A war-damaged ex-Marine and a writer with wounds of her own ignite in lust and anger in this rough-and-tumble romance.
Set in the present day in an undisclosed city, the story begins as James, an ex-Marine with a short fuse, mulls over a momentous decision. Standing on an upper floor of a construction site he manages, he watches a sunset that triggers memories of war and the drinking he did to cope. Those memories mingle with a surge of feelings for a woman he lost. Time shifts to the past as James meets the electrifying Linn, a writer, walking with her friend Ben. Afterward, James and Linn meet alone at the site, and their stormy affair begins. Both James and Linn withhold important facts from each other: Linn eventually learns that James has a son, and Linn lost her parents when she was 15. The two lovers contend with uncertainty as Linn decides whether to move 300 miles south to be near a new publishing house in an unspecified location “in the boonies.” Finally, despite their volcanic attraction, a last surprise may be too much. The story ends ambiguously just before the present, and readers will wonder whether a sequel might follow. Throughout, rifts seem inevitable and possibly surmountable as James personifies the isolated combat veteran struggling to deal with guilt and anger. Parry (Gathering Storm, 2012) masterfully describes the intensity of male desire. On the minus side, along with typographical errors, excessive description mars the narrative. And while romance can accommodate lush writing, here the lushness sometimes distracts. But Parry often balances the sometimes-overwrought prose (“Her face changed, for just a moment the elusive ghosting of doubt flitted across her, as James held his breath waiting for that doubt to fade”) with well-chosen details of the construction trade. The relationships and dialogue between James and his crew also ring true.
A raw, overwritten erotic romance with a volatile male lead.