Two years after the end of a bad relationship, Ty is forced to confront his deep emotional hunger. Then a lovely dark-haired stranger turns his life upside down.
With her self-esteem battered, Charlee Bannister takes refuge in picturesque Silverton, Colorado. Vowing to never again allow a man to control her, she finds herself on a sexually stimulating guided tour of self-exploration and awareness with the helpful hands of a handsome artist.
A passionate weekend in Ty's creative hands only raises questions. When Charlee storms into Ty's life, will he remain an artist without a muse? Will his desire for more than her touch send Charlee fleeing?
With the emphasis in our culture on "the beautiful people" and our youth-centered culture, is it any wonder that women often feel that any kind of health-related surgery that alters one's appearance will diminish them in the eyes of others? Obviously breast cancer is a scourge and no woman desires to lose one or both breasts, but it is sometimes necessary and with that loss comes a loss a sense of worth and self-esteem. Admittedly, some men are no help, either. Looking like death warmed over themselves, they often dane to sit in judgment on women who have had to have mastectomies in order to preserve their lives. Not a nice aspect of the way our society responds to such losses.
Jennifer Cole addresses some of these feelings in the persona she creates in Charlee, a woman who is financially independent and who thought she had found her life partner two years ago when a lump in her breast proved to be far larger than originally thought, thus resulting in a mastectomy instead of the lumpectomy she had expected. Her fiance was more concerned about when she would have the reconstructive surgery than in whether or not she had a prognosis for the future that would mean she was disease free. When Charlee chose not to have the plastic surgery right away, said fiance took off and the engagement was over. I would imagine some not-nice words flowed out of the jerk's mouth before he took off, and the result was a woman who felt flawed, ugly, unworthy, not even close to allowing any other man to see her in the raw. That is, until she met Ty McGuire, a local artist in Silverton, Colorado, a town where Charlee has come to finally have the plastic surgery. She is tired of being alone and feeling that she could never have a love life. But Ty is cut from a different bolt of cloth, and as their sexual attraction grows, and Charlee goes against her better judgment and comes home with Ty for the weekend, she discovers that in his eyes she is perfect. They share an intense weekend together and when the day for surgery arrives, Ty attempts to talk Charlee out of having the surgery. She leaves for her appointment, declaring that no man will ever again tell her what to do with her body, her future, her life as did her erstwhile fiance.
This is an erotic novella in the hottest sense of that word, but the issue at the heart of the story goes far deeper than the telling of a summer weekend affair. Truly it is about the way women see themselves, especially when so often women's acceptance in social circles and by potential lovers rests on our society's insistence that only the perfect are beautiful. We can argue otherwise, but there is too much anecdotal evidence to prove that deformed adults and children--either by birth or because of injury or surgical/medical intervention--are relegated to the outer eschelons of society's boundaries. Even if mastectomy scars and the resultant loss of a breast or two can be hidden from the public at large, such changes in one's body cannot be hidden from those closest to us. And they are the individuals who are often the ones we depend on to keep us balanced and feeling good about ourselves.
This novella is far more weighty than its size would indicate. And the love story is a heart-warming, libido massaging one that is a joy to read and experience, often feeling like one is a fly on the wall--and I don't mean in a bad sense. Ms Cole has created characters that may resemble people we know and certainly after reading this novella who wouldn't want to know Charlee and Ty? Both of them live by a set of personal values that have helped them navigate through a difficult set of circumstances and the emotional rapids caused by others who really aren't worthy of them. It's one of those reads that surprised me, but then I have come to like just about everything Jennifer Cole writes with one criticism: I just wish she would give us a real whiz banger of a full length novel that would not only introduce us to some great characters but would have sufficient length to tell us more about them and their story. That being said, I think this is an entertaining and instructive read, and one I think is well worth the time and effort to experience. I give it a rating of 4.25 out of 5.