Monday, 13 June 2011

Take Me Away by Tina Donahue

She’s everything he escaped, and all that he desires.

Three years ago, Kyle turned his back on a pro-football career and being the target of tabloids or gold-digging groupies. Craving privacy, he gets it at his roadhouse in Northern California—until Lexi invades his life. Indulged and surely phony, she’s exactly what Kyle fled.

An actress since childhood, Lexi’s fresh out of an anger-management program. Weary of the press’s harsh scrutiny, she sees Kyle’s secluded cabin as the ideal place to hide out, and him as a damn-near perfect alpha male. Deliciously virile. Protective. Principled. She offers him serious cash to let her stay for two weeks, assuring there will be no complications or touching.

Yeah, right! Passion flares and lust explodes, along with tenderness. Kyle recognizes how lonely Lexi really is, while she’s falling hard. Through intimate days and impassioned nights, they explore their most shameless needs, until a cruel betrayal exposes their growing love, forcing a choice neither anticipated.

Take Me Away should have a warning sign. It sucks you in and literally takes you away! My favourite area of the book was the warring emotions inside Kyle and Lexi.

Kyle has shunned the life of fame to live in a cabin and co-run a roadhouse. The tabloids had much fun casting aspersions about him, and he’d had enough. He’d also come to the conclusion that women were only after him for who he was and for his money, and that he’d never find a genuine person to love him with no regard to those things. He has a puppy called Buddy (fell in love with him!), keeps himself busy, and that’s how his life will be from now on. Or so he thought…

His friend asks Kyle to allow Lexi to stay in his cabin for a week. She’s fresh out of rehab—somewhere she shouldn’t even have been, I might add (the press are so damn cruel)—and needs a place to stay until she’s ready to go back out into the spotlight. He agrees, although, before he’d met Lexi, he was about to refuse to help. But her vulnerability gets to him. She’s disguised in a way where she blends right in with the folks around her, and her having to do that, plus hide out in the first place, has Kyle saying yes.

Lexi hasn’t shunned fame, even though she’d love to live a normal life and be a chef. She stays in the limelight so she can give her younger sister the life Lexi never had—it was a deal between herself and her parents that if Lexi kept on earning the big bucks, they wouldn’t force her sister, Autumn, into stardom too. Lexi’s mother lives the high life, having numerous affairs, and her father…well, he’s just an arsehole, to be frank about it.

With Kyle, Lexi has a little shock, one that must be confusing. She’s used to everyone knowing who she is, but Kyle hasn’t got a clue. On the one hand, she’s pleased about that, but on the other, it felt alien not to be “known”, not to have him fawn over her because of who she was. I loved this part, because he’d turned his back on fame, wanted people to treat him the way he treated her, yet she was still in the mindset of needing attention and reassurance that she was important.

This is due to her upbringing, of wanting to please, and this slant was a very sad aspect of the book. Lexi had no idea that just being herself was enough, that someone would love her for her, not who she was. So, Kyle came into her life and showed her what was important, that it was okay to eat and gain a few pounds, to enjoy life instead of sticking by her contract to the letter—to be herself.

The other area that I really enjoyed was how Kyle sort of denied it to himself that their relationship wouldn’t go anywhere beyond the week or two Lexi stayed at his cabin, yet when his friend, Pete, expressed an interest in Lexi if Kyle wasn’t interested… Kyle didn’t like that one bit and had to finally admit he felt more for her than he’d originally wanted. He had to make a decision—walk away or fight to keep her.

Jacqueline…what a nasty piece of work. She was Kyle’s last girlfriend. I disliked her right from the beginning. I loved to hate Lexi’s father too. He was the epitome of a man who used his child to fund his own lifestyle, to get himself recognised because he couldn’t do it for himself. He craved fame and Lexi was his tool. Autumn was a sweet girl who just wanted Lexi to be happy. Fortune didn’t interest her. I suppose because she’d had it all her life and saw the damage vast wealth could do, she just longed for a normal life with a normal job.

Unless she’d painted the areolas and tips black too. (LOL)

…a face stuffed with freckles… (Great word, stuffed)

Even her teeth tingled.

It sent fingers of gauzy light into the massive trees, illuminating the needles… (Fab image)

So she’d then gain a few pounds and be criticized for that? (This touched on exactly how I feel about the newspapers and their trashy stories. The part in the book about photographs of Lexi having comments to go with them really annoyed me on her behalf. Lies, all of it, yet people continue to read these newspapers and believe them.)

He had to get out of here, away from her… (Oh no you don’t, man!)

Join the club. (Awww)

“Morning. I brought you some coffee.” (Laugh out loud funny)

“I was going to use my key.” (Hilarious!)
“Oh—okay. Sure. That’ll work.”

A lot of these people have shotguns. (Another funny)

Take Me Away is a very well written tale that explores human emotions, the back-and-forth feelings we have, the way we want to be accepted and at the same time don’t, where deep down, all we want is to be loved and accepted for who we are. I enjoyed this book a lot, but my favourite part was how Kyle and Lexi struggled to come to terms with feelings their hearts wanted to explore but their heads kept trying to squash. I also liked the fact that they explored things sexually that they may not have done had they not met. There was a trust between them that, even if they didn’t see one another after she left the cabin, their trysts and what they did would remain a secret. Highly recommended!


Katalina said...

I love Tina Donathue, she's so worth checking out.

Tina Donahue said...

What an awesome review, - thanks so much, Natalie!!

Kat - you know I love your work too. You are the best!!