EROTICA
When I'm In Your Arms
A Kelly. Sept. 2018. 388p. ISBN 9780648246336. pap. $9.99; ebk. ISBN 9780648246343. EROTICA
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Andrea Curtin and husband Chris are trying to repair their damaged marriage in Europe after the tragic loss of one son to an accident and another soon after childbirth. Unanswerable questions still haunt them, making intimacy extremely difficult. After a health scare leaves Andrea in the hospital, the couple must confront the elephant in the room: their decimated sex life. With few options, Chris suggests that Andrea finds comfort in the arms of other men—as long as they stay together as loving husband and wife. Andrea timidly enters the world of male escorts, but every one reminds her too much of her spouse. That is, until the enigmatic Lucio ignites her lust and maybe more. Lucio, aka Frederico Lowe, has been dealing with lifelong trauma of his own: an absentee father, an abusive mother who battles addiction, and extreme poverty made his childhood fairly loveless and unpredictable. The boys and men he's loved all his life have abandoned him; his own struggles and financial instability lead him to a massage parlor and eventually to escorting. When Andrea and Lucio finally meet, sparks fly, but can real love blossom when sex is transactional? Kelly's (On the Canvas of My Soul) lyrical descriptions of grief and trauma blend seamlessly with the pair's potent attraction. The fraught nature of Andrea's and Frederico's circumstances means there are some intense scenes of harm and addiction that may deter readers seeking lighter fare.
VERDICT An erotic tale that stands out for its deft exploration of sex and lust alongside unimaginable tragedy.

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