A guest review by Tj
Summary Review: A surprisingly sweet and very sexy romance wherein a cop falls for a hurt and damaged agoraphobic man.
The Blurb: Jesse Martin never knew what it meant to belong anywhere until he moved to the small town of El Jardin, NM. Something about the town called to him, and he set about doing what he could to fit in. If that meant keeping some parts of himself separate, tucked away from prying eyes, then that was what he’d do.
Caden Tomas moved to El Jardin to escape the memories of a vicious attack that left him a shattered, broken man. The physical wounds would heal, but the emotional ones seemed insurmountable. Unable to leave his home for more than a brief walk to the mailbox, Caden’s isolation was just one more torment that ate away at his hopes of ever recovering.
Two men, each with their own personal demons, living only yards across from one another. Each is fascinated by the other, but unable to find a way to breach the problems that keep them apart. The solution comes in the form of one yappy little poodle, Loopy. His frequent escapes from Caden’s yard gives Jesse a reason to approach his neighbor, and form a tenuous bond that will heal their wounds and maybe, just maybe, end their lonely nights.
The Review: New Mexico cop Jesse Martin (yeah I know, I kept thinking of the actor too) can’t understand why he is compelled to sit on his front porch everyday at 3:00 waiting for his new neighbor Caden, to come out and get his mail. Could it be the way Caden walked to the mailbox that seemed to take every ounce of his strength? Could it be the obvious bruises that he sported when he moved in? Or maybe it was just that his handsome face and fiery red hair were impossible to ignore? Whatever the reason, here sat Jesse every day watching and waiting.
Okay, so the author caught my attention with this opening scene. I found myself quickly caught up in the lives of these 2 men, and anxious to see what had happened to Caden and where the attraction between them would lead. With a storyline this dramatic, the writing could have easily been over the top or soap opera-ish, but Bailey Bradford did an excellent job of slowly giving us insight into Caden’s life, so as not over dramatize it. As much as Jesse wants to get to know Caden, his first attempt to meet him did not go well. So fate decided to lend a hand to bring our guys together. Jesses finds Caden’s poodle Loopy on his front steps, which provides the perfect excuse to try again to engage Caden.
Once the door is open, little by little Caden starts to trust Jesse, and they begin to build a tenuous friendship, with a strong undertone of attraction that both men felt. But Jesse struggles to keep his attraction under control as he is concerned about taking advantage of Caden’s condition and questions himself on several occasions. This made Jesse seem less like a stereotypical alpha character, and more real – a man not always confident in what he does. For this I say ‘Bravo!’ Ms. Bradford. Well done. It was refreshing to see a little more complexity in a commonly used character.
Of course gossip travels quickly in a small New Mexico town, and soon people are wondering what’s going on with Jesse and Caden. Ms. Bradford dealt realistically with the issues that crop up and the resolution felt believable. Because of their strong physical attraction, of course there is lots of longing, and an oh so slow build up to their first touch, first hesitant kiss, some hot frotting and then the mind blowing sex. Whew!
I really enjoyed Something Shattered. It was a sweet and sexy story that dealt with some very real life issues in a completely believable fashion. The characters were well developed and interesting and the look inside the life of an agoraphobic man had me hooked from the beginning. This is definitely recommended.