This conundrum is one Reagan Sanders faces even now, with her husband Drew killed in action. She made the mistake, just once, of trying to trust another person with the truth of who Drew was and what he did to her during their marriage. Now she lives as an outcast, a pariah among the townspeople who continue to revere Drew's name.
And then, Drew's best friend and former fellow Marine, Alex McCray, shows up in town to fulfill a promise he made to Drew as the latter lay dying. Alex, who has desired Reagan for a long time, finds her house and reputation in disarray, and despite their intense and obvious attraction to one another, can't bring himself to dishonor his best friend's memory by making a move on Drew's widow.
Still, he's not sure he's going to be able to live with himself if he doesn't do something.
Tori St. Claire's Shatter Me is a scorching erotic romance from Entangled Publishing's Brazen imprint, due for release just this month.
It isn't my standard to discuss the sexual content first in a review, but St. Claire's scintillating scenes between Reagan and Alex are hot enough to burn up the pages of the book. The tension between them, the underlying secrets that they each carry and their respective fears, make the sexual tension and release all the sweeter and that much more satisfactory.
Alex is the picture of an honorable Marine, bound by integrity, character, devotion, duty, and his loyalty to his long-time friend's memory. His reluctance to take advantage of Reagan, the presumed grieving widow, is a large part of his appeal, even as he fights desperately to care for her and keep her safe (even from him) the way he assumes Drew would have wanted.
Meanwhile, Reagan hides her own secrets, but for similar reasons. Above all, she knows how much Drew mattered to Alex, and she does not want to taint Alex's memory of her deceased husband, no matter how she knew him when he was alive. That she wants to protect Alex and his innocence, in a way, regarding his best friend makes her a worthy heroine, as does the depth of her strength despite the adverse circumstances she didn't create or ask for.
The pro-military themes throughout the work juxtapose neatly against themes of love, betrayal, trust, secrets, romance, renewal, and restoration. Even Reagan's nearly demolished house represents the ruination of her relationships and her potential future happiness with Alex ... until their walks toward one another change what seemed inevitable.
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Author: Tori St. Claire
Title: Shatter Me
Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Brazen)
Purchase here: http://amzn.to/1cJYCN9
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this work from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.