Read with: iBooks for iPad
Genre: Historical Romance
Hero: Breton J. Sterling
Heroine: Hassie Ahearne Petty
Date of Publication: September 30, 2014
Started On: November 6, 2014
Finished On: November 7, 2014
The very first note that I made as soon as I started reading Without Words by Ellen O’Connell was, “Reading an Ellen O’Connell after so long. I’m so excited.” That excitement pretty much started as soon as I stumbled upon Ellen’s newest release and held all throughout, since then up till I turned the very last page. Ellen O’Connell is a master unto herself. A force to be reckoned with when it comes to self-published and otherwise authors out there. Her writing style rivals that of one my favorite authors of Western themed romances, i.e. Maggie Osborne. Her heroes never fall short of making you fall head over heels in love with them and her heroines are just the same. And Without Words is definitely not an exception to the said rule.
Breton J. Sterling (Bret) is a bounty hunter, who after confronting his latest convict finds himself saddled with Hassie Ahearne Petty; it was either take her or leave her to fend off for herself which would have ultimately meant that she would starve to death or worse. Hassie has no choice but to do as the icy-eyed bounty hunter orders her to. A childhood accident had rendered Hassie without the ability to speak loudly and coherently enough for people to understand. That had pretty much defined Hassie’s life since then and she had been resigned to living the life that had been hers until Bret storms into her life and her heart, making her a changed woman forever.
Without Words is not just a story. It is a journey of two people who at first seems to have nothing in common, a man and a woman joined together by circumstances. Bret is man who is paying his self imposed dues to his family, and Hassie has no family to speak of. While Bret has no need for a woman, he can’t help but be protective of Hassie, a woman who defies every single hardship that had befallen her and still manages to see the beauty the world has to offer. And before long, Bret finds himself yearning for more of his violet-eyed Hassie, something he had never thought would happen in his lifetime.
Hassie’s awakening towards Bret as a man is one that progresses slowly. She has no experience to put her trust in when it comes to anything good happening between a woman and a man, but Bret makes her want to trust and put her belief in the honor that is practically stamped all over the man himself. The trust that unfurls in Hassie towards Bret grows in leaps and bounds until of course Bret becomes the only man she has ever loved, even though his past warns her of the consequences that this love would wreak on her heart.
Without Words is a story in which practically everything worked and meshed well together to give the sort of read that is so hard to come by in the modern world of romance today. There is a reason why I still yearn for the “classics” that started me on my journey of reading romances. And Without Words brought that back with an effortless ease that made me want to cry because there aren’t enough authors who write today like Ellen O’Connell does.
Like I mentioned earlier in my review, Ellen creates some of very the best heroes and heroines I’ve encountered in romance novels. There’s a voice to Ellen’s work that speaks to you on a level beyond just words strung together that give meaning. These words, they speak to your soul. It invokes emotions in you that you don’t think possible and yet if you are a romance reader like myself, yearn for with every fiber for your being. I cried during moments of sweet angst and smiled so much at times that my face hurt. There’s nothing more beautiful to a reader than a well spun story that they can lose themselves in and Ellen has provided just that with every full length novel that she has published to date.
Bret; I swear I just trembled from want, every single time that icy control of his that shattered under the strength of his passions, be it anger against the wrongs in this world or his desire for the woman who consumes him. Bret is a hero who is uber masculine, one who is unabashedly manly and yet has a core of strength and honor in him that makes a woman fall like a ton of bricks. And fall hard, I did. There is no other way to say this; Bret, you own my heart.
With Hassie, Ellen has once again created her trademark variety of heroine. The fact that Hassie can’t speak was a novelty in itself, her outlook towards life, that sheer joy deep inside of her that reaches out from the pages and practically engulfs you in its hold is a powerful one. Without Words is an apt title for a book that speaks to the reader on so many levels and that too with a heroine who is unable to use her voice to communicate. I loved Hassie for everything she stood for. Her love for Bret hadn’t happened overnight, neither had she thrown herself at him just because she was dependent on her. Their love had been a slow and a fiery one, one that consumes you and leaves you with that wholesome glow of having been loved and loved well.
Ellen explores with her stories the hardship that life was during those times. The imminent threat of starvation, the price women had to pay to make a livelihood for themselves and the harsh reality of women without a man by their side, the rough and at times unforgiving land that could make or break a person; all that is vividly brought to life in every single novel that I have read from her. I’m so glad that I happened across the release of this one and Ellen, you’ve made my whole month by this beautiful story, which if you are a lover of romance novels definitely ought not miss!
The problem with finding a book that moves you enough to render you unable to do anything afterwards is the fact that you never want the story to end, you want the pages to go on, the magic to continue, the feelings that courses through you to never cease. And once you turn that last page, you feel like mourning, you feel like no other book would ever have that impact on you ever again and mostly it turns out to be true, because it is so rare these days to find new books that has everything going for them. So I treasure this diamond in the rough that shines vividly through and hope that someday soon I find yet again the magic that I discovered while reading Without Words, that undeniable magic that makes being a romance reader worthwhile.
Final Verdict: Without Words is a beautifully crafted masterpiece that touched every single piece of my soul. Definitely recommended!
“Don’t worry,” he said. “I’ve done this too often to count, and I’ll be back before you know it, but you need to be ready to move out fast then.”
Her hand rested on his cheek, fingers soft by his temple, palm warm even through the growth of several days’ beard. Her body pressed close. She hugged him and was gone.
The cool wind blew in vain as he rode toward the town. The memory of her touch warmed him every step of the way.
She anticipated the kiss, expected hard pressure on her mouth and an invading tongue. Instead his lips brushed hers as lightly as butterfly wings before settling more firmly. Her arms tightened. So did his.
Her body molded to his, chest to chest, belly to belly. Her quickened breath matched the rhythm of his. His mouth caressed hers, played against hers. His teeth tugged gently on her bottom lip, and she opened for him, not invaded at all but joined. His tongue teased until she tried to imitate. From the sound he made deep in his throat, she succeeded.
The mattress moved under his weight. His lips feathered across hers. Her breath caught. A small moan escaped, and she tried to stifle it.
“Don’t,” he whispered against her lips, “Don’t keep anything inside. If you feel like talking that Greek at me, do it.”
She laughed, felt him inhale her laughter.
“You have the most beautiful laugh. It runs up and down my spine, shivers over my skin, and makes me want to grab hold of you like a mad man. You have no idea….” His mouth closed over hers again, his tongue tracing her upper lip, lower, along the seam.
The fever rose again, and soft sounds of desire escaped with each breath. She pulled at his shoulders again to bring him over her, and this time he gave what she wanted, settled between her thighs, slid into her hot, wet core, stretching her past what she had known. Her muscles spasmed, and he groaned.
She did it again, deliberately this time.
“Hassie.” Her plain name sounded like it belonged to someone else, someone beautiful and desirable and loved.
His heat enveloped her or maybe only merged with hers until the room lost its chill. Sweat prickled along her spine, and the tiny knot of reservation inside her dissolved in the flood of pleasure. She moaned softly, her teeth in her lower lip. Mine, she thought. Her hands fisted in his hair. Mine.
“Is that how you think of it?” she signed.
“I was being poetic, but yes, it got harder every year. I’m glad to be done with it. My only regret is I’ll never again see the look of wonder on your face when you see something like the Missouri River for the first time.”
“There will be other things to wonder at.”
“Without mountains and rivers what will there be?”
She fought the temptation to tell him of the greatest thing they would wonder over.
“There will be Christmas trees.”
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