In the Spotlight by Shona Husk #mm #review


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A diva who lives for the spotlight, a sailor deeply in the closet, a love that will change them both

Ripley Malone is returning to Perth in triumph. A principal ballet dancer in a production that has critics raving, he is an unqualified success, and all the small-minded people that made his life hell can kiss his lycra-covered ass. But behind the makeup and the glitter and the costumes, Ripley is beginning to tire, tire of the competition, the drive, the endless parade of meaningless lovers.

For Pierce Lovell, joining the Navy was a way out of rural Victoria, but becoming a submariner comes with its own set of challenges. The close living quarters and long months away are awkward enough without adding any extra tension around his sexuality. The fear is probably in his head, but he isn’t taking any chances with his career. He gets by on anonymous one-night-stands every time they come to shore and keeps his heart well-shielded. But one night with Ripley opens the tantalising possibility of more.

Through a mistake Ripley is injured. He can’t dance. His wings are clipped and he crashes down and hits the earth hard. Pierce knows their affair can’t possibly end in anything but heartache, but he can’t stay away. As Ripley heals and reassesses his life, he is determined not to make the same mistakes again. That means letting someone see the vulnerable side of him. But vulnerability for Pierce could cost him everything


In the Spotlight is a quick, even read that didn’t have many highs or lows. There is a notable lack tension to the scenes and a simplistic writing style that made this a choppy disjointed read. There were also editing issues with missing words and dialogue wasn’t placed in quotations which kept pulling me out of the story. The first chapter telegraphed all the issues the characters would have and so there weren’t any surprises or twists to ramp up the excitement. Ripley is finally the star of the show and he likes the attention but he faces complications with his shoulder and a family disease. Pierce is a sailor in the closet and throughout he makes strides to come out. Despite the number of issues there was a lack of depth and angst that made the story just all right.


The background on both Ripley and Pierce was sparse. There was more on Ripley and his dancing that I enjoyed reading about, but nothing about Pierce and what he did as a sailor. It was a big blank that made him feel more one dimensional than Ripley.  I don’t mind if there is or isn’t sex on the page but I think romance does need that sexual tension, the desire and yearning. The tension meter was a bit low which was disappointing. This was an okay story, but not one I would recommend


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