Shaken
by Dee Tenorio, contemporary (2010)
Samhain Publishing, $2.50, ISBN 978-1-60928-228-8


After eight years of being husband and wife, Dr Grant Sullivan and his wife Julia are getting a divorce. The reason for the divorce is pretty typical of romance stories of this kind: a baby died, causing both partners to withdraw from the other to grief in their own ways, and when they try to reach out to the other person finally, they realize that the gulf formed between them is too wide to bridge. But as they leave the lawyer's office, an earthquake causes them to be stuck in the same elevator. Maybe now they would hash out the issues between them?

Shaken is a very short story, and therefore, Ms Tenorio has plenty of brass to tackle a plot this layered and difficult in such a format. She only succeeds halfway, alas. The set-up is good, as she succeeds in giving me a good glimpse of the layers of hurt and betrayal festering inside the heads of her characters. Unfortunately, Ms Tenorio also adds in sex scenes in this story, thus cutting down on the opportunities for these characters to talk. And boy, do these two need to talk in order to make the happy ending believable.

This one is a pleasant read, but I can't help feeling that the end result would have been a more poignant read if the author had allowed her characters to scream, rage, throw things at each other, and then only have reconciliation sex instead of the other way around.

Rating: 74


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