"Anders excels at creating sympathetic characters who will win the reader's heart."—Publishers Weekly, STARRED Review
The rules are simple:
Never speak to outsiders.
Never yearn for something more.
And never, ever seek the pleasure of a stolen kiss...or a whispered promise that with him, she can finally be free.
Abby Merkley has been a member of the Church of the Apocalyptic Faith since she was a child, and there's no way out...until her darkly handsome, brooding neighbor defies the rules and takes her into the safety of his arms.
He should frighten her, but everything inside Abby thrills at Luc Stanek's rough manners and shockingly gentle touch. He excites her, ignites her, leaves her shaken and wanting more. But evil men follow in her footsteps, and it may take more than one fierce beauty to defend her loving beast.
Blank Canvas series:
Under Her Skin (Book 1)
By Her Touch (Book 2)
In His Hands (Book 3)
Praise for Blank Canvas:
"A dark and emotional tale that will make your spine tingle as well as your heart."-SARINA BOWEN, USA Today bestselling author of Bittersweet for Under Her Skin
"The perfect romance...a hint of danger, a whole lot of spice, and an HEA you believe in."-ANNE CALHOUN, award-winning author of Under the Surface for Under Her Skin
"Emotionally riveting page-turner."-Publishers Weekly STARRED for Under Her Skin
"Incredibly sexy, heartbreaking, and intense."-Kirkus for Under Her Skin
"Gripping [and] emotionally satisfying."-Publishers Weekly STARRED for By Her Touch
"Anders has created wonderful variations on the beauty and the beast theme [with] a greatly tormented hero, and a powerful mix of menace and romance."-Booklist for By Her Touch
About the Author
Wendy Tremont King, a classically trained narrator and stage actor, got her start in audiobook narration as a volunteer for The Lighthouse for the Blind. She is an accomplished puppeteer and puppetry director, as well as a member of the SAG Foundation BookPals program for children's literacy.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In this third book of the Blank Canvas series, Abby Merkley lives in the mountain home of the cult known as the Church of the Apocalyptic Faith; its organizers enforce rules which are antithetical to just about all the tenets a belief in a loving God should mean. The charismatic leader has everyone and everything tightly under his control in the compound where Abby has lived since she was a young child. After careful planning, she sneaks out to work for a neighbor helping him with his vineyards. Luc, a Frenchman, left his home country escaping from his own family issues. Though a loner and not prone to get involved with his strange neighbors, he and Abby form a bond so that when she desperately needs his assistance, Luc can do nothing less that help her survive the deadly and abusive cult who would wage war in order to keep control over this fiercely brave young woman. Abby has to learn about the outside world at a rapid pace as she has been stifled and cut off from normal society. The little interaction she and the other women have had with the small North Carolina town down the mountain has been carefully controlled by their leader, Isaiah. Abby desperately wants to get herself and someone she cares for away from the cult knowing the wrong moves could be catastrophic for those women and children who live there as well. Her strong determination and bravery despite the odds and her growing affection for the quiet, tough man who seems to be fighting his own demons makes for a compelling story. Abby and Luc’s relationship blossoms as they work together not only on his land, but to overcome the obstacles which stem from fighting against the controlling cult bordering his property. Abby and Luc’s personal struggles will draw you in as well as their heartfelt relationship that makes the reader want these two wounded people to fall in that deep well of love which heals and protects. The scars which mark them both physically and emotionally are emblematic of the harshness of life, but also badges of courage showing their strength to not only endure, but thrive. Together Abby and Luc can put aside their pain to experience love, hope, and joy where none existed before they found each other. The depth, passion, and quality of Ms. Ander’s writing imbues this story with much to be reckoned taking the reader on a journey in quite a passionate and well-wrought tale.
Adriana Anders is on my must watch list: an author who carefully brings serious and topical elements into her stories, while making readers long for more: more for her characters, more story, more moments. In the third book from her blank canvas series, she brings us yet another set of characters who have tried to move past their insecurities and make new paths for themselves. Easily read in any order: the series name of Blank Canvas truly defines the connections and romance for the characters – they have to choose what to cover those canvases with, and they do so in ways that are gripping, compelling and engaging. Abby has been raised in a cult: with a leader who alternates between compelling and cruel, she’s finding that the world beyond the relative security and support within the life she has always known may be little more than an illusion. Innocent in all the ways of the world, she harnesses her fear of the unknown in an effort to escape and find a way to pay for treatment, denied by the cult, for a young boy in desperate need. The uniqueness of Abby: her innocence despite the horrific abuse she suffered during her time in the cult, the religious overtones where the word becomes a hammer, twisted and forged for control, and her actual unfamiliarity with many everyday situations. In the company of anyone other than Luc, an honorable man who won’t allow himself to ‘need’ another, even though he’s adopted a dog (Le Dog), and claims to avoid people. There’s just something about Abby – not just her willingness and need to work, her curiosity and the hints of sadness he sees, that allows him to gently guide her through the many pitfalls that her new existence brings. This did start slowly: there is plenty of set-up as we get a feel for each character: Abby so open and guileless in her sharing, and Luc, a bit more reserved with his quiet moments spent with old recordings that were his grandfather’s favorites. His every waking moment is spent gently tending his vines as a seller of wine grapes with a sense that the grape lives in his soul as a native of Bourdeaux. But soon, with Abby’s sharing and the pressure from the cult to bring her back, the revelations as she understands the repercussions of her own treatment and deciding how to feel, as well as her growing affections for Luc, bring us a slow-growing story where both Luc and Abby find themselves meandering down the path of love. At the same time, the pressures from the outside increase, and the story starts to build tension and keeping readers wondering just what is next. With Abby and Luc, their relationship is decidedly as friends that grows into more: less from Abby’s reticence and more, it seems, for Luc giving her the opportunity to grow, learn and make a choice. As choice seems to be a new-ish concept for Abby, you have to love Luc’s willingness and understanding: even as he guards and guides her forward in this new world. Incredibly emotional and sensual, Anders allows those moments of discovery, growth and sharing come organically and doesn’t rush; you can actually see that these two are well-suited, and the slower development of the relationship gives them a solidity that wouldn’t have appeared had they jumped into the ‘couplehood’ any sooner. Perfectly suited as an installment in this series, keeping it on my favorite series list for characters, writing and unique elements that aren’t common to romance. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via
What an intense read! This sort of reminded me of the movie "The Village" by M. Night Shyamalan. Abby is in a cult like church where the leader does not believe in outside influences. No doctors, no medicine, what happens is the will of God. They are all on a piece of land in the mountains and locked behind a prison like fencing. The problem is Abby isn't willing to just follow along. Sammy is a boy with Down Syndrome who has seizures. No one will help him and Abby is determined to get a job so she can help get Sammy out before it's too late. This is where she meets Luc. He owns the adjoining land and cultivates a grape field for wine making. She has seen him out there working and she is convinced he will hire her to earn money. She cuts a hole in the fence to sneak out everyday and work for Luc. Luc isn't exactly thrilled about Abby's intrusion but he's just as drawn to her and her tenacity and ends up hiring her. Luc is a very anti social person. He's lived next to the church for two years and had no clue what was happening in his own back yard. This story is wild! You learn piece by piece what is really happening behind those fence lines. So many of them have grown up there and know no other way. The more I learned about Isiah, the leader, the more angry I got. He's basically the devil in sheeps clothing. This is definitely a story that will get your emotions charged. A few warnings for readers with triggers: There is a lot of religion talk. Even though Abby is an adult, she has child like innocence. Luc has to explain a lot to her. There is abuse. The author did a good job of not going into too much detail but still expressing some of the abuse so you know what Abby has suffered. I've read and liked all three of the books in this series but this one was the most intense. It's well written and can be read as a stand alone. ARC provided by NetGalley.
I really hate cults. A lot. I am super uncomfortable with cults and cult themes. I don't even like Amish books because any group of people who pretend you're dead if you leave their church are pretty whacka-doodle to me. I didn't realize that this book would have a cult theme before I started reading it. I had read the other books in the Blank Canvas series so I wanted to read book number 3 in the series. Anyway, enough about my cult hang ups, In His Hands is actually a good book. I really enjoyed watching Abby and Luc (our heroine and hero) fall in love. I did find the tension a bit too much at times, but the book was still entertaining and I don't see how the book could have come to a conclusion without all the angst. By the end of the book I was convinced that Abby and Luc belonged together, and that they would have a happy and healthy forever after. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys contemporary romance with a bit of tension. I received an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
He is Her Salvation Abby Merkley has been a member of the Church of the Apocalyptic Faith since she was a child, and there's no way out―except death. She will fight the odds to survive, but there's no one in the world she can trust, nowhere she can run that the cult can't find her...until her handsome, brooding neighbor takes her into the safety of his arms. Luc Stanek craves a quiet life. But he doesn't hesitate when a desperate woman lands, bloodied and branded on his doorstep. Soon he finds himself drawn into her chaotic world, caught in the center of an apocalyptic war...and determined to save the fierce beauty no matter the cost. Review: First, I have to say that I love this series. I think it is very unique in its theme around people who have been scarred both on the outside and the inside. Second, somehow I missed the second book, crap. In this story we have Abby having grown up in a cult atmosphere, wants more to life and to help her friend who has health problems. She seeks out a neighbor of the cult, Luc to get a job and earn money to escape. Luc, is a vintner, who is unsure of his wine making abilities and living a hermit life on the mountain housing him and the cult. Once Abby comes to him, his and her life is turned upside down and danger is around every corner. Another captivating story in this series. I particularly liked Abby's story even-though it is full of abuse and sadness. The way Abby and Luc come together is perfect for them and their lives. 4Stars *I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book provided by the publisher.*
I love fantastical reads, but I have a greater appreciation for stories that feel real and not only make me love the characters but respect them. This was a lovely with two wonderful characters, both Luc and Abby were honest, strong, logical, and practical. They included the police, they waited as long as they could, and made smart choices (which is rare in books where he could have been a secret French assassin, posing as a wine maker). This was the best of the series.