As Dust Dances by Samantha Young ~ Sarah A’s Review


The New York Times Bestselling author of the On Dublin Street series and PLAY ON returns to the world of the arts in this intense and emotional standalone romance about love, sacrifice, and surviving both. AS DUST DANCES is AVAILABLE NOW!

Once upon a time Skylar Finch was the lead singer of a hugely successful American pop-rock band. But fame made her miserable. When years of living a lie suddenly ended in tragedy, Skylar fell off the map.

Eighteen months later she’s sleeping in a tent in a cemetery in Glasgow, making just enough money to eat by busking on the streets. She manages to avoid recognition, but not the attention of one of Glasgow’s ambitious A&R executives.

Killian O’Dea works at Skyscraper Records, Scotland’s most successful record label. Raised by his uncle and owner of the label, Killian’s upbringing would have been devoid of affection entirely if it wasn’t for his loving sister. Killian is unflinchingly determined to bring the label more success than ever, and the young homeless woman who busks on Buchanan Street is going to help him do that. Her music speaks to him in a way he refuses to over-analyze. All he knows is that if it can touch his dark soul, it’ll set everyone else’s alight.

Skylar makes it clear that she doesn’t want to sign with him. But when she experiences the dangerous reality of a woman sleeping rough, Skylar has no one else but Killian to turn to. An undeniable connection forms between them. But Skylar doesn’t want the career Killian is trying to forge for her, and when her past comes back to haunt her Killian will be faced with a decision that could ruin him. He must either free Skylar from his selfish machinations and destroy everything he’s ever worked for, or lose a woman who has come to mean more to him than he ever thought possible…

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Heartbreak, hope, hurt, and healing. As Dust Dances was rife with a litany of emotions, those four being at the top of that list. After reading the blurb, I knew this book was going to be uniquely spectacular, and I was not mistaken. Samantha Young has consistently blown me away with her stories, and this one reinforced how special a storyteller she is.

My heart broke for Skylar from the off. Regardless of what had led her to a life of homelessness, her life was difficult. Learning about how she had arrived at that point was a different kind of devastating. Skylar’s story shone a light on the side of fame we like to pretend doesn’t exist in horrifying relief. Ms. Young gave us a small glimpse of what it might be like to not have a modicum of privacy and just how arduous that life would be, how deeply it would scar you, and how costly the complete lack of privacy would be.

I loved Skylar and Killian’s connection; it went beyond physical chemistry into something transcendent. From the moment Skylar let her guard down an inch I could feel how important their bond would be. Though neither of them wanted to admit it, they were both searching for something to fix their broken pieces and when he found her, saved her, cared for her at her weakest point you could almost feel their souls call out to one another as if they recognized each other and knew they were destined. The music they made together only further strengthened that feeling for me and I was in love with how deeply they were both connected to each other and their music.

Family was a huge theme in As Dust Dances. I adored how Ms. Young demonstrated time and again that family is less about sharing DNA with a person and more about finding the people who love you, care for you, support you regardless of what you can give to them. There is a purity in the love of family that isn’t found in any other kind of relationship and the familial relationships, the ones built on those foundations of love, care, and support, in this book were beautifully illustrated.

As Dust Dances is the second book in Samantha Young’s Play On series. These books are complete standalones and do not need to be read in order. As Dust Dances is written in first-person perspective, narrated by Skylar.

Samantha Young showed not only her storytelling chops but also her lyrical skills in this novel. While the storytelling in As Dust Dances was fabulous, I was utterly enamored with the lyrics she wrote. They were raw and provocative and, even without melody, I could feel how profoundly emotional the songs would be.

It was my turn to stare at him quizzically, but he didn’t acknowledge the look. He sipped his water and stared around the restaurant as if this weren’t awkward and weird. His nose had a slight bump in it, his cheekbones high, and his jaw chiseled and angular. Overall, he had a very hawklike profile, masculine, rugged, and intimidating. And at that moment I felt like prey, stupidly allowing myself to be caught.

Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that he genuinely didn’t want anything sexual from me.

I stared at him unabashedly, wanting answers.

He remained steadfast, ignoring me, until the waitress he’d called out to returned with a plastic carrier bag. “Will this do?”

“Aye.” He took it from her. “Thanks.” When I returned to the main restaurant, I put the folded-up wet clothes beside me on the bench, my underwear tucked out of sight.

I couldn’t meet the stranger’s eyes as I reached for the Diet Coke I’d asked for, savoring the taste. On tour, I’d needed lots of energy so I’d eaten well and drank plenty of water. Soda was a treat at the best of times. But I hadn’t had a Diet Coke in months, and it tasted great.

“Excuse me,” my companion’s voice jolted my gaze upward and I saw him wave down a passing waitress. “Do you have a bag?”

“A bag?”

“Carrier bag, paper bag. A bag.”

“Um … let me check.”

He held it out, staring at me with those eyes that would’ve been much more suited to a Lothario, to someone who knew how to be charming. “For your clothes.”

Oh.

It was a kind gesture, also at odds with his demeanor, and my suspicion increased. I took the bag, however, sliding my wet clothes into it and out of sight. Exasperated, I said, “What the hell do you want?”

“Food first.”

“So I’ll be well fed, satisfied, and more amenable to whatever the hell it is you want from me?”

He looked at me now, really looked at me, and the corner of his mouth curled up ever so slightly. “Exactly.”

“A good villain doesn’t admit to his plan, you know.”

“I’m not a villain.”

“What are you?”

“Fo—”

“Food first. Yeah, yeah.”

And so we sat in silence until the food arrived, and the smell of my sea bass made my stomach grumble loudly. Years ago, it would’ve embarrassed me. Now I couldn’t give a shit. All I cared about was that fish.

I dug in, closing my eyes in joy as I ate.

When I opened them to scoop up buttery mashed potatoes, I felt his gaze on me.

The furrowed brow, the glimmer of concern in his eyes, made me stiffen. But just like that, his expression cleared, blank, and he went back to eating his burger as if I didn’t exist.

I savored every morsel of that meal, including the Chocolate Fudge Fixation I ordered for dessert.

My belly felt full and satisfied, and exhaustion began to force my eyelids to droop.

And I knew it was time to pay the piper. “So …” I pushed away my empty dessert plate and slumped back against the booth, my expression baleful. “What the hell do you want from me?”

His answer was to reach into his wallet, pull out a business card, and hand it over.

I stared down at it, disbelief flooding me.

Samantha Young is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows.  Every Little Thing, the second book in her new Hart’s Boardwalk series, will be published by Berkley in March 2017. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha’s debut YA contemporary novel The Impossible Vastness of Us will be published by Harlequin TEEN in ebook & hardback June 2017

Samantha has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for On Dublin Street, Best Romance 2014 for Before Jamaica Lane, and Best Romance 2015 for Hero. On Dublin Street, a #1 bestseller in Germany, was the Bronze Award Winner in the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2013, Before Jamaica Lane the Gold Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2014 and Echoes of Scotland Street the Bronze Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2015.

Samantha is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author.

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