TWO REVIEWS ~ TOUCH MY SOUL by Stuart Reardon & Jane Harvey-Berrick

Today we are thrilled to be sharing two reviews of Stuart Reardon and Jane Harvey-Berrick’s heart-breaking love story, TOUCH MY SOUL

“Oh, you little heartbreaker!”

Ben Richards is a professional rugby player, successful and single. He has everything he wants in life, except for the health of his younger brother who suffers from a life-limiting illness.

When fun and feisty physiotherapist Brunina comes into both their lives, he realizes that love is a precious gift—and that a little love can last a lifetime.

TOUCH MY SOUL IS LIVE AND AVAILABLE IN KINDLEUNLIMITED

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Reviewed by Sharon Thérèse at KFF

Jane Harvey-Berrick and Stuart Reardon seem to me to be having a wordy-wise book love affair going on! In a nutshell; they cracked it in this novella, making me sob ‘till the cows came home! The flawless first-person perspective in past tense shares thoughts, fears and future doubts. Okay…I am a crybaby per se, but that doesn’t mean that their latest offering didn’t touch my brainstem in every possible way. A duo to be reckoned with regarding sports romance if you like the thrill of going in blind; delving into the unknown and yearn for surprises, Touch My Soul has it all. It’s not a long read; however, the authors have covered a heart-wrenching subject with the utmost compassion, finesse, and sensitivity.

The opportunity to learn more about the stress behind professional rugby was far too enticing to be ignored since this genre apart from contemporary romance is at the top of my list. And to top the lot, a solid storyline about how two brothers felt in a dire situation was in my book, beyond special. Why you may ask! It was a question of tackling head on one’s acceptance of what’s on the cards. How Ben Richards come to terms with his younger brother, Paul’s illness. How they both cope with it. Regarding everyday tasks, Paul’s self-respect is in question since simple things in life aren’t easy and ooh boy, did I feel for him.

Here steps in a no-nonsense physiotherapist not to be messed with. Brunina aka Ru has a new job to do as best as she can in front of some very attractive and burly rugby players. Their flirtations could easily overstep the mark; nonetheless, someone reminds them about the art of courtesy. She’ll cannily take what she gets with abounding Brit humour and sass and I fell hard for her. A relief to laugh out loud when the story is so heartbreaking. Work ethics she has, but she catches the eye of Ben. He likes what he sees and sparks fly, romance is in the air and I clapped my hands with glee.

Ben is adorable. Chivalrous, attentive…hmm, my new book boyfriend if he’s not already been taken! Opening his heart, observing his thoughts and watching how the story evolved kept me attentive at all times. Ladies, he and Ru’s chemistry cannot be denied. For me, their story is so much more than the steaminess, which I might add, is scorching hot.

The beginning of the story is harsh stuff, and as it rolled on, I was left with a lump in my throat. The twist floored me to the point of tears, the ending…I have no words to describe how I felt. I honestly don’t know how these authors have managed to pull off such a beautifully written novella, seeing as the content is so dense. This little-big gem of a read is not too long or too short and most certainly a must-read. Bravo Harvey-Berrick and Reardon!

Reviewed by Anna on behalf of KFF

A collaboration of two authors, their novella is packed with an emotional punch. A short story that made my heart shatter into pieces but made whole again by the inspiring message and hope.

Ben Richards is a winger for the Finchley Phoenexis, a top league Rugby Union Club.  He is wholly dedicated to his sport, a responsible young man and a skilled athlete at the top of his game.  Paul, his younger brother, is the one who keeps him grounded and makes him reflect on life and the choices given to him.

Bruninha or Ru, is the new physiotherapist of the team. A little spitfire who won’t be messed around in the locker room by a bunch of jocks, she is quick-witted and can give as good as she gets. Ru is a young woman who’s full of life and loves her job.

This tale narrated from Ben’s point of view may be short but is full of angst. When I was warned that I might need tissues, I knew that somewhere along the storyline this will end in tears and although I didn’t bawl my eyes out (I managed to hold it in), the grief and heartbreak I felt for the characters was totally consuming. This book is not only about romance but also tells us about the two brothers’ relationship. Eighteen-year-old Paul is a charming character, he may be physically weak but his zest for life is contagious. The interaction between Ru and her family, with Ben and his own parents, is significant.

The authors successfully combine the entertaining world of rugby and the fascinating family dynamics of Ben and Ru’s families. My only gripe is that because this is a novella, I felt short-changed, I wanted so much more. I hope the authors will give us more of Ben’s story. I highly recommend this.

EXCERPT 

© 2019 Stuart Reardon & Jane Harvey-Berrick
All rights reserved. 

 
“What’s the matter with you?” Paul asked the next evening. “You’re being weird.”“What are you talking about, you little squirt? Weird how?”“Smiling and shit. It’s creepy.”Without looking, I threw a cushion at his head and flipped channels on the TV. Mum and Dad were having a rare night out for just the two of them, so Paul was staying with me. We didn’t call it babysitting, but that’s kind of what it was. It took quite a lot of planning for him to spend the night away from home: there were all his meds to pack up; his high-calorie drinks, some strange banana-flavoured stuff called Fortisip which was like a thick milkshake and a feeding supplement. I kept a bunch of his stuff at my place anyway, and I knew he liked getting away from Mum and Dad—they could be pretty stifling, especially now he was 18. He should be leaving home and taking the place he’d been offered at Cambridge to study Chemistry or going backpacking around the world or getting his first job. Instead, he was stuck being a kid while his health became more and more fragile. He threw the cushion back and grabbed the remote control, flipping back to the DVD channel. I groaned. Game of Thrones again. I’d never got into it, even though I thought that Queen of Dragons chick was hot, but Paul loved it.
“So, are you going to tell me what’s up?”

“Nope.”

“You’re being a dickhead, Ben,” he grumbled.

“Not true! I’ve ordered pizza and I’m letting you watch Dungeons and Dragons.”

He gripped the remote control and glared at me.

“It’s Game of Thrones, knob head.”

“Cheese dick,” and I grabbed the remote, holding it over my head.

“Wanker.”

“Tosser.”

“That’s weapons-grade tosser to you.”

I was distracted when my phone beeped with a message and Paul yanked the remote control out of my hands.

Have fun with Paul.

Excited about our date! You’d better impress me.

Ru x

“What’s that stupid smile on your face?” Paul asked suspiciously.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“It’s that girl, isn’t it? The hot one at the hospital.”

My denial was a second too slow.

“Holy shit, are you shagging her?”

I slapped him around the head, not very gently.

“Don’t talk about her like that.”

He rubbed his head, surprise written on his face.

“Sorry, bruv. I didn’t realise that you liked her that way.” He paused. “She seemed really nice.”

“She is,” I said shortly.

 

QUICK QUOTES

Life would never be the same again. Sometimes that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Guys, if you’re reading this, here’s a tip from the top: women love cake. Doesn’t matter what kind because they love all types of cake.

If you were twice as smart as you are, you’d be half as smart as you think you are.

Her mittens pressed against the back of my neck, drawing me closer, and we kissed, on the top of a London double-decker bus as snowflakes started to drift down around us, catching in Ru’s dark hair, sparkling like diamonds before they melted. Could anything ever be this perfect again?

Ru was the storm that I didn’t see coming. No clouds on the horizon, just the heat on my skin as I felt the electricity between us.

MEET STUART AND JANE

Stuart Reardon

Stuart is a retired England International Rugby League player whose career spanned 16 years as a professional playing for several top League clubs. He has had a number of major injuries that nearly ended his career, just as in ‘Undefeated’, his first amazing collaboration with Jane Harvey-Berrick.

Currently, he is a Personal Trainer living in Cheshire, UK. He’s beginning a new journey this year into videography and photography, as he continues to develop his writing partnership with Jane—and new books are on the way. Hold tight!

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Jane Harvey-Berrick

Jane is a best-selling author of compelling, thought-provoking contemporary and new adult romances, translated into seven languages. Her three collaborations with Stuart Reardon have all been bestsellers, all set within the world of international rugby as a backdrop: UNDEFEATED, MODEL BOYFRIEND, TOUCH MY SOUL (novella).

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