Desert Isle Keeper
Everything I Left Unsaid/The Truth About Him
The story begins with Annie, a young woman on the run from her abusive husband, moving into an RV at a trailer park, far away from her former home in Oklahoma. As she is beginning to settle in to her new home, the ring of a cellphone draws her attention. On impulse, she answers and begins talking with a man who wants her to keep an eye on another trailer park resident. Naturally she is leery at first of this strange request. But something keeps her engaged with the stranger on the other end of the line and she finds herself agreeing to watch her elderly neighbor for the man with the arresting voice.
Dylan phones the person who has been keeping an eye on his father Ben only to be informed by the lady who answers the call that he/she has left the trailer park permanently. And so he strikes a bargain with her: Watch the old man for him and she can have use of the phone. Soon they find themselves talking about much more than just Ben. It doesn’t take long for their conversations to veer into the sensual realm.
Each of them has baggage and secrets, obstacles that preclude any possibility of meeting in real life. They both know that a face to face meeting will never happen and are okay with this for the most part. But fate, as it often does, has other ideas. Their pasts are rushing back to each of them and both Annie and Dylan are about to be changed irrevocably.
Complex and richly drawn characters populate the story, including the cast of secondary characters. Annie’s particular blend of innocence and world weariness is especially poignant as the abusive relationship with her husband is the only one she’s had. She experiences a sensual awakening with Dylan, one that emboldens her even as it scandalizes her. She’s the ideal balm and complement to jaded Dylan, loving the man inside the scarred body.
This story, as with all of the author’s books, is intensely emotional. Complicated familial relationships are revealed and old wounds reopened. The emotional scars from dysfunctional upbringings are on full display for both main characters. As a result, Dylan and Annie can’t seem to stop hurting one another, pushing the other away even as they long to cling to one another. The effect is raw and heartbreaking, the story of two broken souls attempting to connect and make one another whole.
As I mentioned previously,Everything I Left Unsaid ends on a cliffhanger. I felt the story lost a little steam going into the second book after such a climactic moment. I also thought The Truth About Him lacked some of the darkly sensual edge of the first book. However the latter half of The Truth About Him packs a punch in terms of emotion, drama, and overall sexiness, providing a thoroughly satisfying conclusion to Annie and Dylan’s story.
Overall, I’d award the duology an A-, though I feel Everything I Left Unsaid was the stronger book. It was edgier and more overtly sensual, while The Truth About Him excelled in bringing the emotional connection between the characters into the forefront. Regardless, both are strong books with fully realized characters and plot. I hope the author plans to write the story of Dylan’s brother next. If Everything I Left Unsaid and are any indication, his story will be outstanding.