Wow, here is another book I am struggling to review. Not in a bad way. No, I absolutely loved this book! I don’t personally come from a military family. My uncle was in the navy for 25 years before retiring to be a school teacher and my father, grandfather and other older members were in various parts of the military. But all were out of their military careers by the time I came around. I whole heartedly support our troops no matter how I feel about the government or the wars we are in. It is basic every day men and women who protect us. Give us our freedoms. And allow me to voice my opinion on romance books I adore. Thank you.
That out of the way, let’s not totally confuse this as a military themed book where there are explosions on every page. There is some action, but the majority of the book takes place after Sergeant First Class Shane Garrison is injured and sent home to recover. I am getting a little ahead of myself in this review…backtracking.
We meet Shane as he is signing the divorce papers. Kind of sad and just ready for it to be over. He’s ready to deploy with his men, but there is one problem. He had emergency appendix surgery and has been hiding it from everyone. You have to be in tip top shape to deploy and Shane obviously isn’t ready. The night before his deployment he is talked into going out with the guys, where he meets Jen St. James, a nurse. There is instant attraction, some kisses, but they both know it can’t go much further and say their goodbyes. Here comes the next day and Jen’s the nurse who has to clear Shane for deployment. Yep, she finds out about his surgery and due to a lot of pleading from Shane, sends him off to Iraq.
We don’t hear much any more about the surgery. No problems arise on either side for having forged ahead when they both know they shouldn’t have. I guess I expected some ramifications for this, but they never developed.
While out on a mission, Shane and two other men under his command get severely injured and sent back home. That is the basic story, but there is also some underlying story of stealing and that is coming to blame on these three men. An investigation is taking place by a guy I wanted to punch often, while the other two men are learning to live without limbs and Shane is trying to recover from having his legs shattered and pieced back together. The emotion this guy invoked out of me left me wanting to cram his clipboard down his throat.
I focused a lot of Shane there, but Jen has a very big change in her life. She had cancer at one time and had a breast removed. The angry scar seems to mock her most of the book. So while the men think she can never understand their loss and pain, she has a very unique look at it. Can I hug Shane right now? Yes, Shane. Her not having a breast was not a big deal to him. He loved her for her and not what body parts were missing. I wanted to jump up and down for man who could accept her for herself and not the scar staring him in the eye!
The book is mostly about healing both physically and mentally from wounds, be they from war or disease. The responsibility we feel for those around us can shape the person we feel we are and color how we should react. There are deep emotions on what you should be responsible for and what you are actually responsible for. Emotions run wild over physical therapy, returning to war, the lose of a limb and even attempted suicide.
It is hard to explain why I felt so deeply for this book. It is steamy with several love scenes, but that wasn’t what made it a keep for me. I guess one way to explain it is that Jessica took the time to get to know the characters. She developed them and we grew with them. Just because they had attraction, she didn’t just throw them into bed together. They had issues to over come before they could come together.
On top of that there were a lot of wonderful supporting characters. I can’t wait to see what happens to Trent and Laura. That one is breaking my heart. Then there is Vic and Nicole. Wondering if they will show up in any more stories as I loved Vic Carponti’s sense of humor even if I did want to slap him upside the back of the head like Gibbs does.
I gobbled this book up in one day and wanted to continue reading it. It was a heart wrenching look into what happens when you lose a part of yourself and how you learn to cope and move on after the dirt settles.