Cobalt Winslow lost two loves when his ex-boyfriend, Calvin Denvers, infected him with HIV, taking his health and his place as principal danseur in their ballet company when Cobalt became too weak. Now dealing with the aftermath as best he can, Cobalt teaches dance with the support of his oldest friends, Conrad and Peridot. The one bright spot in his life is Malory Preston, his brother’s driver and a man who is always there when Cobalt needs him. Kind and attentive, Preston embodies everything Calvin lacks, but Cobalt can’t let go of his unhealthy relationship with his ex.
Calvin’s return brings a messy and violent end to their affair, along with a chance for Cobalt to return to the dance company as his understudy—just when he’s on the verge of a real and lasting relationship with Preston. Now Cobalt faces a choice between two loves: dancing and Preston. Preston must show Cobalt that walking away won’t leave him with nothing, and that he has the power to make the life he wants and deserves.
Title: Like Heaven on Earth
Series: Dance, Love, Live: Book Three
Author: Jaime Samms
Release Date: August 29, 2016
When the Visual Is More than Just What You See
A little while ago, I watched a movie called “Test”. It’s set in 1985 in San Francisco. I don’t know. I was a 15 year old girl in Canada in 1985. I can’t speak to how accurate the movie is as a commentary on gay life at the time when AIDs and HIV tests were only first becoming a thing in gay men’s lives. I suspect it’s a cursory view of things to the average viewer. I suspect the era and the epidemic were backdrops for the dancing, and that the movie could have made stronger commentaries or been more forceful or direct in it’s message.
I’m a dance mom. I’ve been trained for years to find the story in the dance. To look for the way body movement conveys emotion and intent. In a world of the modern movie viewing public, I saw the dance. I saw the lighting. I saw the deliberate costuming choices and the long views of landscape and cityscape the character moved through as a stand in for the usual static stage set. I heard the music, and it didn’t bother me so much that the characters spoke little, or how much of what they needed to say was conveyed through looks, touches, and yes, dance.
It starred Scott Marlowe of the LEVYdance company in San Francisco, in his acting debut, and I was mostly enamoured of the way the acting, admittedly clumsy at times, gave way to the yearning the young man (I think both character and actor) had to express the emotional turmoil by moving his body, and letting that speak for him.
That’s what dance does. It makes you LOOK. It forces you to SEE. And then you have to think and feel, and interpret, but what dance doesn’t do, is it doesn’t do the work for you. It can be hard—and I’m not talking about for the dancers, though that is certainly true. I’m talking about the audience. When dance works, it makes you work for the gratification of “getting it”. Dance makes you think. It makes you engage, and whether you love it, hate it, think it’s beautiful, edgy or it makes you unspeakably uncomfortable, you can’t just watch.
That’s the world the characters of my story have been engaged in all their lives, and one that makes it impossible for them to remain stoic in the face of life-changing events. So when Cobalt has to make decisions about where and if he wants to continue dancing, it’s a Big Deal. That he’s found a man, at last, who looks like he might stick by him no matter what he decides, is maybe the biggest deal of his life.
This book reminded me why I love Jaime Samms so much. Colbalt and Preston were amazing characters. Colbalt’s strength was absolutely amazing in the story. I really felt for him and what was going on in his life. I thought Jaime did a wonderful job with how Colbalt was written. He struggles and pain was felt. His ex was so unlikable, even though he got less jerky as the story went on. Preston was perfect for Cobalt. He knew just how to handle him, and give him what he needed. The strength Preston showed in letting Cobalt do what he needed to do on his own was wonderful. I loved how Cobalt stood up for himself where his ex was concerned. This was a brilliantly written story that stole my heart.
5 pieces of eye candy
Jaime has been writing for various publishers since the fall of 2008, although she’s been writing for herself far longer. Often asked why men—what’s so fascinating about writing stories about men falling in love—she’s never come up with a clear answer. Just that these are the stories that she loves to read, so it seemed to make sense if she was going to write, they would also be the stories she wrote.
These days, you can find plenty of free reading on her website. She also writes for Freya’s Bower, Dreamspinner Press, Totally Bound, and now, Riptide Publishing.
Spare time, when it can be found rolled into a ball at the back of the dryer or cavorting with the dust bunnies in the corners, is spent crocheting, drawing, gardening (weather permitting, of course, since she is Canadian!), or watching movies. She has a day job, as well, which she loves, and two kids, but thankfully, also a wonderful husband who shoulders more than his fair share of household and child-care responsibilities.
She graduated some time ago from college with a fine arts diploma, and a major in textile arts, which basically qualifies her to draw pictures and create things with string and fabric. One always needs an official slip of paper to fall back on after all.
Amazon Author page: amazon.com/author/jaimesamms