Lead and Follow by Katie Porter (Club Devant #1)

Lead and FollowAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Erotic Romance- Menage

Publisher: Samhain

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Michelle

Lizzie Maynes’s torn ACL threatens more than her career as an international Latin ballroom champion. During her lengthy recovery, her longtime professional partner, Dima Turgenev, has been dancing at the Chelsea District’s most notorious burlesque, Club Devant. More than just dancing, he’s been experimenting with shocking new moves that make her want to pull him off stage and get back on tour as soon as possible–the better to keep their successful friendship safe.

Dima knows all about safety, and the lack thereof, because he blames himself for Lizzie’s injury. Far from the pressures of competition, Club Devant is the perfect creative venue to rebuild his rattled confidence. He’d love for Lizzie to join him and revel in the club’s intoxicating freedoms. By exploring the new sensual energy simmering between them, they could become more than friends.

Paul Reeves, a recently divorced Texan starting over in the Big Apple, is all for joining the dancers as they blaze through sexual boundaries. But he also knows their sizzling trio won’t last. Lizzie and Dima belong together. Before the last sparks fade, he plans to transform two stubborn friends into lasting lovers–one raunchy lesson at a time.

There couldn’t be a more appropriate title for this book. There are so many important lead and follow moments, and not just in the dancing sense. Lizzie and Dmitri (“Dima”) have been ballroom dance partners since their early teens. Their partnership had spanned fifteen years, so it’s no surprise that they are incredibly close. They support each other and depend on each other, even if they don’t always realize that.

Their dancing partnership was forced into hiatus by Lizzie’s injury, and while she was recuperating at her parent’s house, Dima took a job dancing at Club Devant. Nothing can replace the joy and perfection of dancing with Lizzie, but after so many years on the professional circuit, he is happy to have another outlet for his creativity on the dance floor. Having earned countless accolades, including three world championships, he feels that they have nothing else to prove. Unfortunately Lizzie doesn’t agree. She thinks dancing at the club is a step down for Dima, and wants nothing more than to get back in professional shape so they can dazzle the dancing community once again.

These two have to be the most out of touch with their feelings people I’ve ever read about. Dima was so closed in on himself and Lizzie was so full of self-righteousness that this whole book should have been a lesson in “too stupid to live”. You could practically see the light bulb go on over their heads when they finally realized all of the craziness was actually love. I can understand how their romantic attachment could have snuck up on them, though. They had formed an honest partnership, living and breathing each other’s space, sharing triumphs and failures for over a decade. They had essentially grown up together and neither of them wanted to chance ruining their friendship by becoming lovers.

All of that changed, though, when Lizzie brought Paul into the mix. Granted he was only in a few (incredibly HOT) scenes with them, but him being their third (a first for them, incidentally) seemed to be the catalyst that brought their feelings out into the open. Paul was just in it for a good time, but even he could sense the strong undercurrents of emotion between Lizzie and Dima. He realized that they belonged together, even if they didn’t, and he had no problem stepping aside and even giving them a push in the right direction.

This book is full of emotion. Dima is a strong, arrogant, dominant Russian who keeps himself and his dreams closed off from Lizzie out of fear of failure. Lizzie is impetuous and demanding and wants nothing more than to have all of Dima. The push and pull between these two emotionally, sexually and on the dance floor, was so beautiful. The way the author(s) opened Lizzie’s eyes to what was real and solid in front of her, and the way Dima was able to finally share himself, were both perfect. This is a complicated, messy, sexy book. The writing is choppy and the emotions and attitudes were all over the place. However, something about it just plain works.

I give Lead and Follow by Katie Porter 4 stars!

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