This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Intermix
Released on October 21, 2014
Saw the blurb and just had to read this one. I am a total sucker for a military romance and in this case I got two military vet characters all in one story. She was a combat nurse and he was/is a marine. Oh yes, please!
The book is part of a series and highlights the fourth of a set of couples all connected through three guys who were childhood friends and built a software security firm into a very successful business. I was vaguely aware that this book was part of a series when I grabbed it up, but I lucked out in that I was able to read it without having read the previous books. The previous couples are very much present in this one, but they don’t influence the storyline so it worked fine out of order. I am keen to go back for the others now that I’ve read this one.
Navy nurse, Kim Torres, has the unthinkable happen to her when she begins prep on a seriously injured marine who is brought into her field hospital. When he calls out her name, she is there for the last moments of her fiancé’s life. But that isn’t all, the hits just keep coming. As she leans against the wall in the hall, barely holding it together, she is confronted by the evidence that he cheated on her when another grieving woman barrels into the room.
Major Owen Kent is there for the ugly end and is the one who catches the shattered nurse in his arms when she completely crumbles under the weight of double grief. The moment stays with him long afterward so that he goes back to find the woman only to learn that they sent her home early because she had fallen apart under the pressure.
It has been a year since Tom’s death and she feels she can’t be honest about the truth regarding her feelings for Tom and what she learned the day of his death so she has separated herself from her family, her friends and her career to take a position as nanny to a little girl. Her half-life ends the day she meets Owen Kent who has just returned to take his place back with the company her employer works for. Owen is a scary temptation because he confronts her with honesty, makes her think and most scary of all, makes her feel. She runs from his dinner invitation and desire to be around her as fast as she can.
Owen immediately recognizes the nurse he held in his arms as the nanny for his friend’s child, but she doesn’t remember him. The connection he felt with her before is still there, but she shuts him down at every turn and seems to want nothing to do with him even though it is obvious to him and others that she is interested. Owen will give her the space she feels she needs, but he doesn’t plan to give up. He can’t figure out how to handle the knowledge he holds in the face of her fragility and desire to forget the past and knows very well that keeping secrets may blow up in his face.
Alright, so that was not a light, little romance, but one that had me teary-eyed in the first pages. I just can’t even imagine such a scenario. No words here! What an intro to a story. But that is not to say that there weren’t light moments sprinkled throughout and it was a quick read for sure. The book alternates perspectives between Kim and Owen. I liked hanging out with Owen for his narrative parts, but Kim was an iffy thing.
This next section can be skipped if you don’t want the gritty details of my impression of the heroine while she was going through her agonizing character development period.
Now I just said that she went through an experience that I wish on no one, but…
To be fair, I get being cautious about getting involved with another guy because the first one cheated. I get not wanting to destroy a grieving family’s view of their son as the hero. And I even understand needing some space and time to pull it back together.
But still a year later, the lying, denying, and running was making her come apart at the seams along with hurting all the people her silence was meant to protect- and she is aware of this, but can’t seem to stop. Disconnecting from life and love of her family and friends has left her in a continued broken, fragile spirit.
Now here’s what ticked me off. What I described? This is her. She sees it in herself and acts like it, but don’t poor Owen go believing it and treating her as such. Oh no, she can’t take that and sends him packing not once, but twice making him beg practically on his knees for her forgiveness and her love.
And what he hid? Nothing earth shattering just that uncomfortable feeling we all get when someone sees the real us under the facade we present. She and her pack of gals acted like he killed her dog or cheated on her with her best friend or something worse. Buck up and act like someone who is in control of your life if you want people to treat you that way, missie. Running away for a weekend of wine and whining with the girlfriends does not scream Girl Power.
Whew! Now beyond those things I pointed out, I was very engaged in the story and thought it a neat experience to read about not just a military hero, but a military heroine. Both went through a hard situation on their tours of duty and it affected them when they came back and tried to integrate into everyday life. Kim had a huge painful healing and growing arc through the story that she came through in the end strong and the woman Owen needed her to be.
I loved to see that Owen and his friends’ company was hiring lots of combat vets and helping them connect with VA services. And speaking of his friends, I liked what I saw of their characters and the peek-ins with their current situations after their own stories ended.
I was swoony over Owen’s romancing of Kim. After what she had been through, she deserved a man who would go that extra mile to show her that she was the most special thing in his life. Once, he got past her barriers and she slowly let him in, they shared a sweet and yet very passionate relationship. I was really rooting for them and they were so good for each other. I guess that’s why I wanted to throw something at her when she took out her fears and insecurities on Owen. He was such a strong, responsible, loyal man and his feelings for Kim were his only weak spot that she hit over and over again. But in the end, it is a romance and happily ever after is the result.
So, its an emotional read that finishes fairly fast. This is for those who enjoy military romances with the recovery element strong along with a sizzling slow build romance.
My thanks to Penguin Group and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.