Landon is a soccer player at Korham University and has recently learned that two of his teammates/close friends are gay/queer. It bothers him, because he wasn’t super sensitive about it, and had occasionally made casually homophobic remarks that he now recognizes were out of line. He’s also kind of jealous about his friend Ravi’s new relationship with his boyfriend. Not because Landon is gay, or has any sexual attraction toward either Ravi or Stephen. No, Landon is jealous of their closeness to one another, of their evident love, which Landon misses in his own life. His wealthy parents are always more focused on his prodigy-level siblings, who have true intellect and talent, while Landon is just an athlete. One who’s gotten special permission to take a Fine Arts dance class to fulfill a graduation requirement, and Landon has two left feet.
Dane is a performing arts major at Korham, with a specialty in dance and choreography. He’s a junior, and has an application in for an internship with a prestigious dance company in Manhattan. Dane also is partially blind, with some damage to one of his eyes and facial scarring. He sometimes wears a patch, but most often doesn’t, daring people to reject him face-on. He’s a bit lonely, and sexually frustrated, so Dane’s not keen on the sexy athlete with no rhythm being one of his small-group pupils in the class he’s TA-ing. Landon seems okay, but Dane won’t allow himself to get attracted, because beautiful, sexy, straight, wealthy athletes like Landon are just a heartbreak waiting to happen.
At least, that’s what Dane thinks at first. But Landon is uber-sweet, offering Dane a ride and lodging before the biggest audition of his career. And, Landon continues to offer Dane special attention and help. Dane is a kind and conscientious guy, and he pays attention to Landon, like a friend—but maybe more? All the girls Landon meets are only focused on what they can take from him, but Dane is circumspect about his own needs, and his gratitude is addictive. Besides, Landon can’t help noticing how Dane is objectively attractive. And, so sexy when he dances.
Landon never considered dating a man, but their friendship continues to grow. Dane’s attention validates Landon in all the ways his familial and sexual relationships have not. So, for him, attraction to Dane isn’t so much unusual as it is exceptional. They click in a way that Landon, always feeling the outsider, has never experienced before, and he wants more. Dane, ever cautious, is afraid to indulge Landon’s seeming desire for sexual experimentation—at first. Until he’s falling hard for the lovable athlete who wants to make his days easier and his nights sexier.
The Moves We Make is the second book in the Artists and Athletes series, but can be read as a standalone. It is a sweet, new adult, coming out romance with a heavy focus on Landon’s backstory and both characters’ issues with low self-esteem. Dane’s focus on his facial scars and partial blindness impairs his ability to see himself as others do, given his talents in dance. While Landon’s family is not malicious, their apathy toward his interests and talents—and even his birthday—have left him feeling untethered, and lonely. Dane’s a caretaker, though, and his compassion fills Landon’s well over and over. They start a bit slowly, and there’s some low-level conflict regarding Dane’s position as Landon’s TA, however it’s not super important for the story; Dane isn’t the professor after all, and Landon does learn to dance as the semester moves forward. Their relationship seems to grow in intensity during these few months, but Dane’s negative self-talk leads to a frustrating split for both men. If Dane gets the internship, he’ll be on the road, and Landon shouldn’t need to wait for his return, after all. I liked how respectful Landon was, regarding Dane’s needs, and how he comported himself so maturely. It was a lot of growth for his character, compared to the impulsive manner he’d demonstrated before finding this partnership with Dane.
I honestly liked this book better than the first one, as the pacing was better and the conflict a bit more varied. There were some overlapping characters in the books, but not too much—notably Landon’s teammates, who are all supportive of his growth and developing relationship with Dane. No homophobic drama, which was nice. Looking for a light, athlete, new adult romance? You might enjoy this one.