Now he’s made good, touring the world with the band he and his brothers formed in that crowded group home. No one but his found family really knows the man under the fame and fortune, the scars he hides behind the rockstar lifestyle. Until he sees her through the windows of the National Ballet, dancing, and suddenly the world doesn’t seem so dark.
Aleksandra Artemov ticks all the ballot boxes. Father a legendary Kirov dancer. Check. Prepping since birth for classical ballet. Check. Compulsive control over the food she eats. Check. Principal dancer at The National Ballet of Canada. Check. But what she craves is freedom.
She craves Jordan.
Everything about him should terrify her. His size, his tattoos, his edge. But he doesn’t. He stirs her very soul. Jordan has nothing but himself to offer her, and he's never been good enough for anyone. Can he figure out how to face his own demons before he loses his light for good?
If you’ve read any of the posts on this site and on Knockin’ Books, you’ll know that I’m a huge Scarlett Cole fan. Trent from The Strongest Steel even made our list of the top 10 new adult romance book boyfriends of all time.
But my love for Ms. Cole doesn’t change the fact that she’s a little rough on her characters. Kinda mean, even. They never have an easy road to their HEA. They work for it, every step of the way. I might not tolerate this kind of author-on-character bullying from just any author.
But Scarlett Cole is clearly not just any author.
Levels of angst that would irritate me in other books were touching, moving in this one. I really felt for both Jordan and Aleksandra. So much was expected of her, so little was expected of him--and they both rose to great levels of success due to their drive and talent. At a quick glance, they were polar opposites. But at heart, they were very much alike. To me, this made their instant attraction and inevitable love all the sweeter and more believable.
Jordan’s backstory was heartbreaking. I mean, on an emotional level, for me, it was right up there with Bobby’s backstory from Supernatural, which made me bawl like a baby. As a reader, I completely understood his reluctance to make emotional attachments. So when he initially resisted his attraction to Aleksandra, it didn’t annoy me like it would’ve in virtually any other romance novel. His actions as a character made complete sense.
Aleksandra was an interesting heroine. I loved that she didn’t sit idly by and let Jordan push her away. She knew what she wanted, and she went after it. That’s probably my favorite quality in a romance heroine.
As for the mechanics of the story, as usual, they were flawless. The book is well-written, had a nice flow to it, and the dialogue was smart and snappy. Secondary characters weren’t just one-dimensional plot devices. They are super interesting, and I hope I will eventually read all of their stories.
Long-story-short: this one’s another winner for Scarlett Cole. Bring on the next book!
Full disclosure: We received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma? (link to original myths post)
Crushes it! It’s well-written, and there’s nothing “fluffy” about it. This one is clean and sober. No rehab needed!
Other reading suggestions
Get thee immediately to the Scarlett Cole backlist, folks. Read them all. You won’t be disappointed. For another great romantic read about a professional ballerina, try Abigail Strom’s Into Your Arms.