So Sensitive

So Sensitive - Anne Rainey Gracie Baron has a full plate. She works two jobs to support herself and her father, a belligerent alcoholic who plays on his daughter’s kind heart to pay his way. In addition, she has attracted a stalker whose scary e-mails have increased over a two month period to the point where Gracie is feeling terrorized. Anne Rainey developed a lovely strong minded, independent heroine who has had a difficult life and never learned to trust others. Gracie has been involved with men but she has never had a special relationship with anyone. She is not sure she knows how to love.

Private Investigator Wade Harrison is a friend of one of Gracie’s bosses and often visits the business. Wade was attracted to Gracie from the first moment he met her but she has always refused when he has asked her out. Anne Rainey crafts strong, sexy Alpha heroes and Wade is no exception. It's not that Gracie isn’t attracted to Wade, far from it but she is overwhelmed with everything going on in her life and doesn’t see how she could fit in dating. Plus, Gracie is frightened. Wade doesn’t understand why she keeps turning him down, however he will not give up on her. The thing I really liked about Wade is that he is persistent but not pushy and I loved that Gracie is sweet and shy, but also intelligent, tough and speaks her mind.

Gracie laughed, but Wade could tell it was strained. She never seemed at ease around people. Not even Cherry, and everyone got along with her. “It’s fine. He was just leaving anyway. Right, Wade?”

Wade stood and stepped away from the desk. “Fine. My heart can only be stomped on so many times.”

The phone rang and he watched Gracie practically leap for it. While she took the call, Wade said his goodbyes to Cherry and moved toward the door. He was halfway to his truck when he remembered he’d forgotten to tell Cherry about the phone call he’d received from her ex-husband. The asshole had it in his head that he suddenly wanted Cherry back. The chance of that happening was about as good as finding Elvis alive and living it up in Graceland.

Wade sprinted back across the parking lot and pulled open the door, expecting to see Gracie where he’d left her behind the receptionist desk, but her seat was empty. Figuring she took a break, Wade started down the short hall toward Cherry’s private office. A sound caught his attention and he stopped. His gaze narrowed on the closed bathroom door at the end of the hall. He moved closer and listened harder. The noise came again and it sounded suspiciously like a woman crying. Cherry or Gracie? Wade knocked softly. He didn’t want to intrude, but the thought of either woman in tears didn’t sit right with him.

“Y-Yes?”

Gracie’s trembling voice floated out to him. What the hell? “Gracie, is everything all right?”

“F-Fine.”

Fine my ass. In the months Gracie had been working for Cherry he’d seen her spitting mad, shy as a butterfly and sarcastic as hell. He’d never once heard that quiver in her voice. He didn’t like it one damn bit either. He wasn’t going anywhere until he got to the bottom of it. As he waited, a horrible thought struck and he froze. Had he been the cause? His teasing? He’d thought their little cat and mouse thing was all part of the game, but maybe it made Gracie more uncomfortable than she’d let on.

The door swung open and Wade stiffened. Gracie’s head was down and she was dabbing at her eyes with a tissue. She didn’t see him and smacked right into his chest, nearly knocking herself over backwards. Wade grabbed her shoulders to steady her before she had a chance to topple. Her head shot up and her pretty green eyes filled with tears the instant their gazes clashed. Shit, that sure as hell wasn’t real promising.

“I think it’s time you tell me what’s wrong, Gracie. And don’t tell me it’s nothing.”
She shook her head and blew her nose as she tried to step around him. Wade blocked her path. He cupped her chin in his palm and forced her to look at him. “Is it me? Did I do this?”

She blinked a couple times, as if unsure what he meant, then she let out a hysterical laugh. “Wade, your ego is showing.”

The fact that she was laughing, even while tears continued to stream down her cheeks, was further proof that something was very wrong. For the first time, Wade looked beyond the soft red hair, curvy figure and pouty lips. He saw the dark circles under Gracie’s eyes now and they spoke volumes. She looked as if she hadn’t slept in days. “Gracie, I know we may have gotten off on the wrong foot, but I can be a good listener if you want to talk.”

She squared her shoulders and gently wiped her eyes in an attempt to get a handle on her emotions. “It’s just a woman thing, Wade. I’m fine, really.” The chimes over the door jangled, signaling a client’s arrival. “I’ve got to get back to work. Thanks for the concern.”

So Sensitive © Anne Rainey

An unfortunate incident lands Gracie in hospital and Wade along with her friend and boss Cherry and Dante, her fiancé, finally learn the truth about Gracie's stalker, whose behavior is becoming increasingly aggressive. Wade therefore steps in to protect her and it is from here that their burning attraction explodes into a steamy affair. This is a very hot erotic novel, Wade is a sexual dominate and Gracie responds to him in a submissive role. The love scenes are sexually explicit, there is light bondage, anal sex and spanking. Sensuality permeates the narrative of this novel but it isn’t just hot sex. It’s a wonderful story of a woman who learns to trust and love through the nurturing and devotion of a strong and patient man. As well, they learn they have more in common than they realized.

A suspense subplot involving Gracie’s insane stalker weaves through the story and I felt it was well done. There are plot twists and Ms. Rainey kept me guessing until the intense and frightening conclusion of the story as to the identity of the madman. Both Gracie and Wade expect their relationship to end once the bad guy is caught which causes uncertainty and conflict.

Ms Rainey introduces a stellar cast of secondary characters, most notable was Wade’s partner and best friend, drop dead gorgeous Jonas Phoenix. Ms. Rainey sets the stage for Pleasure Bound, Book II in the Hard to Get series as tough as nails computer wiz Jonas has the hots for Wade’s feisty sister Deanna. This does not sit well at all with Wade because he knows his friend’s history with women. lol Deanna also has a twin brother Dean another hot alpha male and readers will get to enjoy his story in the third, as yet unnamed book of the series.

I’ve always liked Anne Rainey’s voice and waited a long time for the publication of So Sensitive, her first full length novel. So Sensitive did not disappoint. I can’t wait to read Pleasure Bound scheduled for publication in November 2011.

4.5/5 stars