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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Butterfly Tattoo by Deidre Knight


Just when the darkness seems permanent, fate flips a switch.

Michael Warner has been drifting in a numb haze since his lover was killed by a drunk driver. As the anniversary of the wreck approaches, Michael’s grief grows more suffocating. Yet he must find a way through the maze of pain and secrets to live for their troubled young daughter who struggles with guilt that she survived the crash.

Out of the darkness comes a voice, a lifeline he never expected to find—Rebecca O’Neill, a development executive in the studio where Michael works as an electrician.

Rebecca, a former sitcom celebrity left scarred from a crazed fan’s attack, has retreated from the limelight and from life in general, certain no man can ever get past her disfigurement. The instant sparks between her and Michael, who arrives to help her during a power outage, come as a complete surprise—and so does her uncanny bond with his daughter.

For the first time, all three feel compelled to examine their inner and outer scars in the light of love. But trust is hard to come by, especially when you’re not sure what to believe when you look in the mirror. The scars? Or the truth?

Warning: This title contains a three-hankie redemptive romance, a man with a complicated past, a heroine who’s stronger than she knows, and tender, explicit sex scenes that may just break your heart—and make you believe in love once again.

My Review

This was such an amazing book!  Great emotions and character growth.  Michael Warner is a man who is drifting.  Hanging onto life and his grief by his fingernails.  Complicating matters is the pain that his daughter with Alex is going through.  She was in the car with Alex when he was killed.  She has tremendous survivor’s guilt and is coping as best as any little eight year old girl can.  She’s taken to calling Michael, “Michael” instead of “Daddy” and introduces him to people as her stepfather.  This only adds to Michael’s grief, he doesn’t just miss Alex, his best friend and love of his life, but he misses his little girl.  It pains him so much not to be able to help her.

Enter Rebecca O’Neill, former TV sitcom star and the victim of a stalker’s knife.  She is left with terrible scars including some on her face.  One day the lights go out in Becca’s office.  Enter hunky Michael and his daughter, Andrea.  Michael has forgotten to arrange daycare on a day when school is out so Andrea has to come with him.  She’s being a total brat in front of Becca and says, “Daddy would have forgotten.”  Michael concedes, saying Alex was the best.  It’s then that Becca realizes that Michael is gay.  Or is he?  Becca offers to take Andrea for a walk to the cafeteria while Michael works.  As a result, Andrea opens up to Becca about her own scars from the accident, the first time she’s done that with anyone.

Michael is very attracted to Becca and wants to date her.  Alex was the only man he’d ever loved.  Before that, he had always been with women.  Becca very much wants Michael too, but her scars both inside and out have left her insecure.  Add to that the fact that she hasn’t been with a man since the attack over three years ago and it’s a recipe for just existing, not living.

I believe, so much, that you love who you love and for some people it doesn't matter if that package is a man or a woman.  I thought the grief that Michael felt for all he’d lost was so palpable, it knotted in my chest at times.  His love for his dead husband (I refuse to say "partner". That's an insult to Michael and Alex and same sex couples everywhere) is such a part of who Michael is, it's now part of his genetic make up.

Becca is such a beautiful character. I completely understand why Michael saw her as beautiful not just despite her scars, but because of them.  Even though she had residual fear after her attack (who wouldn't?), she would set that aside to be there for Michael and Andrea.   Becca had this beautiful, indelible spirit, that to me, only seemed fragile on the outside. She had a lot more strength than she gave herself credit for and Michael saw this from the very first moment. I thought Becca had amazing grace in never asking Michael to push Alex out of his heart, only to make room for her. She’s an easy heroine to love.      

All that being said, the peripheral characters were phenomenal.  Laurel, Trevor, Casey- well drawn and out of this world!  My heart broke for Laurel when I first met her, despite only two pages before, I was incredibly mad at her.  Becca could read people so well, she had good instincts honed by tragedy. When Becca said she was rooting for Laurel, I felt like I couldn’t love Becca anymore. Her generous nature is a rare quality in a literary character these days.

I thought the author used some of the best foreshadowing that I've read in a while.  The flashbacks to the life Michael shared with Alex are beautiful.   I almost wish that the author would write Michael and Alex’s story.  All of that being said, Michael is so masculine, its easy to imagine him with a woman.  I would have loved a meatier epilogue, but I know where everyone's headed, so that’ll have to be good enough for me.

Great read!  I would have given this book 5 kisses if the sex scenes had been explicit. I feel sex is a language all it's own, and with Michael having been with a man for 13 years, I was desperate to see what his first time with a woman, in a long time, would be like. It left me hungry.  I still strongly recommend this book.



She kisses me slowly, whispering, “I’m starting to figure that out.” For a brief moment, I remember my first kiss with Allie out on that dance floor, lights and sound and heat drumming through my body as his lips touched mine.

I have that exact same forbidden, upended feeling with Rebecca right now.

In an explosive flurry, we back toward the bed; I tug at my T-shirt, yanking it over my head. Together, we collapse in a heap of warm flesh, exploring every inch of one another.

“Show me that butterfly,” she groans in my ear, as I roll her onto her back.

I growl, “Later,” toying in frustration with the fly of her jeans.

“Let me help,” she whispers, and snakes out of them easily. Some more wrangling, then I’m down to nothing but my boxers and an achy hard-on, those lacy little panties of hers making me half-crazy. So I begin to kiss her…low.

Then lower even still.

Arching her small hips up against me, she tangles her hand in my hair. “Michael, no!” she cries out.

I’ve been kissing her navel, licking it—now I’m confused. See, I have plans in mind, and staring up at her in the darkness I wonder if she doesn’t like those plans. She reaches, tugging at the top edge of her bikini underwear where two very long scars are visible. But I don’t give a shit about that.

She needs to understand that my male self is focused on only one thing—my dark, warm prize, only slightly farther down from where I’ve been showering her with these kisses. One thought pounds hard through my body: God, men are so much easier to figure out.

“You don’t want this?” I ask, swallowing hard. Blood rushes in my ears, loud. Hell, it rushes through my whole damn body.

She runs a shaky hand through her disheveled blonde hair, sinking into the pillows without another word. She’s given so much damn thought to these irrelevant scars; maybe now she’s realizing how insignificant they really are between us.

“Relax, baby,” I whisper, bending low and pressing a sweet kiss against her abdomen—against the largest scar of all. Very slowly, I trail kisses down the length of it, peeling back her panties until there’s only her. Letting her know I want to love every inch of her.

Once the lingerie is stripped away, and there’s only my mouth against her warm skin, she releases an aroused, happy sigh of feminine pleasure.

And with that one very girlish sound, I nearly lose it completely.

I go lower still, licking my tongue along that one long scar, pressing her thighs open a little wider so she’s ready for what I’m going to do next. Oh, man, it’s been a long time since I’ve tasted honey this sweet.

She lifts her hips the moment my tongue gives her a first stroke, her hands digging into my scalp, twining in my hair.

“Oh, Michael.” She’s tensed in reaction to what I’m doing, and moans a little. But I want to be sure she’s not uncomfortable, so I stop, looking up the line of her body as if I’m a sailor staring across a ship’s bow.

“You good with this, baby?”

Slowly she lets her hips drop to the mattress, leaning back into the pillows. With an audible swallow, she nods, eyes shining bright.

“So you liked that?”  



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