Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Just a Kiss by Denise Hunter (Book Review)

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About the book-

For fans of JoJo Moyes' Me Before You and Nicholas Sparks' The Choice comes a breathtaking story of second chances, friendship, and true love in all its forms by bestselling novelist, Denise Hunter. 
Riley Callahan's plans to reveal his secret feelings for his best friend are ruined when his life is drastically altered in Afghanistan.
Watching the love of his life falling for his brother was enough to send Riley straight to boot camp. But over a year later, he's officially a marine, and Beau and Paige are no longer an item. When Riley's tour in Afghanistan is up, he intends to confess his feelings to Paige and win his best friend's heart once and for all.
But all that changes when an IED takes the life of a comrade and leaves Riley an amputee. Now he's heading home, injured and troubled. His plans to win Paige are a distant dream. She deserves so much more than the man that's left. All he can do now is put some healthy distance between them. But upon his return he discovers his family has arranged for him to stay with Paige.
Paige is a nurturer at heart and happy to take care of her best buddy. By all appearances he's adjusting miraculously well to his disability. But as the days pass, Paige begins to see that the smiles and laughter are just a mask for the pain he's hiding. He has nightmares and mood swings, and his unwavering independence keeps him from accepting help from anyone, including her. To make matters worse, her job is in serious jeopardy. The animal shelter that she's poured her heart into has lost its funding, and she has three months to come up the money needed to save it.
As the weeks wear on with the two in such close proximity, Paige's feelings for Riley begin to shift into unchartered territory. Why is she suddenly noticing his corded arm muscles and the way his lips curl at the corners? Will she be able to deny her feelings for another Callahan brother? And will Riley let his heart heal so he can let Paige in?

My thoughts-

I love books like Me Before You and The Choice so the comparison grabbed my attention. I didn't realize this was a book in a series until after I had already read it, but the previous two books were about other main characters and I was satisfied with how well I got to know Paige and Riley without having read their back stories in the previous books. I loved them so much though that I want to go back and see how it all began in the other two books and also read about the other two Callahan brothers and their significant others. Just A Kiss was a great romance about two people who have both are holding back sharing their feelings for one reason or another. I love stories about friends falling in love and I think it is so romantic that Riley has been in love with Paige since they were teenagers! It was difficult to see how hard it is for Riley to deal with the injuries he sustained while deployed and how it turns him into a negative, jaded person. Luckily Paige isn't having any of that and does whatever she can to try and help him see things in a different light. One of the sub-plots I really liked in the book is that Paige works at an animal shelter and Riley helps her out there when he needs a job and she suddenly looses the person that was helping before. I love animals so I always enjoy reading about them. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good, clean romance novel!

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