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Slave to the Rhythm (The Rhythm Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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*** 2016 Favorite ***Readers can always count on Jane Harvey-Berrick to deliver an original, emotional, and entertaining novel that stands out in a flooded market of romance novels. In 2015 she took readers on an adventure with the Traveling Series that featured the life of carnies. Now in 2016 she's stepped off the midway and leaped into the spotlight with her new Rhythm Series, featuring professional dancers. The added bonus to this new series is that it goes beyond a romance series and steps into the world of suspense that turns it into a dark thriller.
The very first paragraph drew me into this story and I could not put it down until I finished the last word. I was drawn into the bright lights of the stage and experienced the dreams of stardom right along with all the dancers looking for their big break. Rather than becoming shining stars, their hopes and dreams were shattered the moment they stepped off the plane in Las Vegas. They are thrust into a dark, violent, and hopeless world where the mere thought of surviving seems bigger than all their dreams put together. They have become victims in a heinous world. A world in which there is no return. A world where slavery is the only means of survival.
Aljaz Novak, other wise known as Ash, has trained as a ballroom dancer all his life. Dancing is more than a passion, it is his life force. Having the opportunity to come to Las Vegas as a stage dancer is beyond his dreams. When he steps off the plane and is thrust into his new world, it is beyond his dreams, it's the ultimate nightmare. He has been duped along with other European dancers. There is no show, no theater, and no starring roles. He's been brought to America to become a sex slave by the Russian Brava. The girls that were brought over with him are disappearing. He has captured the eye of a sick monster that wants to make him his personal slave boy. Every means of escape are impossible. They have taken his passport, clothes, money, work visa, and phone. His only hope is to die with dignity.
Help comes from an unexpected girl. A girl in a wheelchair that happens to intrude on a violent, abusive rape situation. The escape takes them to Chicago, where her family resides.
Laney has become more than a savior. She has become his best friend. She has the determination and hope to help him regain his life back. She wants him to regain his self esteem, his passion for dance, and the justice he deserves. Along the way she becomes more than a friend and savior. She becomes his reason for living. She has become his personal ray of sunshine.
Laney has battled her disease all her life. When she met Ash, he treated her as a regular woman rather than a cripple. He accepted her for who she was. He didn't want to fix her, he only wants to help her realize her own dreams.
Together Laney and Ash should not make sense, but together they are perfection. And just when they think they have put the nightmare behind them, the nightmare shows up center stage.
Slave To Rhythm was an emotional story that shows that hope and redemption come in very different ways. The thing that makes it credible is the capacity to love with the whole heart.
This book was amazing. I could not put it down. I can't wait to see who's next in the spotlight of the stage in the Rhthym Series.
Jane Harvey-Berrick should receive a standing ovation for this book.
“Dancing was everything to me and I’d lost count of the times I’d danced through the pain. That’s what I had to do right now—dance through the pain. Survive.”
Ash Novak is a professional dancer and very good at it. When he loses his dance partner and can’t find a new one in Slovenia, he responds to an advertisement and travels to America. From the moment he arrives at Las Vegas airport, Ash has a bad feeling; things feel off and other dancers seem to act frightened. It doesn’t take long before Ash finds out what’s going on; the dance show he’s hired for is a front-business covering up something much worse, human trafficking by the Bravta. When everything takes a turn for the worst and Ash is forced to do things he has never imagined himself doing, he’s saved by a pretty, sweet girl.
“Her hair was a warm, honey blonde that had been left straight and shiny. She’d worn a little makeup, but, only mascara and some lip gloss. I’d been attracted to her even though I knew that she wasn’t the type of woman who’d be interested in a guy like me. Not anymore.”
Laney Hennessey has a severe form of arthritis, making her life not easy from time to time. She has a longtime boyfriend, but over the years their relationship changed; Laney thinks he sees her as weak, feels like he’s her caregiver, not her lover anymore. When she and her two best friends are going to Las Vegas for a girls-only weekend, she leaves with their relation in limbo. When Laney sees a brutal attack, she and the victim – Ash – manage to get away and she decides to help him, against the advice of her friends and father.
“I gazed down at Ash’s sleeping body. He looked younger, despite the dark scruff on his face. Something about his peacefulness seemed young. Maybe sleep erased all the ugly things he’d suffered, if only for a few hours.”
Although Laney finds Ash attractive from the moment she sees him, slowly she starts developing feelings for him. Because of her relationship with her boyfriend, Laney fights the feelings she has for Ash, but the feelings won’t go away. Ash is in a bad place after Laney’s rescue. He’s relieved he has escaped, but he can’t be happy. He has left friends behind in a very bad place, and he’s feeling guilty he was able to get away, that their faith is uncertain. While the couple is dealing with their issues, the feelings they have for each other grow stronger each day. Though they have very different lives, it’s inevitable they will have their Happily Ever After.
Slave to the Rhythm is both beautiful and real. It’s written in the author’s familiar style I love with honest characters reacting realistically to all that happens to them. Yes, it’s a love story, but it also tells about the harsh, cruel world of human trafficking, killing the dreams of young people traveling abroad to find a better future. Besides the main characters Ash and Laney, other characters have gone through their own hell. It isn’t described in an explicit way, but the few words that are being given tell enough.
“I regret the way we met. I hate what happened to you, but I will never regret that we did meet, and I will never regret marrying you. We don’t make any sense, nothing about us fits, but we’re real.”
I adore Slave to the Rhythm and the characters, I give it 5 stars.