Series: The Real Seal Series
Published by Smashwords Edition on October 31st 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Military
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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.
Carina Painter lives a life she created in between the pages of her bestselling novel. At least, that’s what she outwardly portrays. A heart-rending childhood followed by an abusive engagement leaves her broken in all ways possible. A chance encounter provides the fork in the road she so desperately desires.
Navy SEAL Smith Eppington is fighting the war of his lifetime. One that isn’t fought with weapons and highly sought intelligence. It’s a battle to remember his past. The accident that scarred seventy five percent of his body, and stole the life of his best friend also seized parts and pieces of his memory. When an author asks to interview him for a fiction novel, he’s ready to pour his heart out no matter the cost.
The friendship that blossoms between Smith and Carina is something extraordinary. It’s a living, breathing love story about finding yourself, change that is out of your control, grasping what you can, and letting go of everything else.
In a twist of kismet, remembering could destroy everything, but fiction may be what saves the day. A friendship built on new truths and a relationship torn apart by old lies collide in a poignant novel by International Bestselling Author, Rachel Robinson.A full-length standalone novel for readers 18+.
A Rachel Robinson book is a feast for the senses. Her words are gripping and pull me right in from page one. I was actually hesitant to start this one, knowing that when I did, I wouldn’t be able to put it down to the detriment of real life. And that is exactly what happened! I was reading on my phone between errands, sitting in the car with it running, just to squeeze in some extra reading time. I was hooked and couldn’t get enough of this fantastic, heart-wrenching story.
“This guy, this guy, is one in a million. More than that, I think his story is one in a billion.”
Smith and Carina are two characters that are so real, so dynamic, and so broken. Smith suffered through a terrible tragedy that left him with external and internal scars, including memory loss. Carina is a shy and scared individual who has been beaten down by life and men, and the only time she is free, is when she is writing. As the story progresses, Carina starts to open up and become the woman she was meant to be, and Smith becomes more than just a shell of a man. I fell in love with them both within these pages, their story so moving and full of hope for second chances.
“I connected to a damaged, confused stranger in one hour, more intensely than I’ve ever connected to Roarke-the man I’m engaged to be married to.”
The moment these two meet, there is an undeniable pull, a connection neither one of them can shake. Neither one of them are free to pursue more than a tentative friendship that evolves out of their meetings to discuss Carina’s next book. Slowly, these two become everything to each other, and Carina’s book begins to change and become more than just fiction.
“Loving you changed me completely. Loving you is painful. It’s truth. It’s lies. It’s the past. It’s my future. Loving you is always.”
Their story is messy, true to life, and full of heartbreak and expectation. Love and honor war each other, while Carina and Smith fight for their happy. Military events portrayed were so realistic, and so not outside the realm of possibility, it was eerie. The details were so carefully crafted, I could imagine every detail.
This book left me with a total book hangover. I’m still thinking about this powerful story and its characters days later. I know this is a book I will have to have on my shelf, and I see many rereads in my future. I have to give thanks for Rachel and her amazing talent; for giving us this hauntingly beautiful story of love and loss, hope and fear, honor and obligation.
“It’s just Carina and Smith. Her questions and my answers. Falling and catching. Loving and leaving.”
Shrugging, he pulls me into his warm, shirtless body and yanks the quilt back up to our necks, his hands now wandering over my body. “Sleep is the very last thing on my mind right now.” His gaze burns into mine and his hands find the hem of my nightshirt. His lips twitch. “You wear so little to bed. I can’t help myself,” he says. With a featherlight touch his fingertips stroke the side of my thigh up to the string of my panties. He hooks a finger in and drags his finger underneath it, teasing himself. Teasing me, too. “It took all of my self-control to go to sleep with this much of your bare skin in touching proximity.”
I blush. Big time. Everything below my waist cries out for attention in one wild rush of excitement. It’s been too long. But it’s more than that now because everything before this has been lukewarm. “What did you do at work last night?” I ask before all important thoughts flee my mind in favor of his touch—something that scrambles my brain cells. “Why did it take so long?”
His face changes. His hand stops on my hipbone and he grabs it, his fingers encompassing the whole side of my body. Breathing in and out makes his hand move with me. It’s warm. It’s demanding. “It’s nothing for you to worry about,” Smith replies.
I shake my head. “When people say stuff like that typically there is almost always something to worry about, but you don’t want to worry the person. Do you see how counterintuitive that is? Now I’m worried because you told me not to worry.”
He sighs and then pulls the covers over his head and disappears under the blankets. In a fast maneuver that tickles and makes me pull away in mock protest, he makes his way between my legs. With the edge of the quilt in my hand I lift it to see his smiling face between my knees. “You’re trying to distract me,” I say. Pressing my lips into a firm line, I try to hold a serious face. “Smith Eppington. You better tell me what I want to know.”
Smith takes the sides of my panties and pulls them down and off my body with one fierce tug. It’s playful, but so damn hot at the same. Some noise exits my mouth and it makes him smile, his good side wider than his bad. I shake my head. “Is it working?” he asks, then kisses the inside of my right thigh. “Are you distracted?” His warm breath on my skin clenches my core. He drags his lips up and down, inching his way higher.
I adjust my legs and try to calm my breaths. “I don’t see how I can’t be distracted with my underwear on the floor and your head between my legs. I don’t forget,” I say. Tapping the side of my head, I finish, “I’m like an elephant.”
He licks the inside of my left thigh and runs his hands under my nightshirt up and down the sides of my rib cage. I shiver. Tipping my head back, I close my eyes.
“An elephant isn’t what I want to think about right now,” Smith growls. “I’d ask you how you like this, but I honestly don’t care. I’m starving for you. You’re wet. I smell you.” With his lips pressing against my skin, and the disappearance of my panties, he’s turned into a lust crazed man. A man I’ve wanted to meet since I first laid eyes on him.