Shaken by Dee Tenorio
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Length: Short Story (49 pgs)
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Fern
Thirteen stories up. Two broken hearts. One last chance…
Surgeon Grant Sullivan’s once-perfect life lies in ruins. His daughter is gone—lost in a tragic accident he dare not allow himself to remember—and his beautiful wife now stares at him from across a legal table, insisting she wants nothing from him.
Julia Sullivan lost everything, especially her illusions about her marriage, after the accident. Her grief only seemed to drive Grant further into his emotional shell—except for the nights he turned to her in silent, furious passion. Unable to live like a ghost in her old life, she’s packed up what’s left of her broken heart and is ready to move on. Alone.
Determined to break their stalemate, Grant follows Julia onto the elevator just in time for an earthquake. Trapped for hours in a building pressure cooker of unspoken pain, he’ll do anything to remind her what she’s leaving behind, as deliciously as he can. But giving her what she needs to save their marriage is the one thing that could destroy his soul.
One of the most devastating things a parent can possibly endure is the loss of a child. Not only do they lose someone who is dear to them, but they also lose a portion of themselves as well. Author Dee Tenorio’s newest novella, Shaken, tackles this emotional topic. It’s not an easy read, but with the subject matter, it’s not supposed to be. What you get is a man and a woman driven to the brink, unable to cope with what has happened to them in order to find common ground and move on.
The blurb summarizes what you can expect. As the driver of the vehicle on the tragic day they lost their daughter, Grant hasn’t forgiven himself. He can’t let go of the past, but he can’t face it either. This has created a chasm in his marriage. Julia needs to know that her husband shares her grief, but so far, feels that perhaps he never loved the child that he was never sure he wanted in the first place. Emotions run incredibly high, especially when they are trapped together in the confines of an elevator and forced to play out their hands. While the heat cranks up, their hearts are once again placed on the line. Each relives that fateful day, which is heartbreaking to say the least. For a novella the motivations, history, and “big reveal,” are very well done, and I definitely enjoyed the interaction and back history of the characters and the event that permanently changed their lives.
There was one minor point of confusion with the ending of the story, but it’s impossible to discuss without spoiling anything. Although it does make for a melt-your-heart HEA, it also conflicts with an earlier revelation in the novella. Aside from this, however, I absolutely loved and recommend Shaken. If you’re a fan of Dee Tenorio, you’ll definitely love this novella. The writing is fantastic, the characters are well-rounded and developed, and there is enough tension/drama/angst to keep you turning the pages to learn what happens next.