Wow, it’s been a great month for me rediscovering Harlequin authors and books, and the SuperRomances I’ve read have all been terrific and made a new and improved fan out of me. I won’t be giving them up very easily like I did before. This book is the perfect one to end my month-long love affair with HSR.
The theme behind this story is domestic violence. It’s woven throughout the majority of the characters, the two most prominent being the hero and two major secondary characters, and the heroine, the one person who has never experienced the pain and humiliation of being beaten by a father or significant other, is the one who understands the scars, the fear, and the hurt that such violence wreaks.
Bruce Walker is a cop and meets Karin Jorgensen when he volunteers to teach a self-defense class at A Woman’s Hand where Karin is a psychologist helping battered women and children start a new life without fear and pain. Their attraction sparks immediately and they grow closer when working on a case that arises when Lenora, a patient of Karin’s, is attacked outside the facility after their first class. Her husband gets away, taking their kids with him. It’s during this time of working together that Karin learns Bruce comes from an abusive home. His father is a man who took his fists to his wife and three sons, with Bruce being the only one to break away clean. But he fears he can still turn out just like his father if he lets himself become angry enough, so he holds onto his temper at all costs. He doesn’t want to see what he could possibly become if he were to ever let go of the monster inside him.
Of course, while all these revelations are occurring between them, the hunt is on for Roberto and his children, everyone hoping they find them in time, before their father lashes out at innocent kids who only want to be held and loved by their parent. Also, Lenora lies comatose in the hospital from the attack and Karin is at her bedside when times allows, trying not to blame herself for her friend’s current state. Bruce goes by the hospital, among other places, himself as often as possible without seeming obvious, he just wants to see Karin, talk to her about the case, about anything. He just needs to be near her. I actually enjoyed their relationship a lot. They go out on a few days, sit and talk like lovers getting to know one another. That’s something you don’t get in too many stories nowadays. And when their hunger for each other finally erupts, it’s just as visceral, just as all-consuming as the violence all around them, just on the good side of it all.
This is a heavy topic to read, but it’s done quite well with the right emotions and actions for everything that happens in the book. And a lot happens. The scene between Bruce and Karin when they’re arguing on the street, pulling every punch they can think of, is a wonderfully emotionally fraught scene. As much as I liked Bruce before that scene, I was totally in love with him afterward. Bruce is also a Big Brother to Trevor, a kid who’s had a hell of a time with life. His relationship with Bruce is just another intricate nuance that adds another whole layer to the domestic violence story.
It takes a few tears, a lot of twists and turns, but the happily ever after you get in this book is worth going through all of that and more.
Read Wendy’s review here.
Being a big-city cop and being in control means everything to Bruce Walker. He knows how destructive a man can be when given the chance. That’s why he’s vowed never to get involved.
All that changes the moment he meets psychologist Karin Jorgenson. The connection between them is instant, intense…something he’s tempted to explore. Regardless of how Bruce feels, though, he can’t let go of everything he knows. His control is even more important now that they’re involved in a domestic violence case. Karin insists he’s a different man than the one he sees in the mirror. But can he trust her— and himself—enough to open his eyes and see it, too?