Reviewed by Helyce
Shyann Jennings left the small town of Payson five years ago to attend college and pursue her dream of broadcast journalism. But when she’s given the chance to cover a news story that could make her career and put her on the map for her dream job, her emotions get the best of her and she freezes up, unable to do the broadcast, assaulting her cameraman in an effort to stop him from filming. Following her on-air mishap, she finds herself jobless, possibly blacklisted in the newsworld, homeless and broke. She has no choice but to tuck tail and move home, something she never planned on doing.
Back in Payson, her plan is simple; find a job, save some money, and get out of town. But all her plans change when she meets Lukas. Lukas intrigues Shyann and she puts herself in his path every chance she gets in the hopes of getting to know him. Quiet, polite and handsome, there is something about him that calls to her. She senses that Lukas wants to get to know her too, but holds back and she wants to know why. Just when she thinks she has made some headway, something happens to push them apart. But Shyann can’t give up trying, even when she thinks she might be in danger.
This book had a deep emotional quality that I felt throughout the story. I could feel the pain, anguish and confusion Lukas felt when he’d attempt to explain things to Shyann. But I could also feel the hope and love of a man who wanted more, needed more and was willing to fight for it. This is the story of a man who suffers from multiple personality disorder. Having suffered a heinous childhood of abuse at the hands of his own mother; abuse of such horrific proportions his soul created an alternate identity in order to protect himself. This alternate identity would come forward when Lukas was threatened or scared. He’d take the punishments, bear the illnesses, deal with everything Lukas was not strong enough to handle.
I had no choice but to fall in love with Lukas. His initial scenes with Shyann are sweet and I felt his longing on every page. Shyann’s strength endeared me to her immediately as well. It would be so easy to walk away and give up when things don’t quite go as you expect, but that was not the Shyann I came to know. Tough-skinned and determined, her journalist’s heart could not let her rest until she figured out exactly what was going on with Lukas.
That said, my brain could not stop from doing a reality check during some of the early scenes when Lukas’ alternate personality would come forward, allowing Shyann to too easily deduce that what he was experiencing was multiple personality disorder. It is to the author’s credit that I could stop myself from totally losing faith in these uniquely complex characters; in the way she handled Shyann’s gentle prying with Lukas’ timid side only to stand her ground with his more aggressive and volatile side. Shyann’s ability to reach the heart of both personalities in spite of her fear, won me over time and time again as she refused to give up.
As secrets of the past are revealed, I could not help but to share in Lukas’ hope that Shyann was the real deal, that she would stay and not be frightened off by things that Lukas himself could not explain. When the horrific truth is revealed she proves herself to be a person Lukas can count on:
“Never in my life have I been shocked senseless. I’ve seen things, bore witness to the torture of children, experienced pain and mental abuse no human could fathom. Been cast out, treated as trash and spit upon by the one person in the world who is supposed to protect me. I never lost my head, never struggled for ways to fight back. Always remained in control. But as I stare wide-eyed into the hateful glare of the woman before me, I’m stupid. Completely incapable of a response. Not only does she not hate me, judge me, or at the very least pity me…but she also supports me. The concept in itself is insane. Women like Shyann, her big heart and tender soul, should see me as a plague. Run for her life and never look back. The fact that she doesn’t strips me raw and leaves me exposed.”
The catalyst that brings forth the ultimate truth had the perfect amount of treachery and suspense. Even though I found my suspicions of the actual bad guy to be true. The epilogue made me so happy even as it balanced on the fence of disbelief. Here again this author succeeds in proving the vow that love can conquer all. My heart was happy to know that in spite of such unforgivable pain and suffering, Lukas found happiness and true love.
I may have had an inkling of what this story was going to be about from the blurb and the very telling title, but in the end it was so much more. I really fell into this story; something that hasn’t happened in my reading for months now. I look forward to checking out this author’s backlist and I hope that her future works will continue to take us outside the romance box.