Take the Lead
Author: Alexis Daria
What I’m Talking About:
Gina Morales is a professional dancer who competes on a reality dance show. It’s her 5th season, and she really needs to win or she may lose her job. Her partner Stone Nielson is a reality TV star who lives in Alaska. He’s an extremely gorgeous man, and Gina knows the producers are manipulating the situation to create a “showmance” against her wishes.
Take the Lead hooked me from the start. It’s clear that Stone is hiding something, and I wanted to know what it was. I love the easy banter the pair have once they start rehearsals the first day. I also loved learning about dance.
Gina and Stone share an attraction that they both fight. Gina had a past relationship with a dance partner that blew up on her, and she is worried that she’ll damage her professional career if she’s found sleeping with her partner. Stone is hiding secrets and is worried he’ll say too much. Both want different things: she wants fame and loves being in the city, he was to live in the quiet vastness of Alaska. Yet, they can’t fight it. I love how sexy their first kiss is. All that building attraction and sexual tension explodes and they cannot stay away.
The story allows their relationship to slowly develop as they get to know one another on the dance floor and at practices. It’s like a flower unfurling its petals, blossoming into its best shape. The author’s descriptive writing brings the dance numbers to life. The way the relationship development mirrors the dance numbers is a work of beauty.
Overall, I loved Take the Lead; however, I was so disappointed in Stone at one point near the climax of the story. He knows how strongly Gina feels about something, yet he doesn’t share important information with her. He’s lying to himself and he knows it. Luckily the author doesn’t drag it out.
In the end, Take the Lead is a delightful romance that warmed my heart.
My Rating: B+ Liked It A Lot
About the Book:
Gina Morales wants to make it big. In her four seasons on The Dance Off, she’s never even made it to the finals. But her latest partner, the sexy star of an Alaskan wilderness show, could be her chance. Who knew the strong, silent, survivalist-type had moves like that? She thinks Stone Nielson is her ticket to win it all—until her producer makes it clear they’re being set up for a showmance.
Joining a celebrity dance competition is the last thing Stone wants. However, he’ll endure anything to help his family, even as he fears revealing their secrets. While the fast pace of Los Angeles makes him long for the peace and privacy of home, he can’t hide his growing attraction for his dance partner. Neither wants to fake a romance for the cameras, but the explosive chemistry that flares between them is undeniable.
As Stone and Gina heat up the dance floor, the tabloids catch on to their developing romance. With the spotlight threatening to ruin everything, will they choose fame and fortune, or let love take the lead?
Release Date: February 14, 2023
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Series: Dance Off #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format(s): paperback (368 pages), e-book
Book Source: NetGalley
Amazon (affiliate link)