Title: First Position
Author Name & Publisher: Melissa Brayden (Bold Strokes Books)
Publication Date & Length: August 16, 2016 – 264 pgs
Anastasia Mikhelson is the rising star of the New York City Ballet. She’s sacrificed creature comforts, a social life, as well as her own physical well-being for perfection in dance. Even her reputation as The Ice Queen doesn’t faze her. Though Ana’s at the peak of her career, competition from a new and noteworthy dancer puts all she’s worked for in jeopardy.
While Natalie Frederico has shown herself to be a prodigy when it comes to ballet, she much prefers modern dance and living on her own terms. Life is too short for anything else. However, when the opportunity to dance with the New York City Ballet is thrust upon her, it’s not like she could say no. Dealing with the company’s uptight lead is another story, however. When the two are forced to work side-by-side, sparks begin to fly onstage and off.
finds it hard to relax and make friends. When free spirit Natalie joins the company she finds herself drawn to her and slowly begins to open up and embrace friendship. Although they are complete opposites and annoy the hell out of each other, their attraction is so strong. I loved the growing relationship between them as it brought out a different side of Ana especially. Her career was everything to her but she was so buttoned up until Natalie came along. Unforeseen circumstances force Ana to read-evaluate and her struggles were difficult for both of them. Ultimately it was a beautiful love story, with moments of real tenderness and a lot of heat. I found the ballet life really interesting and the NY setting was an exciting background to it all.
There’s definitely something about Melissa Brayden’s books that I enjoy. This one started a bit slow, and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get into it. That worry disappeared around the third chapter. I was a bit worried that this book would be a big struggle between the two main characters for one position, but the turn that took was actually rather enjoyable. It created an atmosphere that engendered cooperation and support between Ana and Natalie, allowing them to grow closer. I also love those stories about a character who is emotionally isolated, who is then drawn out of her shell by our other heroine. It’s like something in Natalie allows Ana to loosen up and reach outside her comfort zone. At the same time, something about Ana pushes Natalie into growing up and realizing that she has responsibilities. Watching her move from shallow party girl who doesn’t want to sell out to someone who stays because she’s made a commitment is a wonderful story arc. The other part of the story is what happens after someone who has made their life out of their passion no longer has the ability to engage in that passion. The career-ending injury that occurs may not have been what was expected, but it’s no less devastating. The events after leave both women devastated and unsure how to move forward. It was wonderful to see how they got back to each other. I also really enjoyed seeing some of the characters from previous books; it was nice to see old friends. If you’ve liked previous Melissa Brayden books, this will be another hit for you.
Melissa Brayden is the multi-award winning author of seven lesbian romance novels and is currently hard at work on her eighth. She is a wine enthusiast, a fan of all donuts, and is probably staring off into space as you’re reading this.