DO NOT be fooled by this book's description as I was. When I chose to read Full Contact, I thought it sounded like a light read with a good girl looking for an adventure with a bad boy. I was wrong.
Jay Billingsley is a medical massage therapist who moonlights as a private investigator. He's in Shelter Valley on a personal mission to find the father he believes abandoned him as a baby and to meet the son Jay never knew he had. While there he takes on clients in need of his therapist skills. One of those clients is our heroine, Ellen Moore.
Ellen's come a long way since she was brutally raped seven years ago. She's still suffering from PTSD and she knows she has to move past it or she'll never be able to live the life she wants with her five year-old son. Ms. Quinn does a remarkable job of guiding you through the physical and emotional effects of rape. Ellen's triggers, panic attacks, and anxiety made me ache for what she was going through.
Jay is gentle and understanding. He allows Ellen the time needed to become comfortable with him, to trust him; both professionally and personally. So many rape/abuse/trauma books represent the women in very unrealistic ways. You cannot go from fearing touch one day to having hot and steamy sex the next! I thought Full Contact to be one of the best depictions of overcoming rape, learning to trust, and to love. Jay never once oversteps the boundaries while treating her. There isn't a single lusty kiss or heavy petting moment during treatment. He fears -- as he should -- that going too far would be a setback in her recovery. The romance is very gradual, but I never once doubted the connection between them. Once Ellen trust him, begins to get to know him, and feels safe, she opens herself up to love.
Jay's investigation helps the story to flow along. I really thought it'd be a distraction, but the more I learned about Jay's past, the more I hoped he'd find his father. I don't know about anyone else, but the end shocked me. I was so surprised by how the entire storyline plays out into a full circle moment. In hindsight, I should have caught on. I think I was more focused on seeing Ellen's recovery than what appeared to be a more minor detail of the book. It was a very satisfying ending to a very good book.
I found it hard to like the people of Shelter Valley. The entire town wrapped Ellen up so tightly she couldn't trust her own judgment. The townspeople, and most especially Ellen's mother and stepfather, were overprotective to the point of stifling her. It's a very closed-minded small town that tried numerous times to throw Jay and his motorcycle out. I was thrilled to see Ellen stand-up to them.
Give this book a read sometime. It's worth every bit of the few hours spent reading it.
* Review Originally Posted at SPARKS FLY Romance Reviews