on August 29, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Jessica Charles shouldn't have even been in London when the unthinkable happened.
She should have been back at home in Edinburgh, perhaps hanging with her boyfriend, having drinks with her sister or doing yoga with her group of friends. She should have been going on in her normal, dependable life as always.
But on that fateful day in August, when a mentally-ill ex-soldier opened fire in public, Jessica's world changed forever.
Now single and crippled from the gunshot wounds, Jessica finds herself scared and alone, losing faith in herself and humanity with each agonizing moment that passes.
That is until a stranger enters her life. A stranger who makes her live again.
Keir McGregor has always been the strong, silent type. Throw in tall, dark, and handsome and you've got pretty much the perfect Scotsman.
Except Keir is anything but perfect. He's got a past he's running away from and a guilty conscience he can't seem to shed. But the more time he spends with Jessica, the more he falls in love with her.
And the more his secret threatens to tear them apart.
He may have been a stranger to her.
But she’s never been a stranger to him.
“I suck it up. I have to. The rest of my life is now just sucking it up. Don’t complain, don’t dwell, don’t be scared, don’t be angry, don’t be sad. Just suck it up and live with it.”
Jessica is rebuilding her life. After having survived a horrible shooting she needs to come to terms with her changed life. Her body does no longer what she wants it to do and Jessica is still seeing the shooter in her nightmares. No longer having a boyfriend or a place to call home she lives with her younger sister and brother-in-law, and while Jessica knows she’s welcome there, she tries to give the couple some alone time. Not looking for love or anything – Jessica’s body and heart are in shatters – meeting Keir is a very welcome distraction.
“Something fizzles in my heart, like rain on hot pavement. I clamp my mouth shut and wait as he turns around. The second he sees me, his eyes widen. First in shock, then in something like awe. I’ve never been looked at like this before. It does something to me, something it shouldn’t.”
Keir has spent years in the army and has been at warzones, having witnessed things that change a man permanently. After his latest tour Keir has said farewell to his military life; the death of a few of his men just became too much. And when he thinks he has seen the worst, a good friend goes over the edge, taking innocent people with him. Keir knows who Jessica is, and what she has been through. Keir wants to get to know her, but he hasn’t counted on falling for her.
“I know that seeing her smile, her tenacity, should be enough to tell me that she’s okay, that she’ll be okay without my help, without the truth. I am no one to her, just a stranger. She doesn’t need to know me. She’ll be better off for it. And yet, I stay.”
The moment Keir and Jessica meet; they have a connection. Not an instant – raw – I want to rip your clothes off – connection, but they feel at ease with each other. Jessica is battling with the aftermath of a horrible shooting (it’s only seven weeks ago) and her scars are not only on the outside. But for some reason she feels comfortable with Keir. Keir knows exactly what has happened with Jessica, but he chooses to let her tell him when she’s ready. They have a sweet, real connection and both Jessica as Keir deserve love and happiness. Since this is a Karina Halle book you know a Happily Ever After won’t come easy, and this is also the case for Keir and Jessica. But once all is out in the open they can build towards a future.
Karina Halle can write great stories which call on your emotions. Sometimes I want to strangle her characters, other times I just want to hug them. Jessica and Keir fall into the last category. They both have overcome so much from their childhood, and also their grownup lives haven’t been easy at times. I love how Keir is with Jessica, sweet and caring, but he also makes her feel like a real woman, not like a broken one. I adore Jessica for her strength. Although she’s literally broken, she is still fighting for herself and she still believes in love. I just wish Keir would have told Jessica the truth sooner.
“I can’t sleep without you. I can’t feel without you. The world doesn’t look the same, taste the same. For so long I was barely living Jessica, then you came along and you made me care about something more than myself.”
I love the story of Keir and Jessica. I give The Debt 4.5 stars.