Title: A Dance Too Far
Publication Date: February 15, 2019
Length: 245 pages
Reviewed by Sammy
Love can be dangerous!
Valentin Bychkov, rising star of contemporary Russian ballet, appears to have everything: wealth, talent, success, and a face and body to match. Not that anyone can get close. Bypass the entourage and there's still Valentin's sharp tongue and acerbic wit to deal with. He may give his body freely, but his emotions are kept tightly locked away.
Max Farley's life is a simple one. All he's interested in is work, drinking, and picking up the latest in a long line of one-night stands. The way he chooses to live may not be to everyone's taste but it suits him down to the ground. He's never met anyone who's made him want to confront the demons from his past. Until now.
A show in London brings the two together. Lust brings them closer still. But if rumors of Bratva connections turn out to be true, then dangerous men wait in the wings. One dangerous man in particular, who's used to people following his orders without question.
Difficult choices need to be made on both sides. Valentin and Max need to stop playing with fire and let each other go, or face the consequences. But letting go isn't that easy where love is concerned.
And some things are worth the risk.
The Russian mafia exists and it runs Valentin Bychkov’s life. All he has ever wanted to do was dance. After the death of his parents, Valentin accepts the protection of a man he thought had his best interest at heart only to find that he has become the property of a ruthless mafioso who has no qualms about allowing others to use his prize ballet artist. While on tour in London, Valentin does the unthinkable and hooks up with the sound engineer, Max Farley—not once but twice and after that his fate is sealed. Not only has Valentin brought Max directly into the sight of his ruthless keeper, he’s also lost his heart to the guy.
Max has spent years denying the truth about a former relationship that began when he was only fifteen and ended in heartbreak. Denying what really occurred and blaming himself for his stupidity in trusting the older man who had seduced him, Max now spends his nights chasing a bottle and one night stands in order to fill the void in his life. When he’s asked to take on a job that lands him at the ballet he is stunned to see the most beautiful man he has ever laid eyes on. Being warned not to touch doesn’t stop Max from pursuing Valentin. Before long Max has gotten much more than he bargained for—a second chance at real love and a death sentence hanging over his head.
H.L. Day has released a new romance entitled A Dance Too Far. With some serious action adventure overtones and a nerve wracking dose of suspense, this love story proved to be a non-stop nail-biter for me. Valentin’s prickly, ice-cold exterior can’t hide the aching heart inside that he so carefully keeps under wraps. To show weakness meant giving his captor, Dmitry, the upper hand and that meant revealing just how miserable Valentin was—something he never intended to happen. So the dancer kept to himself, indulging in sex only when the itch became too much and never ever indulging with the same partner twice…until Max. If there’s one thing these two men have in common it’s the need to keep their hearts from getting too attached. Valentin uses the stage and his dancing to escape his everyday nightmare. Max uses alcohol as an emotional buffer and endless one night stands to help him forget his past. When the two of them get together, the emotional response they both try to fight is staggering.
Good chemistry aside I liked these two men together. There was never any doubt that both of them had issues that could prove to be insurmountable but still each time they came together you couldn’t help but hope that maybe just maybe they’d make it out unscathed. That is not the case and I must say the payoff of loving Valentin is rather brutal for poor Max. If there was ever a better villain to despise and fear then Dmitry I am hard-pressed to remember one. I hated the guy by the end of the novel and wish so very badly he had gotten something far more painful than the rather unsatisfactory comeuppance he received at story’s end. Yet, as the author indicates in the afterword, it simply didn’t fit the plot trajectory of this book.
There was so much to like about this story. First there was the fact that Valentin and Max finally found a love that was stable and had a sense of permanency. Then there was the freedom that same love gave to both men from not only the past but their present life that was never going to make them happy or give them any sense of safety or future together. When you couple those truths with a plot that kept the reader on the edge of their seat due to the imminent sense of danger that surrounded Valentin and Max almost every moment they were together, you have a really interesting story that kept me invested to the end. I think my only quibble with this novel was how quickly Dmitry ending up backing down after Valentin’s ultimatum. The guy had been so very ruthless the entire book only to go rather quietly at the end—it just didn’t ring quite true for me.
Despite that, A Dance Too Far was a very satisfying romance with just enough intrigue and suspense to keep me fascinated and up all night reading. I think fans of this author are going to really like this one and as someone who had not had the pleasure of reading an H.L. Day story before I can assure you I am now a fan.
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