I have not been shy in my admiration for Laura Kaye when I reviewed her fabulous paranormal romance North of Need. When I followed up with reading her hot e-novella, Hearts in Darkness (a hefty novella that is a great value for its under $3 price tag) she convinced me she is more than just a paranormal princess – she can pull off hot, damaged heroes in a contemporary setting with total aplomb.
So after I saw her tweet this weekend encouraging people to take a chance on the soldier hero in her latest book, Her Forbidden Hero, I thought this might be a great way to celebrate the holiday and downloaded the book that minute onto my Kindle app.
Trust me, it’s better than your town’s fireworks display.
One of my favorite romance tropes is two people who are already good friends finding their path to love and Kaye has given readers a fresh take on this plot for her novel. Alyssa Scott grew up in an abusive home, trying to be invisible while avoiding the pain her alcoholic father could heap upon her. Her older brother Brady and his best friend, Marco Vieri where always there to help her, to the point of having her move in with them to finish high school after Brady turned 18 and could legally leave their father.
Once she headed off to college and was safe on her own, they both enlisted, ending up in Army Special Forces. Brady is still in the Middle East, but Marco ended up wounded in a situation gone very wrong, lucky to be alive but with enough scars and nightmares to make his current life a dark one. At least dark until Alyssa walks back into his life.
Alyssa has graduated college and needs a job, badly. Her background would have her ideally working in events and entertainment, but her limited cash has her turning away from the big city and back to her hometown where she knows the thriving town hotspot is a good place to work and save up. The fact that her brother’s best friend, Marco, is working there is just a bonus. She knows that her love and affection for him went beyond a schoolgirl crush and she can’t help hoping that he’ll see her as more than just the shy little girl she used to be.
Unfortunately for Marco he does see Alyssa for who she is right now – a beautiful, confident woman who can handle herself and charm everyone around her. Her newfound confidence doesn’t stop him from wanting to protect her, but what tears down the walls he’s built to resist her is her desire to protect and help him. He knows Brady, still deployed, will kill him when he finds out his friend is lusting after his sister. With all his nightmares and guilt, how does he have anything left to offer Alyssa?
Leave it to Laura Kaye to give us two such multidimensional characters. The reader quickly latches onto the idea that, while fresh out of college, Alyssa has had a life that puts her way beyond the usual 22-year-old in maturity. She’s unbelievably independent, so much so that Marco’s brusque initial attempts to help her come crashing around him.
Marco is super easy to fall for, and not just for his soulful guitar playing. Kaye has her facts fully researched regarding the symptoms and effects of brain injury and other physical ailments of veteran soldiers, making the reader’s heart ache for what Marco has to endure. Watching Alyssa awake a more carefree part of Marco is a joy, and one that has you flipping the pages, praying these two will make it to happily ever after.
A full-fledged book for only $2.99 at Amazon.com with one of Entangled Publishing‘s killer covers makes this contemporary romance a must-read on everyone’s list. So celebrate Memorial Day with the latest novel from Laura Kaye. You’ll be seeing fireworks on every page!