ANGIE’S REVIEWS: It is hard to write a review for not just one, but two extremely emotional books that would be so easy to spoil, but I will do my best not to!
Ms. Shander’s writing is compelling. All of the characters were well developed layer upon layer, heartbreak upon heartbreak. I felt the full range of emotions as I devoted sleepless nights to reading them both, a pile of tissues beside me.
There were times when I just wanted to rage at Charlotte for her bad mistakes, her eagerness to be loved, and the injustices she suffered through foolish decisions. Her husband is such a jerk and it amazed me that she would stay in a horrible marriage as long as she did.
Then again, all she ever wanted was to be loved and be a part of a family.
The author is writing a novella and I’m eager to see what emotion she can pull from me with that!
ANGIE’S RATING: **** (each)
DISCLAIMER: I requested review copies of both books so that I could participate in the blog tour. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Excerpt from RUNAWAY CHARLOTTE:
He gathered up some papers and shoved them into his backpack. “So that’s it. That’s why you’re acting this way. But I want you know something. I’m here to help you. That’s all. I’d never hurt you. You don’t need to put on a brave face for me.”
Her voice softened. “Thank you.” She reached out her hand to him.
“Don’t hide from me. If nothing else, tell me what you’re thinking. Promise me you’ll try.”
“Okay,” Andrew said as he squeezed her hand. He continued to hold it, rumours be damned, as they walked out the main doors into the January air. “I could get used to this.” He stared down at the bond between them. “Holding your hand all the time.”
Charlotte’s cheeks warmed. “I could too, but we’re just friends, okay? You understand why, right?”
“No, but I’m willing to play along.” He smiled at her as they walked the snow-covered, curving path to his car. The cold air nipped at their exposed skin.
“My walls aren’t ready to come down yet. It’s a scary world behind them and I don’t want you to see me like that.”
“Whatever you’re protecting, I can handle.”
Cheeks warming from the flood of heat, she tried to hide her blush. In a serious tone she said, “It’s my heart I’m protecting, and I can’t let you into that yet.”
“I do understand. Joe told me it was a dark place.”
Her eyes popped.
Andrew raced to cover. “But he told me nothing, I swear! Ask him. He just told me that it was a dark place, and said it wasn’t his story to tell.”
“Well, that does sound like something Joe would say.” She looked at him, her eyes returning to a normal size as her suspicion faded.
Excerpt from ASK ME AGAIN:
She reached for her phone and as he slid it into her hands, he wrapped his around hers. It was warm and soft, and for a moment made her forget where she was.
Slowly and gently, he turned her left hand over and stroked the inside of her wrist with his thumb. “What happened to your tattoo?”
A white scar looked burned into her skin, hiding the blue and red blood lines that ran beneath. She closed her eyes. “I had it removed.”
“You did, or Jack did?” He released her hand gently although his stubble covered face had disgust written all over it.
“Stop painting him in such a negative light. You don’t know anything.”
“Please, enlighten me then? Everything that I’ve seen, as of late, has not been the picture of romantic bliss.”
Charlotte swallowed hard. “We’re having a dry spell right now. There’s a lot going on, Drew. Between the house and his caseload, and work functions, and galas and hobnobbing, there’s barely time to breathe. He’s even at work today – it’s a Saturday for crying out loud.”
Andrew sat and stared at her.
She lifted the cup to her lips, and allowed the warm fluid to wet her parched throat.
“What’s happened to you?” His voice warm with concern.
“Your spirit, that amazing spirit, seems pushed down, far away.”
“It’s called life, Drew. You might want to look into getting one.” She sneered at him.
“Cat.” His voice was hushed and soft, emotion ringing through it.
“What?” she said joylessly.
“When was the last time you two went dancing, just for yourselves?” She said nothing. “When was the last time you watched the sunset? I remember how much you loved doing that. It was almost like the highlight of your day – those fifteen minutes of serenity.”
Charlotte closed her eyes, trying to visually block out the look of sadness Andrew mirrored. She didn’t want to see it. She knew what her life had become, and she felt helpless to do anything about it.
“I’ve got it.” Andrew snapped his fingers, springing open Charlotte’s eyes. “I’m going to make you feel alive again.”
Many thoughts crossed her mind, unsure of Andrew’s plan. Some were dirty, some were clean, but almost every thought made her shudder with excitement.
“Come with me.” His smile was contagious, but she crossed her arms.
“Why? What are you going to do?” Sitting firmly in her place, she refused to move.
“Not just me, us.” He rose. “Do you trust me?” He extended his hand to her.
She placed a trembling hand into his, and stood.