Heroine: Emily Lindberg – Psychologist, Caring
Hero: Reza Iaconelli – Sergeant, Battling Alcoholism
Captain Emily Lindberg is the psychologist at Fort Hood. Emily went against what her family wanted and left behind a life of privilege, so she could make a difference by devoting her life to soldiers who are in desperate need of care. She recently moved to Fort Hood because it was the place considered most in need of psychiatric services, due to the highest active-duty suicide rate in the army. But the soldiers needing care was relentless. Not to mention she has to deal with angry Commanders and Sergeants that believe broken soldiers are weak and don’t belong in the military. But Emily’s refuses to back down, even if it means facing down the powerful, sexy, and intimidating, alpha warrior, Sergeant Reza Iaconelli.
“My job is to keep soldiers from killing themselves.” - Emily
“And my job is to keep soldiers from dying in combat.” - Reza
Sergeant First Class Reza Iaconelli lives for leading his men. It’s what he’s good at. What he loves. For years, Reza has struggled with being an alcoholic. It’s his way of coping with his abusive childhood and heavy baggage that comes with war; both leaving deep scars inside and outside. He just wants to do his job and to be left alone, not deal with the smart and sexy shrink who revs his body up with desire and makes his head spin with anger. No other woman has ever gotten his skin like she did. Not to mention how she manages to convince Reza to agree to help her understand what it’s like to be a soldier so she can better help them by taking her to a training session, where things begin to heat up between them.
As they get to know one another, they start to understand one another and the different worlds they live in. Emily is dedicated to making a difference for these soldiers and Reza starts to understand the importance of her job, realizing there are soldiers who truly need help. Emily wants to understand Reza better, peel back the layers that make up this complicated man with an addiction to alcohol and emotional baggage, and help him breakthrough darkness that consumes him. Reza’s issues go deep. He’s used to taking care of his men and leading them and he doesn’t realize he needs to be taken care of, until Emily walks into his life.
“You’ve taken care of soldiers at war for so long, maybe it’s time someone took care of you.”
This story mostly focuses on broken soldiers, who struggle with depression and PTSD, due to stress of the military and war. Sometimes a soldier just can’t handle the stress and turns to alcohol and drugs and, sadly, suicide. It’s admirable of Jessica Scott to write such an honest story. She doesn’t gloss over the unsavory details of war and the aftermath of war. Rather she writes a realistic and sympathetic story about soldiers who are suffering from PTSD.
I like deeply flawed, imperfect relationships with hot chemistry. And that’s exactly how I would describe Reza and Emily’s relationship. I love how Emily refused to back down from Reza and how the big bad Reza was putty in Emily’s hands. They strongly desired each other and made love with passion. So, while I really like this couple together, I found the relationship development to be lacking. Mostly due to the dark subjects written in the story, which took front and center over the romance.
I often feel frustrated when a relationship is not well-developed in a romance. I felt like the romance aspect of the story was overshadowed by the heaviness of the storyline. It’s a shame too, because I really would have liked more focus on this couple, since they have a nice dynamic together. I also found the pacing of the book to be slow. The entire story from beginning to end was unrelentingly sad. All of the angst and sadness grew tiresome. It would have been nice to have more scenes where Emily and Reza weren’t dealing with so many problems and just having fun together as they got to know one another. There is some playful banter but I wanted more personal time between them without all the emotional baggage weighing down their relationship.
While I can’t say this book blew me away like Back to You, the third book in the Coming Home series, it’s a good book overall. Jessica Scott is a talented writer, who knows how to write emotional and meaningful stories that touch the soul deeply. I do like this author’s voice and plant to continue on with this series.