Book Review by Nicole: Danced Close, by Annabeth Albert

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Danced Close, by Annabeth Albert
Series: Portland Heat #6
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Release Date: March 14, 2017

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


Newly clean and sober, Todd’s taken a shine to his job at Portland’s most talked about bakery. It’s not just the delicious desserts they sell, but the tasty treats who keep walking through the door. That certainly includes Kendall Rose, a wedding planner with eyes the color of brown sugar and skin to match. Todd doesn’t try to hide his attraction to Kendall’s elegant confidence and unique style, even as he worries about exposing the secrets of his past.

For Kendall, the attention is just part of the anything-goes Portland he’s grown to love. But he’s still looking for that special someone who will embrace all of him—including his gender fluidity. So he takes a chance and asks Todd to be his partner in a dance class leading to a fundraiser. When the music starts and he takes Todd in his arms, Kendall is shocked at how good it feels. Turns out taking the lead for once isn’t a mistake. In fact, it might be time to take the next step and follow his heart.


M/GQ Pairing
Gay Character
Genderqueer Character
Misunderstandings & Miscommunication
Addiction (Past)


I feel like this book was disappointing only because it had such a strong start, and then I ended up liking the second half of the book significantly less. Yet, overall, this was not a badly written book.

I had high hopes for this just based on having an on page genderqueer character as one of the main characters. This excitement was only heightened when gender neutral pronouns and the word nonbinary appeared on the page.

Kendall is genderqueer and definitely not looking for a relationship after his previous partner broke up with him to find someone who was more typically male in appearance.

Todd is a previous drug addict, sober for almost two years, but as HIV and is sure that nobody who doesn’t have HIV is going to want to be interested in him for any kind of romantic relationship. In his case, it’s less about not looking for a relationship, and just assuming he won’t be able to have one due to his status.

I completely empathized with Kendall’s experience of people not being all that interested in him for who he is, or else seeing him as sideshow entertainment, and genuinely loved the commonalities that were introduced early on between he and Todd.

Their early friendship with benefits was enjoyable to read, but the insecurities that got in the way of their actually communicating with one another was a bit of a struggle. Also, as this was a really short novella, there wasn’t a lot of plot given outside of the romance between Kendall and Todd, which meant that the whole story hinged on whether or not that worked.

Which, for all my love of the representation… it didn’t really.


Frequent tweeter, professional grammar nerd, and obsessive reader, Annabeth Albert is also a Pacific Northwest romance writer in a variety of subgenres.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

Twitter: AnnabethAlbert

You can purchase Danced Close from:
Google Play
Barnes & Noble

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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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