Harry Barrett’s (aka “Hairy Bear” Sharpe) is a business tycoon and in the past was well known for his generous donations to many charities. However, his good will and faith in people ended when his ex-fiancé systematically set out to destroy his reputation. He’s taken great pains to protect himself from that sort of pain and humiliation, but nothing prepared him for meeting someone like Ginnie.
Ginnie isn’t the type of girl who indulges in one woman pity parties though the resent string of events certainly would be enough to give her good reason for breaking down in tears. Instead she enlists Harry’s help with retrieving what’s left of her marionettes from the remains of her house and accepts his offer to move into his home until alternative arrangements can be made. She has no clue that Harry’s extremely wealthy or how much of what’s gone wrong in her life recently is actually connected to him. All she does know is that she’s incredibly attracted to him despite his standoffish demeanor – and he certainly doesn’t pretend that their association is anything but temporary. However, his normal methods for remaining detached aren’t working and even worse, he’s finding great pleasure in playing with Ginnie and her finely crafted friends.
Christina Crooks clearly did a great deal of research into the art of puppetry. Everything from the creations to the marionettes to the actual performances is represented in beautiful and awe-inspiring detail through Ginnie’s love of her craft. Harry’s not exactly warm and fuzzy but he’s been through an ordeal thanks to his ex’s manipulation so it’s understandable but you do catch glimpses of a truly caring man when he plays with Ginnie and her puppets. There’s just something therapeutic in manipulating or even watching the little marionettes perform.
HANDS ON is a captivating read with plenty of red-hot passion, heartache and misunderstandings. There are also some very sweet and tender moments along with scenes that made me laugh. There’s one scene in particular when Harry confronts Ginnie’s mother that I absolutely loved. It was completely unexpected but so very delightful. Ms. Crooks more than exceeded my expectations with HANDS ON.