Sometimes the safest path is to keep people at a distance…especially men.
Cara’s life has been one nightmare after another. Abused as a child and neglected by her parents, she’s quick to blame herself for every cruel thing that happens to her. And then there’s James, the only man capable of making her forget her misgivings and learn to love again.
James, a young doctor in training, is aware of Cara’s history. He’s determined to break through her barriers and build a life with her…and fails. Cara runs away in an attempt to reinvent herself and James fears he’s lost her for good. When she falls into the hands of a drug dealer and mob boss, life as they know it is about to get a whole lot worse.
Can their love withstand the demons of her past and present?
Be Warned: violence against heroine, rape of heroine.
The morning breeze ruffled the curtains. It was dawn, and Cara had finally drifted off to sleep. James cradled her warm body with his arm, pressing her close against him, stroking her side with tender fingers. Her hip felt soft as satin beneath his calloused hand.
He scanned Cara's delicate features. She looked like a painting, like an angel in repose. Her shining hair lay scattered across the pillow. Her cheeks were flushed pink and he could detect very faint bluish circles under her eyes, beneath the thick auburn lashes. That was his fault. He'd kept her up all night.
Damn, she was the loveliest woman he'd ever seen. And making love to her came as close to heaven as he could imagine.
What he had done? What the fuck had he gone and done? He'd fallen in love, that's what he'd done. James Mackie had fucking fallen in love.
James had never, ever been with a woman who'd responded with such intensity to his touch, to his kisses. Her warm lips had yielded to his, her mouth had tasted as sweet as honey. He had been concerned that after everything she'd been through in her past, Cara would be stiff and wooden, or icy and withdrawn, or hesitant, or fearful, or worse. But no, if anything, she'd been the opposite. She had welcomed him. She'd given herself to him without reservation, held nothing back. She'd trusted him to explore every silky inch of her, and she'd done the same to him, with eagerness and a hunger that had thrilled him.
God, he had never been so hard, so frequently, in the space of so few hours. Even now, even when it should be impossible, he felt himself stir as he pictured what they'd done just before she'd fallen asleep. He'd like to do it all over again so he could watch her face in ecstasy as she rode him like a wild thing. Listen to her moan with pleasure, feel her nipples peak into perfect rosebuds beneath his palms as she climaxed. Sense her body quiver around him while he drove deep inside her, pulsing with his own powerful, nearly simultaneous orgasm.
It bewildered him, the intensity with which he wanted her. James would be leaving Iowa City in three months and he wouldn't be returning. The Fellowship at Duke would last two years and then who knew? He might go into research, he might start a private practice, he could end up in Alaska or Chicago or Hawaii or New York City. He had no idea where he'd end up. He hadn't thought that far ahead. The one thing he was clear on was that he would be with Cara. Somehow, somewhere, she had to fit into his future. She was the one he wanted.
James didn't make decisions lightly. The decision to apply to medical school was long-planned. The Cardiology Fellowship had been in his head for years. James had always prided himself on his serial monogamy. He'd never cheated on any woman he'd dated, but he'd never even once considered committing himself to a woman for longer than a few months, certainly not for a lifetime. This one night with Cara had been an epiphany. She was young and James wanted her to graduate from college and start work on her Master's, but he would marry her. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not this year, but when she was ready.
James could be quite determined, even ruthless, when he set his mind to something. He did not intend to let Cara slip away, especially not now. He tightened his arm around her, possessive. Cara didn't wake, but she murmured in her sleep, throwing a long leg over his thigh. James smiled. He didn't have to be back to the hospital until Monday morning. They had the entire day and night ahead of them and he intended to make the most of it. Done thinking, decision made, he closed his eyes and promptly fell asleep
Cara didn't know whether to dance, laugh, sing or simply yell at the top of her lungs, “James Mackie just fucked my brains out!” She did none of those things. Instead, she turned towards him. He slept on his back, his breathing quiet, even, peaceful. Unable to resist, Cara put her lips on him. She started at his forehead, kissing her way down his face, over his closed eyes, kissing the tip of his nose, paying special attention to his soft and sensual lips, trailing light butterfly kisses along the firm line of his jaw, rubbing her lips over his delightful, rough, day-old beard.
Cara could tell he was awake now because the corners of his mouth turned up. He managed to keep his eyes closed as she continued her ministrations, nibbling lightly on the tendons of his neck and the muscles of his shoulder. She knew he had come fully awake when the sheet began to tent above his groin, as she nibbled and licked her way down to his small, hard bud of a nipple and pressed her warm mouth against it, tugging on it with her teeth and rolling it with her tongue, while her fingers explored other regions. James had a body to die for. And he knew exactly how to use it.
When they'd walked back to her apartment, Cara had no idea she would respond to him the way she had. She'd surprised herself. Somehow, without even realizing it, over the past two years it seemed as if she'd healed. She'd just needed the right person to bring it to her attention, a person like James, only James.
Head spinning, she found herself flipped on her back, his grinning face looming over her. Cara laughed.
“Are you too sore?” he asked, concern evident in his low voice, “because I want to fuck you right now. But we can wait awhile. There are other ways.” He slid his erection along the inside of her thigh, spreading her legs.
Cara opened her legs wider and wrapped her calves around his, inviting him in. “I'm sore,” she replied with a smile. “In a good way.”
Posted by thetbrpile.weebly.com on 20th Dec 2011
Cara is complicated to say the least and in a horrid situation. She was abused by her neighboor, mistreated by her parents, and throughout the book every man seemed to be out to hurt her. She pulled at my heart strings and more than once I shed tears for such a strong character. Ms. Barrett did an amazing job writing her.
Come Back To Me was an emotional rollercoaster. I couldn’t stop reading and really hoped Cara and James would find some semblance of a happy ending.
Posted by Basia on 5th Jan 2011
Summary: This positively sings with emotional authenticity. Cara is a haunting example of what can happen to victims of sexual violence as well as an example of how they become survivors. I knew before I started reading this that it was going to be a tough read; I didn't expect that it was going to put me through such an emotional wringer, one that's going to stick with me for a long time. This is an absolute recommend.
Posted by Jenika Snow on 19th Dec 2010
What can I say about this book? The word that stands out in my head first and foremost is superb! This is such a heart stopping and honest read. Everything that Cara goes through is unbelievable, but still she keeps fighting and living her life.
For anyone who wants a read that will take your breath away I would highly suggest giving this book a try. You will not be disappointed and I promise it will be one of your favorites!
Posted by Claudia Rhyes on 18th Dec 2010
Cara’s life has been anything but normal. Abused as a child, she was neglected by her parents. With everything that happens in her life, she is quick to blame herself for the cruelty that has befallen her.
And then there’s James. He is the only man that wakes up Cara’s true self. He is the only man capable of making her forget her misgivings and learn to love again.
James isn’t just a young doctor, he is the man that opens Cara’s eyes to a world without hurt and filled with love.
Although he teaches Cara what life can be without pain, the nightmare that is her life comes back to ruin the love Cara and James have found with each other.
When Cara runs away in an attempt to reinvent herself, she ends up being dragged into hell itself. When she falls into the hands of a drug dealer and mob boss, life as she knows it gets a whole lot worse.
Can the love of a young doctor bring back this broken and battered woman?
First off I want to say I would love to see Come Back to Me on the big screen! Wow. This story started off so powerful. Although stories that start like this might be considered too intense, taboo even, Julia Rachel Barrett does an eloquent job of conveying what young Cara is experiencing without much detail. I could visualize what Cara was seeing and feeling and it left such an impact on me. I could see Cara’s struggle within to not tell her parents. It was explained just like a child would, afraid it was their fault, not wanting anyone to be mad at them. It was powerful, that’s all I can say. And that was just the beginning of the story!
Her story is so powerful and moving. The more I got into it the more I felt despair for poor Cara. It seemed like it was one thing after another and her life could never truly be hers. I caught myself reading at every spare moment I had, even doing it at work. I couldn’t put this book down! It was so memorable I found myself tearing up with each page I read.
If I could have given this story more than 5 stars I definitely would. There are only a few books that I keep on my shelf to re-read, and Come Back to Me is most assuredly one of those. This is the first story by Julia Rachel Barrett that I have read, but after reading this amazing story it will not be the last!
The ending of the story was sweet and satisfying. I won’t ruin, but it had me smiling and wanting to clutch it to my chest.
Heartbreaking, compelling, and amazing. Come Back to Me is not a story to miss. One of the best stories I have read, ever!
Posted by Katalina Leon on 8th Dec 2010
I just finished reading “Come Back to Me”. This book is beautifully written, incredibly involving and true to life. It will stick in your mind, you might forget your reading fiction, and it may make you mad.
There is a great deal of love in “Come Back to Me” but this is not an erotic romance. This is a “Lifescape” of a young woman named Cara.
The story begins in 1967, and the way the story is written perfectly demonstrates how ill prepared the professional community is when it comes to dealing with overt sexual abuse. Doctors, lawyers and parents alike all see the effects of Cara’s abuse but no one in authority seems to know how to cope with the issue except for an enlighten nurse named Debbie and a young intern name James Mackie.
“Come Back To Me” covers some dark subjects including rape, sexual abuse and drugs, but I want to assure readers the material is always handled in an honest but sensitive way. It’s never too graphic or overwhelming yet I got pulled into events and found myself deeply sympathizing with Cara. Ms. Barrett has a gift for keeping it simple, clean and fast paced.
I felt Cara’s anxiety and frustration at knowing her adult neighbor had no boundaries and might appear in her bedroom as soon as her parents drove away. The details of Cara’s struggles are internal and emotional. We know what happen to Cara not from overblown scenes but from the true to life emotional reactions Cara endures after. It’s a strong book and because it is written so well, it will trigger an emotional reaction from readers.
Once we taste Cara’s pain the story flows and it’s too compelling to put down because we know why Cara does what she does and we also feel for her when a chance to live a better life is offered. This is when the romance kicks in, and you really feel the love between Cara and James.
It’s no spoiler to say James is protective, loving, patient and completely opens his heart to Cara and everything that comes with her.
My guess is that each of us can directly relate to something Cara goes through, including her healing or we know a beloved girl-woman in our lives who has.
“Come Back to Me” is one of those gripping creations that might sound unattractive on the surface but reveals itself as beautiful inside. This oyster has a pearl to share with anyone who needs to heal from any of these issues or simply enjoys seeing real love triumph.
I got pulled into the story, I got upset, and I had a beautiful feeling of catharsis when I was finished. I’m very glad I read “Come Back to Me.”
Posted by Monica on 3rd Dec 2010
Come Back to Me by Julia Rachel Barrett is, what can I say, I am at a loss for words. This novel of Cara is so intense, so life devastating, that I wonder how she could still keep on going. Cara’s had no childhood—it basically consisted of torture and unpleasantness. She did what she could to keep away from everyone which made it worse for her with her parents. How could Cara keep trusting men after everything she has gone through and find anyone that she could love or love her back?
While she is recovering from her ordeal she does meet one certain person that will be able to help her emotionally and make her realize that she can love again, but will it be to late for her? James is an undergraduate in medical school when he discovers Cara. James has no idea how he feels about her but there is something about her that captivates him and gives him butterflies in his stomach. After James sees Cara again two years later in Iowa, his feelings for her start again and he is determined to have her as his and help her.
Just when you think they find their happily ever after tragedy strikes again for Cara and this time she cannot bear to be around anyone and makes a life decision that will change James' life forever. Cara does the unbelievable and makes choices that she will regret later but she is a grown woman and will have to learn herself. After meeting another man she will soon find out that he is a drug dealer and mobster that will make her life miserable, but what can she do since she is in too deep?
Cara seems to attract bad actions but she needs to be strong and fight for her own life. Cara will always love James and that will be her only true love even if she has chosen another lifestyle. The only question now is it going to be too late for her to realize that her life is in danger and can she ever go back to find her true love James? Can James see past everything that has happened to Cara and try to make a life with her?
Read this powerful book, Come Back to Me, to discover the outcome of her life. You'll find out the lifestyle she lived it is one that will make you make to quiver due to the amount of suffering she endured.