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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Just a Touch Away by Jae affirms the power of touch as a primal need and as a gift of love. You’ve heard about unusual jobs before, and Hannah Martin has one. She works as a professional cuddler, occupying a weird spot in her clients’ lives to fill a void stemming from grief or other negative feelings. Part of her job involves a code of conduct which includes not getting emotionally involved with clients. Winter Sullivan, on the other hand, is an aloof workaholic - a hardcore ice queen who values her personal space. When her father passes away, he leaves a trust that stipulates that the right, title, and interest in the real estate shall be given to her and Hannah in equal shares, provided that they live there, rent-free, for ninety-two consecutive days. During this period, neither can spend the night under a different roof. Will Winter survive living with someone who is her complete opposite?
This is my first time reading a work by Jae, and she certainly sets the bar high when it comes to writing LGBTQ fiction. Her gift lies not so much in the fact that she writes a story about same-sex romance, but more in telling it in what many would consider a study of two differing personalities. The open-heartedness of Jae’s narrative dishes up a meaty girl-meets-girl story where every page will make you forget the time. Jae effectively throws you into two opposite worlds according to the respective lifestyles of the protagonists that suddenly meet and produce friction, yet manage to find their bearings. What started as an expression of individuality through a doormat war evolves into discovering each other’s sensuality. In any case, the charming and witty effect of Just a Touch Away is what sets it apart as a must-read and a story that will stimulate book club discussions.