A Toronto Connections Novel While on holiday in Toronto, Evie Whitmore planned to sightsee and meet other asexuals, not audition for a dance competition. Now she’s representing Toronto’s newest queer dance studio, despite never having danced before. Not only does she have to spend hours learning her routine, she has to do it with one of the grumpiest men she’s ever met. Tyler turns out to be more than a dedicated dancer, though — he might be the kind of man who can sweep her off her feet, literally and figuratively. Tyler Davis has spent the last year recovering from an emotionally abusive relationship. So he doesn’t need to be pushed into a rushed routine for a dumb competition. Ticking major representation boxes for being trans and biracial isn’t why he went into dance. But Evie turns out to be a dream student. In fact, she helps him remember just how good partnering can be, in all senses of the word. Teaching her the routine, however, raises ghosts for him, ones he’s not sure he can handle. Plans change, and people change with them. Learning a few steps is one thing; learning to trust again is another entirely.
Dear Cass Lennox,
I reviewed the first book in this series here at DA and I really liked it. As blurb tells you the second book features a completely new couple - straight transgender guy and an asexual woman who is not completely straight since she dated both men and women before the beginning of this story. Evie came to Toronto because she was going to be doing a graduate program here, but the program starts in the fall and she ended up doing a two week vacation in Toronto while staying with the Internet friend Sarah who was also asexual.
Evie is the kind of person who plans things ahead, so she is surprised that not only she is not on holiday which was not really planned, but she also auditioned and won a part to be in the Pride dance competition as an amateur to be paired with one of the dance teacher from the two rival queer dance studios. Basically three teachers from each dance school would be paired with the three amateurs and the teachers were supposed to teach the amateur a dance routine in a week and to have a competition during Toronto Pride. Toronto Pride is a major part of why Evie decided to spend couple of weeks here anyway, so while she is initially reluctant to commit she decides to participate in the competition.
Tyler is a dancing teacher who is paired with Evie. We are shown that Tyler was also initially reluctant to participate in the competition, but he changed his mind with a little push from his boss Derek. Evie and Tyler’s first meeting may have been a little bit contentious, but they click pretty well when they start rehearsing the dance and they only have one week to do it.
I have read Amazon reviews before buying this book and one of the reviewers seemed to feel that a lot of time was spent on the description of the dancing rehearsals and dancing in general. I agree that there was a lot of dancing in this book and I liked it very much. The start of Evie and Tyler’s relationship is set against their dancing training and dancing is what Tyler loves and is passionate about. It is not just his career, it is his life. I really thought it was cleverly done how they communicated while dancing and it was clear that they enjoyed each other’s company when they may not have realized it themselves yet.
I thought the tension between Evie and Tyler was nicely done too – Tyler’s insecurities made perfect sense to me because his ex fucked with his head and made him doubt himself at every turn, but somehow I did not find the book very angsty probably because dancing was such an important part of his life and no matter what Tyler’s doubts were about pursuing the relationship, he never thought about stopping the dancing? I don’t know, I just know that I really liked how Tyler’s issues were portrayed and how he dealt with them. Evie also had her own issues to deal with. It was said that not all her partners in the past were okay with her asexuality (sex is not very important to her, but she did not mind sex with the right person and at the last time – was the word demisexual appropriate here? I was not sure, it seemed so, but I am not asexual and the word was not used in the book). But once again, somehow the romance was playing off against Evie and Tyler rehearsing and their issues felt very real, but did not feel very angsty to me. Opinions may differ of course.
There was couple of things in the story I did not like. While in general Tyler’s insecurities made perfect sense to me (as an outsider! I never was in the abusive relationship), there was also a smaller reason why he was reluctant to think about something more than casual with Evie and I found this incredibly annoying and I have to mention a SPOILER.
When they first meet during Evie’s audition for the competition she is mentioning in her “audition interview” of the sorts that she is here in Toronto for couple of weeks and then she is going to leave for few months and come back to start school. Tyler is conveniently spacing out at the very moment Evie says that she will come back to go to school and then worries about starting something with Evie because she is going to leave anyway. I *hate* this when something so artificial is used as the reason for the conflict. Now, as I said here this was not the main issue, this was just a fake barrier that Tyler put in his mind while the real reasons were his insecurities because of the past abusive relationship, so overall it worked out for me, but I was still annoyed. I wanted to tell Tyler to just ask Evie about her leaving. Just ask her – so easily done.
I also thought that brief appearance of Vaughn from the first book was awkwardly done. I mean, he is part of the group of the asexual friends, so his cameo in itself would not have been bad, but attempt to make Tyler jealous was also based on miscommunication. Evie learned that he was exclusively attracted to men almost right away, why could not have she shared that with Tyler it was not clear to me at all.
These miscommunications issues were not my favorite parts, but overall I still really liked the book and the main characters.
Time wise the book only covers a week. However author managed to convince me that these two have a good chance to make their relationship work.