Dawson Barnes recognizes his world is very small and very charmed. Running his community college theater like a petty god, he and his best friend, Benji, know they'll succeed as stage techs after graduation. His father adores him, Benji would die for him, and Dawson never doubted the safety net of his family, even when life hit him below the belt.
But nothing prepared him for falling on Jared Emory's head.
Aloof dance superstar Jared is a sweet, vulnerable man and Dawson's life suits him like a fitted ballet slipper. They forge a long-distance romance from their love of the theater and the magic of Denny's. At first it's perfect: Dawson gets periodic visits and nookie from a gorgeous man who "gets" him - and Jared gets respite from the ultra-competitive world of dancing that almost consumed him.
That is until Jared shows up sick and desperate and Dawson finally sees the distance between them concealed painful things Jared kept inside. If he doesn't grow up - and fast - his "superstar" might not survive his own weaknesses. That would be a shame, because the real, fragile Jared that Dawson sees behind the curtain is the person he can see spending his life with.
©2013 Amy Lane (P)2014 Dreamspinner Press
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"The lighter angsty side of Amy Lane"
I thoroughly enjoyed this. It's a sweet, humorous, and romantic love story. Of course, since this is Amy Lane, you have to know the other shoe will drop and your heart will be ripped out at some point. Because that's how Amy Lane rolls.
I loved both characters and thought their long-distance relationship was handled really well. Hugh Bradley's narration kept me entertained, the story got me to laugh and ugly cry (in public no less, thanks Amy Lane!), and I was rooting for Dawson and Jared until the very end.
The supporting characters here, Benji, Darian, Amber, Dawson's dad elevated this for me from a sweet, lovely story, to one of the top three Amy Lane books I've read.
I had one issue with the whole agent mess toward the end which I didn't buy in the slightest and felt was misplaced, but other than that niggle, I had a great time listening to this and wouldn't hesitate to recommend this, especially for those who enjoy the lighter angst-filled side of Amy Lane.
I loved the story and the actor reading it. It was fun but not overly sentimental and the erotic scenes were not over done.
"Dawson 💖 Jared"
This story was "a living breathing work of art." Just a lovely story to listen to.
"A Nice Story"
Probably in the top half. I really liked it, but it didn't give me any major reactions.
Dawson, he's just that goofy, sometimes oblivious idiot who can't keep his mouth shut, but he's incredibly sweet, caring, and understanding.
I really like books that have a fair amount of comedy in them to balance out all of the angst and heart-wrenching moments, and this book didn't have much comedy. It was a bit to serious and dramatic for me.
"Hugh "gets" these guys and the story is great"
This is a sweet story of two people, seemingly in opposite phases of life, coming together and finding love. Dawson, sort of trapped in an unrequited love finds Jared, who has never really had love, and together they just click, right from the start. But there are still hurdles to be overcome and both Jared and Dawson have to decide where their life is going and how to take control of that life if they want to be together.
Amy Lane’s stories are character driven and Dawson and Jared are amazing characters, so (of course) this is another amazing Amy Lane book. I just loved it. Amy is so good at giving us these bony limbed-kersplang-awkward characters that you can’t help but absolutely adore and then pairing them with a masterful, solid, yet somehow broken-needing-to-be-fixed character. Just when you think Dawson is the one who needs to grow up, you realize that, no, he is the rock in this relationship and poor Jared is the one who needs to be rescued.
Amy also excels at “friends” and Dawson’s friends (and family) are so wonderful and though they may try to steal the story, they only add to its richness and texture, by giving it greater depth.
The dialog in this book is funny, sweet, touching and wonderful, just like Jared and Dawson’s love for each other. I really enjoyed these guys and I hope we get to see them in future books, I didn’t want this one to end!
I give the story a 5 out of 5 stars– I loved it!
Review of the audio book:
The narrator, Hugh Bradley, is new to me, but I will definitely look for him in the future. He did an amazing job, really brining the characters to life with his voices and inflection. He seemed to really “get” Dawson and Jared and their story. Sometimes a narrator can mess up a story for you, if you have already read it and already have a feel for the characters in your head. But Hugh seemed to be reading the same story as me, and I really enjoyed listening to his version. I highly recommend this audible as a companion to the book or all on its own.
5 out of 5 stars!
"Not Amy's best (but still pretty good)"
I am a self-confessed Amy Lane fan. I also have a background in theatre, having worked both in front of and behind the curtain for about 10 years now, so I was excited to listen to this one.
For some reason the story fell a little bit flat for me.
Compared to some of her others (The Locker Room, Bolt Hole, Racing for the Sun) this one felt a bit romance-by-numbers with some theatre terminology thrown in.
I really liked both the main characters and the secondary ones - Dawson's dad in particular was great. Jared felt like a very well rounded character, though Dawson and Benji were both a bit generic.
I suppose the main thing for me that didn't feel right was Dawson and Benji's love of theatre. In my experience, most theatre techs are in it for the tech, not the passion to put on a show. Also, not all techs are failed actors - that's a stereotype that really grates!!
It's a good story, but not Amy's best.
This is not one of my favorite Amy Lane books, but it was still a good read/listen. It starts out really slow and was kind of boring in the first half of the book. It picked up a bit in the second half. This is primarily about the relationship between Dawson and Jared; but there are sub stories about the Scooby Gang of Dawson’s friends and his best friend Benji. Dawson starts as a stumbling nerd awed by Jared, who is a famous dancer. They embark on trying a long distance relationship and as the story progresses and their relationship grows, they discover a lot about themselves and what it means to have a relationship. That said, I’m afraid I really didn’t connect with this couple, I don’t know why, I just didn’t. I rooted for them, but I was just “whatever” about the HEA. The narrator does a decent job, but there really wasn’t a lot of diversity in the voices. Overall probably worth a credit as a comfort read.
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