeles in pursuit of a dancing career. But the tough town hasn't been easy on her, and after two years she finds herself disowned by her father, dropped by her agent, and recovering from a dance injury. Determined to live her life independently without relying on others, Lily refuses to give up her dream of making it as a dancer and instead works herself ragged at three different jobs to make ends meet. Serving coffee and teaching dance classes to pre-schoolers are ordinary enough day jobs, but Lily dons a disguise when she works the late shift as an exotic dancer at a topless strip club.

Raised to be fiercely independent and hesitant to trust, at first she keeps her ""night job"" a secret from her new beau, Marc Sloane, a tough L.A.P.D. Officer with an uncanny knack for reading people. But her cover is blown when Marc attends a bachelor party at Lily's strip club and recognizes her.

Realizing that she has a chance at true love and knowing that her life is in danger from the threat of her stalker, Lily must not only trust Marc to keep her exotic dancing job a secret, but she must also trust him to protect both her life and her heart.

The ability to remain positive and determined despite your world collapsing around you is a trait few possess, but it was the dominant trait of the heroine in Dancing with Danger that drew not only the hero to her, but me as well!

A person would be hard-pressed not to like Lily Brookstone. A passion for dancing has estranged her from her only family - her father and, although she had found some success in dance, an injury left her with few options. She worked three jobs to pay off her debts and make ends meet; one as an exotic dancer.

One fateful night, rookie cop Marcus Sloan and his partner pull over Lily's car and Marc is immediately taken with her. The next day, he happens into a local coffee shop and finds Lily working behind the counter. They hit it off and he asks her out. Before their scheduled date, however, Marc discovers her secret job when out with friends for a bachelor party. He chases her when she flees, and in the process of settling things, Marc discovers a suspicious vehicle hanging around. His fears of a stalker are confirmed when Lily's car is vandalized. While trying to help protect her, the two develop a wonderful connection and soon fall in love.

I loved the simplicity of Ms. Sheehan's story. It was a straight man/woman romance with the lingering mystery of the identity of Lily's stalker, and the writing allowed me to focus almost exclusively on the hero and heroine. Marc was an awesome hero; your typical Alpha-male who stopped at nothing to defend and protect his woman. Lily, while independent, learned to depend and lean on Marc as she opened her heart to him. It was an endearing combination and I thoroughly enjoyed watching them fall in love, despite it being on a rather hurried schedule. It felt right and natural, and I was rooting for them every step of the way.

Ms. Sheehan also used various points of view to tell her story. While she changed viewpoints often, and sometimes after short periods, I was never confused as to who was speaking and who was witnessing the action. It was a bit unconventional, but she did it very well and I think it adds to the story - particularly the viewpoint of the stalker.

My only negative was towards the end of the book. The final chapter seemed to focus on surrounding characters who, although mentioned earlier, and who had impact on the hero and heroine, weren't part of the larger story and I would have preferred to see more of Marc and Lily and how they were wrapped up. An epilogue set a year later would have been awesome - I still want to know how the two handled their relationship once the danger was passed and they had time to really get to know each other. There were also a few other loose ends (what happened with her new dance agent, etc) that I would have loved to find out as well.

Despite the very minor disappointment, which was really only disappointing because I loved these characters so much and wanted more, the story was a very enjoyable read. I'll definitely look for other titles by Ms. Sheehan and I'd even love to see more of Marc and Lily. If you love a good romance, mixed with the potential danger of an unknown stalker, this is a perfect title to pick up!

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