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  • A touching story of love and redemption

    Three and a half stars. Continuing/ending the series following a group of New Zealand guys who were in the SAS. Five friends, but only three came home alive and each of them bear the emotional and physical scars of that final tour. Nate hasn't been able to return to New Zealand since Luke's funeral. He can't face his friends, family, SAS team mates, especially Luke's widow and 13 year old son. he feels so guilty for not being able to save Luke and Lee and for Ross being so badly injured that he can't return to the front line. So he hides from his friends in Hollywood, being a bodyguard to a rock star. It's been 18 months since Luke's death and his widow Claire needs to move on with her life. Their son Lewis has got into trouble at school, hanging around with the wrong boys, and she has decided to move him to a private school, set up a business chartering fishing trips on the old boat she part-owns with Nate, sell the house and move closer to the new school. The only problem is that her assets are in a trust and Nate is a co-trustee. She and her lawyer Jules have written to Luke several times but he ignores their letters so she comes to Hollywood to confront him. At first Luke is convinced that Claire's decision to sell the house and her proposed new business are just knee-jerk reactions to Luke's death, he worries that she will be out of her depth and if the business fails she will have no capital and no home to fall back on. So despite his guilt and desire to stay far away from New Zealand he agrees to return for three days to review the plans and, if he agrees, co-sign the sale of the house. But returning home forces both Luke and Claire to face some truths about Luke's death, secrets and anger and guilt and resentment. This is a re-release of an older Harlequin Romance and by and large the book stands the test of time/ the editing has brought it up to date. However, I did feel that its origins were most noticeable in the very light touch sex scenes (not quite fade to black but not far off) and also the way in which Luke's shocking secret was barely revealed, there was no great confession as such, in fact I struggled to remember him disclosing the first half of the secret at all. And then the book ended so abruptly. It was almost as though there was a maximum page count and whoops, I've hit it, that's the end. No epilogue. No wrapping up. I really wanted Jules and Zander to meet because I thought the controlled lawyer and the self-absorbed hedonist would have been a match made in heaven - I will have to check whether they feature in any of Karina Bliss' other books. Overall, I enjoyed this series. Although I have read books by quite a few New Zealand authors/ set in New Zealand, I still find the setting and the character refreshingly different from the more glossy American equivalents. I will start looking at Karina's other books.

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