Today I am so excited to welcome the first of our new reviewers to start with Joyfully Jay. Kenna has her first official review today so please join me in giving her a big welcome to the blog! You can find out more about her by reading her bio at the end of the review. Welcome Kenna!
Dusty has a shattered knee and a bit of brain damage thanks to an event that happened when he was fifteen years old. His promising ballet career is over in a single moment. Now an adult, Dusty’s got a job as a janitor in, of all places, a ballet studio. He’s desparate to keep this job to be able to stay afloat, but being around the music, the dancers, and the handsome instructor who owns the place confuses and troubles him. Dusty finds himself feeling things he thought were lost, and his desire for the dance and the man come to the surface.
Conrad, the studio’s owner/instructor, thinks he’s got everthing he’s wanted. He has his studio, his students, and success, but it’s obvious that he doesn’t really have EVERYTHING. He’s rather fussy and has gone through quite a few cleaners because they think he’s a bear to work for. There’s something about Dusty, though. Not only is he meticulous in his work, but he’s very handsome, and Conrad senses that Dusty’s the man who can give him what he needs…someone to dominate him and let him give up his control, even if it’s just for a little while.
On their road to sharing their lives, there is miscommunication, angst, jealousy, insecurity, and tension. There is also a burning heat between the two men that cannot be denied. Together, they must learn to trust themselves and each other, and that isn’t easy.
I really liked this book. Dusty and Conrad were well fleshed out characters, and I really felt for them. I so badly wanted them to be together because they’re both so lonely and broken, and everyone deserves happiness, right? However, there were times when I wanted to grab them by the shoulders and shake them so they’d see what I saw…especially Dusty. He was constantly lamenting that he didn’t deserve a man like Conrad. Conrad came from a wealthy family, while Dusty grew up poor and in a horrible situation. What Dusty doesn’t seem to realize, because he won’t allow himself the chance to really get to know Conrad, is that he is completely wrong. I have to say that I found this to be frustrating after awhile. Dusty couldn’t let it go, and I felt like he was pushing ME away along with Conrad.
Conrad, on the other hand, charmed me. He’s not perfect, and he acknowledges it. His past troubles him. His beloved twin sister died, and his family blamed him. He was pretty much ignored by them, and the only person he could trust was the man who cleaned their house. Unlucky with his career as a dancer and his love life as well, Conrad’s pretty much given up the idea of being truly happy. What pulled me toward him was how much he wanted Dusty and how hard he tried. He wasn’t acting like a lovesick puppy per se, but he didn’t back off in his pursuit. Not being very good with people, he made a lot of mistakes and said a lot of wrong things, leading to to that misunderstanding and angst I mentioned.
As the story progresses, Dusty finds himself helping a young dancer gain more confidence in herself and her talent. Conrad tries, but Dusty actually connects with her. Dusty tries to fight it, but out there on the floor, he feels the missing piece of him creeping back. Conrad can only hide in the background and watch the man he’s falling for lower some of the walls he’s built over the years. We also see Conrad reconnecting with an old flame, just not in a romantic way. The man becomes his confidante and friend. Of course, that confuses Dusty, and once again, he pushes Conrad away. Finally, the men find themselves on the same page, and my heart nearly exploded I was so happy, and it was very worth ride.
I do have a few issues with the story itself. These are little things, and it may not matter to some, but I was affected enough by them, I feel I should mention them. Like I said, I started to become frustrated with Dusty’s constant (yes, I’m going to say it) self pity. His adolescence and early adulthood were traumatic, but so are a lot of other people’s (like Conrad, for instance), and they make the decision to repair themselves. I also found myself getting angry with him for having several sexual encounters with Conrad, filling him with hope, only to shove him away again. It seems cruel to me. Speaking of sexual encounters, while I don’t necessarily NEED them, I like them, so I’d have preferred to have had more. I believe there were four. Certainly, they were smoking hot, but it felt a little lacking in the sex department. Finally, there was the ending. I’m not going to give it away because I do think this is a book worth reading. I did a little freak out when it was all over. I had fallen deeply into the
story…I mean really caught up. All of a sudden, it’s over. Just like that! I checked, and my Kindle said that I was only at 90%. The last 10% was dedicated to an excerpt of the author’s next book. Some might find this a ticky tacky issue, but I really think that last 10% could have been better served by giving a little bit more meat to Like No One is Watching. I wanted a little more.
Hi there! I’m Kenna, and I’m a Joyfully Jay newbie. I’m thrilled to be writing reviews here because JJ is one of my “go to” blogs to keep up on all the latest releases, and to figure out which books will make it to my ever growing TBR pile.
I’m 45 years old, and I live in Riverside, California with my husband, George, and our six feline fur babies. Obviously, I love to read, and I’ve been reading MM romance almost exclusively for a little more than a year. I also enjoy horror novels (of the zombie and vampire sort), and police novels. Life is REALLY good if I can have an MM cop novel where the main characters fight off zombie vampires 🙂
Living in Southern California gives me the chance to do two of my favorite things…visit the beach and the San Diego Zoo/SD Zoo’s Safari Park. I feel at complete peace while I’m in either place. We’re also a three hour drive from Las Vegas, and we try to go at least three times a year (Mama loves the slots!). I love taking pictures of our adventures and fancy myself a pretty good photographer.
I’m an aspiring author, and I always have ideas and characters clamoring in my head at any given time. Getting them out is real chore sometimes, but someday soon, I hope to realize my dream of being published.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.