Released: February 4, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Reviewed by Sarah
On the flap: Can a battle-scarred warrior . . .
Stay sober. Get deployed. Lead his platoon. Those are the only things that matter to Sergeant First Class Reza Iaconelli. What he wants is for everyone to stay out of his way; what he gets is Captain Emily Lindberg telling him how to deal with his men. Fort Hood's newest shrink is smart as a whip and sexy as hell. She's also full of questions-about the army, its soldiers, and the agony etched on Reza's body and soul.
. . . open his heart to love?
Emily has devoted her life to giving soldiers the care they need-and deserve. Little does she know that means facing down the fierce wall of muscle that is Sergeant Iaconelli like it's just another day at the office. When Reza agrees to help her understand what makes a soldier tick, she's thrilled. Too bad it doesn't help her unravel the sexy warrior in front of her who stokes her desire and touches a part of her she thought long dead. He's the man who thinks combat is the only escape from the demons that haunt him. The man who needs her most of all . . .
Captain Emily Lindberg comes from a family of privilege. Like both of her parents, she is a psychologist. Unlike them she doesn’t want to listen to other people of affluence spout their problems, instead she chooses to join the Army in hopes to make a real difference. After the first few months of Fort Hood’s newest head doc, she’s still trying to adjust to life in the armed forces. Following an encounter with Sergeant First Class Reza Iaconelli, she looks to him to teach her the ways of the combat forces of which she would otherwise not know firsthand.
An alpha male through and through, Reza enjoys leading his men into combat. It’s what he knows. It’s what he’s good at. All of these years of battle coupled with an abusive childhood have left deep scars on this man. Some are displayed physically on his skin, while perhaps the worst have manifested into issues with alcohol and a short temper. Despite spending his entire career as an infantryman he has never desired to take care of himself, even going as far as a viewing that as pansy behavior for a soldier.
This is a vastly intense read. Really there are two significant themes running in the book. First and perhaps most significant is the focus on the soldiers who are broken. They’ve fought for us and returned damaged, some physically and most other mentally. The situations are entirely plausible and perhaps some parts are from personal experiences. The sometimes unknown or forgotten realities of PTSD and suicide which soldiers face, whether it is upon return from deployment or from existing concerns at home, is brought to the forefront.
The second topic is of course the romance which develops organically between the Reza and Emily. It begins with their professional interaction where he feels he can push her around like the rest of the shrinks, but he is quickly stunned to find she has a backbone and won’t allow him to goad her. They soon expand on their chance encounters and create a friendship/mentorship which expands into the romance. She’s allowed for the first time in her life to make her own decisions and not worry what or how her parents will feel about it. Reza learns that despite his self-recrimination, he can change, be genuinely loved, and let someone in.
I was truly exhausted when I finished this one although I also felt it is an important read. It allowed me to see a different side to the military which as a civilian I know I can take for granted, albeit still appreciative of their service. It’s a nice change of pace to have a more substantial for a genre that sometimes can be fluffy.
Rating: 4 stars
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I have a large appetite for books with pensive alpha males. I tend to lean towards erotica and contemporary romance. I am completely addicted to my Kindle and feel naked when it’s not with me. If you have any recommendations, feel free to email them. I’m a single-ish woman with two crazy dogs. I also love football and basketball. Living in Oklahoma City, my teams are the Thunder and Sooners.