Where You Hurt The Most id published by Anne Brooke Books.
Adrian is more than happy as high-class escort for a number of regular clients. When his boss and dear friend asks him to entertain his nephew, Adrian readily agrees, but meeting Dan challenges him in ways he'd never imagined. Dan is scarred inside and out from an accident that destroyed a promising future. Despite Adrian's loveless lifestyle and Dan's withdrawal and anger, the two men forge a deep - if unnerving - connection. Soon they find themselves questioning the choices they've made and the futures they've mapped out for themselves.
Yet even bright young men like Adrian and Dan fear the unknown and take comfort in the familiar. Neither may be strong enough to step away from the life they know and toward the one they dare not hope for. But while it's true that love can't heal all wounds, it is the surest balm for where you hurt the most.
"Where You Hurt The Most isn't a literal retelling of the French fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, but whether Anne Brooke intended it or not, the connection is there in this story of patience and acceptance and understanding and compassion that completely alters the lives of these two men. This is a story of seeing and sensing the pain and the promise that lies beneath the surface of the fragile and imperfect skin, of going beyond the physical and delving into places where the strength of the man, the truth of him, resides, until, finally, he is changed for the better. This is a short but truly gorgeous story, rich with the hope found in something new." [Read the rest of this 5-star review at The Novel Approach]
"Where You Hurt The Most demonstrates perfectly the harmony that emotional impact and intimate detail can have in well-done erotica. Brooke's story is only about fifty pages long, yet she manages to pack a larger punch in few words than many authors I've read of late who have failed to make me resonate with their characters after reading an entire series' worth of interactions … This is the type of writing I love, simple and sparse yet used to tenderly convey a connection of spirit that defies logic or explanation." [Read the rest of this 5-cup review at A Book and a Short Latte Reviews]
"I read relatively few short stories because they usually leave me wanting. It's a rare author who can tell a complete and satisfying story in just a few pages. Anne Brooke is one of those authors. This story was deeply moving, rather sexy, and incredibly satisfying, despite being a mere 44 pages. There's a surprising amount of characterization and background packed into few words. [Read the rest of this 4.5 star review at Jessewave Reviews]
"Anne Brooke is a master of conveying emotions on pages; I am always blown a little away when I read one of her stories. Where You Hurt The Most was no exception and I found myself making a connection with the characters … The writing is superb as to be expected, and I wonder how deep the author goes to tap into human emotions so beautifully. I always walk away from an Anne Brooke story smiling, thinking, and believing in many things. Love heals all wounds and sometimes you find it in the most unexpected places …" [Read the rest of this 4 star review at Pants Off Reviews]
"Where You Hurt The Most is a beautifully written novelette from the first-person viewpoint of a British man who is an exclusive and highly paid escort … I am always glad to snap up the latest fiction from Anne Brooke because the writing is flawless - clean, crisp, minimalist, and elegant - and her insight into the interactions between people is profound. This story fulfills both expectations." [Read the rest of this review at ARe Cafe Reviews]
"From the moment I picked up this book I knew it would be a memorable one. First off it has one of my favorite themes, that of a scarred hero. Combine that with two characters whose sexual tension is off the charts from the moment they meet and you end up with a short story long on a deep seated understanding of loneliness and those unexpected moments of happiness … This was a gutwrenchingly emotional story featuring two lost souls finding each other in a storm of unhappiness. It was a powerful yet entertaining read that has me eagerly looking forward to reading more from this author." [Read the rest of this review at Words of Wisdom Reviews]
"This beautifully written story is unique for a story about an escort, with little sex and a premise that is wholly original. Two men, one with hidden hurts and another with obvious ones, meeting in an unlikely setting … I always find Anne Brooke's stories to be thoughtful and intelligent, and this story was no exception, so I definitely recommend it to everyone." [Read the rest of this review at Brief Encounter Reviews]
"I really loved this book and enjoyed the way the dynamic changes between the men … It was done so subtly, and with such flair that I was drawn into the lives of these men. Both are flawed and yet also totally sympathetic. Highly recommended. Grade: Excellent." [See the rest of this review at Well Read Reviews]
"This is a fascinating story about two wounded men helping each other. One helps the other intentionally, the other bit of support is unplanned, but the end effect is that both realise who they are, deep down, by figuring out where they hurt the most. If you prefer your stories with some depth, if the psychology of what makes a relationship tick interests you, and if you like seeing how, and why, wounded characters take charge of their lives again, then you will like this story." [Read the rest of this review at Rainbow Book Reviews]
"I really liked this story and thought it was beautifully done … things never felt rushed to me. The men each take considerable time to reflect on what they want before pursuing the relationship, rather than jumping in right away after one night together. I could really believe in them and the connection they had made. There is a lot packed into this short story and I really liked the quiet intensity and sweet romance. I would certainly recommend it." [Read the rest of this 4.5 star review at Joyfully Jay Reviews]
"This is my second time reading something by Anne Brooke, and may I just say … she is quickly becoming a fave of mine. Her writing is superb, with a literary quality I really enjoy … Bottom line: Great story. Anne Brooke is quite possibly on her way to my short list of auto buy authors." [Read the rest of this 4-star review at Amara's Place]
"Though this was kind of a HEA it did leave the story open to the possibilities for Dan and Adrian and I really liked that. With such a short story I was happy to see that we got a sense of what would come of the relationship … I can't tell you too much about the story as it's better to see it unfold all on your own but it's a lovely story and worth taking the time to read." [Read the rest of the 4-star review at Tracy's Place]
"This was an amazingly sweet story about two people learning and finding their painful weakness and overcoming it … Although this is a short story it gets the point across without feeling rushed. The author does a good job of giving enough background information that you don't feel lost or like you are missing something." [Read the rest of this 4-star review at Hearts On Fire Reviews]
"This is a fascinating story about two wounded men helping each other … the end effect is that they both realize who they are, deep down, by figuring out where they hurt the most. If you prefer your stories with some depth, if the psychology of what makes a relationship tick interests you, and if you like seeing how, and why, wounded characters take charge of their lives again, then you will like this story." [Read the rest of this review at QMO Reviews]
"The cat and mouse routine that unfolds over this story is delightful to read and very sweet, and let's not kid ourselves: Anne Brooke can write a bedroom scene." [Read the rest of this review at John Mack Freeman Reviews]
"Beautifully written and characteristic of Anne Brooke, this story delivered an honest peek into two very different situations and left me touched and content." [Read the rest of this review at The Romance Reviews]