Caitlyn Lloyd has the world at her feet. Or more accurately—under her horse’s hooves. With the 2016 Rio Olympics just around the corner, nothing is going to derail her long-held dream of winning a medal or two in Olympic dressage. Not even the reappearance of a childhood so-not-a-friend throwing her perfectly balanced life into disarray.
Addie Gardner’s career is at its peak, and accepting a last-minute fill-in position as the veterinarian for the US Olympic Dressage Team was a no-brainer. The fact that her old crush from Pony Club is on the team is just a bonus. Not a distraction at all. And it might just offer the chance to be friends with the girl who wouldn’t even give her the time of day twenty years ago.
But Caitlyn and Addie have very different memories of their time together at Pony Club and their first meeting as adults is less like a reconnection and more like a butting of heads. With the Olympics looming, they’ll need to set aside their history and learn to work together. And maybe Caitlyn and Addie will realize childhood memories aren’t always accurate, and that they have more in common than they would ever have thought. Maybe. Just maybe.
GCLS Goldie Awards
Pas de deux — Finalist, Ann Bannon Popular Choice.
FROM THE AUTHOR
"Pas de deux is a very artistically licensed story about how my wife and I went from being not friends at all when we knew each other as teens in Pony Club, to getting married. I know—what a twist, right?
When people read Pas de deux I know one of the burning questions they’ll have is “So who is Caitlyn based on and who is Addie based on?” The answer, friends, is that the two characters have bits of both me and my wife in them. Though I will say, my wife far surpasses me for dressage talent, and competed and trained to quite high level before life happened."
—E. J. Noyes
Pas de deux doesn’t disappoint: the writing is excellent, the pace is ideal, the characters are layered and, yes, relatable, including the secondary characters, from Caitlyn’s groom Wren to Addie’s friend Teresa and, of course, Dewey the horse. One of the many things I loved in this book is the way the MCs deal with problems. They do this very adult and very rare-in-lesfic thing: they talk to each other. This book is proof that miscommunication isn’t required for drama. Neither is a breakup. Well-fleshed characters with very human hang-ups bring all the angst and drama necessary. It’s all the more interesting here as Pas de deux is part enemies-to-lovers romance, part second chance, depending on whose point of view is playing.
The Lesbian Review
This story is not the traditional enemies-to-lovers romance, and I love that. Noyes really puts emphasis on how skewed memories can become as you get older, and how an experience may appear different to another person who had the exact same one. Even if you are unfamiliar with dressage, Noyes’ writing is still spot on and delivers the same compelling, fun, and intriguing story with loveable characters of both the two-legged and four-legged kind. This love letter to a sport she obviously has a passion for is so evident and I felt honored to have her share her passion with me and every reader who picks it up. If you love horses, enemies-to-lovers, or even just Noyes’ stories in general, this one will definitely be a favorite on your list.
Bonnie A. - This is a well-developed, detailed storyline in the world of dressage. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and found it to be an easy read. The main characters were solid, communicated well and acted professionally. They also had amazing chemistry. I particularly enjoyed how both Caitlyn and Addie acted maturely by putting their differences aside and slowly learnt to trust each other. However not to be biased in any way, Dewy antics always makes me smile. I absolutely loved him. I highly recommend 4.5 stars.
Andi K - Delightful read. Noyes has a way of dropping you into a detailed world—in this case Olympic-level equine dressage—and just letting you revel in it. Every book has a unique setting, and it always works; kudos to meticulous research that feels oh-so-natural to the reader.
Olympic hopeful, Caitlyn, and team veterinarian, Addie,—with confused, decades-old tension—can't help but hit it off, but the timing is terrible. The Olympics is no time for falling-in-love distraction and neither woman's real-world life is even remotely conducive to a relationship, but love knows no timetable.
The star of this book may be the side-character—Caitlyn's horse, Dewey. He was just superbly written, and now I want one.
Lex Kent's Reviews - This romance hit two main tropes. For one main character this is a second chance romance, for the other character, this is an enemies to lovers romance. I loved the two different sides of how the character saw things and I think it gave the book a little zip that caught my attention from the beginning. I was very happy that while this was first person, the POV is actually from both main characters. It was perfect for this book especially since both mains can’t even agree on their past. Seeing how each character thought and why, was the right choice for this romantic story. As long as you are a fan of horses, or at least are okay with them, then I would absolutely recommend this one. Noyes writes really well and makes smart choices so that is why she is one of the best.
Jill H. - This was a lovely read and set in a world of equestrian sport which the author clearly knows a good deal about. I know virtually nothing about the setting, but it was very easy to understand because the author's descriptive narrative is so vivid and the primary and secondary characters are also very much a part of the backdrop.
Cleverly this covers two different tropes. For one character it is an enemy to friends and etcetera’s. To another it is a second chance affair/relationship. Both have to recognise their true feelings and there is a certain amount of resolving conflicts and overcoming obstacles which helps Caitlyn and Addie on their relationship journeys.
I loved the description of Dewey and his obsession with Rasputin. It was touching to read and understand a little of the deep connection riders/owners and grooms have with their horses. It was good to be in a different world, a different background and in this very enjoyable easy to read lesfic novel, it was also informative and a good learning opportunity too. The author hasn't had one dud yet. This is a totally different background to her previous novels and just proves how versatile and capable E. J. Noyes is when she pens her novels.
Betty H. - The story is an enemies-to-lovers romance. Caitlyn Lloyd and Addie Gardiner knew each other from their teens when they were in Pony Club. They were not really friends then, and Caitlyn especially has some ill feelings toward Addie. Caitlyn is not happy when she finds out Addie is the new vet for the US Olympic Dressage Team that she is trying out for. It adds a lot of tension to an already tense situation as the riders and horses work for the few spots on the 2016 Olympic team.
The characters really make this story. I already knew that Ms. Noyes is an expert at creating realistic and memorable people that readers can connect with, but I think she has done an outstanding job with Caitlyn and Addie. I love how they interact with each other in the story, from the first reunion when Caitlyn still harbors bad feelings for Addie to later when they are trying to resolve the tension and misunderstandings between them. They actually talk to each other, and what is even more wonderful…listen to each other. You don’t see that a lot in romance stories. This is not your usual fall-in-love, fight, break-up, and make-up tale. It is much more realistic, and I loved every minute of it. Of course, the horses, especially Caitlyn’s Dewey, make the tale even better.
I had a blast reading this novel. I’ve listed it as a favorite book, and it has my highest recommendation.
Cheryl S. - When I see E. J. Noyes name on a book, I grab it. She writes "your not so typical" stories. This one is introducing us to the life of a dressage rider/trainer and her horse. And her struggles and hard work to get to the Olympics in Rio. And of course, there is a warm and rich romance with the Olympic teams veterinarian. Both mc's (Caitlyn and Addie) are interesting and complex. I loved all the description of the relationship between Caitlyn and her horse Dewey. I was not aware a horse could be so affectionate. I would have liked a little more description regarding the dressage movements and step requirements in the arena, so I googled it. And now I am in awe and a big fan. I now understand the melt down Caitlyn has during a very unexpected problem halfway into the story. Another 5 star review for originality, romance and interest. I recommend any of Noyes books.