Touched By You
Fans of old school romance novels revolving around the rich and powerful will find a lot to love in Touched by You. Featuring the requisite feisty, warm-hearted heroine and a brave, stalwart but damaged hero, this novel pulls out classic romance tropes to good effect to bring a twenty-first century feel to a tale as old as time. Or at least as old as Mills and Boon.
This is book two in the Wellspring series but works very well as a stand-alone novel.
He isn’t looking for love, but it falls into his hands. Literally. Carter Marshall has spent the last two years pursuing justice. When his wife and baby daughter were killed in a hate crime, he took time away from his start-up company to ensure the perpetrators were brought to account. His business partner has kept things going and growing but now that the past has been dealt with, it’s time for Carter to once more do his share. He heads to Wellspring, MI to tackle a job for an important client but before he can even get started, he finds himself playing hero to a woman who very nearly gets flattened by a speeding truck. Carter’s quick reflexes yank her out of the way, causing her to fall straight into his arms.
Brooklyn Wells is not having a good night. She and her father don’t get along at the best of times and this essentially forced appearance at his charity event is most definitely not the best of times. She’s in the middle of chugging a glass of bubbly to stave off anger and boredom when her father’s announcement causes her to spray her mouth full of champagne on to the unfortunate woman in front of her. Turns out she’s engaged to the young man she had just said a very firm no to minutes before. When her father commands her to join him and the jilted suitor on stage, Brooklyn yells, “Hell, no” as she races towards the nearest exit. She is too anxious to make her escape to watch where she is going and would likely have died if not for the impeccable timing of a very handsome good Samaritan. He disappears into the night before she can properly thank him.
While Brooklyn gets herself a room at the local hotel and gathers allies to help her take her next steps toward independence from her influential father, Carter gets to know the town of Wellspring and prepares for his meeting with his client, Wellspring Water. He is surprised – but not delighted – to find the young woman he saved is also a guest at the hotel he’s staying at. Fortunately, he’ll be moving to a leased condo soon because being in close proximity to that beauty is making him feel things he swore he would never feel again. Unfortunately, he finds himself forced to once more play the hero when he sees Brooklyn in trouble, fighting with a man (the jilted suitor) in the hotel dining room. His plan is to come to her aid this one last time and then never see her again.
Of course, our plot is about to get a lot more complicated as Brooklyn’s wealthy, powerful and dastardly father continues to push her to marry the man of his choice while Carter discovers that his important client is none other than the dastardly dad causing the distractingly beautiful Brooklyn to consistently need his help. It’s the kind of delicious, unbelievable mess of which romances have long been made.
I’m an old hand at reading this plotline since this was a beloved trope of authors back when I started reading romances, lo, those many years ago. It isn’t a favorite trope of mine but it’s a familiar one, and one which I am automatically conditioned to give a lot of leeway to. While not realistic, this is such a standard in romancelandia that it has, in a way, a literary realism.
What makes Touched by You a good example of this particular storyline is the romance between Brooklyn and Carter. The two are interacting from the beginning, but the lustful thoughts are kept to a minimum. The author instead concentrates on key character points. Brooklyn learns Carter is a standup guy, always willing to lend a hand when she’s in need. Carter sees Brooklyn be strong, independent and resilient even under strained circumstances. When events conspire to make them neighbors in the condo complex they both move to, they take their cordial acquaintance to the next level, becoming increasingly close friends as each day passes. Both of them have traumas in their past, and that helps the bonding. They don’t just understand the other’s feelings but are able to speak to the problem in a way that someone who hadn’t experienced tragedy could not. While the pace of the story is brisk, I didn’t feel short-changed on the relationship. These two really connect and converse; the author does a great job of showing them as friends to lovers on the page, so that I felt thoroughly satisfied with their HEA.
Every book has its flaws, and in this case, I rolled my eyes every once in awhile over the soap opera-style antics of Brooklyn’s dad. The novel worked in spite of that because the author does a great job of keeping her focus on Brooklyn and Carter.
Touched by You highlights the best things about modern love: sexy romps, fun dates, second chances, and choosing the person who is perfect for you. Fans of contemporary romance will find a lot to enjoy here.