on January 1st 1970
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Her life changed in an instant. And he's the only one who could have prevented it.
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Pact and The Lie comes a new standalone contemporary romance about those McGregor men.
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.
This book was a very pleasant surprise. I have to admit this series has been a hit or miss for me. I absolutely loved The Play, it was a favorite last year. I did not like The Lie, at all, just check out my review for the why. And then the other 2 were just meh. I’m glad to say that I enjoyed The Debt, a lot. Not quite like The Play, I think that will be my absolute favorite this series, but a great deal.
The story gets you hooked right from the prologue. Jessica is a yoga instructor who while at a convention in London found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time and was the victim of a heinous attack. She is now try to rebuild her life and recover from the wounds of the attack, both internal and external. Keir McGregor (cousin of the previous heroes in this series) is a former soldier and a mechanic, with a lot personal demons due to what he has experienced at war and after. He is connected to Jessica in a very particular way, but she doesn’t know it.
“Sometimes…we have a war in our hearts. We’re torn in two directions. The way we feel and the way we should feel. They rarely align. The battle goes on. I know what it’s like to stand in the middle of that battlefield and not know which side to fight on.”
When Jessica and Keir met, they instantly click. They definitely have tons of chemistry. And they are super hot together. I really liked them both, they were both pretty broken, and they both definitely fit together great.
“I love every broken part of you and how well it fits with every broken part of me.”
I loved the plot of the story, it was different and refreshing. I felt like at some point the story looses steam, plus the conflict is kind of expected, so there were really no surprises. However, I enjoyed the majority of the book, and they were some amazing parts that brought all the feels.
“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, more than my guilt and the things that held me down. You made me face the darkness and find the light in it…I can’t”
Ah, there’s also amazing cameos by my favorite, Lachlan, and his brother Brigs. I definitely recommend this one and can’t wait to see what the author brings next!
“I’m yours, little red. All of me. All the good, all the bad, all the truth. All yours.”
**An ARC was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review**
“You’re not going anywhere,” he says. “Sit. I’ll get you another drink.”
“It’s getting late,” I say feebly but I sit down anyway, my leg giving a protest of pain.
“You need something for that?” he says, noticing my wince.
“The scotch will do fine,” I tell him quickly, not wanting him to make a fuss. “But really, I should go.”
“Why?” he asks from the kitchen. I hear the top pop off the bottle, the slosh of liquid in the glass. “Where do you have to be?”
I have to think about that for a moment. He comes over and holds out the glass. “I won’t keep you here if you don’t want to be here. But if you do want to be here, you don’t need to make any excuses.”
I take the glass from him, holding it delicately in my fingers. He stands over me, a massive wall, waiting for some kind of response.
“I just…” I begin. “I…” I take a sip for bravery. Swallow. “I’m not very good at this.”
“Good at what?”
“At…this. Being with a man.”
When he doesn’t say anything to that, I look up at him. He’s got a peculiar smile on his face, his brows raised. “You call this being with a man?”
I clear my throat, feeling my cheeks grow hot. “I mean. I’ve told you before –”
“Yes, how you don’t do relationships, how you don’t do sex.”
“I never said I don’t do sex,” I remind him quickly.
His eyes never stop searching my face. “Then what is it? What are you afraid to say?”
I have the sudden urge to flee and I know it must show because he suddenly points at me and says, “Don’t you dare say you have to go again. I want you to go back to what you said, that you’re not good at this. What is this? Us? You and me? There’s nothing mystifying about you and me, Jessica. You know quite well how I feel.”
I stare at him in shock. I do? “How?”
He looks off with an air of impatience. “I invited you to dinner, you turned me down.”
“But then you said just as friends.”
“And I meant it. But there are different types of friends. It’s up to you to decide what kind we are.”
I put my drink down with a clunk. “Holy pressure.” And now it’s not just my face going hot but my entire body, flushed from head to toe.
“You’re on fire, little red,” he says, his gaze skirting over my limbs in such a hungry way I can almost feel them on my skin. “I have to say, I like this look on you. Hot and bothered.”
“Back with the innuendos again,” I comment but my voice is weak.
“No, no innuendos this time. You came looking for me tonight not because you wanted to confess but because you want something from me. What is it? What do you want from me? What do you think I can give you?”
Jesus. This is so utterly unnerving. His words slice right through me, his eyes still peeling under the layers, trying to get at something I’m not even sure of myself.
If I lie, he’ll know. I can only be honest with him.
“I want…” I take in a deep breath, my eyes breaking away. “I want…company.”
“Company?” He sounds surprised.
I nod. “That’s the truth. I’m lonely. And I’m afraid. And I’m tired of being both those things. I want to be with someone who makes me forget who I am. You make me feel fearless in a way I didn’t think possible.”
There. That’s the truth. Most of it. It hangs in the air, thickening the tension like flour to stock.
He sits down next to me, has a mouthful of Scotch. “Wow,” he says, running his hand over the beard on his jaw. “And here I was thinking you wanted my cock.”
I burst out laughing. So does he, a big wonderful bellow. The tension in the room eases up a notch.
“Sorry,” I tell him when I catch my breath. “I guess they can both mean the same thing.”
He sucks in his lip briefly, his eyes taking a lustful turn. “If you want it to.” We stare at each other for a few heavy beats. Then his focus trails back to my gaze and he says, “Why don’t you stay over?”
And there I have it. The chance to know what those full lips would feel like on mine, what his skin would taste like. I swallow hard.