Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Like Heaven on Earth by Jaime Samms

Cobalt Winslow lost two loves when his ex-boyfriend, Calvin Denvers, infected him with HIV, taking his health and his place as principal danseur in their New York ballet company when Cobalt became too weak. Now dealing with the aftermath as best he can, Cobalt teaches dance in Toronto with the support of his oldest friends, Conrad and Peridot. The one bright spot in his life is Malory Preston, his brother’s driver and a man who is always there when Cobalt needs him. Kind and attentive, Preston embodies everything Calvin lacks, but Cobalt can’t let go of his unhealthy, long-distance relationship with his ex.

Calvin brings a messy and violent end to their affair, but offers a chance for Cobalt to return to New York—as Calvin's understudy—just when he's on the verge of a real and lasting relationship with Preston. Now Cobalt faces a choice between two loves: dancing and Preston. Preston must show Cobalt that he has the power and support to make the life he wants and deserves, no matter what he decides.

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Book 3
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

In the third book in this series we are introduced to Cobalt and Preston, two men with a complicated relationship that has developed over a lifetime. With Preston working as Cobalt’s brother’s chauffeur, the relationship navigates an uncomfortable class divide as well as the difficulties posed by Cobalt’s HIV and a complicated relationship with an ex-boyfriend Cobalt can’t quite let go of.

There is slightly less dance in this third book, but the character and relationship development is even more complex and nuanced than it has been in the previous two books. The history between Cobalt and Preston is intense with readers offered memories and flashbacks alongside the current drama. I loved both these men and I loved the way the author reveals the details of their long history.

When the story starts, Cobalt is physically and mentally weak. He pushes away those who love him and allows an unhealthy relationship to continue. Preston is a constant, steady presence for the fragile dancer, strong and patient in the face of Cobalt’s self-loathing. Preston is my favourite bear-like dominant character in quite some time and he is the perfect contrast to the more delicate, effeminate Cobalt.

I liked the way the author handled Cobalt and Calvin’s struggles with HIV. There are some very difficult moments for both characters, but the story feels honest and never becomes maudlin or preachy.

Characters from earlier books are reintroduced in this story, but the focus is on Cobalt and Preston with a growing focus on Cobalt’s brother Azure and his ex-boyfriend Calvin. Much of the story takes place away from the dance studio so we don’t see the series’ characters together as often as we did in the first two books.

While I might have wanted a few more descriptions of the dance in this story, I think the relationship in this third book is possibly the best yet. The storyline feels more coherent than in either of the first two books and Cobalt and Preston are two very special men.

Hi! I'm pleased to be a Dreamspinner author. I've been writing in the genre most of my life, even way back when publication was a dream. Well, it came true. My dreams have been spun into reality, and I hope you enjoy the results. Thanks for coming to see what's available. Jaime has been writing for various publishers since the fall of 2008, although she's been writing for herself far longer. Often asked why men; what’s so fascinating about writing stories about men falling in love, she's never come up with a clear answer. Just that these are the stories that she loves to read, so it seemed to make sense if she was going to write, they should also be the stories she wrote. These days, you can find plenty of free reading on her website. She also writes for Freya’s Bower, Loveyoudivine Alterotica, Pink Petal Books, Dreamspinner Press and Total E-Bound. Spare time, when it can be found rolled into a ball at the back of the dryer or cavorting with the dust bunnies in the corners, she's probably spending reading, drawing, gardening (weather permitting, of course, since she is Canadian!) or watching movies. Well. She has a day job or two, as well, and two kids, but thankfully, also a wonderful husband who shoulders more than his fair share of household and child care responsibilities. She graduated some time ago from college with a Fine Arts diploma, with a major in textile arts, which basically qualifies her to draw pictures and create things with string and fabric. One always needs an official slip of paper to fall back on after all...

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Like Heaven on Earth (Dance, Love, Live #3) by Jaime Samms to read and review.

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