DANCING SHOES AND HONKY-TONK BLUES by LuAnn McClane
IN A RUT
Waitress Abilene Harper has always been a bit on the shy and clumsy side. So when the reality TV spoof Dancing With the Rednecks comes to Misty Creek, Kentucky, nothing could make Abby agree to participate...nothing except a fifty-thousand-dollar grand prize! While she doesn't relish being laughed at, it sure would be danged sweet to buy a truck with all the trimmings, fix up the diner for her hardworkin' mama, and send her brother to the fancy college he deserves.
Abby's tall, dark, and smokin'-hot dance instructor, Rio Martin, is mighty ticked when he finds out the ballroom-dancing competition he signed on for is actually a joke. But Abby's spunk and determination soon have him setting his sights on winning. He whips Abby into shape, and she begins to cha-cha and rumba her way into the hearts of the TV audience, while the chemistry between the unlikely couple sizzles. Rio tries to remain all business, but Abby has her eyes on the prize - and it isn't just the money.
I actually like this BCC too. I didn't read it when I picked up the book, I just saw the cover and liked the title (the quote from Lori Foster didn't hurt either). But it does a really fine job of describing the book within, and that's always a pleaser.
When I first started to read DS-HTB I was a little surprised to see it written in First. Not many Romances are written in that POV and as you know, it's not one I generally prefer to read. However, it didn't take long for me to forget all about the POV and fall into the story.
Abilene (Abby) Harper is a small town girl. She works full-time and then some at her mama's diner and she loves her family fiercely. When her younger brother Jesse tells her that Comedy Corner is going to be putting on a reality TV show called Dancing with the Rednecks, she's more than a little appalled at the idea of the nation making fun of her neighbors and friends. But as her brother explains that he is the one that gave network the idea, and that not only did he give them the idea he suggested her to the producers as a possible contestant, and the winner of the competition would win $50,000, well, she agrees to go along. After all, her brother is uber smart and should have the opportunity to go to a great college, and her mama's diner needs some upgrades. And if there was enough for her to get a shiny new pick-up, well that would be great too. Only thing is, Abby is one clumsy gal. Tall and gangly her whole life with two left feet, Abby's dance instructor is gonna have a heck of a time getting her into shape.
Rio Martin, sexy Latin hunk, award winning dancer, and now Abby's dance instructor is less than thrilled with the way he was duped into doing the show. When he arrives and discovers the whole thing is meant as a spoof he's beyond mad. But, after working with Abby and discovering some series sexual tension, Rio is determined to secure Abby the win. And whoo-boy do spark fly with these two. Plus, Rio is always perplexed by Abby's Redneck slang, and he perplexes Abby with some of his Spanish - great laugh out loud moments on some of these!
I have to say, I loved this book. It was just the thing to lift my spirits. Abby is truly a gem. Polite beyond reason (as most of us Rednecks are), "I say weakly. 'Sorry for bein' so crude.'...'Sayin' pee and barf and everything. I'm just not thinkin' straight. I've been raised better than that.", she loves her family and she loves her hometown. She's beautiful and doesn't realize it, after all, she never had dates in high school, never went to prom and hasn't had the occasion to date as an adult.
The sexual tension with Rio makes for some great moments, and tell the truth, I was surprised how real it all felt being written in First (and manoman were the sex scenes fabulous). The cast of characters were amazing, I felt like I knew the other contestants, and Abby's family, and I genuinely cared about them.
I enjoyed watching Abby knock the chip off her shoulder she was carrying around about high school, and make "new" old friends. If you're from a small town you'll be able to relate to how important those high school years seem to us, especially since we see the same people we crushed on or hated everyday. Most of all, I loved how the book could have been an over the top farce on Rednecks and could have depicted us as morons - but it wasn't and it didn't. It felt like I was reading about people I know, people I see everyday, people like me, and that's something that will keep McLane on my radar, and Dancing Shoes on my keeper, re-read shelf.
But trust me, you don't have to be a Redneck to relate to - and love - the book, anyone who's ever had dreams and any one that just wants to read a good Romance, well, this books for you!