Lightning Strikes by Cass Sellars is a butch/femme romance that is just so extraordinarily good. I’m not a romance reader as such. I like a bit of spice, mystery, thriller or sci-fi with the romance, and I read this book because Amy Herman Pall recommended it — and I am so pleased that she did.
The story is really simple in some respects in that Parker Duncan was married to a butch woman for ten years only to find her wife was cheating on her. She has just got through the divorce, sold the house and is moving on with her life. After her divorce and on her first night out with her friends in a long time, she spots a butch woman, Sydney Hyatt, and is immediately attracted to her despite knowing that she is a player. Having such similarity to her ex-wife, Parker therefore runs.
It could sound so trite. Monogamous woman (Parker) meets one-night-stand expert (Syd) and they are attracted. Oh! But it just doesn’t do justice to the story at all. It is written so cleverly and I found the attraction to be scintillating. I couldn’t stop thinking about it myself. The story is about their relationship and you are taken on a really interesting, and emotional journey as the two women have to deal with their pasts to come to terms with the now.
Parker Duncan is everything you expect a femme to be. She wears dresses, does her makeup before going out and checks it at every opportunity. She is expending all her energy in building her nest and making herself a home. Parker has two supporting friends that have her interests at heart: Jenny, both a work colleague and longtime friend, and Allen, her best friend forever. In addition, she has parents who want to talk and stay in touch as long as there is no mention of lesbians.
Sydney Hyatt is an androgynous woman, six feet tall and with very short dark hair. She works at home creating animations of crime scenes. She is an expert at having sex in short-term relationships that don’t even last long enough to be termed one-night stands and has avoidance strategies in place to ensure that she doesn’t have to deal with anyone wanting more. She is a real loner, but we do meet her mother whom she terms ‘Satan’s Social Secretary’.
The frisson of the whole piece is the inner journey of each of the two women and how they both dance around each other. Parker starts out having been the wronged woman in a long-term relationship, and whilst not emotionally walled off, she is certainly frightened of history repeating itself. She thus tries to be accepting of ‘no strings’ attachments and her inner journey is her vacillation between wanting and pushing away. Sydney’s inner journey is the opposite of Parker’s, in that she finds herself really talking to another woman for the first time in her life and she finds herself wanting what she has never had — more than one night.
The Writing Style
This is the best thing about this book. I am just awed by Cass Sellars’s use of language. It almost takes you unawares, for example: ’the inner dialogue lobbing inside Parker’s head waffled between “What the hell is happening? And “Run very fast”.’ Lobbing and waffled perfectly describe what the author intended, but with such clever word selection.
In addition, her descriptions of emotional tension are just so well done and with the lightning strikes and the heat sizzling between the two women, the story is a real page turner. Never thought I’d say that about a romance!
I have already described the writing style which is first-rate, but the emotional journey of each of the characters has you, as the reader, hanging on with them.
There are none.
This is a beautifully written, scintillating, seriously hot book that is a real page turner and I will say it again, is a ROMANCE! I have no hesitation in recommending this book, go and buy it. It is one of the best books I have read this year.
Excerpt from Lightning Strikes by Cass Sellars
The fingers of her left hand grazed over rough denim and she jerked forward, suddenly afraid she had drifted into a dancing couple. Parker turned and looked up into Syd’s eyes. Syd leaned down and hot breath from her words fluttered around Parker’s ear.
“Why don’t you dance with me?” Syd suggested as she led Parker by the hand to the center of the floor, not waiting for an official answer.
As she allowed herself to be pulled into the dance, Parker hoped Syd hadn’t felt her shiver. She knew she’d seen the blush rise into her cheeks because they still burned.
Syd rested their now entwined fingers against her broad chest while her other hand glided across Parker’s lower back. The music, still slow, pulled Parker into the rhythm. The inner dialogue lobbing inside Parker’s head waffled between What the hell is happening? and Run very fast.
She looked up and found Syd staring down at her with an amused grin. Parker was not even ready to touch another person, let alone get caught up in a slow dance. She was still a bit light-headed, idly wondering how long they had been dancing.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781626399570
- Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Cass Sellars Online
Note: I received a free review copy of Lightning Strikes by Cass Sellars. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.