Beyond The Tears
by Michelle Cary, contemporary (2007)
Samhain Publishing, $2.50, ISBN 1-59998-577-2


The tagline for Michelle Cary's Beyond The Tears is:

How can masturbating in a hotel Jacuzzi lead to love? Cassidy Yates is about to find out.

Normally this is exactly the kind of thing that will have me running in the other direction because as much as I like to imagine that I am up to all kinds of things in my stories, I am not too eager to read stories that are written just to shock or titillate me with how trashy or vulgar an author can make her story. Most of the time, it is always new authors who do this kind of thing, trying too hard to come up with a sexy story that they often cross the line to outright and often unnecessary vulgarity.

Fortunately for me, our widowed heroine Cassidy Yates is making whoopee for one in the said Jacuzzi while remembering her more intimate moments with her husband in the past so I suppose this scene isn't that bad.

She's been widowed and celibate for a year until her stereotypical best buddy April the easy one takes her to a vacation in the Key West. Cassidy has a pretty good time at the Jacuzzi, needless to say, but she is so mortified by what she has done once she comes back to earth that she can't flee the scene fast enough. She leaves behind her sarong which is picked up by our hero Chase Dempsey. Our Texan rancher hero manages to catch our heroine in the act and watches the whole time, so when he returns the sarong to Cassidy some time later, he asks her if he can take her on a tour around the place. To give him credit, he's asking her instead of forcing her.

In fact, as the story progresses, Beyond The Tears turns out to be a pretty sweet story. Chase and Cassidy fall in love too fast, probably, but given the length constraint the author has to work with, she actually does a pretty good job here. For example, Chase and Cassidy bond first before they hit the sack, with the love scene portrayed as a way for Cassidy to begin healing and moving on after the death of her husband a year ago. When these two realize that perhaps their fling may very well last much longer than one week, when Chase shows up at her doorstop holding a big bouquet of pink and yellow roses, I have to smile.

The fact that I am half-afraid that this is going to be some tawdry sex romp only to realize that this is a sweet tale of second time love and romance is naturally a pleasant and delightful surprise. But realizing it and having a good time reading it is, of course, so much better.

Rating: 86


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