Happily Ever After Book Nerd Favorite
Take the Lead by Alexis Daria
Series: Dance Off #1
Published: October 3, 2017 by SMP Swerve
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Gina Morales wants to win. It’s her fifth season on The Dance Off, a top-rated network TV celebrity dance competition, and she’s never even made it to the finals. When she meets her latest partner, she sees her chance. He’s handsome, rippling with muscles, and he stars on the popular Alaskan wilderness reality show Living Wild. With his sexy physique and name recognition, she thinks he’s her ticket to the finals—until she realizes they’re being set up.
Stone Nielson hates Los Angeles, he hates reality TV, and he hates that fact that he had to join the cast of the The Dance Off because of family obligations. He can’t wait to get back to Alaska, but he also can’t deny his growing attraction to his bubbly Puerto Rican dance partner. Neither of them are looking for romantic entanglements, and Stone can’t risk revealing his secrets, but as they heat up the dance floor, it’s only a matter of time until he feels an overwhelming urge to take the lead.
When the tabloids catch on to their developing romance, the spotlight threatens to ruin not just their relationship, but their careers and their shot at the trophy. Gina and Stone will have to decide if their priorities lie with fame, fortune, or the chance at a future together.
This was absolutely amazing and I read it in one sitting! I’m a sucker for music/dance themed books and this did not let me down. I loved both Gina and Stone as individual characters and as a couple. I truly appreciated how emotional Stone and Gina’s connection was and how much Alexis Daria was tugging at my heart strings in the last quarter of the book. I truly felt how deep their relationship had gotten and how hard it was for them to go through the ups and downs the show put them through. The intimacy outside the bedroom was really well written! You could tell these two had more than just lust because they shared so many small moments of holding hands, little touches, leaning on each other for support, etc. Really beautiful and well done. That being said, holy cow, these two were on fire in the bedroom!
“Stay with me. Remember what I told you? Channel whatever’s happening in your head into the dance. Into me. Let me help you carry it.”
Stone was probably my favorite thing about this book; he was such a perfect hero! He might be big and muscular, but he’s also a bit of a beta hero. I love this because I’m all for betas but it was also fun to watch as he grew confident in his dancing and really embraced taking the lead when needed. He was a perfect blend of sweet and strong while also being completely drool worthy. I adored his more romantic side that really came out as he got comfortable with dancing and with Gina.
I love a strong and dedicated heroine so Gina was a joy to read. I loved her passion for dancing, her fire to succeed, and her determination to be the best version of herself without compromising on her self respect. This does lead her to hold onto her pride and fear a little too tightly, but it also makes her a heroine I can really respect.
Only a small thing: several months go by in the book, but I barely noticed the passage of time. We know each of the show’s episodes has a week of rehearsal, so the amount of time passing is there, it just felt very subtle because there were no external clues that usually get thrown in to show time. This might have more to do with me reading it all at once than anything the author did or didn’t do.
5 stars – loved it!
ARC provided by NetGalley for honest review
Dance Off reviews
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