Review: A Dance with Danger by Jeannie Lin

Format: E-bookadancewithdanger
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Tang Dynasty, #5
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Bao Yang
Heroine: Jin-mei
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: May 01, 2015
Started On: February 01, 2016
Finished On: February 04, 2016

First of all, let me just appreciate the beauty that is the cover of this book. I have not come across a prettier cover in recent times and I spent quite a bit of time on gazing at the cover before and even while I was reading the story as it unfolded. Jeannie Lin is an author who has a unique voice amongst the numerous authors who write historical romances. Her books take place in China, in the Tang Dynasty period and I have loved each and every single book of hers that I have read in the series to-date.

A Dance with Danger is the fifth book in the Tang Dynasty series and the second book in the Rebels and Lovers series. Bao Yang, the hero is a wanted man, hunted by the powerful General Wang Shizhen. A thwarted attempt on the General’s life is the reason behind Bao Yang’s visit to the Fujian Province where he goes wanting to meet one of his “associates”, Tan Li Kuo, a magistrate of the province.

Things don’t go exactly according to plan when Bao Yang finds himself discovered by Tan Li Kuo himself while in a compromising position with none other than his daughter Jin-mei. As circumstances would demand it, Bao Yang agrees to marry Jin-mei, only to find the tables reversed on him when he is betrayed in the midst of it all. Bao Yang would have thought that whatever connection that he had momentarily felt with his wife Jin-mei would have no place in his future until Jin-mei surprises him with her courage in pursuing him under the most difficult of circumstances.

While Bao Yang cannot compromise on the quest for revenge that he has embarked upon, he finds himself wavering in his determination because Jin-mei teaches him that there could be a life lived outside of the self-imposed mission that he has set upon. A mission that has followers in large numbers, something that Bao Yang never foresaw or dreamed of in the beginning. Jin-mei’s insightful nature, together with her adventure seeking heart proves to be quite the temptation for someone like Bao Yang, who is every bit reckless and rakish as they come. However, for their love to triumph, Bao Yang has a tough decision to make, and for Jin-mei, it might mean choosing between the two people who matter the most in her life.

A Dance with Danger was a read that fell a tad flat of the expectations I had for it and of Jeannie Lin’s exquisite writing talent, which somehow failed to emerge fully in this story. Jeannie Lin is one of those authors who has the sort of voice that is poetic in its prose, one that makes you feel like you are floating on air, witnessing something that is surreal in its beauty. But somehow, A Dance with Danger, while it had all the elements that would make for a highly readable story, I am sorry to say this, but I just couldn’t muster the enthusiasm of the kind I felt while reading all her previous works.

Bao Yang is quite different from the variety of heroes that have featured in Lin’s books in the past. All other heroes that I have come across are reserved and controlled in a way that makes for delicious sexual tension where concerned. Bao Yang is a man who has led a life that is shrouded in shades of grey, and though he is honorable where it counts, Bao Yang doesn’t have a very favorable opinion of himself. The thing that I loved about him was his cheekiness at certain times. The way he would tease his wife, make her tumble into his arms and give her a world of wanton pleasure. Bao Yang stands apart from the rest of the heroes I have come across in Lin’s works because he comes with a ton of sexual experience when compared to the innocent his wife is.

Jin-mei, though no warrior as some heroines of Lin’s previous works, is just as fierce and protective of her man. A life that had been lived with a magistrate as a father had taught her to see everything in black and white. It had also equipped her with a quick wit and mind that can comprehend things quite rapidly. To see things the way her husband sees them is first a challenge for someone like Jin-mei. But I believe that whatever differences that they might have had, they managed to merge seamlessly where and when it mattered.

Though A Dance with Danger was disappointing, I still managed to enjoy the good bits where the remnants of the Jeannie Lin I know and love to bits echoed through the pages. The whole story, the way it was told; all of it just felt vastly different from the caliber that I have become used to when it comes to Lin’s writing.

Recommended for fans of the series and those that love books set in ancient China!

Final Verdict: Ancient China, politics, familial loyalty, treachery & a love that defies it all!

Favorite Quotes

As Jin-mei ducked through the curtain to her sleeping area, she heard her name spoken softly. So low that the sounds resonated against her spine.
‘My warrior woman.’
Yang came from the darkness and his arms circled around her. Suddenly she was pressed tight against him.
Their first embrace should have been awkward, all hands and limbs and not knowing how they should be with one another. But as Yang pulled her close, her body moulded to his. Her lips parted to say something. She didn’t know what, but it didn’t matter because she was caught in a kiss that was hard and urgent and made her knees go soft.

By the time their lips parted, her head was spinning.
‘Hold on to me,’ he said.
Her hands grasped the front of his robe while she stared at him, confused. Her heart was beating hard and every part of her felt flushed.
‘Hold on to me,’ he repeated in a low murmur against her earlobe. He bit into the soft flesh, and heat flooded her veins.
Jin-mei hooked her arms around his neck and held on tight. If she hadn’t, she would have crumbled to the floor.

Yang certainly didn’t believe in slow, gentle introductions. Not while sparring and not in this either. He pleasured her with his mouth, flicking her nipple mercilessly until she wanted to beg. As scandalous as the figures on the mirror were, this was so much worse. So much better. Yang teased her with lips, tongue, then the light scrape of teeth over her flesh that made her sob. She couldn’t stop the sound, even when she bit hard on her lower lip.
Suddenly the pleasure ceased.
‘Not here.’ His voice was rough. ‘Not like this.’

Then gradually, bit by bit, he began to ease himself inside of her. She could feel the resistance of her body, tight around him and giving only slightly with each thrust. Despite what he’d said about not being able to wait, Yang seemed to be endlessly patient, kissing her lips, her neck. Watching her as he finally pushed fully into her and then he had to close his eyes as well. The look in them bordered on pain before he laid his head into the crook of her neck. He murmured her name again, this time rough, guttural.
Her eyes widened as the mystery was finally resolved. This was how men and women came together, with pleasure, with pain.

It was impossible to hold back. He shut his eyes as well, trying to maintain control. But her hands dug into his back insistently. He could hear the pant of her breath and those lovely breasts were pressed against him, her legs lifting to curve about his hips. All the while, down below she was so tight. Wet. A fist around him.
Something tried to intrude at the edge of his awareness, but he pushed it away. Every sense he had was focused on the woman in his arms and the joining of their bodies. His arousal, her surrender.
His release came in a flood, blinding him. Deafening him as the blood rushed through his body like the surging of the tide.

Her eyes widened as he dipped within her womanly cleft, searching the small knot of flesh at her centre. There was pleasure to be found in the petals, but he knew he’d found the bud when her eyes squeezed shut and she shuddered, hips thrusting against his hand.
His next kiss was against her earlobe before he spoke to her. ‘Will you take me inside you? All of me. Here.’

He could have accomplished the deed without removing every bit of clothing, but they had the luxury of time, of seclusion. And he wanted to feed his senses with her. Yang laid himself over Jin-mei and, with the sway of the water beneath them and the bright sun above, pushed his body fully into hers.
Her head fell back and her lips parted in a silent cry. Yet he heard it deep in his bones and in the hard, responding throb of his body. Inside, she was dampness and heat, closing around him like a cruel fist. He tugged off the ribbon tying her braid and dug one hand harshly into her hair to drag her up to him for a kiss. There was no sense to his actions other than that he wanted more.

‘Jin-mei,’ he choked out. It was a plea.
His last control over his body was slipping, and her flesh was relentless, squeezing him tight, slaying him. His finger worked her pearl faster; no longer gentle, but in pure desperation. When he felt the first pulse of her body in response, elation swept through him. He watched her through her release, nothing more than one heartbeat in time, but a long one. Stretched out.
Then his body would not be held back any longer. He lifted his hips and thrust, once, twice, and in three short strokes he lost his essence inside her, releasing all that he was with no strength left within him to hold anything back.

Her body tightened with need as he circled his tongue over her nipple in a wet caress. With a cry of surrender, she bucked against him, riding him hard. Her sex flooded, and Yang must have sensed the increase in her arousal. With a groan, his thrusts became shorter. More forceful.
The sensation built in coils and spirals. Her toes curled tight, and her hands dug into Yang’s shoulders. Her climax came as a low throb this time; not as intense, but more prolonged. Yang joined her in bliss shortly after, every muscle in his body tensing as his hips jerked beneath her. She watched every emotion play over his face while he gave himself over to the pleasure.

Using touch alone to guide him, Yang ran his hands along her waist and worked her sash loose. ‘I’m going to seduce you, Wife.’
Her chest swelled with emotion. ‘You can’t seduce me any longer. We’re married.’
‘Wrong.’ He pressed a kiss to her throat. Another to her shoulder as he slipped her tunic away. ‘I’ll keep on seducing you for the rest of my life. And you’ll let me.’

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