Sheltered <—- 4 stars (or 4.5 stars) I dunno… I’m stuck!
This one helped jumpstart me after a somewhat difficult reading week (a few starts and stops… I just couldn’t pin down exactly what I was in the mood for). Does that ever happen to you? You want to read. You’re bored just sitting not reading. You watch tv. You try movies. You definitely start a few books you’ve been anxious to read. And yet, even though you know *normally* you’d totally be into it, for some reason… you’re just stalled. I had that happen this week. I think it’s because I’ve got so many TBR’s almost fighting each other at the top of the list (I wanna read ‘em all), that I start one and wonder if I’d rather be starting another. I’m trying to devour ‘em all up at once, and wondering if I’m missing out on that one that’s still sitting there… waiting for me. I’m being a book-hog. So many choices and suddenly I’m indecisive. I guess that’s a good thing, though.
And then a couple of you reminded me of this (it was already on my TBR, but had been pushed down due to it being a “short”).
Mary Jo: “I found Sheltered by Charlotte Stien and I think you’ll love this. It’s sweet, innocent, funny and still manages to be steamy. Evie and Van are so sweet together and although it’s short, you totally get a feel for them. Read this book! I think you’ll totall swoon over Van….bad but sweet at the core!”
Mariel: “It was sooo sweeet!!!!! It has a bad boy in it and it’s STEAMY!!!! Well written, from the main character’s point of view… I will admit, it was a bit pricey for being such a short read but the description got me curious… Well it sorta kinda had me wishing there was a sequel but it gave me what I needed… A hot romance!!!! Ok I’ll stop yapping…. It’s called Sheltered by Charlotte Stein, if you have read it let me know what you thought… Please please please help me find another heart wrenching steamy read…. Im dying here ;p thanks girl!!!!”
And I thought…bummer!! But it’s another short story (and I wondered if it was just a bit high-priced considering it’s length). Did I want to chance it? The magic words in the reviews said tattooed, but… you know. In the past, I’ve read some bad-boys short stories that ended up being more just “reading” about the characters. The words conveyed the right “good girl/bad boy” situation, but the feelings weren’t there for me. Too fast, not enough detail. I needed to experience it as if we was them. I wanted something deep. I wanted my hours or days spent with a certain couple, exploring all of their trials and tribulations, to be fulfilling.
But I should know better, because I have read a few “shorts” that were short on length but big on emotion. Sometimes a “short” can be written just well enough to give you all that and more, and this was one of them. Loved it!!
The “meeting” was tentative and awkward (but uncomfortable and believable enough to hook me). Bad boy tattooed hero (and I mean full of tattoos, mostly shaved head, piercings… the works), “Van” buying *something* on a weekly basis, from the neighbor of the extremely sheltered and abused nineteen year old heroine (Eve).
… from here she could make out his tattoo on the webbing between his thumb and forefinger. An actual tattoo, in such a tender place.
Oh, he was undoubtedly a maniac.
“You’re not afraid of me, are you?” he asked, but he said it in such an incredulous tone she didn’t know what to think. Did incredulity mean something good? Like maybe her being afraid of him was so ludicrous, so impossible, he could barely comprehend it? “Just because Im here making a little… transaction, doesn’t mean I’m gonna hurt anybody.”
The slowly budding friendship between two broken souls, over a fence, once a week, and then… on her porch on the only night her parents go out. I was totally in! And I was laughing, too. It’s not that it was a funny book, but it certainly had it’s lighter moments. Her inexperience with the world enamored him, and as she slowly let go, and as he did, too… I began to relate to them. It’s as if they were real.
“Did I almost fall? I definitely almost falled.” She paused, thinking. “Fell. I almost fell.”
“I think falled is right.”
“It’s not. You’re weird.”
“I know. Want some more?”
And then, the friendship grew into so much more. And when I say more I mean… OMG this is just WOW!! Even the slight hesitant lip touches, in one scene… so exquisitely detailed. More and more, just building exquisitely slow and yet… fast. Each piece detailed. Every single moment was there. At one point, I stopped breathing, my eyes went wide, my jaw dropped and I…. blink. Blink. BlinkBlinkBlink!!! Literally. And then I thought to myself… whoa! Wait! All of this heat, and they’re still fully dressed?!!? *whooooooooooo*
It was undoubtedly the naughtiest thing she’d ever seen or been a part of…
Oh yes. Yes. It. Was.
But it’s not just steam and sweetness. Because Eve’s upbringing is a scary one. Her father dominates, abuses and terrorizes both her and her mother. Raised in a strict religious household, she has no real knowledge of the outside world. Only what her father allows her to know, and her view of life is terribly skewed. To make matters worse, she lives in fear. Not love. Never love.
Somehow she’d become perpetually trapped at sixteen. Forever surrounded by virginal rings and projects with her shaky mother and handshakes with her father, who alternated between finding her stupid and too clever.
Yet Van is undeniably drawn to her, and despite the dangerous and unusual circumstances of her life, they manage to forge a deep connection. I went through a gamut of emotions with this one, including being terrified for her. No matter how much intensity and heartfelt gazing we were indulging in… her father’s reign of terror hung over the story like a dark cloud, and I was right there with her, every step of the way.
It wouldn’t be the belt, for a creature like this in the house with her. It’d be a hole dug in the garden and her in it.
Do I wish this story was longer. Yes! Exactly this story… but longer. But you know what? In my opinion, it did the job perfectly. I had hours of reading pleasure, dreamt of it once I was done, and woke up thinking of it. What more could I have asked for?
I’m certainly going to look up this author ASAP. I love her detailed writing style, and hoping there is more to come from her as a continuation to this story.
P.S. I ADORE Van!!!!! The way he spoke, his demeanor… real. The perfectly imperfect bad-boy with the best, biggest most awesome heart. ADORE!!!
4 to 4.5 stars (I’d for sure say 4.5 if it was a full length)