Breath on Embers - Anne Calhoun Oh Wow!
5 beautifully erotic stars!

I don't usually go into a novella with any sort of expectations. I mean, what can you possibly get out of a quick story? So if I'm being perfectly honest, I went into this with the mind set that I'm going to get a quickie erotic book.

Well, I am eating my words because this was so so so much more.

I have never read a book by Anne Calhoun before. After finishing this, I will be eagerly anticipating her future releases.

I am in total shock that a novella of 98 pages can hold so much depth, feeling, character development, and bring out so much emotion.

Thea has been grieving the loss of her husband for two years. A year ago, she met Ronan who was dealing with his own grieving, and they began a casual relationship based solely on sex.

After a year of just sex Ronan begins to develop deeper feelings for Thea, but just doesn't know what to do.

He knew better than to get in a battle with a dead man. He'd lose. Or worse, he'd win and in the process defeat something vital in Thea.

Thea, however, is still not able to move on from her loss.

"I don't feel anything," she said. "why do you think I walk around with music blasting in my eardrums? I can't feel anything anymore. Something broke when Jesse died. I'm numb".

The author's writing was plain superb. It flows in such a natural way while portraying the depths of these two characters in such a beautiful way.

I loved the way that Ronan pursued Thea. He didn't push her, he wasn't an asshole, but he wasn't a pushover either. He was honest and upfront about how he felt and what he wanted.

"You are not a mirage. It's there," he said, once again ruthlessly contradicting her personal experience. "Know how I know? You fight too hard to push it down. The music, the way you try to cram what's happening between us into just a fuck. You don't pour thirty thousand gallons of water into a stone cold building. You pour it into an inferno."

It was also refreshing to read about a hero that didn't just try to take on the heroines demons in an unrealistic way.

"I'm not trying to rescue her. She can rescue herself. I just want to give her a reason to try.

The sex was interwoven into the story seamlessly. It wasn't overwhelming or out of place. It was hot! I mean damn hot!


I was surprised at the depth of emotions that this was able to bring out of me in just a short story. I felt for Thea's loss. She wasn't whiny or overbearing. I loved the way that the author was able to portray her as a strong woman who was dealing with an overwhelming loss and yet was able to find her way out of the dark.

"I thought you didn't like candles," he said cautiously.

A little smile curved the corners of her mouth. "I didn't. But they hold back the darkness," she said. "I don't want to live in darkness anymore."