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Bone Deep by Bonnie Dee

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bone Deep

Bonnie Dee
Historical Romance/Erotica
Published in 2005

H/h - Tom ____/Sarah Cassidy
Setting: Fairfield, USA, 1946.

Read in Aug, 2011.
My rating: 


                                                                        [spoiler alert]

Once again, another author changed my POV about erotica, or Romantica, whatever you like to call it. This was my first Bonnie Dee book and I’m won over, totally. The setting and the whole premise of the book was so good, with BD’s simple yet beautiful narratives, I had a wonderful, wonderful time. It reminded me quite a lot about Lorraine Heath’s books. My only regret- I wish I had known Tom a little better. He was such a quiet man all through the story. But, either way, Tom melted my heart like a puddle of... something... I really don’t know. He was so so sweet and intense at the same time. *sigh*

Sarah lost her husband in the WWII, just before it ended. It’s been a year and a half and she’s still mourning. She never really got to have him in her life because after a few months of marriage, John was taken away to join the war. Sarah’s life is just black and white. She came to this carnival only because her close friend Grace nagged her to attend with a little matchmaking in mind, which Sarah didn’t know about. She is annoyed, yes, I would be too. Sometimes people think they’re doing the ‘best’ thing for someone without the knowledge of the person in question, which is seriously annoying. Sarah loves to live all by herself, at least for now that’s what she wants. She likes to work on the farm, look after her livestock, read books or listen to the radio. She’s still not ready to replace John. But, living in a small community of people is tough, when everyone knows about everybody else’s business, something proved to be a cross to bear for her in the later parts of the book. Grace introduces her to a man who works in a repairing shop in Fairfield, Andrew, who is a nice guy. Sarah tries to keep up a conversation and look around the carnival. She hates carnivals, not knowing this one carnival would change her life. Soon, they were walking towards the tent where the freaks are kept- dwarfs, three-legged calf, a bearded lady etc. Sarah kept on looking, feeling rather uncomfortable and she finds herself in front of this area where it seems no one was there. Suddenly, something moved in the back area, dark. A man came forward into the light, every inch of whose body is tattooed. Even his head is shaved and tattooed, so is his face. Sarah is mesmerized from the get go, totally absorbed in his skin and the art that surrounds it, which looks like a quilt very beautifully sewn together. This even distracts the eye from his near nudity. The man sits and even lets her see just how far beneath the clothing he’s been tattooed. I have to agree that this was some scene but I had a tough time imagining the man since I haven’t seen such a heavily tattooed man in real life. It didn’t really matter overall but I wish I had seen Tom with my own eyes; no, not to gape and gawk, just to see him that’s all. When Sarah was moving on, as her friends already did, the man who was it seems was absorbed into his own world, suddenly looks at her; straight and clear with his vivid blue eyes. Sarah felt an immediate shock going all over her body. It seemed like he’s seeing her naked and knows her intimately. She is shaken but soon leaves.

Back in the farm, Sarah is restless. The nights are always lonely for her but this night, she keeps dreaming of the tattooed man,  hot, erotic ones. At dawn, she goes about her usual chores, to the barn to feed the animals. In the hayloft, she gets jarred by a figure inside the hay. It’s the tattooed man! She doesn’t know at first what to do. He has escaped it seems. Can he talk? Yah, he can but only in monosyllables. Sarah does something she never thought she’d, in right mind, do. There was something about this man she couldn’t deny. So she takes him in. She feeds him, gives him her husband’s clothes. Tom is very helpful too, he doesn’t talk much but he helps around the farm; feeding the old horse and the only cow, work around the garden, repairs fence. Sarah is happy to have a helping hand after such a long time, a soul to talk to but most especially, to have a man around.

It was a treat to see Sarah and Tom’s relationship growing. Though the book happened around little more than two weeks, I never, once felt that they jumped into bed so soon. It’s because the way they were, it felt like they’re soul mates; that they belong together. Their routine was great, in harmony all the times. Tom from the 1st moment, was so devoted to Sarah that I sighed. And Sarah was always taking care of him. At first, Tom didn’t talk much, didn’t laugh at all, just observed and listened. Many a time, it felt like she was communicating with a child. His views and words were very simple and straight forward. But, that’s only because the horrible way he was treated by the circus manager, an ugly childhood without a comforting hand around. Not at all when he lost his mother, a fortune-teller, at 8. It took him two days to finally smile when Sarah was reading him ‘Tom Sawyer’ after dinner, like the previous days. He begins interacting with her. I loved that his enthusiasm for learning was so great; something would just warm your heart. Sarah took it onto herself to give this man some happiness as she understood, from the very few information Tom gave her about his past, that he needed it. There was one particular scene, with a paper cutting, which Tom kept for a long time- a family vacationing. Sarah asked him about it, in answer he tells her a story he made for the family. But, it revealed so much of the man beneath, at least his hopes and dreams about having a family that brought tears in my eyes. And he outright said that he knows he can’t have it for himself. Ah, so sad. Sarah was very admirable in her treatment of Tom. She was very caring, wanted to know more about him. One day, while she was changing the oil in her car, Tom comes rushing and grabs her out from under it. Soon she realized he just save her as the car came crashing down, which would’ve crushed her too, had it not for Tom. With that, Sarah learns of Tom’s psychic powers. He sees glimpses of peoples’ lives; sometimes pictures, sometimes just a feeling.

As their relationship grew, other troubles brew. At first it was the circus manager who came to pay a call about the ‘retard who escaped’ from his circus. Sarah was thinking how the people around would see him, because most certainly one way or the other the community will learn of his existence. But, when she was around him, she couldn’t help but be happy. I understood her feelings, living alone for years; he was a breath of fresh air to her. And such a sweet man, with sweet, shy smiles and looks that tells her he wants her too. For the first few days, Sarah holds off this mutual desire. She’s already gone to the town where people are busily prattling away about the ‘tattooed freak’ from the circus and how dangerous he might be for the community and so on. Some unwarranted advises came forth for her from the busybodies of the community- like, get married soon. Andrew is still hoping for a date. Soon, Grace, her husband Mark and Andrew came to take her away for a night out. Sarah didn’t want to go first, certainly not leaving Tom home alone. But she understood she can’t sway her friend and they might know of Tom’s existence. When she comes back, Tom wasn’t asleep. As he sees her for the first time, in a party dress, his eyes widened. Sarah was glad to see that. They dance and kiss. Oh, Tom saw Andrew pressing good night kiss on Sarah’s cheek and... It was so nice because he was jealous! After the passionate kisses, they make love. Tom wanted the lights off and Sarah didn’t mind. It was so sweet, can’t tell you, how hesitant and then how ardent and reverent Tom was while touching Sarah. Afterwards, he tells Sarah this is what he saw about her in his vision, which is why he came to her.

Thus begin the new phase of their lives. Oh yes, the very next day, in the morning light Sarah gets to see Tom in his naked glory and the beautiful artworks all over his body; even on his manly parts. Gosh it must’ve been painful but Tom never really expressed himself articulately regarding his life in the circus, except that he wanted out of the place and just live with Sarah. The manager treated him like a stray animal, didn’t let him communicate with the outsiders and ‘created’ him for his own purpose. When an older Tom tried to escape, he even locked him up. It was also implied that he might’ve been sexually abused too. But, Tom didn’t really confirm it with words, only what Sarah thought might’ve happened to him. The more Sarah saw him, the more it’s apparent if one can imagine him without the tattoos, he’s a very attractive man. But to Sarah, he’s attractive nonetheless. And Lord, the guy was sexy with his single-minded devotion and need for her, too.

A girl from the community goes missing in the meantime. Sarah decides to take Tom to help out the search because Tom said he can feel what the girl is feeling. It was a daunting decision for them both but Sarah was hoping, by doing this the community might feel positively towards him. There were trouble at first, with people gawking and so on but the Sheriff was on their side, so was the parents of the girl, especially the mother. Tom helped them find the girl out. I loved this whole search; seeing how a community comes together to work for each-other. But, the same people you think ‘friends’ can turn their back to you when they deem your actions unworthy, being judgmental to the core. When they come back, Sarah ‘showed’ him how proud of him she was. Oh, I so thought Tom deserves such heavenly treatment, his expressions would drive you to your knees, literally! But after this incident, there were more unwarranted advises of not keeping a single man with her and so on. The pastor even comes by with his own two-cents. Though he was nice with Tom, his wife was looking at him as if she was faced with something dangerous. Here, Tom saw something about the wife, which he never told Sarah even when she asked her. Then, Grace comes to see them where Sarah confesses they Tom and she had become lovers. Grace was shocked but not disgusted, which was nice to know. She was so curious about it, asks Sarah if he was tattooed all over or not and how did it feel. I loved Sarah’s answers, it proved how loyal and loving she was to him:
Her tone changed from shocked to curious. “How was it? Was it… different?”
Sarah bit her lip, ashamed to be gossiping but feeling the strong urge to tell. “Yes,”
she confided. “He’s nothing like John. Nothing like him at all.”
“Really? What was different? Did he…?” Grace waved a hand as though erasing a
chalkboard. “Oh, forget it. I shouldn’t be asking this. But,” again her voice lowered, “is he tattooed everywhere?”
Sarah knew it was wrong to talk about him like this, but her inner schoolgirl took over and she nodded, eager to share details. “He’s beautiful … like a stained glass window. And he’s really good with his … mouth.” She raised an eyebrow, giving Grace a significant look.
Her friend gasped and giggled. “But isn’t it weird? Touching him?”
“Skin is skin, Grace,” Sarah chided. “The tattoos are only on the surface, you know.
He’s a man.” A sexy, vulnerable, intense, attractive, responsible, sweet, gentle and loving man.

One day, they make a mistake of bathing nude in the nearby pond where local children sometimes swim. They were apparently seen by some children and soon ‘the news’ spreads like wildfire among the community. That night, someone threw a rock, broke their window with a nasty message on the barn wall. Grace came by to see her, listening to the gossips. She met Tom for the first time and charmed immediately. But, it was tough to read about the other members; how ‘friends’ and ‘well-wishers’ came out with their real faces. Even the fact that Tom helped them with the rescue didn’t matter, they’re such hypocrites. At first, Sarah thought she could weather this but as she courageously goes to the Town, taking Tom with her, she was proven wrong most viciously. The grocery store busybody and the women there gave her cut directs and cold stares. Andrew was nice to her where they went to repair the window. It was the librarian who surprised her, who Sarah thought was the sternest person alive, acted as if Tom was just another guy. I loved it, seeing Sarah so surprised after such treatment from the others and I adored that she never gave up, keeping Tom near always. But, hell broke lose when they were trying get to their cars. Some local ruffians and good-for-nothings broke into a fight with Tom, who was trying to save Sarah when they attacked her at first. The Sheriff’s deputy came by to help them. Hearing the incident last night, he offered more help, saying he’d ask one of the men to drive by her house.

Tom was being distant the whole day, very apparent that he was taking the blame totally onto himself but Sarah told him that she wouldn’t want anything to change between them. Yet, the next day when she woke up, Sarah finds Tom gone, leaving only a short note. She goes insane, thinking what’s might happen to him, how can he wade through the towns alone. She goes to the sheriff at first but comes out without much help. The Sheriff, his deputy, even Grace keep telling her it’s better this way, that she never had a future with him. She looks out on her own, going to places, taking the circus’s trail, thinking he might go back there. But, nothing was helping and her world begins falling apart. She realized she loves him, no matter what. She even tries to reach him through her mind, hoping to get to him. But, the help came again from another unexpected place; this time from Mrs. Sheriff herself. When Sarah went to see the Sheriff, his wife was present. The Sheriff comes out and confesses he knew all along where Tom went but thought this was for ‘the best’ so withheld information from her. His wife, it seems, has a very different opinion, who tells Sarah that she deserves some happiness and it’s none of their business to interfere. Soon she finds Tom in the circus, the scene of their meeting I adored, the way they forget there were people around them. But, the manager, I felt would brew trouble. The sheriff helped them out of the place and they’re back home. Sarah is ecstatic to have Tom around again. Life’s good again (I was pretty jealous reading just how ‘good’ :/). The little girl’s family comes to thank him for saving her life. The girl, Aileen told him how she heard his voice in her head about help is on the way. The family invites them to their BBQ party. Before leaving, the mother tells her to get married, I didn’t think this time it was unwarranted. Sarah didn’t know what to think. I understood because the whole situation was so ‘unorthodox’ as she put it. Could she marry someone so very different in everything and live harmoniously in the society and with herself?
She thought that they could live together for twenty years and he might never consider asking her about marriage. Tom didn’t follow the usual patterns.
If marriage was what she wanted, then she would have to be the one to propose to him.

After a while, Sarah realized she might be pregnant. She tells Tom nothing. One night, Tom woke up with the words ‘fire in the barn’. They rush out but Sarah was accosted with a knife by the manager, who was drunk as a skunk and threatened Tom with her life. He has to go back where he ‘belongs’. I wanted to kill the man myself, his treatment of the poor babe was so demeaning. But the fire soon spreads. While Tom was tackling the disgusting skunk, Sarah tries to save her animals. I was so sad to read she couldn’t. Her neighbor rushes in, so is the fire alarm. Some of the people help them, taking care of the fire and their wounds. Tom was again feeling guilty for all these; part of it was because of that man, who kept on taunting him that all of this is his fault. But Sarah, again, said something to him I loved:
Sarah grabbed his shoulders and forced him to look into her eyes. “No! Forget everything that man ever said. You did nothing wrong. Not ever. He made this happen.”
She grasped his hands and held them. “I don’t know how many more ways I can say it. I’m happy you came here. You’ve…” she hesitated over the melodramatic words, but they were the truth and he needed to hear them, “brought my heart to life again.”
She rubbed her hands over his bandaged ones then lifted them to her mouth and kissed the backs of them.

Finally, the realization hit Sara; why is she holding out? She loves him, this is all that matters. In the BBQ party, Tom was introduced to a lot of people by the hostess. His enthusiasm about farming, while discussing it with Sarah’s neighbor, caught her too. She tells him at night that she’s pregnant. Tom was hesitant, apprehensive about the baby’s future but Sarah gives him the strength. I loved the ending and how they said ILU to each-other, with a marriage forthcoming. Oh I wished there were more in the story. I really wanted to see the baby born and Tom’s expression as he held his baby. As I’ve said before, I wanted to know more things from Tom’s POV, his thoughts. Sarah was hoping that someday he’ll talk about his past to her, I wish I was there when he did. Also, in the end, about Tom’s tattoos; Sarah thought when one observes closely, they were patterned meaningfully but she couldn’t guess how. So, was there any special meaning? But, even with such thoughts buzzing my mind, I give it a 5 star; simply because I loved the story, loved the characters but mostly, I loved Tom with all my heart.


Ok, this is not a man but this pic caught my eyes, which I thought really beautiful. By lusciousUG:

Full female body tattooed

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I love to read in my spare time and do reviews the books I read. My blog Punya Reviews just turned 6 in 2017 and still going strong. I love music and traveling. Sometimes, I wish I could live inside a book, having my own HEA. :)
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