Catch My Fall (Falling #4) by Jessica Scott

Former Army Sergeant Deacon Hunter is trapped. Trapped in the friend zone. The woman who captured his heart when they were deployed in Iraq has never looked back at the time they stole.
Former Army Sergeant Kelsey Ryder has scars, the kind of scars that no one ever sees, no one ever knows about unless she tells them. Working around the guys at the Pint, she’s reminded of everything she lost when she left the Army behind.
But some scars refuse to stay hidden.
One fateful night changes everything and neither of them know if their relationship will ever be the same.
All Deacon knows is that he’ll be there to catch her when she finally falls.

I’ve been looking forward to Deacon’s story since Jessica Scott gave readers a preview a the end of After I Fall, the 3rd book in her Falling series. Catch My Fall was everything I expected and then some.

Deacon and Kelsey weren’t just soldiers who were trying to get used to being civilians, they were soldiers who had served together. They had a history and because of that they knew things about each other that no one else did, but not even Deacon knew everything that Kelsey kept hidden. Kelsey desperately wanted to keep it that way. Deacon knew that he should just leave Kelsey alone, but she drew him closer the harder she tried to push him away. These two pretty much broke me by the end of their story.

I’ve really fallen in love with this series for a lot of reasons. I know I sound like a broken record when it comes to books written by this author, but it has to be mentioned. She has a unique POV when it comes to portraying her characters because she’s been there and it comes through in her writing. I love the perspective and the “realness” that comes through. It’s not always easy to read, but it’s important. Coming home is always as easy as just coming home… some things aren’t easy to leave behind and the support that these soldiers should have is frequently lacking. The approach to that topic was handled uniquely in Catch My Fall and I really enjoyed that little twist. Things weren’t perfect for Deacon and Kelsey by the end, but they were getting there.

Another thing I love is the sense of family that runs throughout each book. Not all of the former characters have as strong a presence, but there are enough that it’s hard to miss. I love seeing how they’re all doing and getting glimpses of what’s to come. Speaking of which, the character featured in the next book has been around for a while and he’s actually kind of growing on me. Until We Fall promises to be interesting. 😉

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After I Fall (Falling #3) by Jessica Scott

Her entire life has been a lie. Being with Eli is the most honest thing she’s ever done. 
Parker Hauser lives the perfect life and knows exactly where she’s been and where she’s going. Parker has to be perfect. Perfect grades, perfect body, perfect life. 
Until she meets Eli Winter. 
Eli throws her entire life into chaos when he denies her the one thing she wants from him. 
One chance encounter stokes her desire for the man who refused to touch her and left her questioning everything. 
When Parker tries to help his new business, the spotlight turns on Eli’s military record. And sins from the war he’s tried to forget may come back to destroy them both. 

If you’ve read the first two books in Jessica Scott’s Falling series (Before I Fall & Break My Fall) you’ve already met Parker and Eli. You could probably read After I Fall without reading the beginning books in the series and be fine, but I don’t recommend it. Part of the magic of After I Fall is going into it not being a fan of Parker and wondering how Jessica Scott is going to turn her into a likable character. I even mentioned that fact at the end of my review of Break My Fall when I realized who the couple in the next book would be. By the time I was done Break My Fall, I wanted Eli to find his HEA, I just didn’t see how he could find it with Parker. I’m really glad (and not too surprised) that Scott found a way to change the way I looked at Parker and it really didn’t even take long at all. 😉

Parker’s life wasn’t as easy as it seemed. There were a lot of reasons why she acted the way she did and didn’t let people get too close. She wasn’t an angel, but she wasn’t the spoiled princess that she seemed to be either. No one saw through that though… until Eli. He knew from the beginning that there was more to Parker than the front she put up, but even he didn’t know her whole story. He just knew that she didn’t deserve the treatment she was receiving from those who claimed to care about her.

Eli wasn’t an angel either, but like most of the characters in the Falling series, he was a product of his war experience. He wasn’t quite as broken as the soldiers he tried to help and support, but he wasn’t damage free either. He had his secrets and he carried a guilt around with him that he couldn’t shake. His bar, The Pint, was more than a business, it was a haven for his ‘band of misfits.’ He couldn’t risk losing it, but falling for Parker was risky for both of them.

I think I’ve mentioned once or twice how much I admire authors who can change my opinion about a character. It’s almost as if they’re giving readers a gentle reminder not to judge a person, especially if you don’t know their story. Everyone has one and I’m really glad that readers got a chance to discover Parker’s and watch her gain the strength and courage to rise above it.

There’s more to come in the Falling series and I don’t have the same reservations about the next couple that I did with Parker and Eli. I won’t spoil it for anyone, but Catch My Fall is going to be interesting. 😉

 

 

Just Drive (Anchor Point #1) by L.A. Witt

justdriveFor Sean Wright, driving a cab in the tiny Navy town of Anchor Point isn’t an exciting job . . . until he picks up just-dumped Paul Richards. A drive turns into a walk on the pier, which turns into the hottest hookup Sean’s had in ages.
After a long overdue breakup, Paul can’t believe his luck. Of all the drivers, he’s picked up by the gorgeous, gay, and very willing Sean. Younger guys aren’t usually his thing, but Paul can’t resist.
One taste and neither man can get enough . . . right up until they realize that Paul is Sean’s father’s commanding officer and the last man Sean should be involved with.
With two careers on the line, their only option is to back off. It’s not easy, though; the sex and the emotional connection are exactly what both men have been craving for a long time. But Paul has devoted twenty-four years to his career and his dream of making admiral. If he’s caught with Sean, that’s all over. He has to choose—stay the course, or trade it all for the man who drove off with his heart.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Oh how I loved this book and I’m more than a little excited that it’s just the first of a brand new series.

Having said that and as much as I love L.A. Witt, I spent most of this book not knowing how in the heck she was going to make the relationship between Paul and Sean. The frustrating part was that Paul and Sean were so good for each other, but their relationship was doomed from the start.

There’s not a whole lot more that I can say because I don’t want to give things away. Just know that the romance was amazing, the only logical solution was heart breaking and the author’s ultimate twist that ‘fixed’ everything was brilliant. Afraid to Fly is the next book in Witt’s Anchor Point series and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for Travis and Clint.

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Break My Fall (Falling #2) by Jessica Scott

BreakMyFallViolence. 
I’m addicted to it. It’s how I feel alive. It’s the only thing that’s real any more.
And now I have to sit around and discuss it like it’s physics or calculus. 
I can’t do it. I can’t pretend that it’s some sterile academic topic. 
Violence isn’t sterile. It isn’t calm. It’s pulsing. It’s alive.
It’s my drug.
Until I met Abby, I never wanted anything beyond the next fight. Never considered that I might finally find a way back to the land of the living.
Now? Now I find myself dreaming of a woman with golden eyes.
But I can never be with her. Because I am not whole. And I never will be again.
But I cannot stay away. And loving her might finally be what breaks me.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been a fan of Jessica Scott’s military love stories for a while. Even though Falling was her first venture into the New Adult genre, I didn’t hesitate picking up the first book, Before I Fall. Once you fall in love with a series after reading the first book, there’s always a danger that the books that follow won’t quite live up to that high you get with starting something new. I didn’t have that fear when I picked up Break My Fall. I was rewarded with a book that was just as intense and emotional as the first, with characters that I fell in love with from the time they were introduced.

You need to know going into this series that it’s not a sweet romance. These characters are broken and fragile, but they’re also stronger than they give themselves credit for. There’s also a realness about them that pulls you in and makes you feel for them. I think that’s one of the things I love most about Jessica Scott’s writing. Her military background adds to the ‘realness’ that gives her characters a depth and dimension that they wouldn’t have without that knowledge.

As for Abby and Josh? Abby was suffering from her own demons and falling for Josh was a risk, but one that she couldn’t turn away from. Josh was more broken than anyone knew, but he couldn’t pull himself away from Abby even though he knew it could totally break him as well as her. It took them a while to figure out that they were much better off together than apart.

Break My Fall was intense and at times heartbreaking, but it was also full of hope and even humor. The characters were smart and witty and full of life. That includes the supporting characters, who were, once again, just as important as Abby and Josh. They added another layer to the story through their interactions between Abby and Josh.

I don’t think that you have to read Before I Fall to enjoy Break My Fall, but I wouldn’t skip it. The first book lays the groundwork. It’s gives some insight into the different things these young soldiers face when they come home and the steps they have to take to try to get back even a little of what they’ve lost and find a new kind of normal. Not everyone’s journey is the same, but they’re all important. I’m going to try to remember that before the next book in the series comes out. If I Fall features one of my least favorite characters so far, which means Ms. Scott has her work cut out for her. I have no doubt that she’s up to the task.

DragonFlyRating5

Come Home to Me (Coming Home #5.5) by Jessica Scott

ComeHomeToMeAll Major Patrick MacLean wanted was Christmas with the woman and child who were his family in everything but name. But Captain Samantha Egan has come back from the war a different woman than the one who left – and she doesn’t know if she can love him anymore.
But neither of them counted on the determination of a little girl they both call daughter and if Natalie has her wish, her parents may have no idea what’s coming for them. It’s going to take Christmas miracle to bring these two wounded warriors back from the edge of a broken heart.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a Jessica Scott romance. and to be honest, I forgot how much I enjoy them. Her personal ‘touch’ with military romance never fails to pull me into her stories. She’s also among the handful of my ‘go-to’ contemporary romance authors. So, why it’s taken me so long to pick up this Holiday novella is beyond me… but ’tis the Season’ 😉

I’ve got to admit, it took me a while to sympathize with Samantha. I’m kind of ashamed of myself for that, but I blame it on the fact that Patrick’s POV opened the story. In my head, Patrick was the victim and Samantha was the one causing the pain. Even after they were brought back together, it took me a while to understand why she left. It helped knowing that even she didn’t know. The point is, and one that was pretty effectively driven home, is that unless you’re in the situation that Samantha was in, you can never truly understand it. There’s no right way to handle it and you don’t just ‘come home’ after it’s over. Both of these characters grew and in the process more secrets were revealed on both sides.

Since Natalie was a catalyst in this story, I was happy (but not surprised) to see that she was a witty and smart little girl that added a lot to the plot. This was a family that still had a way to go to be back on track by the end, but they were on the right track and sometimes, that and hope is pretty much all you need.

DragonFlyRating4

After the War (Homefront #2) by Jessica Scott – Bout of Books 13 Review

AfterTheWarA terrible loss…
Captain Sarah Anders lost her husband to the Iraq war and has nearly lost the career she loves. Sent to Fort Hood, she only wants to do her job and take care of the daughter she’s raising on her own. She never counted on running straight into a memory she’d tried to forget.
A love he never forgot…
Captain Sean Nichols never got over Sarah. He simply tried to forget her amidst the war and the chaos of combat. But when she’s assigned to investigate his unit, he comes face to face with the woman no war or any amount of time could make him forget.
A dark secret…
As Sarah gets closer to the truth, Sean must accept that actions he took during the war may end the tentative love building between them. And even if Sarah can forgive him, Sean may never be able to forgive himself.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I have a short list of authors who are a must read when it comes to contemporary romance. As far as military romance, Jessica Scott is at the top of that list. I’ve read all but a couple of books in her Coming Home series and I’m looking forward to continuing that along with her new Young Adult Fallen series. Homefront is also turning into one of my favorites.

She pulls no punches when it comes to what affect war has on soldiers and their families. Homefront puts the fear, pain, heartbreak, loss and all the other after affects front and center. The situations are real and the feelings are raw. The author’s first hand knowledge and experience is evident in what her characters feel and go through. Coming home is almost as hard as being deployed. There are feelings that can’t be turned off, nightmares that continue to haunt and memories that can’t be buried.

Sarah and Sean’s story is no different. They both lost people that they cared about. Sarah lost her husband and was still dealing with grief. Sean lost friends and fellow soldiers and was dealing with guilt. In a way, they had also both lost each other years before. After the War was a story of love, loss, tragedy and hope. I think that’s why I love Jessica Scott’s stories so much. Her characters are broken, but they pull themselves together and become even stronger in the process. Along the way they learn to deserve the love and support that they didn’t even realize they were searching for.

DragonFlyGreen4-5

Homefront (Homefront #1) by Jessica Scott

HomefrontHe’s always loved her…

First Sergeant Gale Sorren waited a war and half a lifetime for a chance to get stationed near the ex-wife who left him years ago. When he finally musters the courage to see her, the life he imagined she was living was nothing close to the reality.

She’s never stopped loving him…

Melanie never stopped worrying about Gale each time he headed off to war. But he’s never been there when she needed him and she’s had fifteen years to steel her heart against him.

But when Gale moves to Fort Hood, he finally has a chance to make things right with Melanie and the daughter she raised without him.

Can Mel trust her heart to a man who has always let her down?

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I’ve been a fan of Jessica Scott’s military romance stories since reading Because of You, the first book in her Coming Home series. I’ve read all but one or two books in that series, but Homefront has a lot of familiar faces gracing the pages, which made me enjoy the first book in her new Homefront series even more.

There was so much to like about Homefront, I’m not exactly sure where to start. Gale and Melanie were both young when they started their family. It was really hard to get upset with the actions of either one of them because they both spent a lot of time beating themselves up about everything they had done wrong. It’s not easy being the soldier leaving his loved ones behind or being the family that’s left behind. No one relates those emotions better than this author. Gale and Melanie’s story was as heartbreaking as it was beautiful.

There were a lot of other things going on in Homefront besides Gale trying to put his family back together or make up for time lost. Things going on with his career and fellow officers slowly bled into his personal life in unexpected ways. The way he handled those situations made me fall in love with him.

As with everything else, there’s no black and white. No easy answers to complicated situations and no turning back the hands of time. I have a feeling that readers are going to experience a lot of this in the rest of the books in this series. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for everyone else.

DragonFlyGreen4-5

Before I Fall (Falling #1) by Jessica Scott

BeforeIFallStay focused. Get a job. Save her father’s life.

Beth Lamont knows far too much about the harsh realities of life her gilded classmates have only read about in class. She’ll do whatever it takes to take care of her father, even if that means tutoring a guy like Noah – a guy who represents everything she hates about the war, soldiers and what the Army has done to her family.

Noah Warren doesn’t know how to be a student. All he knows is war. But he’s going to college now to fulfill a promise and he doesn’t break his promises. Except he doesn’t count on his tutor being drop dead gorgeous and distracting as hell. One look at Beth threatens to unravel the careful lies Noah has constructed around him.

A simple arrangement turns into something neither of them can deny. And a war that neither of them can forget could destroy them both.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I’ve been a fan of Jessica Scott’s military love stories for a while, but it’s also been a while since I’ve read one. When I found out that she was delving into New Adult territory, I jumped at the chance to read her first book in the Falling series. I wasn’t disappointed.

There was so much to love about Before I Fall, I’m not sure where to start. Beth was an amazing character to start this series. The opening statement in the description may seem a little over the top, but it’s exactly what Beth was dealing with in a very real way. Everything for Beth was a fight and had been since she was sixteen years old. Her mom abandoned her and her father when things got tough. Beth was left to pick up the pieces, take over the finances and literally fight for the healthcare that her dad deserved.

Noah came back from the war more broken than even he realized. He wasn’t in a great place either physically or mentally when he met Beth. She made him want to be a better person, but it wasn’t that easy. When Beth finally revealed some of her own secrets, he wanted to be strong for her. To do that he’d have to come to terms with his own issues, before it was too late. The inevitable crash for these two was heartbreaking.

I felt for both of these characters. Beth wasn’t wrong for decisions she made regarding Noah, but she wasn’t entirely right either. Her judgement was clouded by her own reality, which was understandable. Noah was as much a victim of circumstances beyond his control as Beth and her father. It came down to much more than right vs. wrong, it was more a matter of survival the only way either of them knew how.

The supporting characters were an important part of Before I Fall. They gave the characters strength and love when they needed it most. They added to the depth of the characters by helping them reveal parts of themselves that they couldn’t reveal to anyone else. I love it when supporting characters are… well… supportive.

Interlaced within the depth of the characters and the touching love story was the evident personal knowledge that it took to bring this story to life. I’ve always admired that with Jessica Scott’s writing and the switch in genres didn’t change that. If you’ve been a fan of her adult military romances, you will definitely enjoy Before I Fall. If you’re new to this author’s writing, it’s also a perfect place to start. Needless to say, I’m really looking forward to see where this series goes next.

DragonFlyGreen4-5

 

Stripping Her Defenses (Ex Ops #2) by Jessie Lane

SHD EbookHe can’t change the scars on her body…
but fate will give him a second chance to mend the scars he put on her heart.

Riley Sullivan and the Ex Ops Team are headed to Miami undercover… as bikers. Following up a lead, the men will perform their investigation acting as members of the Regulators Motorcycle Club with the club’s permission. Surrounded by hardcore bikers and investigating missing strippers, Riley finds the last person he ever expected to see again—his ex-wife.

Kara Sullivan left the man she loved after a tragic accident cost them their unborn son. After years of therapy, she’s come to grips with the loss and has re-emerged from the pain a brand new person. That doesn’t mean she’s ready to face the man who inadvertently broke her heart, and who she’s hurt in return.

Riley has never stopped loving her and he never will. He’s ready to fix their marriage and move on with their lives, however Kara’s reluctance to renew their relationship isn’t their only problem. Danger lurks just around the corner… and there’s a chance she could disappear permanently.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1A couple of confessions…. First – I skipped the first book and went right into the second. Yeah, I know. I warn readers about that all the time. Only because I do it all the time and I know how frustrating it can be. The good news is that even though there are things that I really want to know and things that I want to go back and find out, I wasn’t lost. Second – even though I knew better, I judged a character before getting the whole story. So basically, this whole intro is another perfect example of ‘do as I say, not as I do’ and since it’s been a while since I’ve given out that sage wisdom, I don’t feel bad about it at all. 😉 Now, on to the review.

This book covers a lot of ground. It starts out in the past and then jumps to a flashback in the present. Wow! For that reason alone, I have to say, I wish Stripping Her Defenses was just a little bit longer. The back story was necessary. It not only gave readers a glimpse of where these characters came from, it also put them right in the middle of the pain that they both experienced. I have to admit, in the beginning I didn’t really like Kara. The more I got to know her, the more I began to understand her and eventually really liked her. Riley I loved from the beginning. It goes without saying that my heart broke for both of them. For a lot of reasons, this wasn’t an easy book to read. Honestly, with all that these characters went through, it’s amazing that either one of them came through in one piece.

Stripping Her Defenses had pretty much everything you could want in a Suspense/Military/Romance. Too many alpha males to count, danger, heat, action and loss…. the only thing that I wish it had was more… *sigh*

The supporting characters were great as well. I also liked the POV switches between Kara and Riley. It not only kept things interesting, it kept the pages turning.

I can’t wait to go back and pick up Secret Maneuvers, the first book in Jessie Lane’s Ex Ops series.  Honestly though, I can’t decide if I’m looking forward more to the next book in this series, Sweet Recovery, or the first book in the Regulators MC series, Ice – a collaborative series by Jessie Lane and Chelsea Camaron. It’s definitely a toss-up. 😉

DragonFlyRating4

All for You (Coming Home #4) by Jessica Scott

Scott_AllForYou_ebookCan 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 .

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Jessica Scott has yet to disappoint me with any of the books she has written in this series. I’m not sure if it’s her writing, or the fact that I am getting to know the characters or if it’s just the continuity of the series itself, but these books continue to get better and better. Obviously, All For You drilled that point home.

This is the 4th installment of the Coming Home series and the characters that were front and center were totally different than any so far. Up until now, the female leads have had some connection to the Army. Either through service, association or being a long time spouse. Emily had none of that. She was totally ‘green,’ but that didn’t lesson her dedication. It just left her ‘out of the loop.’

As far as Reza is concerned… yeah, he was pretty damaged. He came into the Army that way though. So far the male leads have been damaged by their experiences. Not that Reza hadn’t. He just had a background that provided a pretty shaky head start. One that set the tone for his character throughout All For You. His story wasn’t an easy one and being inside his had wasn’t always a fun place to be, but I still liked getting to know him.  As determined as he was to get himself straight – he was still messing up. He was on shaky ground and sometimes he knew it and even then there were times he didn’t care. As hard as his friends and superiors were on him, his biggest obstacle was himself.

Together these two just worked. Emily needed help understanding where the men she was trying desperately to help were coming from and Reza needed someone to love him unconditionally. He also needed someone he could trust enough to give him a different way of looking at things. Their relationship was rocky at best and they didn’t make it easy on each other, but that’s what kept things interesting and most importantly…. real.

Once again, Jessica Scott’s first hand knowledge of military life brought realism to this series. The subject was tough and it wasn’t sugar coated. There are people that are cut out to be soldiers regardless of how they enter the military and there are people who aren’t. I’ve personally (as a civilian) seen the pressure and discipline turn someone’s life around, but I’ve also seen it totally crush others. Those facts made All For You more than just a simple military romance, at least for me. It was packed with emotion and those feelings didn’t stop once the last page was read. This one stuck with me for a while. *sigh*

Coming Home is most definitely a character driven series. I have loved them all so far. As serious as the subject was in All For You, there were still light moments and yeah, there were some heated ones too (the good kind 😉 ) It was interesting seeing Carponti and Shane as ‘outsiders’ instead of being part of the inner circle. I kind of liked seeing them from a different perspective. It was also fun seeing Evan and Claire again under totally different circumstances. It made me want to pick up Until There Was You again… of course I don’t need much of an excuse to re-read any of the books in this series. Next up in the Coming Home series is It’s Always Been You and I’m looking forward to it already.

DragonFlyRating5