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Hands on [Paperback]

Christina Crooks

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Price: 10.68 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

4 Oct 2011
Want to make Fate laugh? Try telling her who's in charge. Talented, down-on-her-luck puppeteer Ginnie Anderson's life seems destined to fall down around her ears. Much like the rented bungalow that's just collapsed in a heavy rainstorm, endangering her precious collection of marionettes. Her livelihood in need of protection and repair, she can't refuse her landlord's offer of temporary shelter in his magnificent home. Under his roof, though, she finds her hard-won grasp on her independence slipping-and herself falling into his arms. The hallmark of Harry Barrett's business success: he never makes the same mistake twice, particularly when it comes to manipulative women. So why is Ginnie, who pulls strings for a living, like a siren's song in his blood? It's best to put temptation as far out of reach as possible. Yet when Ginnie's past threatens to destroy the life she's built for herself, Harry must decide which is more important. Holding tight to his sense of self preservation, or letting go to capture Ginnie's fragile heart-before it breaks into a thousand pieces. Warning: Contains sizzling sex between a powerful hero who likes to be in control, and a heroine whose talented hands teach him the pleasure of giving up the reins.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Romance Novel!! 17 Nov 2010
By Aimee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I just loved this book! Christina was great and gave me an ARC. I was a bit nervous at first. I am the product of parents who let me watch Stephen King's It as a child... but no worries here! No weird doll scenes! I loved the story, I'm a sucker for a romance where the woman rises above an abusive partner, even if the partner makes alot of trouble for her.

I loved the characters, they were great. It had a great story, well rounded and the steamy parts didn't drown out the story and vice versa. It had a great balance. This was my first book by Christina Crooks and I think I really need to get my hands on her other books!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Attention Romance Addicts! 16 Nov 2010
By Among The Muses/Novel Reflections - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Attention romance addicts! Your quest for the fairytale-ending romance with contemporary realism, a realistic heroine, and a hero you want nothing more than to lick and tackle to the ground fall in love with, is over! Christina Crooks delivers that and more in her newest release, Hands On!

After ending a bad relationship, Ginnie Anderson has moved away from her life, ex-fiance, and mother (who's also horrible towards Ginnie), to a small bungalow nestled away in an affluent area. Too bad the bungalow wasn't as well put together as the other houses on the block, because after a nasty storm, the house literally collapses. Much to Ginnie's surprise, her unbeknown landlord becomes her hero to the rescue.

Harry lives in self-induced seclusion, playing boss and business owner to many, but only a few know the real Harry and what his horrible past entails. When he becomes Ginnie's rescuer, he only wants to make sure she's okay and won't look to sue him. But, the undeniable attraction has him allowing her to seek refuge under his roof.

The two can only deny each other physically for a matter of hours *grins*, but when days turn in to weeks, and emotions become heightened, both Ginnie and Harry are tested with just how much each would be willing to risk for the other. And the use of the marionettes to bring out the romance puts this book in to a whole new level of uniqueness and fun as far as I'm concerned! Just the fact that Ms. Crooks created such a unique career for a character completely adds points for me.

Because this is such a character-centric book -- my ultimate love when reading romance-- I feel an overwhelming need to start my review here. The bottom line is, I can't praise Christina enough for the development of the characters in this character-driven book! They're realistic, they're filled with depth and layers, and you simply can envision that somewhere out there lives a non-fictional Ginnie and Harry. They're a hero and heroine so different, yet so alike, changed and driven by events in their pasts, which ultimately leads them to one another.

Ginnie is the absolute ideal heroine for me: Down-to-earth, a little stubborn with control issues, has an unique and very uncommon career that she's absolutely passionate about, a go-getter attitude, and has a realistic view on real life events and situations. She has a bad past with an ex-fiance that doesn't seem to understand the meaning behind 'it's over'. And a new man in her life whom she wants to be in a relationship with. But he has his own issues that don't bode well for her getting the answer she wants. With all this going on, she tends to take it all in stride, managing to carry on with her goal of starting and running her own marionette company. Her attitude made me like her even more.

Harry has his own devastating and heart-wrenching hell of a past, so much so that I gasped out loud and murmured 'holy s**t' to my computer. He's emotionally closed off, yet so vulnerable at the same time. A horrible event in his not-so-distant past has left him with little trust in people - particularly women. But he cannot deny the immediate attraction, and quickly developing feelings he starts to have for his so-called tenant.

Ms. Crooks has done a fabulous job at making you feel connected to these oddly-paired characters as they learn to find themselves again, and challenge one another, as well as themselves, to relinquish control.

The chemistry between the characters was fantastic! Right away, you can get a good sense their inner workings; their hang ups, issues, and desires. And they just fit well together. Even when they first became intimate, it happened quickly, but you couldn't help but think that it was meant to be, and certainly inevitable. *swoons* And let me just say that the smexin' is great. No overindulgence of graphic words -- including swear words -- are present, nor needed, to feel the yumminess!

The pace of the story was another fantastic plus! In fact, I was so engrossed in the story, that I honestly had no idea just how long I had been sitting down reading it; I finished it the same day I started. Crooks' writing style is a wonderful mix of emotion, innocence, steamy romance, and playfulness. It was a wonderful ride through a range of emotions.

The secondary characters completely enhanced the story, never stealing scenes away from the main characters. And because of Ms. Crooks' ability to create believable characters in such a short amount of time, you could easily understand the personalities of each side character, adding to the realness of relationships-- both good and bad.

~*~Final Thoughts~*~

Obviously, I loved this story. It exceeded my expectations, and I finished it wishing there were more! I highly recommend this book to all those romance addicts out there that wish they could be swept off their feet by some hot, dominant, wealthy man, with a hidden romantic side that is only brought out in your presence. Well, the majority of us have a greater chance of getting struck by lightening than finding that, but at least we can have it in Hands On! :)

You will enjoy the characters, feel their undeniable chemistry, adore the playful banter, and relish in the growth of the characters and development of their relationship. If you love your romance full of palpable emotion and sweetness between two great characters, with just enough smexiness to add some heat, then you definitely need to read this! This is a keeper for me, and I may even go back and read it again latter! :) Fantastic job, Ms. Crooks!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 blue ribbons from Romance Junkies 25 July 2011
By C. Dionne - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Ginnie Anderson's hopeful future looks like it's doomed to tumble down about her ears - much like the rented bungalow she thought was `charming.' When she moved to Portland, Oregon she had a job working with the puppet group at Helping Hands but the group's grant got pulled. Now many of her precious marionettes are destroyed or at least mangled, her job is iffy at best, her ex is stalking her and she's living on the goodwill of the man who rescued her from the basement of her destroyed rental. The last thing she should be thinking about is flirting with Harry, but there's no denying that he's one attractive man who fascinates her on a primitive level.

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.

Chrissy Dionne (courtesy of Romance Junkies)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating Romance with Believable Characters 24 Nov 2010
By Lauren Hidden - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Christina Crooks was nice enough to provide me with a review copy and I'm so glad she did!

Ginnie, a puppeteer, lives in a dilapidated bungalow that quickly begins to literally fall down around her. Her landlord, Harry, happens by and rescues her, and from there we are launched into a tale of the complicated lives and histories of the two main characters. The characters are very deep, with unforgiven past hurts, both gun shy from former relationships yet undeniably attracted to each other.

Choosing the occupation of a puppeteer for Ginnie added a unique twist of the book. I got the sense that Crooks really did her homework. It was easy to buy-in to Ginnie's passion for her work and realize the skill needed to perform it. Harry is a rich businessman still reeling from the effects of a break up with a vindictive ex. He has a big chip on his shoulder about money-hungry women, and questions if those are Ginnie's motives as well.

The two characters are thrust together in unfortunate circumstances, and their attraction is soon undeniable. The bigger challenge they face is trusting each other and not allowing their past hurts to ruin their current relationship. The characters are multidimensional and believable, the writing and pacing is excellent. I was also happy to see that the sex scenes were erotic while still staying true to the characters' emotions. I give this 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5.

The only criticism I have is that I found the opening scene to be a bit too fast-paced and confusing for the amount of info I was supposed to absorb, but that's a minor complaint. Crooks is truly a gifted storyteller. I liked this even better than Thrill of the Chase and look forward to her next book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Romance! 16 Nov 2010
By Zee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Hands On has to be the most down to earth, realistic romance novel I have read to date. I found her novel to be refreshing, and ultimately a much needed breath of fresh air in the romance genre. Here are the three reasons why you should read a copy of Hands On.

Real Characters:

Harry and Ginnie are two of the most relatable characters I have seen because Crooks doesn't take the easy route in character development. I really like how she weaves deep rooted issues into Harry and Ginnie. Harry's ex-fiancee publicly humiliated him with an unthinkable accusation, sending him into seclusion. His mistrust of women runs so deep that he fights off Ginnie's charms at every turn. Crooks really kept us on our toes with Harry, as you will literally have to wait until the end to find out if he will ever get over his issues with women.

Ginnie has escaped her controlling ex-fiancee and is now making a fresh start in a new city as a puppeteer. Her self-esteem has taken a huge beating, and her puppeteer business is really struggling. All she wants is to do what she loves for a living, and a man isn't in her plans. After her traumatic experience with her ex, Ginnie ironically develops control issues of her own as she is determined not to let anyone control her again. Like a well developed movie, Crooks succeeds in shaping each character into a true to life being.

Real Sex:

I loved how Crooks created very honest sex scenes between Harry and Ginnie. For example, when Harry removes his pants for the first time, Ginnie immediately recognizes that Harry "bore no resemblance" to her ex. While it is funny to read, it is even more tickling to know that thoughts like that really go through a woman's mind. Crooks also shows us the real hesitation that comes along with a first sexual experience between our characters. Ginnie says, "Can I...touch you?" With as many sex scenes as I've read, it is hard to find novels that stay true to the emotions involved in having sex. Crooks accomplishes this in spades, and I definitely appreciate the extra effort.


With this novel coming out to approximately 115 pages, I quickly noticed that Crooks has a unique way of giving us all the delicious details without any extraneous fat. I was surprised at how I devoured this novel in a single sitting. The pacing is solid, and the transition between scenes is very smooth. Hands On is an easy read, and I found myself emotionally invested into the character's happiness. I would absolutely recommend purchasing Hands On!

Zee at Fire Pages […]
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