Book Reviews

Dancing with a Star (A Shore Thing 2) by Grace Kilian Delaney

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Artists/Actors/Musicians/Authors / Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 30-November-2020

Book Blurb

"You had my heart as a boy, and whether you realized it or not, you’ve kept it all these years."

Androgynous fashion model Quinn Bouchard knew this day was coming. Hours before one of the most important photo shoots of his career, his wife asks for a divorce—a divorce they had agreed upon before exchanging vows—causing upheaval in his otherwise happy queerplatonic relationship. As if the day wasn’t hard enough, Quinn learns Xander Engstrom, his childhood best friend now a movie star, is part of the photo shoot, and their reunion awakens something Quinn hasn’t felt in years, leaving him sure of only one thing: he needs Xander back in his life.

Movie star Xander Engstrom has regrets, and the epic fight spread across the tabloids between him and his ex-boyfriend—an addict that won’t leave him alone—is the biggest. To control the damage, Xander agrees to an interview and photo shoot with a well-respected publication where he meets Quinn, the first boy he had a crush on. Xander’s pathetic, romantic heart falls all over again for his long-lost friend. The only problem is the type of relationship he’s thinking of isn’t possible with the stunning model.

Living on opposite coasts and worlds apart, they navigate through months of coordinating schedules, the whims of a finicky film company, and nights in hotel rooms to spend time with each other until secrets force them to choose between a future together or letting their pasts tear them apart.

Book Review

"Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along." — Rumi


Quinn Bouchard and Xander Engstrom, of ‘Dancing with a Star’ by Grace Killian Delaney, met when they were children. Both were from dysfunctional homes, both desperate to find somewhere to belong. They became good friends, bonding in spite of their differences. Years later, they meet again. Although they both have their doubts due to the life choices they have made, neither can deny that the spark that was fostered when they were young, is undeniably still there.


Xander’s “people” arrange a photoshoot for him in hopes of boosting his career that is in shambles after a very public breakup with his former manager and boyfriend. Although Xander doesn’t recognize the beautiful, androgenous model he is to do the shoot with, somehow he seems very familiar. Finally, he realizes that the model is his childhood friend, Quinn. Xander is overwhelmed by the strength of his emotions at seeing Quinn again but quickly assumes that Quinn is way out of his league. Regardless, now that he has found Quinn again, he intends to stay in his life, even if they can only be friends, even if he is already hoping for so much more.


Quinn has followed Xander’s career over the years and is elated to learn that he is to have a photoshoot with him. Although it’s been years, he has never forgotten the kindness and friendship that Xander offered to the lonely little boy he was then. Quinn would like to be closer to Xander, but things are far too complicated for Quinn to even entertain the idea. He has a son whom he is raising along with his wife and her girlfriend; his wife loves him but is in love with her girlfriend. The three of them are a triad in a queerplatonic relationship. To make things even more complex, his wife has recently asked for a divorce so she can marry her girlfriend. Quinn isn’t sure where that leaves him, but he does know that his son is his priority, regardless of what that means for the two women in their family. He explains the situation to Xander, also telling him that he wants him in his life in whatever form that may take.


As Quinn and Xander work through what could possibly be their positions in each other’s lives, they become closer and closer. Xander is wonderfully understanding, patient, and caring, not only respecting Quinn’s preference for affection rather than sex, but also supporting the decisions Quinn has to make in working out his place in his triad family, as well as in his birth family who are horribly unsupportive. Xander wants Quinn to be with him, but he loves Quinn enough to wait, to go as slowly as Quinn needs to have that happen.


Just when I thought I’d figured out most of the “labels” involved in the LGBT+ community, I run into another one that I need to process. In this case, it’s queerplatonic. This is an amazing story, shedding light on a subject that is less commonly written about. Quinn and Xander were complex and likable but I’m not sure I understood either. The relationships presented in this story are so foreign to me, that I can’t imagine putting myself in a position, like Quinn was, with what seems to me to have such a high probability of the potential to cause heartache. I’m not sure that I possess the patience, understanding, and security that they had in order to reach the satisfying conclusion that they did. Thanks, Grace, for the enlightening story.




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Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 271 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 13-March-2020
Price $3.99 ebook, $10.99 paperback
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