Sunday, February 9, 2014


by Beth Michele
ARC review
Published: January 28th, 2014

My rating: 4 of 5 ⭐️

To the observer, Fran Heller doesn't show the ugly scars that carve her body, heart and soul, she looks and acts the stunning twenty-eight year old she appears to be. And every day is a struggle for her to be that girl who is not haunted by dark memories and pain of loss, but she manages so long as she can keep her emotions at bay. But when she bumps into her best friend's bother in law at a conference she is attending, he stirs something up in her.

Not a stranger to pain and loss himself, Matt Dixon has found his own way of coping with his everyday existence. An incessant need to control his environment alleviates some of his anxiety around loss, but makes him appear rigid. When he spots Fran in the hotel lobby, he is struck by the beauty she radiates and taken by her smart mouth. She challenges him and he is surprised to find he likes it. But he isn't blind to the occasional shadow of darkness he sees passing over her face. 

Over the next few days, Matt and Fran spend time getting to know each other and find themselves strongly attracted. Slowly opening up to share not just the lightness of their spirit but also the dark shadows of their heart. However, both crippled by fear of loss and rejection as well as limited by time and geographical restraints, is there hope of a future?


Such a 'feel-good' story!! I was left with warm fuzzies after reading this book, the 'good' kinda hangover!

Beth Michele writes a story that includes the difficult topic of child abuse without going into too much graphic detail. Nevertheless, the emotional horror comes across loud and clear. The damage done and the emotional scarring left on the now adult Fran is glaringly obvious, and I would venture to say that the emotional scars of the ultimate betrayal of a parent out-ways any physical scarring.

Fran has coped quite well in life, having been quite successful in her career, but on a personal level has trouble connecting deeply with people. Trust is and will likely always remain an issue for her. Her self-consciousness about her body, is not so much about her appearance, but about what it represents. Once trust is given, she isn't even aware of her body's appearance anymore. 

In a relatively short time, Matt has lost all the influential people in his life, while he was still relatively young. Instilled with a great sense of responsibility, he picked up where they left off and took on the role of stability in the life of his siblings. Holding control tightly was his own security and letting go emotionally feels like letting go of control. His need for Fran finally overcomes that fear.

They find in each other a sanctuary of sorts, a place where they can truly let it all hang out. No holds barred. 

Wonderful character development in some great writing by Beth Michele, smattered with humour and heat.

✨A tight, touching and softly seducing read.✨

**ARC provided in return for an honest review.** Barnes&Noble


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