Touch Me Gently

TouchMeGentlyLGTitle: Touch Me Gently
Author: J.R. Loveless
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novel (212 PDF pages)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

A guest review by Tj

Summary Review: A heart warming story wherein love heals a scarred and fragile young man.

The Blurb:

Always hiding his tormented past along with his scarred body, Kaden James finds it difficult to keep a job. Luck finally turns his way when he finds work as a cook on a Montana ranch, where he meets terrifyingly handsome Logan Michaels. Logan is different from any man Kaden’s ever met, and before long, he finds himself falling in love with the big cowboy. But Kaden’s nightmares won’t let go of him so easily, and he’s not just jumping at shadows. He has nearly a lifetime of abuse, horrifying memories, and pain addiction to overcome. Can Logan’s gentle touch help Kaden heal inside?

The Review:

Kaden James suffers from crippling anxiety attacks. As much as he tries to bury his past, his demons live in nightmares that interrupt his sleep. During the day, he is a skittish and frightened young man, whose neuroses rule his life and his biggest fear, that of large men, costs him every job he lands. When he loses his latest job after a panic attack, the employment agency offers him a three month stint as cook at a ranch in Montana. Somehow, this appeals to Kaden, who hopes the quiet will calm his fears. Unfortunately he didn’t think this plan completely through and upon arriving at the ranch, sees all the men, the scariest being the very large and very male Logan.

After observing Kaden’s skittish behavior and witnessing a panic attack, Logan and his sister Shea quickly realize how troubled Kaden is, and try to help and protect him. Kaden’s issues will absolutely tug at your heart strings, and the gentle way that Logan and Shea deal with him will make you smile. It was heart warming to watch as very slowly, Kaden starts to trust them both, and I especially loved how sweet the big cowboy was with this fragile young man. I really enjoyed the building of their relationship which was nicely paced and not rushed, and the obstacles that they had to overcome flowed from the characters and story nicely.

There were a few things that didn’t completely work for me. Firstly, Logan was supposed to be strictly heterosexual prior to meeting Kaden, and although he did wonder about his feelings a few times, he seemed quickly comfortable with this newfound love for a man in and out of bed. A big part of the problem for me was that his acceptance was relayed to the reader as a conclusion that Logan had come to after some brief internal dialog, rather than having us work through the process with him. As a result, Logan’s acceptance seemed too easy.

Secondly, considering Kaden’s history and the panic attacks that he suffered from, he acted only briefly frightened during their love making, and was able to “tell” himself to calm down. This didn’t seem possible after so little time had passed in light of the severity of his abuse.

Lastly, towards the end of the story I was confused when a new plot line was introduced. This took the story on a tangent that seemed unnecessary and detracted from the main story. Other readers may not take issue with this development and may actually enjoy it. Luckily this comes quite late in the story and the issues are resolved so that Kaden and Logan can have their HEA.

Overall, despite the issues that I had, for the most part Touch Me Gently was well done with an interesting and heart warming look at the healing power of love. I think this would definitely be of interest to readers who enjoy this theme.

25 comments

  • I really liked this one but I’m a total sucker for the abused traumatized kid finds love with a tough but gentle guy. Pretty much no matter how much the story sucks otherwise I’ll love it. Hey, we all have our weaknesses. 🙂

    My only niggles were Logan’s seeming indepth knowledge of the buttsecks (but hey, that’s why they have the internet even in Montana) and the fact that Kaden was referred to often as the teen. And while Logan wasn’t that old at 28 and Kaden 19, it kind of seemed squicky, but I don’t care for epithets and prefer he or a name. It’s a personal thing probably.

    I assumed the epilogue was a set-up for another story staring the new character. *shrug* Could be wrong but that’s what I figured was happening.

    • Hi Tam,
      Although we’ve talked a lot about the weaknesses in the book, I really liked Touch Me Gently too.

      Buttsecks?! You are too funny Tam! I had wondered about Logan’s expertise in the sack. You think internet? Good thought. Hmmm… I can see it now – while he was wondering about loving a man, he googled gay porn. LOL

    • Tam

      My only niggles were Logan’s seeming indepth knowledge of the buttsecks (but hey, that’s why they have the internet even in Montana)

      I was laughing so hard I almost embarrassed myself.

      I sometimes wonder what the Review Coordinators at the different publishers think when they read our comments. 😉

  • Great review, TJ. You made me interested enough to buy it. (Are you in league with Wave now, both of you trying to drain my wallet?)

    GFY, cowboys, healing love…hopefully those will over-ride the panic attacks (have them. hate them.).

    Thanks!

    • Thanks Buda. Drat – you’ve found us out! Me and Ms. Wave, we have a thing going on, oh no that Mrs. Jones. Wait no – it would have to be Mr. Jones. 😉

      Love the cowboys too! You have my sympathies on the panic attacks. I had a few many years ago, and hope to never have one again. Worst feeling ever. Hugs help. OOO

      • You and Mr. Jones TJ? LOL

        One of the reasons I love these comments is that at at the end of a hard day they make me laugh.

        I’ll have to console Buda – maybe I should send him a Friday Guy before Friday – that should cheer him up.

  • Great review, TJ. This one sounds like something I’d like. I love angst and characters who have to work for their HEA. The cowboy is a definite bonus.

    • Why thank you kindly ma’am. Y’all will just love cowboy Logan. And Kaden will absolutely break your heart. I hope you enjoy the book.

  • Hi Tj,
    thanks for the great review! I’ve already had this one in my TBR but you prepared me well for the weaknesses of the story with your thorough review.

    Although I prefer a bit more realism in my books, too, I think I can still look forward to reading a gentle, tender story about the healing power of love. Which is usually right up my alley. 😉

    • Hi Lilli,
      I hope you enjoy the book. It wasn’t totally unrealistic, just those few things that I mentioned in the review didn’t ring true. Otherwise it’s a very touching story of how love can heal a damaged man. Logan is so edible, um… I mean incredible, patient and sweet. I love cowboys. And you’ll just want to hug Kaden to make it all better.

  • I agree, this book seemed mostly to be about Logan working to slowly earn Kaden’s trust, and eventually receiving it. If the story had wrapped up there it would have been satisfying, despite Logan being surprisingly comfortable and confident with a gay relationship without appearing to give it much thought.

    But then the story took a left turn (and an awfully improbable one, at that–and yet also strangely predictable), and it kind messed up what had been a good story up to that point. For me, the author went too far, piled on too much, and it seemed to me an immature plotting decision. It wasn’t needed, it wasn’t very believable, and it lowered the quality of the novel.

    I still liked Touch Me Gently, but I would have liked it a lot better if it were about 20% shorter.

    • Hi Gail,
      So true. If the book had ended at page 160 or so, it would have been much better. The plot line after that point unfortunately detracted from a really good story and I still can’t figure out the purpose of it. As you say, I still liked the book despite it’s faults.

  • Excellent review, Tj!

    “Firstly, Logan was supposed to be strictly heterosexual prior to meeting Kaden, and although he did wonder about his feelings a few times, he seemed quickly comfortable with this newfound love for a man in and out of bed. A big part of the problem for me…”

    Although I normally like the gay-for-you story line (when written well), I don’t think the author took all time she needed to flesh out the story. Considering the plot line, I too expected a little bit more realism throughout book. I wanted Logan to struggle a more with idea of being with a man.

    I liked the fact that they didn’t have sex until towards the end; it seemed very realistic to me. However, I also expected Kaden to panic considering what all happened to him in the past.

    “Lastly, towards the end of the story I was confused when a new plot line was introduced.”

    This definitely confused me, too. Although I expected something similar to happen with Kaden, I didn’t understand introducing a brand new character and plot line. Also, compared to the rest of the story, the end and the sub plot seemed very rushed. The author jumped ahead to different periods of time, when she hadn’t done that previously.

    I did very much enjoy this book. It was just more like a sweet story towards the end instead of the meaty one I expected considering the issues with Kaden and Logan.

    • Thanks Lacey. You were thinking the same thing as me regarding the GFY. I think a little more time spent on Logan’s dealing with loving a man would have gone a long way to making it seem more real.

      I agree – it was realistic that they waited to have sex, but I still felt that Kaden would have freaked out a bit and Logan was way to knowledgeable about what to do with a man.

      But there was a lot to love about the book – not too much angst, a sweet love story and an interesting character in Kaden.

  • LOL yes, it was very GFY. I actually kinda liked that it wasn’t a big problem in the book and that Logan didn’t spaz out, but that could be a personal things.

    I did wonder about the panic attacks too. Especially with the amount of time and violence of the abuse. Though at the time I attributed it to the amount of trust, because it could very well be that.

    What I really did not like was the change it plot. That bothered me most about this book. It is an awesome read, but the end threw me a bit and had me going like “the point of this is what?”

    Great review 🙂

    • Thanks Larissa. Funny but I didn’t really think GFY while I was reading. As I said to Wave, I was more focused on Kaden’s issues, but it would fall into that category. For me, it was the short amount of time for this change as well as for the panic attack cessation.

      That new plot line at the very end made no sense to me, but it’s so near the end that it didn’t spoil the book. It was more as you said “the point of this is what?”.

      Thanks Larissa.

  • Hi TJ
    Great job on this review and especially on the characterization.

    Firstly, Logan was supposed to be strictly heterosexual prior to meeting Kaden, and although he did wonder about his feelings a few times, he seemed quickly comfortable with this newfound love for a man in and out of bed. A big part of the problem for me was that his acceptance was relayed to the reader as a conclusion that Logan had come to after some brief internal dialog, rather than having us work through the process with him. As a result, Logan’s acceptance seemed too easy.

    I think what you’re experiencing is a GFY theme, which some readers love, but this one doesn’t seem to be as well done as others I have read.

    How can a man who has been heterosexual all his life (not pretending and not bi curious) all of a sudden fall for and have sex with another man without going through all the necessary steps before he gets there?

    Also, Kaden’s panic attacks seemed to have disappeared through the power of love? I know that a lot of readers go for the fantasy but I also want some realism in terms of the characters’ motivations and reactions.

    With all that’s going on in this book there was a sub plot???? WTF?

    However, from your review it seems that there was a lot to commend this book so I’ll put it on my mountainous TBR pile. 😉

    • Thanks Wave. I guess it was a GFY, but the focus of the story was on Kaden’s issues, so it didn’t feel like the usual. I think a little more explanation would have helped.

      Despite my issues, this was a really good book.

    • What in the world is GFY? I googled it and came up with three possiblities and none of them apply? Can you explain?

      Good for you
      Go f*ck yourself
      Government fiscal year

      Thank you!

      • Oh BG – Thank God I wasn’t drinking when I read this or my laptop would be toast now! Thank you for the laugh. I’m sorry, I should have written out the full “Gay For You”. We’ve all used that term so many times that it’s shorthanded now. Basically straight boy falls for another man – gay for you.

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