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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

ARC Review: Between the Sheets by Molly O'Keefe

Shelby Monroe is an art teacher at Bishop Elementary. She has many secrets, but one was broadcast on national television. A quick sex romp with a travelling executive branded her as promiscuous, living up to her late father’s assessment of her. Embarrassed beyond words, she hopes the talk and stares have finally stopped. Her mother, Evie, is in an advanced stage of Alzheimer’s and Shelby is in denial about it. She keeps Evie with her and doesn’t accept help. This is her penance for not protecting her mother from her father’s abuse. In the middle of the night, her new neighbor, Ty Svenson, decides to rev up his motorcycle. Shelby takes out her frustration with her life by yelling at him. His son, Casey, is her new student and in trouble. Shelby and Ty meet again in the principal’s office. Casey drew a picture of himself in a cage and upset Shelby. She suggests art therapy to help him deal with his feelings. His mother neglected him and he’s only been in Ty’s life for a couple of months. Major life adjustments for them take time and acceptance. There is a physical attraction between Ty and Shelby and it’s all she wants. No relationship, no conversation, just sex. This works at first, but Ty wants more. He invites her to his home to meet some of his friends. Casey is uncomfortable because of the bad memories he has of his mother’s entertaining drug addicts. Ty moves the party to the local bar which is owned by his employers. He auctions off a prize motorcycle and the town hopes he’ll open a garage to fix cars. Meanwhile, Evie has been wandering at night and Casey sees her. He’s been trying to befriend a stray dog. It’s a bad idea especially when the dog decides to attack him and Evie steps in to protect him. Shelby blames herself and tries to close everyone off, but Ty won’t go without a fight.

Ty is a true hero. Shelby has shut down her feelings and it takes a crowbar to pry her open again. Ty slips into the small cracks in her armor and starts to heal her. Casey has been broken, but finds his way to his dad. Ty is clueless about how to raise a child, but relies on the lessons his grandfather taught him. Ty’s not social and talking with people is a challenge. He realizes it’s necessary to establish a home base for Casey and a career. He takes both bold steps forward.

There’s true sadness in this story. Evie, Ty, Shelby, and Casey have all been emotionally wounded by family members. They cobble together to form a family unit based on trust and caring. It will be an ongoing process.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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