After Kallie Moran’s husband, Aaron, is killed in Iraq, Kallie asks her law firm to transfer her back to her home town so she can be close to her mother.
When her request is granted, she realizes that closeness to her mother also means closeness to her mother’s dreadful sister, Bessie Benson.
Bessie is loud and crass, and her sons make a lifestyle of rotating in and out of the county jail. The only Benson that Kallie has ever been able to tolerate is her cousin, Andi. Andi, too, once dreamed of getting out of Brookville, but unlike Kallie, she never quite made it.
Now an out lesbian, Andi drags her intimidated partner, Della, to local bars and out-of-control family affairs. Della seems so miserable that Kallie finds herself reaching out to this beautiful, fragile-looking woman who just doesn’t seem to belong among the Bensons.
As Kallie and Della become friends, Kallie witnesses the verbal and emotional abuse Andi heaps on Della. Then comes the terrible night when Andi is no longer able to confine herself to words and slams Della to the ground, permanently scarring her face.
Della flees to Kallie for protection. In relative safety, she struggles to face the fact that she is a victim of lesbian domestic violence. She is also falling hard for Kallie, her rescuer.
Kallie, meanwhile, is keeping some secrets of her own. She wants to be with Della as much as Della wants to be with her, but she is afraid to embark on her first lesbian relationship.
Their love blossoms when Kallie risks her life to save Della from another of Andi’s vicious attacks. But it doesn’t take Andi long to realize she’s been betrayed. Furious, drunk, and carrying her father’s hand gun, she vows that this time she will REALLY make Della and Kallie pay.
I enjoyed this book. I thought Judy Folger handled the domestic violence topic well. She was even able to show a bit in Andi’s head her trying to justify and explain her actions. I liked how Della and Kallie’s relationship progressed. It was hard to understand Della’s feelings since they changed a few times. I could tell Della was warring with herself and trying to reconcile the Andi she fell in love with and the Andi she was with now. But it could have been explained a bit better to make it more a battle of conscious and not just wishy-washy feelings. The ending wasn’t what I was expecting. It was kind of happy. But at the same time not. It was also a little bit rushed. The scene with Kallie and Andi’s mom was interesting, but it left me hanging a bit. I would have liked those revelations to be explored more. I’d also would have liked to see more of how Kallie and Della worked together in a relationship after the threat was over. How did they get over those events? Definitely a book worth reading and author I’d read from again.
I asked Della to tell us, now that she’s away from Andi, her favorite way to spend time with Kallie. What I got is amazing. I hope you love it as much as I do. Read and enjoy!
My relationship with Andi started out so sweet and loving. She was so tough and butch, and I kind of felt like I’d been picked by the captain of the football team. I didn’t realize that Andi had so many mental problems and that the constant abuse she’d endured from her own family, particularly her brothers, would begin to take its toll on her. I loved her as much and as hard as I could, but as the years went by, she started calling me names and making fun of me. It was like she despised me because I was in love with her, if that makes any sense.
It wasn’t long before she started having affairs. She didn’t bother to hide them from me, either. She’d even tease me about them, telling me all about how the other women were more beautiful than I was. Occasionally if she was in a really bad mood, she’d give me a pinch or a jab in the arm or the leg.
That’s kind of where things were at when I met Kallie. Kallie’s husband had died in the War on Terror. She’d never been with another woman before, and I couldn’t imagine her wanting to be with me, of all people, but she always treated me with manners and respect. And then sometimes, when we were laughing together or even sharing a serious moment, I felt it. A little spark.
Kallie was kind and gentle and classy…everything Andi was not. I started to hope that maybe my life could get back to the way it was before Andi had come along. But I guess I wasn’t so smart, because Andi figured out real quick what was going on. She didn’t pinch me or jab me that night. She used my face for a punching bag.
I didn’t know what else to do. I went to Kallie. And you know what? She wanted me. After years of being told I was worthless and useless, even after getting my face smashed, Kallie was able to look past all that and see that we belonged together.
When we were together, I was slowly able to start getting my old life back. I bonded with my parents again, and with my sister, and with my little niece, Meara.
Finally, I could enjoy quiet evenings, the gentle togetherness of sitting next to the woman I loved, holding her hand as we watched TV or just listened to pleasant music. What I enjoy most with Kallie is the gentle unspoken feeling and knowledge that I am loved by someone whom I can love, admire, and respect in return.
How do you describe that special feeling with that very special person? How do you describe Love? How do you describe a rainbow to a blind person? If you are loved, truly loved, you know. I know.
Della leaned into Kallie so that their bodies were pressed close together. Kallie finally did what she had been wanting to do since the day she met Della. She reached up and tangled her fingers in that glorious, unruly hair. She had expected Della’s hair to be coarse, but it was soft and warm in her hands.
Then Della’s hands found her breases, and Kallie remembered where they were and what they were doing. It took every ounce of willpower that she’d ever possessed, but she withdrew from Della, backing into the wall at the end of the step. “We shouldn’t do this,” she said in a voice so hoarse with passion she scarcely recognized it.
Della’s green eyes reflected hurt and confusion. “Why not?”
“Because you’re my cousin’s partner.”
Della nodded sadly. “You’re right. I’m sorry. I’ll go.”
Kallie tried to think of something to say that would ease things between the two of them, but no words came to her mind. All she could do was watch as Della walked out the door.
A proud member of the lesbian community, Judy wrote her first book after she retired and hasn’t looked back since. Her books tell the stories of women in love who fight to overcome real-life problems. Judy was born in Oklahoma and grew up in Wichita but now lives in Merriam, Kansas. She has a son who also writes and a daughter-in-law who does paranormal investigations.
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