Take the Lead

A Dance Off Novel

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Pub Date Feb 14 2023 | Archive Date Feb 28 2023
St. Martin's Press | St. Martin's Griffin


From Alexis Daria, author of the critically acclaimed, international bestseller You Had Me at Hola, comes a fun, sexy romance set against a reality dance show.

Gina Morales wants to make it big. In her four seasons on The Dance Off, she’s never even made it to the finals. But her latest partner, the sexy star of an Alaskan wilderness show, could be her chance. Who knew the strong, silent, survivalist-type had moves like that? She thinks Stone Nielson is her ticket to win it all—until her producer makes it clear they’re being set up for a showmance.

Joining a celebrity dance competition is the last thing Stone wants. However, he’ll endure anything to help his family, even as he fears revealing their secrets. While the fast pace of Los Angeles makes him long for the peace and privacy of home, he can’t hide his growing attraction for his dance partner. Neither wants to fake a romance for the cameras, but the explosive chemistry that flares between them is undeniable.

As Stone and Gina heat up the dance floor, the tabloids catch on to their developing romance. With the spotlight threatening to ruin everything, will they choose fame and fortune, or let love take the lead?

From Alexis Daria, author of the critically acclaimed, international bestseller You Had Me at Hola, comes a fun, sexy romance set against a reality dance show.

Gina Morales wants to make it big. In...

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ISBN 9781250817969
PRICE $17.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 833 members

Featured Reviews

I absolutely loved the remastered version of Take the Lead by Alexis Daria. I've had this book in my Want to Read list since I got Dance All Night from the Library, but I couldn't find it from the library. Rerelease to the rescue!

Gina and Stone are wonderful! Gina knows what she wants. She is fighting stereotypes with her amazing dance, choreography, and professionalism. But she is still pulled to her dance partner Stone. Stone comes out of his shell, comes more into himself, through the dances and the whole process. Their chemistry is off the charts!

I received an advance review copy for free from NetGalley, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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Just in time for Valentine’s Day (as we await “Primas of Power #3), Alexis Daria has updated the first installment of her award-winning 2017 “Dance Off” ebook series, “Take the Lead”. The author has updated text and bonus stuff, plus the cover now includes more clothes and colorful avatars 😀 and will be in paperback.

After the bestelling “You Had Me at Hola,” I had already added Ms. Daria’s previous books to my TBR pile. Now I have one with a cuter cover (dudes-without-shirts covers never were my thing, going all the way back to Fabio).

In “Take the Lead”, Gina, a professional dancer, is in her 5th season of “Dance Off!”, not having yet won. She’s on a seaplane ride to remote Alaska to meet her new partner, blonde long-haired Stone, half-nakedly chopping wood (Oh! The previous cover of this title! I get it now!) He’s a survivalist TV veteran and Gina quickly realizes why she’s in full makeup and hair in the middle of nowhere — they will be the new season’s “showmance”. Gina’s goal is to win professionally; Stone’s goal is to get the prize money for his mom’s medical expenses (although he’s keeping that quiet). They definitely have the inklings of attraction between them, but a romance (no matter what the producers wants) might not be the best for them. But, then, oh you know….

I love this author’s engaging, delightful, funny writing. Her characters are well-written and even though the plot seems predictable, it’s a wonderful, romantic, easy read that will put you in a great mood. if you are a fan of Ms. Daria’s “Primas of Power” series, you’ll love the reissue of her backlist title. 5 stars!

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press/Griffin and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review!

Literary Pet Peeve Checklist:
Green Eyes (only 2% of the real world, yet it seems like 90% of all fictional females): NO Stone’s whole outdoorsy-named siblings (Reed, Wolf, Winter, Raven, Violet, and Lark) mostly have mom Pepper’s bright blue eyes, although Reed and Raven have hazel eyes, the closest color to green.
Horticultural Faux Pas (plants out of season or growing zones, like daffodils in autumn or bougainvillea in Alaska): NO Appropriate Sitka Spruce in Alaska and anyway Gina “had healthy distrust of forests. Forests had animals and serial killers hiding behind every tree.” Also, Stone has a way of horticulturally describing Gina as “her golden skin reminiscent of the cones of a Sitka spruce after they had matured. Her full lips were painted the color of winterberries….”

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This book is perfect. I genuinely had a smile on my face the entire time. Stone and Gina are my new comfort couple! 10/10.

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I was given an ARC by Netgalley and St Martins Press in exchange for an honest review! I absolutely loved this book! Fans of dancing with the stars will eat this up!!

It’s Gina’s fifth season on the Dance off and all she wants to do is win! She is paired up with Alaskan wilderness star Stone. He had no dance experience, hates LA and is only here for one purpose, He wants to pay off his mothers medical bills! Neither of them are looking for a romance or showmance for that matter! But feelings rise and things heat up on and off the dance floor. Gina and Stone will have to decide if love comes before their careers or not?

I absolutely loved this book! It reminded me of my favourite TV show dancing with the stars! I loved seeing the progression of Gina and Stone’s relationship! I loved seeing the two dance and practice and could picture each of the shows segments in my head. I loved the setting of Alaska throughout and Stone’s family! The spice was on point! Really excited to see what the final book in this duology brings!

Be sure to grab your dancing shoes and pick this up on Valentine’s Day Feb 14,23!

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As someone who's obsessed with Dancing with the Stars, the second I learned about this book I knew I needed to read it, and it did not disappoint! I loved Gina- she would definitely be one of my favorite pros. Stone was the perfect contestant and the two of them together?? I loved every second. I loved the journey through their season of dancing and how their relationship grew. It was everything I wanted.

I will say, I finished this book on a DWTS night and couldn't stop thinking about it as I watched the show. They are completely right- the audience (aka me) sure loves a showmance!

Thank you St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the arc! <3

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Professional dancer Gina Morales is determined to make it to the finals of the celebraty dance competition show she is on. When she is paired with popular wilderness show star Stone Nielson, she has a feeling that they are going to win the season. The producers are setting up the pair to be the "showmance" of the season and although there is chemistry between them from the beginning, they try to resist the urge to fulfill that role. Things heat up between the two as they work closely together for months.

This novel is Alexis Daria's debut novel and it is being republished by St. Martin's Press. I love to dive into backlists from authors I enjoy and I was impressed by Daria's debut. This book got me in the feels in a way I didn't expect. From the very beginning of the story, I was invested in Gina and Stone's story and I connected with their characters. Gina was a badass dancer who was sassy and didn't put up with nonsense. Stone was a silent and brooding man who was thoughtful, kind, and caring underneath the mysterious façade. And he chopped wood without a shirt on, for goodness sakes!

As Gina and Stone got to know each other, their connection grew with depth and intensity. They each were something that the other needed. Gina was the confidence and encouraging support Stone needed to pull off something that many thought was impossible. Stone was the person who reminded Gina that they could work hard and have fun, too. These two made me feel some type of way and I loved every moment with them. They were like fire on the dance floor (that ARGENTINE TANGO was everything) and in the bedroom.

I want to campaign for this book to be made into a movie because I think it would be perfect for the screen!

Steam level: 🔥🔥🔥½
⚠️: mention of a house fire

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There's something about reading about reality TV shows like the one in this book that I just LOVE - even though I don't watch shows like this EVER in my free time. This was such a good book, filled with the drama that comes with reality tv shows, AMAZING chemistry between the two main characters [not to mention the spice was EVERYTHING - was so well written], but also having those two main characters be polar opposites coming together in such a magical way.

Gina and Stone could not be more different if they tried. Gina is a pro dancer on the reality TV show "The Dance Off" and a city girl from L.A and Stone is a SEXY Alaskan survivalist on a wilderness show. They both have something to prove and motives for wanting to win the competition and week after week they work together. Gina showing her choreography skills and helping Stone learn to dance which proved difficult when the chemistry became a little to hard to ignore....

Will they choose fame and fortune, or let love take the lead???
Guess you need to read for yourself to find out!

Can't wait for the next book in the series, because I genuinely enjoyed the authors style of writing and the way she told the story. It was such a fun read. If you like shows like Dancing with The Stars, books where opposites attract in a sexy romance with deliciously written steamy chemistry this book is for you. Definitely recommend!

Thank you to St. Martin's Press, NetGalley and Alexis Daria for this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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