Only Love #1
Publisher: Self-published (2nd edition)
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Series
The diagnosis of a chronic stomach condition leaves thirty-two-year-old Sergeant Jed Cooper with little choice but to call time on his Army career. Then on the dusty streets of Kirkuk, an ambush gone tragically wrong decimates his team, and he returns to the US with a shattered leg and the memory of his best friend dying in his arms.
Life in his sleepy hometown proves intolerable until he finds solace in a lakeside cabin with vivacious young carpenter, Max O’Dair. In the shadow of the epilepsy that periodically plagues Max, he and Jed form an unspoken bond. After a late night episode, Jed realizes how much Max means to him, and life has taught him not to waste time.
But the lines between contentment and complacency are blurred. Things left hidden resurface to tear through their world, and before they can repair the damage, death comes to call again. Faces, past and present, rally around them to weather the storm, but before long, they are left with only love.
This is the first book I’ve read by this author, although she’s been on my TBR list for a while. I’m now wondering why I haven’t read her sooner! This story sucked me in from the start and kept me turning pages.
I love stories where the MCs have a few more odds against them, such as illness or something of that ilk. I really felt for both Jed and Max, and appreciated that with both of them having chronic illnesses, the possibility one might be incapacitated when the other needed help was addressed. I also liked that although Max does have epilepsy that doesn’t define him as a person, and in many ways he’s as strong, if not stronger, than Jed who was a soldier.
Flo is a great character. I loved her, and the way she very obviously cares for Max, and then cares for Jed too. She had her own personality, which came across strongly in every scene she was in.
I also loved the sense of family in this story, and not just family by blood. Although Nick isn’t the best of brothers, his failings are more than made up for by friends and extended family, and I enjoyed the way the men from Jed’s unit rallied around to help. I particularly liked Carla who is a strong character with a lot of commonsense, and a good friend.
I liked that although there was an instant attraction between Max and Jed, they still took a while to get to know each other, and didn’t rush into a friendship, let alone a relationship.
Jed’s flashbacks were written well, and didn’t shy away from some of the horrific situations he went through while in combat. I thought they did a great job in showing Jed’s character and how they shaped how he is in the present, and interspersing them into the narrative worked well. I felt as though his story was unfolding in past and present as they linked together to form a whole. I also liked the mystery around Max’s past, and how it was resolved.
There are also a lot of extra goodies to read at the end of the story, which give nice tasters for other books. My TBR just got bigger. I was very happy to learn there are more stories in which Max and Jed play a part.
I’d recommend Only Love to readers who enjoy contemporary romances with interesting characters dealing with ongoing illnesses, a strong sense of family, and a story that keeps you turning pages. 5 out of 5 stars.