Adam has wanted to be a ballet dancer since he was a small child. Sadly, thanks to a teacher who pushed too hard, his hip continually pops out and he’s often in terrible pain. He’s now working at Conrad’s dance studio. His heart breaks when his physiotherapist tells him he can’t dance ballet. There are other styles of dance, but Adam considers himself a ballet dancer above anything. Even teaching ballet doesn’t make him happy.
Peridot is an old friend of Conrad’s and he’s a teacher at the studio. He was once a great dancer, but an injury, surgery, and painkiller addiction ruined his career. He also had a wife (also a dancer) who got pregnant and left the baby with Peridot to go back on the road as a ballerina. His ex in-laws took care of the baby while Peridot got clean. He now has custody, and as a bonus, a close relationship with his ex-wife’s parents.
One night, as the studio is closing, Adam kisses Peridot, and a beautiful, but troubled, romance begins. Of course, the road to their HEA is not smooth at all. Adam’s anguish over his inability to dance ballet and Peridot’s concern over his (bratty until the end) daughter, and his (arrogant and snarky) best friend gets in the way. In the end, Adam and Peridot make peace with their demons and realize that their happiness lies in each other.
I. Loved. This. Book! Jaime Samms has written a book that gives us characters with depth, real life situations with real life angst, romance that is beautiful but heartwrenching at the same time, and sex that is beyond hot. The story grabbed me right from the start. I was caught up in an instant. I fell in love with both Adam and Peridot (or Perry, as Adam calls him). They called to my heart. Their challenges became my challenges. I loved watching them as they worked through issues like Peridot’s daughter, who needed a serious attitude adjustment. Also, there is Peridot’s best friend, an HIV-positive jerk (at least in my opinion) who thinks he’s protecting Peridot, but is really being selfish.
Adam becomes torn because he wants his Perry to be a good father and family man. He doesn’t think he can fit in with that, so he backs off, leaving them both miserable. However, while they’re apart, Adam does some soul searching and even begins to experiment with different styles of dancing, and even though he’ll always want to be a ballet dancer, he accepts that there is life out there that he should experience.
As you can see by my description, there is quite a bit of angst in this book. That’s actually my only knock on it. I’m not a fan of angst. I know that there should be some because it moves the story along, but this was a little over the top for me. It’s merely a personal preference, though. I know a lot of people who absolutely love angst. For them, Like You’ve Never Been Hurt is perfect.
Allow me to talk briefly about the sex in the story. It’s hot. I’d go so far as calling it nuclear. Adam and Peridot are both damaged men who are working to not only figure themselves out, but they’re trying to decide how to act as a couple. Their lovemaking is slow at first…kissing, touching, exploring. They don’t have penetrative sex until later. When they do? WHOA! I’m one of those readers who prefer a lot of sex scenes in my reading. I mean, it’s not absolutely necessary, but it’s more satisfying to me when the MCs are sexually compatible, and they use that compatiblity to its full potential. I was definitely not disappointed.
I highly recommend this book. It’s only the second book from Jaime Samms I’ve read, but I am definitely going to be checking out her others.
Note: This book is the second in Samms’ Dance, Live, Love series.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.