Mark Apolostolos is gay in and the closet. His father was extremely homophobic and so he’s never come out to his family, assuming they’d never accept his sexuality. He’s extremely shy, particularly around attractive men, to the point where it has crippled his social life. He has a career as a math teacher, however he teaches his classes online. His one steady companion is Belle, his dog. He gets a phone call from his brother that completely changes his life. Mark’s brother is being deployed and wants Mark to come stay with his pregnant wife while he is away. This forces Mark out into the world where he meets someone special and begins to work through his disabling social anxiety and come to terms with his fears.
Seth Miller is a dancer who teaches Zumba classes. Lisa, Mark’s sister-in-law encourages Mark to come along with her to dance class and immediately Mark is attracted to Seth. There’s a few sparks on Seth’s side of things as well but since he assumes Mark is Lisa’s husband, he doesn’t pursue anything more than casual friendship until Mark works up the courage and makes an awkward attempt at making a move on Seth. What follows is one of the sweetest courtships I’ve read in a long time.
I loved Mark from the get go. His social anxiety really struck a chord with me and I empathized with him throughout his journey. Mark is such a generous and selfless person. Even knowing how difficult it would be for him and the anxiety he’d suffer in leaving the safety and comfort of his home to look after Lisa, he did it. What I really loved about Mark is although he had many opportunities, he never felt sorry for himself.
Eventually Mark reveals to Seth that he is gay (and not Lisa’s husband) and he is attracted to him. Seth is interested and when he finds about about Mark’s social anxiety he was so genuinely understanding and sweet about it. He was willing to let Mark set the pace for their courtship and totally open to whatever path that might take. Their courtship takes place slowly over email, texts, and phone calls at first. There was no rush to romance or to the bedroom in this romance although it was an incredibly romantic story.
Mark and Seth are both dog lovers. Mark has Belle, and Seth has a greyhound rescue he calls Fred Astaire. I loved that they had their love of dogs in common and their dog park dates were adorable, but the one thing I didn’t care for in this story was how it felt like there was a parallel between the way Seth understood and cared for his former race dog and the way he understood and treated Mark. Seth is patient and kind, but Mark is his romantic interest and I already had a good grasp of Seth’s character without the subtle comparison between relationships.
Mark has a fun and interesting relationship with his sister-in-law. They get along well and Mark truly likes Lisa but she has no idea just how bad his shyness is and she does not know he is gay. She tries to set him up with an acquaintance of hers, whom she does not realize is a lesbian. Although Lisa is clueless, she is not stupidly so. She just wants Mark to be happy. When Lisa finds out her friend Claire is gay, it’s a non-issue for her. Through his friendship with Claire and as his relationship with Seth progresses, Mark begins to feel like he could come out to this family.
Moving in Rhythm is such a sweet romantic story, that deals with some very serious emotional and social issues. I think the author did a wonderful job creating characters who faced difficult real-life situations while keeping the story fun and very romantic and without minimizing the seriousness of those issues. I hope to read more from this author.
Be sure to stop back later today. Dev Bentham will be here with a guest post and a giveaway.