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Rhythm & Blues

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When life tears apart your dream, build a new one.

After a knee injury ended his career, Broadway dancer Pate Hawkins limped his way back from New York to Atlanta to implement Plan B: open a dance academy to train the next generation of song-and-dance dreamers. When model-gorgeous contractor Ace Samson answers his request for an estimate on renovating his studio space, Pate hits pay dirt in more ways than one. As construction gets underway, the red-hot attraction between the two men flares, and soon they develop a fledgling relationship. Then the siren song of the stage calls Pate back, and he has to choose between the dream he left behind and the new life he’s building—with his studio, and with Ace.

76 pages, Kindle Edition

First published June 20, 2016

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About the author

Shae Connor

44 books72 followers
Shae Connor lives in Atlanta, where she’s a lackadaisical government worker by day and writes sweet-hot romance under the cover of night. She’s been making things up for as long as she can remember, but it took her a while to figure out that maybe she should try writing them down.

Shae is part Jersey, part Irish, and all Southern, which explains why she never shuts up. When she’s not chained to her laptop, she enjoys cooking, traveling, watching baseball, reading voraciously, giving and receiving hugs, and wearing tiaras. In her copious spare time, she volunteers as director and editor of the Dragon Con on-site publication, the Daily Dragon.

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Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews
Profile Image for Ami.
5,810 reviews499 followers
June 22, 2016
3.5 stars

Pate is a dancer who suffered from serious knee injury. Now he's back to his hometown in Atlanta to follow his Plan B: opening a dance studio. Ace Samson is a gorgeous contractor who follows up Pate's request for renovation project...

One thing I LOVED from Pate was how grounded to reality he was. Knowing that his injury was serious this time, in which he had to follow regiment of physio and couldn't exactly do a lot of strenuous dance again, he thought of Plan B, which allowed him to still dance but lessening the extent of his injury. I thought that was realistic and I applauded him for it. Often, in stories like these, the characters would be wallowing in misery until they were reminded by their loved ones. Not Pate though.

The relationship with Ace was a bit fast but at the same time it didn't feel instantaneous. They did take time to build the friendship while Ace was working the renovation and Pate dealing with the administrative side of opening a dance studio.

The misunderstanding part didn't feel necessary though. And I was rather annoyed with the friend slash manager, Nina, no matter her reasons. Sure, maybe Pate would need a lot of recommendations so he has to stay in everyone's radar, but darn, I felt like she wasn't listening to Pate's wish or supported his back-up plan.

All in all, I thought this was sweet.
Profile Image for Ro.
3,007 reviews17 followers
June 6, 2016
Pate was a successful dancer who suffered a career-changing knee injury. Because he is a smart man, he had a backup already thought out. So he’s returned back home to Atlanta to open his own dance studio. He may not be able to dance six days a week anymore but he can teach new students to be stars. I liked that Pate realizes he loves dance but is firmly grounded in reality. That reality includes the renovation of the building for his dance studio. He has an awesome friend in Billy, “And I thought you were straight anyway.” “I can still appreciate a hard body now and then.” He’s the best.
When he’s getting quotes he ends up with Ace, who happened to go to the same arts high school Pate did. While Pate followed his dream and went on to dance, Ace went into the family business of contracting and really doesn��t paint anymore. “He’d thought manbuns nothing but a silly affection until he’d seen Ace’s man piled on top of his head.” Right there, yes. Manbuns, on the right guy? Perfect.
They get to know each other through the progress of building the studio and become friends first. They talk and get to know each other. They just fit.
I wavered a bit on the rating here because I liked both Ace and Pate and I liked how it was written. It’s a little quick in the relationship department but it didn’t feel like insta-love to me. The wavering came from the trip to New York. I just didn’t see it as something that was a deal-breaker. They haven’t been together long and while it might be an omission, it wasn’t terrible. But I kept my 4 hearts because I did enjoy these two together. And I think that situation brought into focus for pate what his future could hold, even as, “He knew he’d always feel the loss, no matter what else he did.” Because that seemed so real to me. You may have a Plan B and find a different way but you still miss something that was so much a part of you.
And the mural? For the romantic, that was a lovely gesture.
Profile Image for Chris, the Dalek King.
1,167 reviews147 followers
June 20, 2016
After he injured his knee, Pate knew that his dancing career was over–at least one centered on the stage. Moving back to his hometown, Pate decides to put his Plan B into action by opening and running his own dance studio. Once he gets the studio built, anyways. That is where Ace comes in. Pate is equally attracted to Ace’s looks as he is attracted to the bid he puts on the remodel of the studio space that Pate has bought. Keeping his hands off the man may be nigh on impossible, but Pate sure is gonna try. Really. He swears

This was just a bundle a sweet in a hot and sweaty wrapper…which actually does not sound very enticing now that I think about it. Forget that.

I found this story didn’t have a lot of angst, and the shortness of the story probably helped a lot with that. While I’m generally one that goes for longer stories that have time to build up layers, I am always impressed when I sit down to read something shorter that nonetheless knows exactly how to balance the length and the content. There is just enough time here to create not only a believable connection between Ace and Pate, but to make there reactions seem real.

And I really can’t say that picturing Ace all sweaty and waving his big hammer around was a hardship.

I have been in a roundabout of emotions this last week, and finding a story so uncomplicated, yet well written and nicely simmered, was a bit of a relief. That cover is also damn pretty. So I highly recommend you check this out, if like me you just need some good ol’ lovin to pick you up.

This book was provided free in exchange for a fair and honest review for Love Bytes. Go there to check out other reviews, author interviews, and all those awesome giveaways. Click below.
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Profile Image for Sara .
1,448 reviews154 followers
July 6, 2016
This was a really light and sweet read from a new to me author.

Novella’s are tough read for me though tough isn’t a bad thing. I know it’s a good story when I want more from it and I definitely wanted from from Pate and Ace, so the tough thing was only the number of pages.

Told from the POV of one injured dancer named Pate, we meet him as he is touring the new space that will be a dance academy where he can not only teach but continue to dance in a way after his injury. When Pate meets the first contractor who will be submitting a bid for the studio, he feels an instant attraction to the sexy Ace Samson with his muscles and man bun and wants to put in a bid of his own.

I felt the way the men feel the instant attraction and Ace being kinda someone from Pate’s past was sweet. You know they both wanted to see how well the acoustics in the studio would sound with them getting it on but they took as much time as needed to get along and not go full force into a relationship that could get messy with work involved.

Ace was adorable, super sexy and oh so romantic. Plus, you gotta dig a guy who takes his shoes off at the door.

Pate had a couple tough decisions to make about his future and while he should have been more honest about his trip back to New York, it did give him a chance to grovel and really show Ace what he wanted.

At the end of this, it was short and maybe too short to really get a feel for the men but what I got I liked and I intend to look for other books by the author.

Profile Image for Rafa Brewster.
257 reviews21 followers
June 19, 2016
Reviewed for Just Love: Romance blog
I received an advance review copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.


If those two words aren’t quite enough to convince you to pick up this novella, I should probably add that said manbun is attached to a hunky contractor named Ace who has a big truck and undoubtedly big… boots.

Manbun aside, I found Rhythm & Blues to be a short and sweet read with two hotties as the main characters.

It’s pretty common in novellas for the MCs to get hot and heavy from the word Go and forego getting to know one another. Either that or the MCs don’t hook up until the very end, and you’re lucky if any sex makes it onto the page at all. For me, Rhythm & Blues was a great balance of romantic and sexy. While the attraction between Pate and Ace was palpable from the beginning, I liked that they both focused on the project at hand and got to know each other before taking things further. And taking things further definitely included some pretty hot sex.

The conflict was predictable and nothing more than a simple misunderstanding. I thought Ace’s reaction was a bit overblown (I personally think most guys would have played it cool in his shoes). But overall, it made for a sweet ending and a light romantic read. This novella is perfect if you have a few hours to kill on summer vacation.
Profile Image for Keri.
155 reviews
June 21, 2016
4.5 stars. This was such a sweet romance with a few hot smexy scenes thrown in. Since Pate can’t professionally dance anymore, he moves to teaching dance. With that in mind, he needs to build his studio and what is second best than a hot-as-sin contractor to build it. These two definitely had the insta-physical attraction and were trying hard to not indulge in their wanting, but yet try to get to know each other. Of course, the intense chemistry between wins over and they indulge. It isn’t until Pate is away from Ace and is offered a second chance at dancing that he realizes he doesn’t want it but does want Ace and his studio. Ace is so sexy, and such a romantic at heart (just try not to aww at what he does for Pate with his hobby) that there cannot be a better combination in one person. So yes, there was insta-attraction, but not necessarily insta-love and I enjoyed that in this story.

The flow of this story is smooth. Realistic time goes by and events are believable. You get swept up in everything that is happening and the romance between these two, that you don’t realize this only a novella. I truly enjoyed these two men and wished I had more time with them.

*I received this book to read for Inked Rainbow Reads in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Jackie.
Author 8 books149 followers
September 6, 2016
A sweet but short novella about a former professional dancer opening a dance studio and falling for the contractor whom he hires to do the work. Not much in the way of conflict here, beyond our main character coming to accept his new life. But well written with appealing characters.
Profile Image for Staphysagria.
581 reviews4 followers
September 2, 2019
A hot romance unfurls while an injured professional dancer hires a building contractor to transform an empty building into a dance school. The beginning is promising, I could walk through the building and see everything, but the first close encounter of our two male leads came a bit unexpectedly. The parallel storyline of Pate auditioning for show he doesn't even want to be on provides the usual drama round the 70% (here at 82%) mark. But instead of really having to struggle to overcome their misunderstanding the resolve it after a few pages. The rest is sweet. So great beginning, but a bit too sweet and easy at the end to make our two MCs shine.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Suze.
3,450 reviews
September 7, 2017
Enjoyed it. Fairly pacy well written short story.
Pate is having to reassess his life after a career ending injury - but is being torn between his old life and the new one back home in Atlanta. The story is all about whether his new dance studio and his construction guy Ace have enough pull over the lights and fame of Broadway!

Profile Image for The Novel Approach.
3,075 reviews134 followers
July 26, 2016
Reality in the form of a serious injury has sidelined Pate and taken him from the world of dance. While he may never have the grace and skill that made him stand out in the crowd, he will be able to dance well enough to open his own studio and perhaps one day rejoin the stage in a limited way. The last thing he is looking for during his last two months of therapy, while he has his studio renovated from the ground up, is any kind of emotional entanglement. That resolve flies out the window when one of the contractors bidding for his job enters stage left and knocks the wind out of Pate’s sails, and then some. Now the question remains: is the attraction to Ace merely physical, or is there something deeper going on?

Author Shae Connor offers up a fast paced novella that is long on romance but short on page space. Rhythm & Blues is a tale of starting over and rediscovering what a comfort home can be—but it’s not that easy when part of your heart still yearns for something you can no longer have. Pate loved dancing, and while he will be able to dance again, it will never be with the same intensity that always made him fly. Now trying to restart his life as a dance academy owner/instructor, he must come to grips with the fact that life will be very different from the hustle and bustle he had while living and working in New York. It helps that the contractor he hired is a hottie and totally into Pate as much as Pate tries not to be into him. Slowly but surely that changes, and Pate tries to no avail to keep himself grounded in reality and not fall head over heels for Ace.

I think the best part of this novella was the running dialogue Pate had with himself. He tries so valiantly to keep the relationship between he and Ace professional, but there is no denying the electricity they both feel at every encounter. Each glimpse into Pate’s thinking allowed me to understand him more and grow to really like who he was as a character. I do wish there had been a bit more time for Ace on the page—he comes off much more one dimensional than Pate and so the love that is developing between them is harder to gauge, as we get just glimpses of how affected Ace is by Pate as well. I wish there had been a bit more to their story—a longer build in the relationship. Had there been, I believe that the moment when Ace felt betrayed, and the subsequent time Pate spent asking Ace to reconsider, would have been a bit beefier and more satisfying rather than feeling so rushed. However, there was still smart dialogue and an engaging plot to this sweet romantic tale.

Rhythm & Blues definitely had some fine moments, and the story was well paced and just the thing for those looking to escape into a tender love story. It definitely made me put Shae Connor in my sightline for future reading.

Reviewed by Sammy for The Novel Approach Reviews
Profile Image for Barb ~rede-2-read~.
3,168 reviews87 followers
August 14, 2016
ARC provided by the publisher through Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words in exchange for an impartial review.

Pate Hawkins wanted to be a dancer from the moment he stepped into a dance studio at age ten, and he’s among the few who achieved his dream of being well-known to Broadway audiences. But he’s returned to Atlanta, his hometown, pursuing his backup dream—to open a dance studio where he can inspire young talents to go for their dreams. A severe knee injury ended his career on Broadway, but with a few more months left in his therapy, he knows he’s going to dance again—just not in a Broadway show.

Finding a fifteen thousand square foot space ideal to suit his needs, and getting the financing through his trust fund, the only thing left is to interview a few contractors and move forward with his plans. When six-foot tall, blue-eyed, muscular Ace Samson shows up to get the specs for his company’s bid, Pate is hit in the gut with desire, and if the look Ace gives him is any indication, the feeling may be mutual. Ace also informs him that they went to school together, and after being stunned into silence, Pate learns Ace is none other than nerdy little Horace Samson who was a few years behind Pate in high school.

Holding off on acting on his desire for Ace is a test of Pate’s resolve, but he doesn’t want a fling to cause a rift between them while the building is still under renovation. Unfortunately, or fortunately, that becomes impossible one steamy afternoon, and the two embark on what turns out to be so much more than a one-night stand. Pate’s agent won’t stop bugging him about keeping his name at the forefront of director’s minds so he can come back once he’s got the studio established, so when she arranges an interview for a new show, he takes off to appease her. And that’s when the ax falls on his relationship, and Pate realizes just how much he doesn’t want to lose Ace. How will Ace react to Pate’s audition? Will the two find happiness in their hometown, or will the lure of Broadway be too much for Pate to resist?

I enjoyed this story by an author I haven’t read enough from. This story is engaging, with great secondary characters and three-dimensional main characters that made me want to like them the moment we met. I always enjoy a slow burn/UST, and we get that with this story. And the artist who lies within the heart of the big handsome contractor is just as nice as the surprise he gives Pate when the studio is ready.

If you like sweet MM romances with a slow burn that ultimately leads to some smoking hot times, this one is for you.
Profile Image for Joyfully Jay.
7,486 reviews425 followers
June 21, 2016
A Joyfully Jay review.

4.5 stars

Sweeping romance. Low angst. Man-buns. What more could you want? Shae Connor’s new short novella hits all the right notes. I was absorbed from the very first page, falling into this journey with Pate as he heals from his injury and embarks on a new life for himself.
Pate is incredibly engaging, and I loved his attitude from the start. He knows himself well, and he lets us see just where his head is at. He is coping fairly well with his injury, several months into recovery, and he is just so believable. I liked that he was so well balanced. He isn’t bitter about what has happened, though he still has some moments of sadness. And he’s embracing his new status and new goals in life. I adored him from the very beginning.

When Ace stepped on the page, his chemistry with Pate was electric. Though the story is only told from Pate’s POV, we get a great sense of Ace too. There are no secrets here, and Ace is open and honest about what he feels. When he made a move, it was just so him that I found myself grinning. There was something about Ace that I just loved. He’s sweet and a little shy, but also confident and sure, especially when it comes to his job. And together, he and Pate set the page on fire. There is no doubt that they work, and I loved feeling that sense when seeing these guys interact.
I’ll admit to having just a little bit of trouble with the pacing at some parts around the 1/3 mark as it seemed just ever so slightly repetitive. The guys have dinner together a couple of times, and Ace gives Pate an update on the job, and I would have liked to see something a little bit different happening to move things along a bit more. But it wasn’t that big of a an issue, just something worth a mention.

Honestly, this story is all kinds of wonderful. Two engaging, lovely characters, a miscommunication that is resolved quickly and believably, sweeping romance, and an all around feel good tale. If you’re looking for a well written, lovely romantic story of two guys falling in love, then this is definitely the story for you.

Read Kris’ review in its entirety here.

Profile Image for Natosha Wilson.
1,274 reviews14 followers
June 22, 2016
This is a book in my opinion about losing your first love only to find your true love and that is exactly what happened with Pate.

Pate's first live has always been dancing but he knew that would not last forever and he was right. A knee injury took him out of the dancing game so now he is opening his own studio to teach. During the process of finding a contractor to do the renovations he meets Ace. And his world is turned upside down.

I think that Ace has always had a thing for Pate. He remembers him from school even though Pate does not remeber him. I also think that he was just waiting for the right time to let Pate know that he was interested in him.

I believe that Pate knew from the first encounter these two men had that Ace was someone special and that he could fall for him. I think that is what it took him so long to make a move and let Ace know that he was attracted to him. I think his attraction to Ace scared him but it was inevitable to end up together.

This was a good book. It is a sweet Romance of two men coming together and finding love. As I said in the beginning of the review, I believe this is a book about losing your first love to end up finding true love. I do not think that if Pate would not have gotten hurt that these two men would have crossed paths and ended up together. So sometimes things only happen because they are blessing in disguise.

Was given this book for free from inked rainbow reads for an honest review
Profile Image for Terri Jones.
2,117 reviews28 followers
June 21, 2016
I was hooked from page one, specifically because of the funny sweetness between the two men. We only see Pate's point of view and that works well. I withhold the fifth star for lack of real conflict. There's a little, but it's pretty tame. Perfectly fine if that's the sort of read you're after!

My only quibble is I got no real sense of Atlanta, even when Pate walks. Even New York's a little cursory. I've been to Atlanta. It's hot in summer and sometimes cold in winter and traffic can be hell.

Good read. Short. Recommended. :)
Profile Image for Sam.
897 reviews4 followers
January 5, 2017
Sadly, too many lost opportunities in this story. The author has a nice style to her writing, but I was unable to form an attachment to the characters. Pate, as the narrator, more so, but Ace is still a mystery. For such a short novella, I found myself losing interest and finding other things to do rather than getting wrapped up in it. That cover is gorgeous though.
Profile Image for Carey.
1,013 reviews
September 3, 2016
Lovely little story!!! A great reward for all the "meh" books I've read lately. Highly recommend!!
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