Title: Touch Me
Author: Chris Scully
Pages/Word Count: 73 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: Massage therapist Erik Morgan offers a very special after-hours service to a handful of select clients. From a young man anxious to explore his sexuality, to a stroke patient who fears he’ll never be a man again, Erik touches them all. But no one touches him. Not anymore.
Review: Touch Me was a cleverly crafted novella following one main character, Erik, a massage therapist. Erik provides a physical experience to his clients, bringing them sexual pleasure and release. While this may seem a bit seedy and cheap, it become clear from the very start that Erik is a doctor of touch, a therapist of souls, and a guide towards physical self-awareness.
The book is divided into four sections and in the first two, we learn a great deal about Erik and what motivates him. He cares deeply about helping his clients. We also learn he has his own demons to manage as well. His lover of twenty-six years is dying, and we watch as he struggles to make sense of his world.
Jeremy enters Erik’s life in the first of four sections in this novella. From the start, it becomes clear Jeremy touches something inside Erik. He’s young. More that twenty-five years younger than Erik. As the story unfolds, we see how Jeremy, although just coming to terms with his sexuality and far less experienced than Erik in life and love, has just as much to offer in return to bring Erik fulfillment and happiness. The journey, as it emerges on the pages, is how Erik comes to terms with his life as it is (filled with the disappointment of loss), and how he hopes it might be (filled with love and connectedness).
There were many things which I enjoyed about this novella.
First, the sexual encounters are beautifully detailed and explicit. Mr. Scully has a talent for drawing out the emotional side of the physical sensations and excitement that come with sexual discovery and pleasure. Throughout the book, emotions play just as important a role as the physicality described on the page. Very hot!
Second, the emotional journey of our central character was touching. Erik wasn’t a cookie-cutter protagonist. He was middle aged and flawed. But we got to know him and feel his struggles. I appreciate when an author is able to bring me inside the head of a character on a visceral level, and I definitely cared about Erik.
Jeremy’s character, while secondary, represented home and youthful innocence. Not the ick-kind, like taking advantage of someone inexperienced, but the enlightening kind filled with optimism and the belief that good outweighs bad.
I would have liked to see Jeremy’s character developed more. With a bit more depth, Jeremy would have added a dimension to this story which would have really enhanced the plot and the emotional journey. He and Erik come from very different places in their lives and, for me, knowing more about Jeremy would have fleshed out this story and helped me to see the journey of both main characters as they slowly came together. Great love stories, in my opinion, are about how two characters come together and change over the course of the book. The love between two people lies in the way they change. It lies in their transformation, and their journey is so much the better because they’ve traversed obstacles independently and together to find their happiness as a couple. I didn’t get as much of that in this story as I craved.
With that said, Mr. Scully chose to make this a novella, and there is only so much that can be accomplished in a limited amount of words. I was so taken in by this story that I completed it in three hours, which is very fast for me. I simply couldn’t put it down.
You can buy Touch Me here: