Ten years ago Zeke Malloy had everything:
A happy childhood, a shot at a state championship wrestling title, a best friend, a boyfriend (albeit a secret one but that was okay because, once they graduated, that would change).
He had love, happiness…...a heart.
All of that changed in the blink of an eye.
One moment he was deliriously happy, looking forward to a future with Digger Brandt, building a life, a home, a forever, with him.
And then it was gone, disappearing like the tears that flowed down Zeke’s cheeks as he watched from the back of the church as Digger married Lisa - with his father sitting proudly in the front pew. Those tears were still flowing when he walked out of that church and went directly to the nearest recruiting office. Because he didn’t just lose the love of his life that day, he lost his hopes, his dreams, he lost…..himself.
For the next ten years he was a machine - the best Marine, the best friend, but like a machine, he did it all without a beating heart. His was dead…..or was it?Todd's rating:
Was ten years too long?
Was a broken heart too much?
Zeke didn’t know. Hell, he wasn’t even sure he wanted to know.
From the moment Digger walked up behind him and said in that smooth, sexy voice that used to light Zeke up six ways from Sunday, “The man I knew never had a problem with it,”
The only thing Zeke knew now was that he was about to find out.
This was a fun read, especially with all of the support that Zeke received in spades from his military "brothers".
I immediately loved both Zeke and Digger, seeing how the decade apart had destroyed both of the MCs' ability to be truly happy, as half of their soul was missing.
All of Zeke's brothers were interesting characters, too, with a few of them seeming to be set up for their own stories, so I'm assuming that this book was the first in a new series.
What didn't work so well for me was the fact that a *lot* of very important information was either entirely glossed over or not provided at all.
-- How did Zeke and his entire military company end up back in Zeke's hometown four years ago? Did Zeke agonize over returning home, where Digger lived -- with his WIFE?
-- Digger's uber-conservative, rich, asshole dad's plot to make Digger marry Lisa and stop seeing Zeke was casually mentioned barely once, then the reader was expected to just move along. Hello! This shit ruined their lives for a DECADE and deserved more discussion. A whole lot more.
-- Why did Lisa agree to marry Digger? "She was afraid of his dad, too" was not a good enough reason, sorry. Explain, please, and show your work.
-- Where is "the middle part" of this story? The one that digs much deeper into how Zeke finally (and OMG, so insanely quickly) totally forgave Digger? I needed more introspection, processing time to deal with the intense anger, and maybe some extra scenes with Digger proving himself.
I'm not the biggest fan of being told something vs. shown, but I'm even less of a fan of not even being *told* important info at all. : (
The missing info didn't ruin the story for me; however, if it had been included, the story would've felt more complete and been in the running for all five stars.
I just wish that the pages spent setting up two other possible upcoming romances had been spent fleshing out this current story, so I'd rate this one at around 3.75 semi-steamy, semi-angsty stars.
If this does turn into a series, I'll for sure read those books, but I do hope the future stories don't skim over important details, which I felt that this one did in a few key areas.
My ARC copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.
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