Author Name & Publisher: Siri Caldwell (Brussels Sprout Press)
Publication Date & Length: April 8, 2016 – 260 pgs
This was not the plan.
After a career-threatening injury, backup dancer Rae Peters crashes at a friend’s in a middle-of-nowhere college town to recover. She’d rather be onstage performing with a rock star than stuck in a swimming pool doing rehab exercises, but at least the people-watching is good. Make that person-watching, because she only pays attention to one person: the cute water aerobics instructor who’s always lugging around accounting textbooks like she might be smart.
Jori Burgess is a grad student with a young daughter and a blackmailing ex-boyfriend. She’s got her hands full being a single mother, and studying, and teaching at the pool, and pretending to be someone she’s not. The last thing she needs is one more complication, but Rae is one complication she can’t resist.
Rae has no trouble resisting, because she promised herself a long time ago that flirtatious straight girls were not for her. Even if they claimed they weren’t that straight. Especially if they claimed they weren’t that straight. Really, thank you, but no. She’s not going to fall for someone who’s got red flags plastered all over her very attractive…uh…personality.
Being friends, though? Being friends is not a problem, and neither is dancing together, and neither is holding on a little longer than is strictly appropriate, and neither is…
Yeah. This could be a problem.
Rae is a backing dancer for a big star who just happens to be her girl crush from high school. When she is injured on stage she has to take time to rehabilitate at a quiet resort where Jori, a grad student, is the aerobics teacher. They are attracted to each other but Rae thinks Jori is straight as she has a kid and appears to have a boyfriend, Axel. Axel is actually gay and had blackmailed Jori into pretending to date him to keep his parents happy. Rae meanwhile was pretending to date her female rock star boss, Kaoli, as it seemed to be selling more records and getting her a higher profile.
There were a lot of misunderstandings between the two women and plenty of stubborn opinions keeping them from getting together. I found Rae’s bi-phobia really irritating and offensive. She was obviously supposed to be like this because of her high school experiences but it was too full on and took her too long to see that she was being awful to Jori. Jori was adamant that labels didn’t matter to her and wouldn’t define herself as anything at all. This was maybe a bit naive of her. She was a lovely character though and very capable and strong. The love story was tentative and lovely when it finally got there in the end but it was a bit of a long-drawn out process. The minor characters were either irritating – Axel and Kaoli- or not fleshed out enough. The lesbian resort owners could have played more of a part but were underused. I give this book a 3.5 as it was a decent enough story but never managed to get me hooked or to care enough about the characters.
This book was awesome in so many ways. I’m going through physical therapy right now, so Rae’s regimen and dedication was awe-inspiring. I could understand what she was going through, although I agree with Jori that she should have found a physical therapist that would suit her needs rather than go without one. She really could have hurt herself further, and never returned to dancing. I loved that Rae finally grew enough to realize that she didn’t want Kaoli, and was able to put her into her past where she belonged. And I loved that Rae also realized before it was too late that her fears about Jori were based on her past with Kaoli, and that she needed to realize that they weren’t the same people. There are so many things to like about this book. What I didn’t like was Jori’s need to not label herself. Yes, she was honest, but so many things could have been made clearer if she had answered questions about herself instead of deflecting. And I really think she should have done something to shut Axel down at their graduation. That whole thing was stupid on his part, and he was already suffering under a deficit of character. I didn’t like that it took so long for Rae to finally tell Kaori where she could go, especially since she knew she was being used. But, everybody learns in their own time, and I’m glad Rae learned IN time. One more thing I really liked in the story, was how joyful it was for the professional dancer to dance with the woman she loved, not caring about how good or bad they were. That was a nice touch.
In Deal Breaker we meet Rae and Jori. This was a classic sweet and
spicy story about two women that are attracted to one another but one
is pretending to be straight. I enjoyed the instant spark and the
The author did a great job at taking a classic idea and making the
characters unique enough that they grab your attention and you want to
know more about them. I felt their instant spark and could almost see
it on the page. The push and pull of the story wasn’t as tedious as it
has been in some books; however, it was a bit predictable.
Even at that, the well written book is worthy of the read!
The opening chapters transferred me back to an old fashioned British Farce. With the reader representing the audience and all the characters being the actors. Everyone but the two leading females knew exactly what was going on and who was playing what part. It was amusing and the asides really brought a smile to me face. The two women each voicing their own concerns – out loud but only heard by then. This unique approach to writing really drew me.
As the novel progressed the emotions and the tensions became more palatable. Less humour and much more passion. Ligh heartedness was replaced by the true and sometimes cruel response to same sex relationships.
The conclusion almost reverted by to theater type drama, the reader just waiting to see the final reaction of the main participants, this magnifcent author did not let them down!
A really imaginatively written book that covered the whole gambit of emotional joy and angst, of trust and betrayal, of lies and deceit and finally of true love and trust. I certainly enjoyed reading this book from such an innovative author.
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Siri Caldwell got her start in creative writing in high school writing notes from her parents explaining why she was absent. She has been a health journalist, hydrogeologist, yoga teacher and massage therapist. She lives with her partner outside Washington, DC.
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