Like No One is Watching by Jaime Samms

Dusty has finally landed a job he thinks he’ll be able to keep long-term, even with his broken brain and bum knee. He didn’t anticipate that cleaning a dance studio would reawaken his yearning to dance—even though he is no longer capable—or that meeting the studio’s director would rouse his dormant libido. Or his sleeping heart.

Conrad thinks his life is finally complete with his successful dance studio and a steady stream of students. When Dusty arrives, he rediscovers his thirst for a man who will let him hand over control and give him the undivided attention he’s never had. The trouble is, Dusty isn’t sure he’s worthy of the studio director’s submission.

To make their relationship work, Dusty will have to trust his ability to dominate the powerful and beautiful dancer, and Conrad will have to stop talking long enough to hear Dusty’s promises.

My Review : Right off the bat , it is clear to see that Dusty has a very low self-esteem. He is the janitor of a dance studio who thinks of himself as just a mere janitor. He is overly self critical and always points out he is a high school dropout. This is a way to insulate himself from the pain and hurt that comes from being judged by other people. At first , he is not sure how to react to the owner of the dance studio Mr. Conrad Kosloff, a man who obviously comes from affluent beginnings. Conrad is a sophisticated dancer who is drawn to the cute janitor. He sees someone who he can really be himself around without any worries. Their stations in life are like day and night. They have to see if it’s worth bridging the gap.
Conrad has been hurt badly in the past. His lovers often take too much from him or cheapen their relationship. He is looking for that perfect someone who can appreciate all he has to give as a lover without taking advantage. The stereotypical roles are reversed for these two, with Dusty becoming the more dominant demanding one in their sexual exploits. This shift was new, exciting and very freeing for Conrad who was expected to always be in control of all aspects of his life.
It is very hard for both these men to live their lives beyond society’s mandates about who gets to be priveledged. The gap is wider than they could have imagined. Dusty’s backstory is that he was a very bright upcoming ballet dancer who was beaten to an inch of his life for being different which led to severe brain damage. He has to deal with the long lasting effects which causes him to forget something as simple as getting home or remembering where his mailbox is located. He has a bum knee and he has not danced for years for fear that his knee will fail him. It is a touchy subject for him and this is one area he will not explore with Con.
Their budding relationship comes to a standstill when Con makes a very insensitive comment about their different station in life. If they want to move forward they will have to learn to navigate around these landmines that are a part of their lived realities. Conrad might have grown up in money, but he has seen his fair share of tragedies. His twin sister died because he was not able to provide a bone marrow transplant to her; he was rejected by law based on the premise that he is gay. Conrad has grown up a very lonely life of feeling that he was always just not good enough for his family to value him.
Conrad begs for another chance to be the man that he knows can be the perfect partner to Dusty. For this to happen , Dusty will need to let Con into the most intimate parts of his life , teaching him how to live with a man with brain damage. He has to trust Conrad to be an anchor and help him through the fuzziness that is his everday existence. In a way dance is the balm to sooth his soul and repair some of the damage to his body. I give this my ratings of 3 – it was ok, give it a try.