It’s Always Been You
Series: Coming Home #5
By: Jessica Scott
ISBN: 1455553808 (ISBN13: 9781455553808)
Author’s Website: http://www.jessicascott.net
Review brought OBS reviewer Andra
She plays by the rules . . .
Captain Ben Teague is many things: a tough soldier, a loyal friend, and a bona fide smart-ass. He doesn’t have much tolerance for BS, which is why he’s mad as hell when a trusted colleague and mentor is brought up on charges that can’t possibly be true. He’s even more frustrated with by-the-book lawyer Major Olivia Hale. But there’s something simmering beneath her icy reserve–and Ben just can’t resist turning up the heat . . .
. . . and he’s determined to break them
The only thing riskier than mixing business with pleasure is enjoying it . . . and Olivia can’t resist locking horns–and lips–with Ben. He’s got more compassion in his little finger than any commander she’s ever met, a fact that makes him a better leader than he realizes. But when the case that brought them together awakens demons from Olivia’s past, she will have to choose between following orders–or her heart . . .
It took me a bit to mesh with this story for some reason….not sure why, but once I got into the story it was a highly enjoyable read…and difficult to put down at times.
Let me get my pet peeve out of the way first….I found it a bit challenging when military slang / abbreviations were used without ever defining slang or the abbreviation. For example: “Some of these guys have been through some bad shit downrange.” The use of the term ‘downrange’ was not explained… I understand that since this is a story with the lead man a Captain in the Army, but it was a tad frustrating, at least for this civilian. Once I got past this little hiccup, it was all good.
Now on to the “rave” portion of my review Character development was slow, methodical and so realistic….thus easy to follow and have it be relatable. Captain Ben Teague has thrust upon him (much to his chagrin) a command position. He must now make tough decisions to get his soldiers ready for their next tour of duty. Tough calls must be made by Ben as his first inclination is to be loyal to the men he has served with overseas. Yet, these same men are now facing challenges that essentially make them ineffective and unsuitable as soldiers and Ben must prepare the paperwork to send them packing. Now take this new job, which Ben is not comfortable with, and the straight laced Major Olivia Hale (legal counsel for the battalion) who is “hot” along with Ben’s inherent distain for authority….quite a mix.
I found the stories surrounding the soldiers (that needed to get discharged from the army) and their personal stories engaging and well written. I so wanted Ben to be able to save everyone…he gave it his best shot and I will leave who goes and who stays for the reader to find out themselves. Suffice it to say….some of the things that happened….I did not see coming.
Some of the dialogue is priceless. In the following instance, while Ben and Sorren (Ben’s number #1 sergeant) are preparing to go to a meeting this dialogue occurs:
“Want a cookie?”
“Do I look like someone who enjoys cookies?” Sorren asked.
“What? Cookies make everything better. Not as better as, say vodka, but hey, it’s a start.”
“You sound like a woman who needs chocolate,” Sorren said.
I just found the whole interaction chuckle worthy. I could just visualize two solders talking like this .
Another chuckle moment…Ben is contemplating formations:
“Ben hated formations with a loathing that he usually reserved for spiders, snakes, and hamsters. He shuddered. He had no idea why people liked hamsters. Evil-looking little bastards.”
Let us not forget the steamy factor of this book….and let me tell you, there are some truly steamy and swoon worthy parts I love how the words let the reader fill in some of the detail with their own vivid imaginations. This is an excerpt from one particular encounter between Ben and Olivia:
“She wanted his touch. Wanted his hands on her, wanted his mouth. Wanted to lose herself in the taste and touch and feel of him. His lops hovered a breath from hers. Heat radiated from his skin. His breath mingles with hers but neither of them moved. A twisting, writhing dance of almost touches, of the barest caresses.”
The relationship between Ben and Olivia has its ups and downs. Additionally, Ben’s path as commander has its own set of twists, turns and ups and downs but through it all, they traverse this mind-field call life together in a well told tale….in spite of themselves.
I must say…this book sure opened up my eyes as to the toll that being in the military and going to war can do to a soldier and their family.
Ms. Scott’s writing is enticing and entertaining. So I shall put on my TBR list other titles in this series. And I believe since I have already read I’ll Be Home For Christmas (Coming Home, #0.5) , I think I will continue on with Book #1 in the Coming Home series
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*