Because of You by Jessica Scott
Why this one: To be explained below
Steam Level: Just about perfect
Blurb: From the war-torn streets of Baghdad to the bittersweet comforts of the home front, two wounded hearts navigate the battlefield of coming home from war in this explosive eBook original from newcomer Jessica Scott.
Keeping his men alive is all that matters to Sergeant First Class Shane Garrison. But meeting Jen St. James the night before his latest deployment makes Shane wonder if there's more to life than war. He leaves for Iraq remembering a single kiss with a woman he'll never see again- until a near fatal attack lands him back at home and in her care. Jen has survived her own brush with death and endured its scars. And yet there's a fire in Shane that makes Jen forget all about her past. He may be her patient, but when this warrior looks her in the eyes, she feels - for the first time in a long time - like a woman. Shane is too proud to ask for help, but for Jen, caring for him is more than a duty -it's a need. And as Jen guides Shane through the fires of healing, she finds something she never expected - her deepest desire.
My Thoughts: Not long ago I got an email from this author asking if I would do a review of her book. I don’t always respond to requests to review, but something prompted me to this time. As I was reading the email and then reading the synopsis she had included, it did sound like a book I would enjoy so the next time I went out to a place with WiFi – yes, I still can’t get the WiFi working at home – I bought a copy and sent her an email saying I didn’t like accepting books but I did buy a copy and hopefully I’d be in a mood to read it and would let her know what I thought.
Well, I was in the mood sooner than I thought I would be and started reading Because of You yesterday. Once I started, I could hardly bear to put it down. I worked today – I’m working overtime like crazy these days – but even as I was working I was looking forward to getting home so I could read some more.
I’m not quite sure where to begin in describing this book. From the very first page I appreciated that the hero, Shane Garrison, was a regular soldier. It’s not that I don’t like SEAL’s but they are becoming the dukes and viscounts and earls of contemporary romance and a little are starting to go a long way. So I found it refreshing that Shane was a Sergeant First Class.
Another thing that really struck me from the beginning was Because of You has such an authentic feel to it. Apparently Ms. Scott is a career soldier herself and you can tell with every word and every nuance that this is real. The characters may be fictional, but they don’t come across that way at all. They truly come to life, from the hero Shane and the heroine Jen St. James, a nurse who works as a nurse in the army hospital, to the men under Shane’s command and the friends of Jen, each one is so fully alive, you could swear you are reading about real people.
And while this is a romance, it’s a romance plus so much more. It’s about loss, the loss of a way of life for Shane when he is severely injured and shipped home to recuperate. His whole identity is wrapped up in leading his men and he’s lost when he can’t be there to protect them. It’s about physical loss with Jen. She has lost a part of her body and hasn’t come to terms with it yet. She is unprepared really for the desire that flares between her and Shane. It’s about the loss of a partner that Jen’s best friend feels every time her husband and good friend of Shane’s is shipped into combat and it’s about the loss of friends that plagues one of the men under Shane who has also been seriously injured while fighting for his country.
And it’s about healing. It’s how Shane and Jen heal each other. Shane is a loner who hasn’t had much of a personal life; he didn’t know who his father was, his mother was a drunk and his ex-wife cheated on him and took him to the cleaners. So he is awed by Jen and who she is. And with Shane, Jen is forced to confront her own issues that have remained unresolved.
While this is an intense and emotional book, there are wonderful moments of humour, especially in the hilarious character of Carponti, one of Shane’s men and the bane of his existence.
I don’t know what it was that caused me to linger on this one, but I’m sure glad I did. I missed the buzz when it first came out due to my terrible online track record lately so I’m glad I found it now and will be waiting eagerly for her next book.
Grade: 4.75 out of 5