Blog Tour: Come Dancing by Leslie Wells

It’s 1981. Twenty-four-year-old Julia Nash has recently arrived in Manhattan, where she works as a publisher’s assistant. She dreams of becoming an editor with her own stable of bestselling authors—but it is hard to get promoted in the recession-clobbered book biz.  
Julia blows off steam by going dancing downtown with her best friend, Vicky. One night, a hot British guitarist invites them into his VIP section. Despite an entourage of models and groupies, Jack chooses Julia as his girl for the evening—and when Jack Kipling picks you, you go with it. The trouble is … he’s never met a girl like her before. And she resists being just one in a long line.

Jack exposes her to new experiences, from exclusive nightclubs in SoHo to the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood; from mind-bending recording sessions to wild backstage parties. Yet Julia is afraid to fall for him. Past relationships have left her fragile; one more betrayal just might break her.

As she fends off her grabby boss and tries to move up the corporate ladder, Julia’s torrid relationship with Jack takes her to heights she’s never known—and plunges her into depths she’s never imagined.
There have been a lot of versions to this story...the small town girl trying to make it in The Big City, the bad boy chasing the girl because she's different. But Come Dancing really swept me away to a different time and place entirely! There was so much character and atmospheric detail for me to immerse myself in! Set in the 80's, this is a more vintage and whimsical New York. Before digital mp3's. Before DJ's could perform a set all from their laptops. Before camera phones. It made me want to dig around for some vinyl records and lounge like a little hipster! ;) The author's attention to the little things--from the clothing, to the music--and her ability to set a unique vibe were my favorite thing about this book! It had such an interesting collection of people and places.
"Been a while since I sat on a girl's stoop," Jack said, gazing up at me.
Heroine Julia Nash is a simple, thrifty girl at heart (She shops at places with names like Alice Underground...Love it.), but she's also smart, talented, and hardworking (oh, the hoops she goes through as a publisher's assistant). I could definitely see why Jack would set his eyes on her! I even liked the quirky things, like her love for blues and her special book diary. Yet, for all her independence, there's vulnerability right underneath. Because of her tough childhood and relationship history, she fears being hurt and left alone. She fears going back to and being stuck in her hometown. I really felt for her throughout her journey in this novel. Falling in love, furthering her career, getting over her past.
"I'm fine being alone. Sometimes, it's just easier." 
"I know what you mean. What's even worse is when you're with someone, and you still feel alone."
Then, there's Jack Kipling, British rockstar extraordinaire. The exact opposite of everything safe and sure that Julia wants. He has a reputation for being a ladies man and a wild partier...When he pursued Julia, though, he was a lot sweeter and warmer than I expected! He certainly had that rock-and-roll grit and grunge, but he was sweet and generous with Julia. It wasn't a crazy or fast-paced romance like I thought it would be, but instead, I enjoyed the easy conversations, the more lighthearted things, and thewitty quips. (The way he tricks her into finally going on a date with him? Adorable!) I certainly had my *squee* moments when Jack turned on the charm! And the steamier scenes? Hot!
He got up and placed the needle on the vinyl. "Baby, I'm your bumblebee, I got all the stinger you need," he sang, moving his hips sinuously. He grabbed my waist and gave me a kiss that made my head spin. "Let us make some honey, baby..." 
"Honey," I said, pulling him toward me by the loops of his jeans.
However, there were reminders of Jack's old, indulgent habits everywhere this new couple went. Ex-girlfriends, competitive bandmates, a jealous manager...*eeep*...And although I thought it fit just fine with the story's time and setting, I still want to warn readers: There is actually a lot of casual drug use in this book. No, Jack and his lifestyle aren't perfect. And it's something that lingers in Julia's mind and becomes a wall she has to break down.
"If we were all judged by things in our past, none of us would make the grade."
When the inevitable wrench was thrown into their relationship, I saw that problem coming from a mile away, but it was still frustrating to watch unfold! A terrible misunderstanding, assumptions, and lashing out...But it was only the good kind of frustration, where I was upset and shaking my fists because I was rooting for the main characters to get their happy ending! There was a miserable "missing you..." phase, the bittersweet "just friends" phase, and aaah yes, the "CAN WE GET TO THE I LOVE YOU PART NOW" phase. :P I didn't want to give up on these two! Although the last chapters did wrap up a little quickly for me, there IS at least a nice happily ever after.
"You've really gotten under my skin. Which is where I want you."
I enjoyed reading Come Dancing! It had a good story, fascinating characters, and a charming vibe. If you enjoy rockstar/musician romances, this is definitely worth checking out!
Chapter 1: One Way or Another
“Are you ever getting out of there?” my friend Vicky complained.
I crooked the receiver in my shoulder, scrabbling papers together.  “I’m heading out now. Harvey dumped a bunch of stuff on me right before he took off.” My boss, the publisher, liked to clear his desk at the end of the week—which meant I got to stay late every Friday night.
“About time. I’ll see you at your place in an hour.”
“We’re going to stick together tonight, right? Avoid the meat market?” I loved dancing off my pent-up energy from long hours sitting at my desk. Vicky saw it more as a smorgasbord of men, served up buffet-style.
“Depends what’s on the menu. See you in a few.”
The minute she hung up, my line rang again. “Is this Julia?” a familiar voice screeched.
“Hi, Louise. How’s it going in Seattle?” Our high-strung author was on a twelve-city tour for her new thriller, and the campaign had been plagued with problems. A celebrated Texas crime reporter, she had braved drug dealers’ bullets but couldn’t cope with delayed flights and lumpy hotel pillows. Harvey had stopped taking her calls a week ago, and ever since she’d been haranguing me.
“The escort hasn’t shown up yet. Why can’t these people be prompt?” Louise fretted.
I held back from pointing out that it was over three hours until her event. “Let me see if anyone’s left in publicity; maybe they can locate her.”
I scurried around the corner to the desolate PR department. The lights in Erin’s cubicle were still on, which gave me hope. A few doors down, I found her on her knees in front of the copy machine. Erin looked up at me and smiled. “Got it!” she exclaimed, extracting an inky wad.
“Could you come deal with Louise? She’s all pumped up for her signing, but the escort has gone awol.” I rolled my eyes.
“God forbid she should ask the front desk to call her a cab,” Erin grumbled as she followed me down the hall. “She’s stared down gun-toting Mafiosi, but on the road she turns into a quivering mass of jelly.”
“Typical of her,” I said.  Most of our authors were great, but a few were real doozies. “Do you want to come out with me and Vicky later? We’re going to hit the Palladium around eleven.”
“I have to finish a press release for that astrology guide. Another glam night in the big city.”
“Okay, be that way. Call me if you change your mind.” I ducked into my office and switched Louise over to Erin, covered my typewriter, then crammed my weekend reading into my backpack.
I sprinted down the deserted hall past shelves overflowing with manuscripts, a few framed awards gathering dust. Our titles ranged from literary to pure fluff; with the economy still in the pits, we were hawking anything from pop psychology to diet fads. This had been a shock when I’d arrived as a starry-eyed editorial assistant after a brief stint in grad school, thinking I’d be spending my weekends holed up with hot talent from The New Yorker. But now I was seasoned enough to plow through the B-list celebrity memoirs and breastfeeding manuals, while relishing any good novels that came my way.
I caught the elevator with a jittery messenger who bounced his bike tire, making the floor shimmy. I waved to the security guard and headed down lower Park Avenue in the balmy air. Usually I walked home to save money on subway tokens; I figured I had time tonight since my best friend was probably still primping.
Vicky had left the company a few months ago to join the publicity department of a larger midtown publisher. I missed her at the office, and I was also envious of her escape from assistantdom. But we still got together on weekends, and now I couldn’t wait to go to our favorite club. We liked the Palladium for its edgy mix of punks, rockers, and regular people like us.
I wove through some guys hissing “Sens, sensimilla!” in Washington Square and stopped at a street vendor selling earrings. A pair with long strands of beads and feathers caught my eye. I fingered them for a minute, calculating. Seven bucks for drinks; three for a cab home tonight ... Reluctantly I put them back.
Halfway down MacDougal, I came to a screeching halt. An absolutely perfect small table was sitting right in the middle of the sidewalk.  I stepped close for a better look. Gold leaf curlicues adorned its surface, and ornate lion heads were carved into its corners. I gave it a shake to see if the legs were loose, but it didn’t even wobble. I couldn’t believe someone had thrown out something this nice—it wasn’t even large garbage night! At last I could get rid of the stacked milk crates I ate on.
Now I just had to get it home. My place on Broome Street was eight blocks away, and the table was about three feet square. Maybe if I swung my backpack around to the front and hoisted the table on my back...
As I stood there considering, a guy in a dirty tee-shirt approached, holding a can of beer. “You need some help with that?” he asked, swaying a little.
“I think I can get it. Thanks anyway.”
The man leaned against the brick wall of the apartment building to watch. Turning around, I backed up to the table.  I tried to reach behind and grasp its sides, but I couldn’t bend back far enough—why I’d always stunk at the limbo-la. Maybe if I bent lower ...   I crouched down, the backpack wedged against my belly like an unwanted pregnancy, and strained to get a grip on its legs.
Suddenly a woman ran screeching out of the building. “Stop that! What are you doing with my table?”
I stared at her. “This is yours? I thought somebody was throwing it away.”
“Are you kidding? This is an antique! You couldn’t have thought it was being thrown out.” The woman glared at me, hand on her hip.
Oh my god, how embarrassing. “I didn’t realize—I mean, it was sitting here all by itself with no note on it or anything. I thought it was meant for the garbage.”
“The garbage!” the woman shrieked. “I paid six hundred dollars for that! I was waiting for my husband to bring it upstairs! You should keep your paws off things that aren’t yours,” she huffed as she flounced back inside.
The man in the tee-shirt smiled and took a gulp of beer. “Baby, you just took a bite of the B-i-i-i-g Apple.”
“Actually, I think it just bit me.”
Leslie Wells left her small Southern town in 1979 for graduate school in Manhattan, after which she got her first job in book publishing. She has edited forty-eight New York Times bestsellers in her over thirty-year career, including thirteen number one New York Times bestsellers. Leslie has worked with numerous internationally known authors, musicians, actors, actresses, television and radio personalities, athletes, and coaches. She lives on Long Island, New York.
*** Print copy provided in exchange for honest review ***