Sue asked me what inspired me to write a dance fic. There really is only one answer… well, two… Strictly Come Dancing and the US version, Dancing with the Stars! She said I could wax lyrical and I’m going to! As a kid I remember watching Come Dancing with my mum. The beautiful poofie dresses, the handsome men and gorgeous ladies all gliding elegantly over the floor. Le sigh, the memories. Then there was a big gap when ballroom dancing wasn’t shown anymore and I have to admit, I did miss it. Then came Strictly and it became fashionable again. Whether it was the fact that you were watching your favourite celebrities dancing with a professional partner, or whether you just loved to watch the dance itself, the nation became hooked—and so did I!
Then the US picked up on the idea and made a Strictly of their own called Dancing with the Stars. I don’t mind telling you that I did tune in to watch the dancing, because I didn’t know half of the celebrities, and once I caught sight of the magnificence of the professional dancers, I didn’t really care who the celebrities were. While I love our own James Corden and Brendan Cole, although if you ask me, Anton DuBeque is bloody fabulous and it makes me furious that they give him the comic relief as a partner each season… anyway, I digress. While I love our boys, Derek Hough and Mark Ballas are choreographical (did I just make that up?) geniuses. Not forgetting Val and Max the Chermkovsky brothers.
I’ve often watched it and thought, I’m going to write a story one day and as it got closer to Christmas, I knew what I wanted to do. So I created my own show… Dancing with Stars in Your Eyes… and decided to throw a gay couple into the mix. Obviously, there would be a little angst, a lot of tension and a Christmas tree, but the story would centre on the two men and their issues. And if it gave me a chance to daydream about Derek and his mates… so be it!
But amongst all those bulging biceps and taught abs, for me, the enjoyment is watching the stars go through their personal journey and improve week after week (with the exception of poor Judy Murray and Ann Widecombe). I just love it and it takes me back to those days when I was curled up on the sofa next to my mum with a mug of hot chocolate and Angela Rippon as the couples twirled around the floor. Sheer bliss.
Hell hath no fury like a boyfriend scorned as sitcom star and comedian, CJ Edwards, finds out when his ex releases a sex tape he hadn’t even known was being filmed. Not to mention the headlines on every newstand accusing CJ of being an abusive alcoholic. His career in tatters, CJ’s agent manages to get CJ a spot on the Christmas special of Dancing with Stars in Your Eyes. Seeing it as a chance to possibly redeem himself, CJ accepts.
Lucien Moreau has been a dance professional on Dancing with Stars in Your Eyes for three years, and he loves it. Until the powers that be decide, in view of new marriage equality laws, the show’s Christmas special will include a gay couple. Finding out he is being partnered with CJ Edwards hits him like a fist to the gut. Six months ago his brother and sister-in-law were killed in an accident when their car was hit by a drunk driver. How the hell is he supposed to teach a man, not unlike the one who destroyed his family, to dance?
“What is wrong with you? No, no way. I’m not doing it. Nuh-uh, niet, nein, non, and not in a million fucking years!”
“So that’s a no then?”
“Funny is not your strong point, Matthew. Leave it to the professionals.”
“Well, when I find one, I’ll be sure to do just that.”
CJ Edwards stopped pacing in front of the fireplace in his living room and glared at his agent, Matt Davis, who lounged against the plump cushions of CJ’s red leather couch. Although Matt had been his friend as well as his agent for almost eight years, CJ had to resist the urge to slap his face and that smug fucking look on it, right off his head. The bastard thinks I’m gonna cave! Well, he can fucking whistle. I ain’t doing it!
“Stow the hairy eyeball, Edwards,” Matt drawled. “We both know that stopped working on me a long time ago.”
“Fuck off,” CJ bit back childishly.
“I’d love to, but you keep paying me,” Matt replied. “Look, dude, I love you, you know that, but this is all we’ve got. No comedy store appearances, no club openings, no sitcom renewal.” He tapped his points off on his fingers and CJ winced with each one. “That sex tape cost us big and no one wants to touch us. This is the only thing that’s crossed my desk for almost a year. The fee is enough for you not to have to sell the beach house, and it’ll give you the opportunity to redeem yourself. Let the public see the real you.”
“I think they’ve seen enough of the real me.”
“You’re being an ass, CJ. You need this.” Matt ran his hand through his dark hair. “It’s five weeks out of your life. Four weeks initial training, then three nights on the show. It’s a one off special, not a full season. It’ll be over before you know it.” CJ glared at him. “Look, I’d tell you to swallow your pride, but after the number Mario did on you, there ain’t a helluva lot left. For God’s sake, man. If you ever want the chance to salvage even the slightest bit of a career, this is it!”
“The token homo in Dancing with Stars in Our Eyes is going to save my career?” CJ yelled at Matt in frustration. “You can’t seriously believe that!”
“I believe it’s better than sitting on your ass all day complaining about how unfair life is!”
“Matt.” CJ’s shoulders slumped, the fight leaving him. “Please don’t make me do this.” He didn’t miss the twitch of Matt’s lips. Bastard!
“I can’t make you do anything.”
“Liar.” CJ sighed heavily and all but threw himself down on the other couch opposite Matt. “Alright, alright,” he huffed. “I’ll do it. But if I end up coming off even worse, I will kill you.”
“Goes without saying.” Matt grinned widely and pulled his cell out of his pocket, already tapping out numbers. “You won’t regret this, buddy. Hey, Linda? It’s Matt Davis. Yes, CJ will be very happy to join the cast of Dancing with Christmas Stars in Our Eyes. Yes…”
Dancing with Christmas Stars in Our Eyes? Seriously? CJ picked up a cushion and covered his face with it. What the fuck am I doing?