This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Military Romance
Released on April 29, 2014
Source: Book Tour Provided
He gave the order that sent his team in on a mission that got four men killed and one injured. Though he and the team did everything right, the unthinkable still happened. Captain Sawyer Mathis thought nobody could blame him more than he blamed himself, but he was wrong. He holds everything in and tries not to feel and when he gets the full force of the fiery woman at the funeral, he knows why. It’s nearly torture to feel. She may be a rich, spoiled, ill-tempered witch, but she’s right about where to place the blame.
Having one brother brought back in a coffin and the other brother return with one of his legs blown off rocks Katya’s world and sends her spiraling into the darkness of anger and hate. Her target for this black grief is the man who survived and stands before her so cold and unemotional. Her surviving brother idolizes him and her father respects him, but Katya holds her hate close and lashes out at him with blame, vicious words and attitude every chance she gets. She puts everything on hold to care for her surviving brother who loves her, but can’t get her to stop nagging at him and smothering him.
The two are thrown together for one week that alters both of them when they are counselors at the camp for kids who lost a parent in the service that was organized in honor of Mikhail’s memory. The experience opens both of their eyes to how broken they are and makes Katya get a glimpse of the man behind the icy exterior even as he sees the caring woman under the hard shell. The attraction is there, but Katya’s hate, Sawyer’s guilt and the vast differences between the two make them realize that being together isn’t going to happen.
Alright, so yes, this was not an easy, light romantic read about two well-adjusted, likeable people. Nope, not at all. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee that all, but a quirky few are going to hate Katya for some portion of the book because the reader isn’t meant to like her until she begins to heal. The book is her journey back to humanity. Sawyer won’t get as strong a reaction and he’s the one who anchors things so the reader can have some moments to gather themselves before they’re back in Katya’s head. This is told first person alternating points of view. Sawyer is on the same journey as Katya just from a different direction. She is all hot, fiery emotion and he shuts down all emotion. Somehow through all the brangling and heavy emotions, they help each other.
These two broken people portray a romance set against the ugliness of war- what it can do to those who serve and what it does to those who lost a loved one or have to watch a loved one come back with horrific injuries both physical and not so visible. Most of the book, the couple is at odds and its hard to observe the way Katya lashes out at Sawyer and Sawyer calmly takes it because he thinks he deserves it- well and because he is the one man on the planet that finds the tempestuous Katya sweet and adorable when her temper is high. Not every scene is dark. In fact, I smiled and laughed a few times. The kids in their cabin lend some levity as do the other members of Sawyer’s military team that are also counselors in honor of their fallen comrade.
Katya’s surviving brother, Petr, has a strong presence in this story as he learns to function as an amputee and moves on with his life. He had such a sunny, laid-back surface attitude, but he too struggled with the burdens of war. Although, its fun to see the way he gets around Katya’s temper and struggles to get her to stop mothering him.
In the end, I was rewarded after watching Sawyer and Katya struggle through their own darkness to find a certain level of peace and happiness. They weren’t easy, but they were worth it. I would recommend this book to contemporary romance fans who enjoy tough romance in a military setting.
My thanks to Barclay Publicity for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.