Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Hurt Just Seems To Go On and On: "Touch Me" by Callie Croix

Arriving home on leave from his tour of duty, Army Captain Alex Montoya knows there's a beautiful woman waiting for him-his best friend's sister. She's always been off limits...until now. He fully intends to move them out of being "just friends" and encourage her to release the sexual needs he senses she's buried deep.

Tianna McIntyre is starting over after her marriage ended. Her ex-husband weakened her self-esteem and caused her to deny her true sexual desires. But being around Alex brings all her dormant fantasies to the surface, and now Tianna feels the stirrings of her secret, submissive wishes.

Determined to help repair the damage Tianna's ex did to her self-worth, Alex will use whatever means necessary to convince her they're meant for each other, including tying her down to make sure he has her full attention while he takes her to the heights of pleasure she's always dreamed of.

There are indeed an endless stream of stories that come out of the horror of war and the effect that such military conflict brings, not only to those doing the fighting, but to those who must remain at home, who must contend with the long-term effects of injury, and whose lives are forever altered, often not in positive ways. Out of the wounds and disaster of the Middle East conflict comes this story of three people who must live with the damage war continues to do, even after the original injuries occur.

Tianna has been separated from her veteran husband, a man who she loved and who loved her, who went to war with every expectation of returning home and picking up the frazzled strands of his life and their relationship. Now he is struggling with a wound that has changed him, altered his personality and the way he relates to her and the world around him. Known as Traumatic Brain Injury, Tianna's husband has become hurtful, abusive pschologically as he criticizes her looks, her housekeeping, her professional skills as a physical rehab therapist, and on and on. When she shares her sexual needs and desires with him he berates and demeans her as a whore. Slowly but surely he kills her love for him and ultimately, their marriage. She is now house sitting for her brother's best friend who an Army captain and is serving in Afghanistan.

Alex is home for a short post-injury leave, having been involved in an accident that wounded him and resulted in the death of several of his squad. He has desired Tianna for a long time but has been prevented from acting on his love for her by her marriage and the fact that she is his best friend's sister. But no longer. He senses that she is not only saddened by the failure to help her husband and the death of her marriage, but she is unfulfilled as a woman and he wants to be the person to bring life back into her passionate spirit.

This is a novella that talks plainly about the inner wounds of war, not only to the soldiers but to those who must find a way to live with men and women who will probably never be the same. It is also a story that is blunt about the hurt and sense of emotional numbness that comes when one's own needs are stymied and when those who express their needs are belittled verbally abused. Yet in the midst of all the negatives comes a love relationship that is new and good, that is poised to bring Tianna back to life and which potentially will get both Tianna and Alex past the bad stuff war brings into human experience. It is not an extended read and will not take an inordinate amount of time to enjoy, but it is good writing, a good story, a slice of life in the real world with real people, and certainly set in our contemporary times. This is a relatively new author for me but I have recently read two or three of her works. I find her writing style to be very readable and the editing of her work is well-done. This is a story that will entertain as well as instruct, but it is no light-weight love tale. There is a lot here and it is one of those kinds of stories that makes me feel that I have been enlightened through the experiences of fictional characters. I hope you will get this novella and will find it as compelling as I have. I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

This novella was released in January, 2012, by Carina Press.

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