Enjoy the Dance (Gigi’s Review)

Enjoy the Dance
Title: Enjoy the Dance (Dancing #2)
Author: Heidi Cullinan
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: October 11, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary
Page Count: 3510 Kindle locations
Reviewed by: Gigi
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Dance with your heart, and love will follow.

Kindergarten teacher Spenser Harris has carved a quiet, stable future out of his tumultuous past, but his world turns upside down the night a homeless teen appears on his doorstep—a boy whose story mirrors the one Spenser has worked so hard to overcome. The decision to shelter Duon is easy. What’s tricky is juggling the network of caregivers in Duon’s life, especially Tomás Jimenez.

Tomás wouldn’t have hesitated to take Duon in, but his plate is already full working three jobs to support his family. Though Spenser’s carefully constructed walls are clearly designed to keep the world at bay, Tomás pushes past Spenser’s defenses, determined to ensure the man is worthy of his charge. As the two of them grow closer, Tomás dares to dream of a life beyond his responsibilities, and Spenser begins to believe he might finally find a home of his own after all.

But Spenser and Tomás’s world is poised to crash around their ears. Duon’s grandmother isn’t sure she wants him to be raised by a gay man and challenges Spenser’s custody. Tomás’s undocumented parents could be deported at any time, and all the while the state of Minnesota votes on a constitutional amendment against marriage equality and the US Supreme Court debates whether or not Spenser and Tomás get a happily ever after. All they can do is hold tight to their love, hope for a better future…and remind each other to enjoy the dance.

Enjoy the Dance is the long-awaited second book in the Dancing series. Dance with Me was released in 2011 and instantly became a staple in M/M romance fan’s libraries. We all fell in love with dancer Laurie and ex-football player Ed who steamed up the pages with their intense passion and sexual chemistry.

Enjoy the Dance centers around dance instructor Tomás (who we met in book 1) and kindergarten teacher Spenser. They live across the hall from one another and start a friendship centered around a homeless 15 year old dancer named Duon. Their friendship eventually turns passionate and the burn is slow, but when these boys finally let loose on one another, the result is hot-as-hell. Tomás likes to whisper dirty talk in Spanish in Spenser’s ear and then translate to Spenser’s delight during their love-making.

I told you to hold still while I make love to you.

Tomás ground his hips, sliding a hand between their bodies to stroke Spenser’s cock.

I’m going to make you sticky with me, lover. Fill you up and fuck you out. You won’t be able to walk, I’ll fuck you so hard.

This book is very political and focuses on the legality of same-sex marriage, child custody, deportation of illegal immigrants and the failure of the Department of Social Series to adequately care for homeless youth (with their limited resources). These are important issues that affect millions of people in the United States. It should be noted that this book is set in 2012, four years before the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling granting same-sex couples to enter into a marriage contract and all benefits that union entails. The injustice against the minority population, which Tomás, Spenser and Duon, is the main focus of the book. Everything else is secondary. The romance and dancing have very small roles here.

This is a book with characters fighting for rights that are denied the minority population, including gay and lesbians, people of color and homeless youth. It’s an important book, but it is not a romance. This is nothing like Ed and Laurie’s story where they danced and romanced and found passion and love.
One of my favorite things about Enjoy the Dance (and most of Ms. Cullinan’s books) is that it is set in Minnesota, my home state. The boys go on a date to the Bryant-Lake Bowl, a theater/bowling alley/restaurant in the Uptown area, Minneapolis known for it’s hipster clientele. I have been there many times back in my college days and loved revisiting via Ms. Cullian’s description. She also throws in some cameos from her other books and it was fun to see those characters again.

Know going in that this is not your typical Heidi Cullian romance and you will thoroughly enjoy this book. It is short on romance, but an important book for csi-white people to read and understand what people in the minority go through on a daily basis. And the HEA here was especially sweet after everything that Tomás and Spenser had to fight for.

Enjoy the dance!

Dancing Series

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Enjoy the Dance provided by the author in exchange of an honest review.

More from Heidi Cullian

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Very angsty, slow burn, lots of real life issues that will make you think. This book is sobering and the romance is a very small part of the book. The HEA is wonderful and there are some surprise appearances that will make Ms. Cullinan's fans very happy.

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