Title: Ocean's Touch
Author: Denise Townsend
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Release Date: 27th December '11
Description: A lonely widow and a handsome artist have a chance for happiness…with the help of a sexy selkie, that is.
After the death of Meredith’s husband many years before, she allowed his legacy to take over her life. A shell of a woman, she finds little joy in her day-to-day tasks. Drawn to her pain, the empathic selkie Dylan knows she’s ready to live and love again, and he knows that he’s just the man for the job. As Dylan draws Meredith out of her shell, he realizes that to truly free her, he needs to help her accept her budding love for Alexander, an artist who challenges Meredith on every level: intellectually, emotionally and sexually. To achieve a true happy ending, Dylan must help his chosen humans break down their emotional barriers in order to grab the happiness they so deserve.
My thoughts: The story starts with Dylan, the selkie, watching Meredith one night while she's relaxing on her beach. He's seen her here several times now, and can tell she's grieving over something. Meredith comes down to the beach every night. After her much older husband died from a terminal illness, she inherited his property and his businesses, with strict instructions that he wanted her to run the charity projects, giving it the personal touch that suits just wouldn't bring. While it's an amazing opportunity, it puts a lot of pressure on Meredith, and she's only really doing it for Teddy, not herself. And when you throw in her slightly-crazy mother in law who's never happy with anything, it really isn't the best time for Meredith.
Dylan decides it's time to intervene with Meredith, and shows up on her beach glamoured to look like a normal human. They go swimming, have some steamy sex, and unsurprisingly Meredith freaks out a bit the next morning when she realises what she's done. She heads off to work, where she bumps into local (very wealthy) artist, Alex. There's an obvious heat between them that's been there for some time, but not having had a very physical relationship with her deceased husband, until now she's never realised what it was. The trouble is, Meredith is very much "Teddy's Widow". Alex has quite a scandalous reputation, and Merry worries about what people will think about her just being seen around with him, never mind going to the party he invites her too. When Dylan finds out about her feelings for Alex, he's determined to help out.
I thought this book was quite a sweet, happy story. I was a bit disappointed with the love scenes - Denise Townsend is the erotica pen name of one of my favourite authors, and to be honest I think things are steamier and better written in her other series. Some of the descriptions just didn't feel quite right to me. There was a lot of use of a particular 'c' word that I really don't like, which kept pulling me out of the story, and the word "turgid" comes up a couple of times. I'm sorry, but I just can't take that seriously.
I do quite like the way that Dylan helps bring this couple together. They have both been appreciating the other for a while, but needed a bit of a helping hand to push them together and make them do something about the attraction, and to realise that it's mutual. I like the way it finished, too - not everything is perfectly worked out, and you can see that Alex & Merry are going to have to work a bit to make their relationship work, but the important parts are there.
Overall, it was a nice story for an afternoon read, but I think some bits could have been better written. I'll give it 6 out of 10.