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Danced Close: Portland Heat #6 by Annabeth Albert

Danced Close: Portland Heat #6 by Annabeth Albert

Time to head back to the Portland Heat series from Annabeth Albert, a lovely M/M contemporary romance series where people love, laugh and find hope in their world. Please read on for my review of

Danced Close

I’ve missed a few of the titles in this series, most notable to me for showing the ordinary lives of people looking for love, even when those people happen to be looking for someone of the same sex. Annabeth Albert manages to highlight those moments that are familiar to us all, bringing us closer to her characters and easily engaged and involved in her stories.

Todd is settlng into his life as a sober man with a plan, working every day to keep his life on track and not allow the demons that erode his self-esteem to run him off track. Even with encouragement from the boss at the bakery, Todd isn’t interested in taking more responsibility or chances, and is happy to be the ‘guy at the counter’. Until Kendall comes into the bakery: gender fluid, Kendall is a wedding planner with a solid niche in the LBGTQ market, even as he’d like to have more. Sure, Todd is cute but his last relationship ended badly, as his boyfriend had little interest in accepting his style and his lack of concern with gender labels.

Together, these two are sweetly adorable, even if I was wishing for more to happen to push their growth further. Let me explain. Todd is very “Portland” – plaid shirts, ripped jeans, beard. His demeanor, however, is reticent and retiring. Until flirting (tentatively) with Kendall. Kendall for his part has no interest in being pigeonholed by the typical ‘gender rules’, he prefers to dance on the edge – more feminine one day, more masculine the next, but never predictable. This has, however, caused him issues in relationships.

But, when these two finally start to build a relationship through Todd agreeing to join Kendall in a series of dance lessons that Kendall had planed to attend with his ex, the two of them start to show their true colors. We see that Todd’s experiences and life lessons haven’t hardened him, but made him more accepting and unwilling to judge people by any impressions, simply by their behavior toward him and others. Never having felt true acceptance, Kendall isn’t one to walk away from someone as special as Todd, especially if he can convince him to take those chances he so willingly gave him and expend them on himself.

A bit heavier in tone than other books in the series, Albert devotes much time to Kendall’s gender fluidity and his issues that surround it, and it often felt as if this moment to teach readers (which was needed) and build a sense of this issues this could create did take away from Kendall and Todd actually making a connection that felt as strong to me, or as joyful, as others she’s written. That doesn’t make this a bad book, in fact I learned plenty and have come away with a new understanding as well as hopes that Todd and Kendall, in all their couplehood glory, will get their time to simply enjoy one another.

Danced Close: Portland Heat #6 by Annabeth Albert

Title: Danced Close
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: Portland Heat #6
Also in this series: Served Hot, Baked Fresh, Delivered Fast
Genre: Contemporary LBGTQ Romance, Male / Male
Published by: Lyrical Shine
ISBN: 9781601836953
Published on: 14 March, 2017
Format:eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 132
Rated: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Heat: One FlameOne FlameOne FlameHalf a Flame

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About the Book:

Portland, Oregon, is one of the hottest cities in America. Just ask all the hard-working men sweating it up behind the counters of the restaurants, boutiques, and cafés all over town ...

Newly clean and sober, Todd's taken a shine to his job at Portland's most talked about bakery. It's not just the delicious desserts they sell, but the tasty treats who keep walking through the door. That certainly includes Kendall Rose, a wedding planner with eyes the color of brown sugar and skin to match. Todd doesn't try to hide his attraction to Kendall's elegant confidence and unique style, even as he worries about exposing the secrets of his past.

For Kendall, the attention is just part of the anything-goes Portland he's grown to love. But he's still looking for that special someone who will embrace all of him—including his gender fluidity. So he takes a chance and asks Todd to be his partner in a dance class leading to a fundraiser. When the music starts and he takes Todd in his arms, Kendall is shocked at how good it feels. Turns out taking the lead for once isn't a mistake. In fact, it might be time to take the next step and follow his heart ...

See the Portland Heat Series on Goodreads

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

About Annabeth Albert

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

 

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