This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Indie/Self Published
Released on September 15, 2013
Going into this one, I only had a vague idea of what it would be about. The opening gave me quite the surprise and then the story settled in to be something that touched all my emotions. I wanted to cry, I laughed, I cheered on the characters, I worried and I hoped. This book ended up being so much more than I expected going into it and I now have a new to me author and series to love.
The story opens with Anna Martin, wife of Air Force Captain Neil Martin stationed in Georgia, getting the shock of her life when her husband of six and a half years breaks things off with her in the most excruciating and insulting of ways. He bares all his frustration with their marriage when he gives a toast at a wedding dinner and she never once thought anything was wrong. She gave up many things and sacrificed as a military wife every time they picked up and left to follow his duty assignments and now she is left alone as an under-educated, under-employed divorcee when he moves on to his next duty assignment leaving his lawyer behind with no further words for her. She loved and was not loved in return. This breaks Anna, but she is stronger than she realizes because instead of fleeing north to her home and her disappointed family, she picks up the pieces and starts putting herself back together one piece at a time. No more military men and no more commitments. Just her work, her education and maybe getting together with her few friends.
Jackson Davis returns to the base near his home after many years of duty elsewhere. He is a true southern gentleman with the ladies, loves his college football, looks forward to hunting season, and plans to spend some time with family. What he does not plan on is long-term relationship because he doesn’t believe in love. Meeting Anna Martin through a mutual friend fits well with his plans. The Yankee girl is sassy, feisty and best yet, she doesn’t believe in commitment either. After slowly starting something up with the healing Anna, he realizes that Anna may be a bad idea if he wants to stay safe. They fit together too well and other people notice it too.
Life isn’t easy for either of them as friends disappoint, family has its own way of causing pain, priorities shift, and that scary ‘L’ word looms over both Anna and Jackson.
The plot on this one was one long and satisfying (in the end) story of growth for both characters. There is nothing hurried about this one. I loved that it doesn’t hurry and takes the time to set the romance into the whole life picture for these two people. There are snippets of all aspects of their lives. Anna gets with her friends, goes to work and goes to school besides getting with Jackson. Jackson goes hunting, spends time with certain family members, watches football on his couch and goes to work along with being with Anna. There were hilarious moments, heartbreaking ones and the passion between them just soared even if it wasn’t detailed out each and every time. They both have a lot of baggage as do others in the story and that is dealt with too. Anna seems to have more baggage than Jackson in certain ways. She’s a bit OCD with a label maker and organization, but Jackson doesn’t seem to mind like her ex did which is good because she gets worse when she’s nervous. I really thought this was a big example of how Jackson shined. He could roll with anything and found Anna’s quirks adorable and funny. She honestly didn’t know what to make of him much of the time and had a hard time trusting that he really did accept her just as she was.
Another thing I just can’t leave off mentioning is that I loved spending time in their southern world that is both life around the military base, but also life in the deep south. I cracked up at the way Jackson’s grandma and her old friends were trying to set him up with all the young misses of their acquaintance who baked him biscuits, the football rivalry between the family members when it came to Auburn and ‘Bama, Jackson reluctantly taking females hunting with him, the speech patterns (I wanted to shout out ‘Does anyone speak Southern?’ for a translation a few times), the redneck golf, and oh so many more things. Anna is a girl from Minnesota and her ‘you betchas’, her pies, and her temperament were a great contrast too. I died laughing when she ‘bless her heart’ slammed someone who was trying to southern polite her to death. That Anna, she sure swooped in and stole poor southern boy Jackson’s heart even when he claimed to not have one and vice versa.
I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series and I’m pretty sure this will be a re-read at some point. It was that good for me.
Those who enjoy contemporary romances set in the south and don’t mind a mild military influence with two broken-hearted and enduring people, should jump on this one. One last thing…If you get this book, don’t gloss over the quotes at the top of each chapter- hilarious and apropos to each chapter.