Shaken - Dee Tenorio As the synopsis of this novella indicates, Dr. Grant Sullivan and his wife Julia are on the brink of the dissolution of their marriage. It is not Grant's wish, it was Julia who left, determined to move on in the wake an emotional firestorm following the tragic loss of their young daughter in a car crash.

In the months following the accident, Julia grieved as any mother would, sobbing in anguish well into the night and Grant was there trying to absorb her pain into himself. He believes he was giving and doing all he could. Julia however has a much different view of Grant's reaction to the loss of their child. She believes Grant didn't love their daughter because he seems incapable of shedding a tear or sharing his anguish with her. In fact, she has convinced herself their entire marriage and love has been a sham.

Grant has been desolate since Julia left him. Through Ms. Tenorio's emotional prose, it is palpably evident that Grant loves his wife with all his heart and he truly doesn't understand why she has left and wants nothing from him.

"She wasn’t there anymore to comfort. She didn’t return his kisses, didn’t hold tight to his shoulders as he turned the pain into something worth feeling. Didn’t help him fill the emptiness with passion until both of them could finally sleep. He could still feel the satin of her breasts against his lips when he woke up at night, hear the sobs that came from pleasure instead of heartbreak. Her taste, her warmth, the solace of sliding deep into her body, into her arms...just memories now. Her scent had faded from their apartment in the two months since she’d left. He’d found himself sleeping in her closet some nights, because it was the only place the smell of her was still strong enough to soothe him. But even that was disappearing."

Shaken © Dee Tenorio

During an emotionally charged meeting with their lawyers, Julia leaves the building conference room and races to the elevator with her husband fast on her heels. Grant just manages to reach the elevator before the doors completely close. Then an earthquake shakes the building and traps these two people tormented by immeasurable loss in the elevator's confined space. Grant and Julia are forced to communicate and confront their misconceptions and demons.

Grant has and does communicate his love for Julia through sexual passion, which she misconstrues as lust. She recognizes an opportunity to force Grant to see that he hasn't grieved properly for their child, because he cannot escape the elevator when his inner Pandora's box begins to crack open. IMHO Ms. Tenorio's choice of setting for this 39 page story was stellar because as a reader I could feel the emotional storm that ensues between these two people like lightening strikes bouncing off the walls of the elevator.

The question is, can Grant earn back his wife's trust so she will agree to give their marriage a second chance? And, can Julia force Grant to see and understand that he too needs to grieve their loss?

This is the first story by Ms. Tenorio that I have read and I'm looking forward to reading more of her work. If you enjoy an extraordinarily poignant, erotic short story, you may like to give "Shaken" a try.

My Rating: 4.5 stars / 5
Heat Level: Hot, erotic and sensual