4 out of 5 Stars
Dana has not had much of a life for the past seven years, ever since she was raped during her first year of college. She can’t touch or be touched by any man, not even those closest to her. Her therapist has all but given up on her, but Dana is ready to make one last effort to take her life back. She seeks out the help of someone she trusts entirely—her brother’s best friend, professional hockey player Eric.
Eric has his own problems to deal with during the remainder of the hockey season, but he can’t say no to Dana’s request. Although he’s hesitant to cause her any pain by going along with her plan, he doesn’t want anyone else to touch her either. She’s also his first love, and he fears letting her go will be harder than anything else.
Overall, this was an enjoyable, well-written story. Although it dealt with the subject of rape, that act was in the past and we only saw bits and pieces of it—just enough to give us the history and explain why Dana is the way she is.
The slow process of Dana being able to accept Eric’s touch (and eventually touch him in return) was believable. Her panic attacks felt real to the reader. As she became more comfortable with Eric, the panic lessened and the touching grew at an appropriate pace. The chemistry between Dana and Eric was palpable, so when they finally got to REALLY touch each other, it nearly exploded off the page. Although this story was written from both characters’ points of view, which I usually don’t like, they both did have a story to tell. There wasn’t much overlap and each of their issues was resolved.
The main drawback of this book for me was the amount of hockey. I love hockey; don’t get me wrong. It’s what actually drew me to the book in the first place. But there were several times where it was just too much narration of a game that Dana was watching or Eric was playing.
I also wasn’t thrilled with how Dana refused to listen to Eric’s words. He more or less told her how he felt about her throughout the book, yet she continually thought he only liked her as her brother’s kid sister and that he was repulsed by having to touch her. He never once gave off that impression. I understand she was damaged and not likely to recognize normal signals, but it was just too much for me. Of course, this misunderstanding was what led to the climax of the book, so I’m not sure there was a better way to go about it other than leaving out all the times she thought of herself as “kid.”
I did enjoy reading this story though, and the few minor editorial issues I found were not bothersome. I read it quickly and would likely read more by this author.