2018 RITA® Winner
One of the Best Romances of 2017
— Entertainment Weekly and The Washington Post
“A sparkling debut.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Vibrantly written.” —The Washington Post
Take the Lead (A Dance Off Novel #1) is a 2018 RITA® winner for Best First Book. The first in a sizzling new series about finding love on and off the dance floor! Available now from SMP Swerve.
Gina Morales wants to win. It’s her fifth season on The Dance Off, a top-rated network TV celebrity dance competition, and she’s never even made it to the finals. When she meets her latest partner, she sees her chance. He’s handsome, rippling with muscles, and he stars on the popular Alaskan wilderness reality show Living Wild. With his sexy physique and name recognition, she thinks he’s her ticket to the finals—until she realizes they’re being set up.
Stone Nielson hates Los Angeles, he hates reality TV, and he hates that fact that he had to join the cast of the The Dance Off because of family obligations. He can’t wait to get back to Alaska, but he also can’t deny his growing attraction to his bubbly Puerto Rican dance partner. Neither of them are looking for romantic entanglements, and Stone can’t risk revealing his secrets, but as they heat up the dance floor, it’s only a matter of time until he feels an overwhelming urge to take the lead.
When the tabloids catch on to their developing romance, the spotlight threatens to ruin not just their relationship, but their careers and their shot at the trophy. Gina and Stone will have to decide if their priorities lie with fame, fortune, or the chance at a future together.
Praise for TAKE THE LEAD
This is a case of extreme opposites attracting: Gina is a hilarious city girl, and Stone is a stoic mountain man with a secret. Together, they are outrageously sexy. Filled with a collection of intriguing characters, this is a light, vibrantly written romance from an author who clearly adores the world she’s developed — and the characters she’s matched.
—Sarah MacLean, New York Times bestselling author, Washington Post
[Gina and Stone’s] romance is believable, emotional, and hot—everything you want from a story about dance partners!
—Jasmine Guillory, author of The Wedding Date, Oprah Magazine
Take the Lead is everything I look for in a romance—lovable and layered characters, sizzling chemistry, and a charming and authentic voice. I loved it!
—Sonali Dev, author of A Distant Heart
Come for the spot-on descriptions of the paso doble and the outrageous dance competition costumes, stay for the heartfelt romance about two people breaking down their barriers to forge a genuine connection in a world where reality is the furthest thing from it. … Daria’s story of this behind-the-scenes romance is a perfect ten.
A ballroom dance competition is a beehive of activity and emotion, and the intensity of that environment is conveyed very well in the first entry of the Dance Off duology… Gina and Stone are a lovable couple who make it easy to root for them.
Do not miss Take the Lead by Alexis Daria… [Stone and Gina’s] sexy secret romance is tested not just by the crazy world of reality TV, but also by that classic obstacle to HEA — reality.
—Maya Rodale, USA Today bestselling author, NPR
This is Alexis Daria’s debut novel and boy…I can’t wait for more from her. The feelings just jump off the page; the dance scenes are vivid. This is definitely going to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship…between Alexis and my wallet.