I picked this book up because I love tattoos on men and was intrigued by the cover. Also, the only other book I have read by Bonnie Dee was Finding HoI picked this book up because I love tattoos on men and was intrigued by the cover. Also, the only other book I have read by Bonnie Dee was Finding Home, which I loved, so I decided to give this one a go. What a wonderful love story! In the same vein as Finding Home where an average, everyday woman befriends a societal misfit, Ms. Dee once again takes us outside the box of what most of us perceive to be normal in romance.
The year is 1945 and Sarah, a young war widow, has been coerced by a group of friends to go to the circus. In the "freak show" tent, Sarah is mesmerized by the beautiful man who is covered from head to toe in brilliant, exotic tattoos. In the morning, she discovers said male hiding in her barn.
So begins this incredible journey of two people defying the overwhelming odds against them for the sake of love. Tom's story is horrific. His mother was the fortune teller with a gaudy traveling circus. When she died, Tom, age 8, was taken under the wing of the sadistic circus owner who used Tom as his personal, human canvas. For the simple creature comforts of food to eat and a place to sleep, Tom endured years of pain under the needle as well as the humiliation of being "rented out" to the gawkers that were willing to pay a little extra to get nasty with a circus "freak". When Tom saw Sarah for the first time, he recognized her as the woman who had been haunting his dreams for years. So, having known no other life but the circus yet unable to resist the urge he felt to be with her, Tom made his escape. Sarah, plagued by dreams of the tattooed man after seeing him, was shocked but not afraid of Tom when she found him.
One woman working a nice-sized farm alone was at times overwhelming. With this rationalization in mind, Sarah put Tom to work in the fields in return for 3 square meals and use of the guest room. Tom was quiet and polite - although his manners were atrocious - and he was illiterate as well. He had no idea how old he was or the date of his birthday, and Sarah's heart (and mine) went out to him. She taught him to read and write, manners and customs; and, as the days went by, she couldn't ignore the sexual awakening overtaking a mind and body she had thought long dead and buried with her young husband. Before long, Sarah seduces Tom (in a sweet way) and they become lovers.
The idyllic life cocooned away from reality is shortlived, however, when a local girl goes missing and the small-town folks are fearful that the "retarded escapee from the circus" is the one responsible. Tom is responsible in the sense that he can "feel" the girl's pain and can envision her surroundings (a gift handed down by his mother?). Sarah, being the decent & morally- conscious person that she is, takes Tom to see the sheriff & relay the story. For once we have a sheriff that is a good guy. Hurray! He accepts Tom's story as truth and they are off to find the girl. Afterwards, Tom is socially accepted by the majority, but the few that insist he is a freak as well as the deranged circus owner, cause enough problems to run Tom off. Sarah, plagued with the terrible thought of losing another man she loves, ignores everyone's advice to leave well enough alone and sets out to bring her man home.
One of the things I love about Bonnie Dee is the fact she is not in the least bit shy about being sexually descriptive. For some odd reason, I wouldn't connote the word "pussy" with the freshly- scrubbed Norman Rockwell faces I envision when thinking of 1945, but it's in this story, it works and what do I know about connotations? haha In other words (if that wasn't plain enough), she keeps the bedroom door wide open for the wannabe voyeurs like me...elevating a 4.5 star story to a solid 5 stars. Ms. Dee also makes good use of metaphors...giving her readers clear and defined mental images to enhance the story.
Bone Deep is a fast-paced read that packs a walloping moral punch that, once again, exposes the debase side of human nature that refuses to comprehend the law of God in that all things are created equal. Fortunately, Sarah wasn't part of the majority...
"Her gaze lingered on the meticulous artwork of each design that covered his skin like a painstakingly stitched quilt. Once again she admitted that despite his evil, Arthur Reed was a talented artist. Tom’s canvas of skin was intricately filled with dynamic color and motion. When she first saw Tom, Sarah thought there was no pattern or reason behind the designs but the more she looked at them, the more she felt there was something significant right beyond the edge of her grasp. Whatever the meaning, her lover’s painted skin was beautiful. He was beautiful--both inside and out."
Highly recommended to romance readers looking for something different!
Really good debut novel...well thought-out plot and engaging characters. A totally hot beta hero and a heroine worthy of him. The sex scenes rocked asReally good debut novel...well thought-out plot and engaging characters. A totally hot beta hero and a heroine worthy of him. The sex scenes rocked as they were not only explicit but very sensual...the amazing chemistry Quinn & Sylvia shared was undeniable and explosive.
Across The Hall will suck you right into the story and run you through the gamut of emotions, concluding with a perfect epilogue - the kind romance readers yearn for in every novel but very rarely see. I am looking forward to reading more by this author!