Book Review – Touch Me Gently by J.R. Loveless

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance
Publisher: DreamSpinner Press (September 2010)

About the book:

“Always hiding his tormented past along with his scarred body, Kaden James finds it difficult to keep a job. Luck finally turns his way when he finds work as a cook on a Montana ranch, where he meets terrifyingly handsome Logan Michaels. Logan is different from any man Kaden’s ever met, and before long, he finds himself falling in love with the big cowboy.

But Kaden’s nightmares won’t let go of him so easily, and he’s not just jumping at shadows. He has nearly a lifetime of abuse, horrifying memories, and pain addiction to overcome. Can Logan’s gentle touch help Kaden heal inside?”

MY REVIEW:

I guess that people can’t come more psychically damaged than young New Yorker Kaden James. We don’t really get the nitty-gritty details on his past until much later, but it’s pretty clear from the start that Kaden has been physically, emotionally and sexually abused, and that he’s suffering from post-traumatic disorder. Kaden lives in fear, and can hardly keep down a steady job. Worse, he doesn’t seem to have any support system other than a sympathetic manager of a labor agency, who finally in desperation, sends Kaden to serve as a temporary cook at his cousin Logan Michaels’ ranch.

The ranch in Montana turns out to be this haven of peace & healing for Kaden James’ body and spirit. I liked how the author paralleled Kaden’s self-rebuilding with the friendship that he develops with a wild horse on the ranch who is very much like him, with a history of abuse & maltreatment.

Unexpectedly, a tentative romantic relationship develops between this hurting young man and his caring & concerned boss Logan. J.R. Loveless spends a lot of time developing Kaden’s and Logan’s characters, and their love story is developed slowly and with sensitivity to Kaden’s psychological torments and also Logan’s mixed feelings when he first realizes his feelings for Kaden. Logan’s character appears to be too good to be true really, very selfless and constant in his love for Kaden, but I guess it’s balanced off with Kaden’s insecurity and trust issues. When Kaden and Logan take the next step in their relationship, I think it’s handled beautifully by J.R. Loveless, especially with all the trigger factors that brings up. It is a story of gay romance after all, not erotica, thank goodness. My only problem with the ‘love scene’ is that Logan was supposedly completely straight before Kaden came along, so I was wondering where he got all that ‘experience’ from (considering how sexually comfortable Logan is with Kaden).

The first 3/4’s of the book I thought was so much better than the last 1/4. It was simply a romance book with special characters and a love story that would touch your heart. But then, J.R. Loveless seemed to suddenly lose control of the story. A tragic event is inserted out of the blue, and Kaden is out of the ranch, interacting with new characters who we’re supposed to care about too, with a ton of new and almost insurmountable challenges & heartbreak thrown at him. The whole thing becomes ridiculously rushed and confused, and I have no idea what entered J.R. Loveless’ mind to spoil her heretofore gentle romance with all sorts of under-developed nonsense other than to create needless drama. Apparently, Kaden was not tragic enough to begin with, that he couldn’t just find his prince and live happily ever after – he had to face even more tragedies before his happy ending? A good editior should have caught that and ended the story much earlier.

Check out Touch Me Gently and help support J.R. Loveless.

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~ by RandomizeME on September 9, 2010.

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