It’s Always Been You by Jessica Scott #Review

It’s Always Been You by Jessica Scott #ReviewIt’s Always Been You by Jessica Scott

Series: #5 Coming Home
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Military Romance
Published by Forever on March 4, 2014
Pages: 289
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
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four-half-stars  

This is a reprised review. The original review is at: http://delightedreader.com/its-always-been-you-jessica-scott/

A shiny ‘by the book’ military lawyer and a captain who has no desire to command square off in this latest installment of the Coming Home Series. I met the two lead characters for this story in the previous series installment. Both caught my attention and I found the idea of a romance getting up between them a mighty entertaining prospect. It was definitely that- and then some- which I have come to expect from this author and her books. I never close one of her books feeling disappointment; only pleasure- sometimes bittersweet, but still pleasure. Jessica Scott isn’t afraid to show us some reals with our feels and I like that in a military romance.

The story opens shortly after the end of the last book (yes that’s a hint to read in order) when the battalion starts cleaning house. Several new command duos are given their chance to take over the reins and clean up their newly assigned companies. Captain Ben Teague is given Bandit Company and he has no desire to lead. Experience has taught him not to like what happens to people when they are given command and he feels that he will do an even worse job than anyone. It doesn’t help that they have been saddled with Major Olivia Hale, a lawyer on a crusade whose first mission is to go after a guy that Ben owes his life.

Olivia isn’t impressed with the smart butt captain who is reluctant to do his job and seems to just want to protect his buddies instead of those who are the true victims. Escoberra abused his child and she doesn’t care how many medals he won; she is getting him away from that family so they’ll be safe. There are so many other situations in these commands that need to be dealt with too and she plans to watch all these commanders like a hawk to make sure that justice is served. Captain Ben Teague draws her attention and keeps it with his casual regard for the rules and soft heart for his guys. It’s his heart and that darkness in his eyes hinting at past pain that stays her hand to show a bit of patience and maybe give him a chance. The Escoberra case eats at her though. Oh Ben might trust this one and she feels a little bad for the disillusionment that he’ll experience over it all, but she will do the right thing. She enjoys for the first time what it’s like to not always be alone, but she is terrified to take that final step of trust so she draws back at a crucial time and it causes a wedge of her own making between her and Ben.

Ben has earned a little trust from the buttoned up Olivia and he now has a really good First Sergeant. Wisecracking, good coffee, cookies, and conferring with Olivia get him through his days. He still has no desire to do what he is doing, but he slowly lets the weight of command settle on his shoulders. So much is a burden and he can’t fix it all, but he learns that he can make some situations a little better. At the end of the day, it is to Olivia that he turns. They start up something tentative and he knows she is holding back on sharing her past. He has a painful past too and he understands until she pulls back and puts up walls. He’s been down that road with someone before and this time he won’t be the guy standing there hurting and begging to be let in.

This story continues with a little of what was seen in Reza and Emily’s book though it shifts from the mental health issues of the battalion to its legal issues. There were so many situations that had no easy answers or reasons for existing. Ben is now learning the burdens of command and Olivia is learning that her view of the world is colored by her past and not everything is as cut and dry as she would like to make it.

Because of the character growth going on, the romance in this one takes a secondary part. The steady and gentle pacing was as engaging as a fast paced thriller. I liked being along for the interpersonal dealings during Ben and Olivia’s work days and I enjoyed their slow building relationship. Their relationship had to endure some hard stuff because of who they were at work when they had opposing viewpoints and ways of dealing with things. Truly, it was amazing how it all seemed to work though it shouldn’t have. It wasn’t all about the attraction and passion. Things were tough, but I loved how these were mature people who dealt with stuff even if it took a step-back moment once or twice. They got it right in the end.

From the genuine emotions looking back at him. The care. The concern.

The faith.

The love.

Ben shattered. In the darkness, in the center of her embrace, he lost a piece of himself he’d been clinging to.

And found something new, something he hadn’t realized he’d lost so long ago. He held her there, whispering her name in the darkness.

Loc. 4356 Ben Teague, It’s Always Been You

I really loved Reza and Emily from the last book so I was glad they had strong supporting roles in this one particularly Reza. He is there for these two and is so much more at peace and grounded. I certainly hope Ben’s new team leader, Soren, shows up some more. I enjoyed getting to know him a little.

All in all, it was another stellar installment in the series engaging me almost completely and I sure hope there is more to come. As I’ve said before, military romance lovers should definitely give this series a try.

My thanks to Forever and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review thoughts.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • I can’t say I adore military romances, so I’ll pass – but I’m glad you enjoyed it so much 🙂

    • Yeah, I know these aren’t for everyone. I love this series.

  • Lola R

    I haven’t read a lot of military romance, but this one sounds like I might enjoy it! Will check out the blurb of the first book to see if it sounds like something I would enjoy. I like series when we meet the characters of the next book in the current book and you have to read them in order because of that. I am not sure if the military and war aspect would work for me, but maybe I should give this a genre a try as well! Great review!

    • The author was in the army and wrote pretty authentically about how the war affects soldiers and their families so it can be pretty intense sometimes though not violent b/c there aren’t battle scenes.

  • She is good at adding some real life grit to the stories too. It’s been a while since I read hers but I did enjoy the ones I read. Will hopefully catch up one day 🙂 Glad it got you Sophia!

    • Yes, ‘real life grit’. Good way to explain it, Anna!

  • I do love a great military romance…and this just sounds delightful and I am always up for trying a new author out, especially since every author I have tried that you have recommended I have loved…so this is going to top my list.

    • Ah, that’s a big compliment, Renee. Start with Because of You which is Shane’s story. These are all so poignant. I hope you like this series too.

  • I don’t read many military romances but this one sounds interesting.

    • They’re a bit different because the focus is on the issues faced by people, families and love interests mostly on the Ft. Hood army base in Texas with little actual war action. I loved the insightful glimpses into their hard lives yet still romantic and hopeful. I grew up military though it was Air Force and was a few decades ago, but these are accurate portrayals.