Published by Entangled Publishing on June 27th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Military, New Adult
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She's so young, so full of life...
I couldn't let her die...
Even if she made the world's worst coffee.
Emily Garret never asked to be rescued, let alone by a walking JCrew ad whose idea of fun is probably managing his stock portfolio and watching the nightly news. Then again, she never thought she would wind upside-down in a ditch after a night having a little too much fun.
Reece Montgomery never planned on being anyone's hero, especially the foul-mouthed, bleach-blonde barista from the local coffee shop. He thinks there's more to Emily than her tattoos, and lip ring, but getting close means letting her into his past and meeting his ghosts.
And he's not sure she's ready for that battlefield.
A broken soldier and a lost girl. How could these two possibly fix each other?
The entire time I read this book, I felt so strongly for Reece. I’m not sure what it is, but books with a veteran (especially if they’re struggling) seem to tug at my heartstrings more than most stories. Probably because of everything they’ve been through and the fact that they’d so readily give their lives for the freedom of others. I couldn’t fathom this but respect the crap out of it. His flashbacks felt so real that at times they were tough to read. I can’t imagine what it might be like dealing with PTSD, how he could carry on with everything happening in his head. Emily was so good for him, he needed some lightness in his dark.
The emotional scenes in Seared On My Soul were amazing. They were intense and had me on the edge of my seat, at times I even had a few tears forming while I read about Reece. His PTSD was such a struggle in and of itself and then he had large amount of surviver guilt on top of that. These two combined would be enough to crush anyone. I hurt for him. It can be hard to read and makes you so grateful for both the people who currently and who previously fought for your country.
Even with all of the deeper issues this story has, it’s broken up with both steamy and lighter scenes, so don’t worry about being completely weighed down with all the heaviness.
“I can’t believe I’m in the middle of nowhere, at this ungodly hour, with a pink fishing pole,”
My one disappointment was that I really didn’t connect with Emily. She felt like a superficial character and seemed to constantly play the ‘woe is me’ card, while going through the same struggles that everyone does at that age. Only instead of doing so in a normal or healthy way, she turned to alcohol. This seemed a little bit over the top when there was already a bunch of things going on with the hero, and quite frankly, how does this even happen? How would her family and friends let it happen? Even once she goes sober, then falls off the wagon, it’s her friends that are serving her alcohol… This just doesn’t seem to make sense in my little mind. I liked her more towards the ending, but I think the biggest problem was simply that her character was too different from my own.
Though these two are far from your average couple, they fit well together and were quite complimentary towards the other. Each helping to battle the other’s insecurities or weaknesses. Emily brought lightness and stability to Reece, while he brought confidence and assurance to her. They balanced the other and really brought out the best in the other, which in turn strengthened their relationship.
“I want to do things differently tonight.”
I tilt my head. “What do you mean?”
He sits down next to me and slowly pulls his shirt over his head. Just looking at the tight muscles of his chest fills me with desire. “I want to take things slow.”
I try not to let my disappointment show. “You know I like it rough. You won’t hurt me.”
“I know.” He cups my face with his hand before sliding it down my neck. Sparks ignite a trail beneath his fingers, and I shiver. “But I think I used to like it this way—before. I can’t remember. And I want to.”
His admission stabs my heart, and I nod. “Whatever you want.”
I’m not usually the biggest fan of time jumps, especially if there’s more than one. In this case though, Cole made an excellent decision. I think it was not only necessary but really worked toward the benefit of the characters in relation to their development and growth.
I really enjoyed the style of how this book was written. Flashbacks immersed with present day, the struggles and trials of each character, and the emotion, both underlying and on the surface. This story makes you think. There were a few times (mostly near the beginning) where I found the writing to be a little weak but it’s mostly just because everything was written in small, simple sentences during that time. Had these been expanded upon or connected, this wouldn’t have been an issue. Then again, after the first few chapters, I didn’t notice it at all, so clearly the author hit her stride and made it work.
The pacing was well thought out and executed. I was always intrigued as to what would happen next, where the story would move to, and the timeline always followed a plausible schedule. It felt normal and real. Plus, you didn’t need to wade through 40-50% of backstory before the characters get together, which I loved.
“I don’t have the strength to keep pushing you away.” He traces the ink down my arms. A delicious trail of shivers follow his touch. I arch my back and his eyes darken with hunger. “The war didn’t destroy me. But you, Emily Garrett, you just might.”
Seared On My Soul was a quick and enjoyable read. It was well paced and had plenty of emotional intensity to keep the reader engaged and cheering for this couple. While yes it is on the shorter side, Cole packs enough of a punch to make the reader burn through the pages as fast as possible. I couldn’t get enough!
*An ARC was provided by the author and IndieSage PR in exchange for an honest review.