by Catherine Anderson

April 2003
ISBN: 0-451-20794-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Signet Books
Mass Market Paperback

After ending an abusive marriage, Chloe Evans moves to the community of Jack Pine Oregon to begin a new life for herself and her son Jeremy. She is determined that no one will ever hurt them again.

Chloe is startled when Jeremy seeks out Ben Longtree, the town pariah, to heal his sick puppy. She is more amazed by her sonís fondness for Ben. Even more surprising is her reaction to Ben. Though he appears wild and there are many rumors floating around Jack Pine about him, including one, which calls him a murderer, there is also something strangely peaceful about his manner, something Chloe cannot ignore. Whenever she is near him, her heart beats with a passion she has never known, and her body comes alive.

Ben Longtree has plenty to keep his hands full. Not only does he care for his mother who is suffering with Alzheimerís, but he also uses his medical skills to care for injured wild animals. After the painful relationships of his past, the last thing Ben is looking for is someone as bold and beautiful as Chloe. She ignites long buried feelings in him - desires he has tried to pretend do not exist.

As Ben and Chloe work to build a life together despite bitter memories, an enemy driven by revenge and hatred is out to destroy them. Even if they can survive this personís cruel plan, they still may not be able to say goodbye to the sad past and hello to a promising future together.

Only By Your Touch is an insightful and entertaining read. It is packed with a cast of captivating characters who tell a brilliantly composed, unique story.

Ben Longtree is a great, original hero. He has a lovable, charismatic personality that is appropriately balanced between the strengths of a man and the innocent ideas of a young boy. His strong love for his mother makes me smile with pleasant thoughts of my own mother. The menagerie of animals who enhance Benís life are also adorable.

I also find Chloe to be quite interesting. Though she is troubled by her past, I like the fact that she keeps on fighting for herself and for those she loves. She is a strong and admirable heroine.

Benís mother was also a source of delight for me. Her memory loss did not prevent her from being a wealth of humor and wisdom.

Unlike some, I love a good villain, and the villain of this book, offensive and vile in all the right places, is one youíll love to hate. Youíll keep reading just to see if and how the devil gets his due. It would have been nice to have a bit more suspense as far as the identity of the villain though.

Great actors require great scripts, and exceptional characters like the ones mentioned above, require a great story. Catherine Anderson tells one. Only By Your Touch is a like a shot of adrenaline; it jump starts your heart with its flawless writing and riveting, emotional scenes.

Donít try and read this book at work during your lunch hour. I tried and discovered to my great dismay that not all bosses understand the concept of a six-hour lunch.

Reviewed in April 2003 by Natasha.

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