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    Great read

    I really enjoyed this story. A great romance, strong writing, and the characters were complex and interesting. Alia Drake and Nate Riordan met a few years ago at a picnic and had an instant attraction but when Alia's sister Becca also showed interest in Nate, Alia backed away. Mostly! Now Alia is working as a physical therapist at a veteran's resort where Nate is staying. That same attraction is there but with the job complication and secrets from that time he dated her sister may be too much to overcome. Definitely one I would recommend.
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    Heartrendingly sweet

    What a lovely book about sacrifice and unconditional love. Alia Drake has always put her baby sister Becca, before anything, including her own heart. So when she see the obvious interest of both parties, she lets Becca "have" Nate Riordan. When things eventually go awry, she is embarrassed and ashamed at the role she played. Years later, Nate returns battered and scarred from the war and the only one who can help him manage his pain is Alia. A hoard of hurt feelings does not help with the awkwardness of the situation, but once she get through to him and Nate realizes that Alia can really help him, things begin to change for the better. Once again nothing seems to be in Alia's favor so she decides to take the plunge and risk losing everything to steal a few moments with Nate. Only this time she also risks losing her heart and breaking it in the process. ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.
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    Part of a series but no cliffhanger!

    This is the first book I’ve read by Serena Bell and I liked it a lot. Alia and Nate first meet at a picnic hosted by Jake, a friend they have in common. Nate is in the Army and between deployments. Alia was attracted to him right off the bat but she felt her sister Becca needed someone more so she set them up. Becca has very low self-esteem due to a learning disability that wasn’t diagnosed until too late in school to help her much and her boyfriend had just dumped her. Nate and Becca begin a relationship before he deploys again. While he is deployed Becca asks Alia to help her with her letters and emails to Nate because she lacks the confidence to do her own writing. During this time Alia begins to put more of herself into the letters than she meant to. Becca also begins to realize that she and Nate aren’t really suited to each other; the chemistry between them just isn’t right. When Becca breaks up with Nate she comes clean about Alia’s help with her correspondence and he feels betrayed by both Becca and Alia. Jump ahead two years… Nate has been injured during his deployment is dependent on narcotics for pain relief. He recognizes he needs to get clean and goes to Jake’s R&R veterans’ retreat to learn how to manage his pain without meds. He also has a huge amount of guilty feelings because a good friend was killed when Nate was injured. Alia, a physical therapist, has a temporary job at R&R and she has been conducting programs to help the residents relieve their pain without meds. Alia still has feelings for Nate but he wants nothing to do with her. He reluctantly keeps his appointments with her for PT. He’s very skeptical that her techniques will help with his pain and can hardly believe it when they work. Nate comes to realize that he was always attracted to Alia, more than Becca, but he believes that Alia feels nothing for him. As her patient, Alia is ethically bound to not have a relationship with Nate but she loves him and has trouble resisting the temptation to be with him. She lets Jake know that she is attracted to Jake but feels she can handle it if he takes over Nates treatment. The story of Alia and Nate and how their relationship progresses during his time at R&R is complicated and kept me glued to the book. My emotions were all over the place. Jake has misplaced feelings of guilt and loyalty to his friend that died. Alia feels guilty about loving Nate when Becca has no one. This is a complete story with no cliffhanger but I’d loved to read more about Becca. I don’t know if more books are planned in this series but I hope there are. I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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    Sweet Romance with a wounded soldier

    I really enjoyed this, and I liked that it was sort of a second chance at love story. Nate is a soldier that has been injured and is in need of rehabilitation, and he is working on his dependence of pain medication. Alia is a physical therapist, and she is working at a soldier rehabilitation place. Alia and Nate knew each other awhile back, and even though Alia was/is really attracted to Nate, she "gives him up" to her sister; which is just stupid, and of course the relationship between Nate and Alia's sister doesn't end up in a good place because Alia and her sister do something that was rather mean to Nate and really themselves. Alia's sister sort of has a learning disability, so Alia feels like she needs to give up her own happiness for her sister; mind you they are adults, so it's just odd, and I thought Alia's actions towards her sister were somewhat degrading. It was like Alia thought her sister couldn't handle her own life and that her sister was just helpless, and because of Alia's coddling, her sister is sort of childish, so that is something I didn't enjoy, and that's one of the reason I knocked this book down a rating. I enjoy reconnection stories, and I like the soldier aspect of this story, and I like to read about soldiers in general, so I like that this book is set at a soldier rehabilitation clinic. I thought Nate and Alia have good chemistry, but I wanted them to be a little bit more needy for each other; mainly Nate, I wanted it to feel more soul deep. There are some steamy scenes between them though! Alia is helping Nate with his physical therapy, so there is lots of contact, which leads to some sexy thoughts, and Alia wants to be professional, but Nate isn't making it easy. Nate and Alia have a few obstacles in their way to being together, the whole Alia needs to be professional thing, the problem from the past between them, both of them have issues, and a friend of Nate's died in the military, so Nate thinks he needs to fill in for him with the soldier's family and business. This book was heartfelt and the romance was sweet, so I would recommend this book to those reader who enjoy romance. I look forward to reading more books in this series!
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    Sexy, emotional and uplifting story

    When Alia first laid eyes on Nate, she thought he'd be perfect for her sister, Becca, and ignored her own initial feelings of attraction towards him. But things got complicated when Becca and Nate's long distance relationship didn't work out the way anyone expected, ending in heartbreak for all involved. Two years later, Nate and Alia are back in the same place but under wholly different circumstances, no sister in sight. Can they mend the tears of their initial friendship and finally let what should have happened before come to fruition? I really enjoyed this story and the complicated relationships that developed due to Alia's misguided but well meaning attempts to help her sister Becca gain self confidence by essentially 'giving' her a boyfriend when they first meet Nate. It's clear that Nate and Alia have an initial attraction to each other, but Alia steps clearly out of the way. There's no physical cheating in this story, and while early on Alia discovers that her feelings for Nate are growing stronger, she only realizes it at the point where Becca is also realizing that Nate isn't going to be the one for her. After the break up, Alia and Becca's sister friendship remains strong, and it was good to see that Becca did not hold Alia's feelings about Nate against her. Though Nate is understandably hurt and upset by the break up (and for reasons which I won't spoil here) he puts it out of his head and gets back to his military mission. Thus it's two years later when Alia and Nate meet up again, under less than ideal circumstances. Alia is an accomplished physical therapist, and Nate is in dire straits, the pain of his injuries creating a drug dependency that he's determined to beat. Finding out that Alia is the PT at his friend Jake's veteran's retreat means he's got no choice but to face her again. And when she lays her hands on him for the first time, her ability to make him forget some of his physical pain, even briefly, is enough to have him determined to keep the past buried and let her help him. Nate's character therefore is one of a strong but wounded man. Realizing his slide into addiction won't get better without some kind of intervention, he's desperate for anything that will work. But along with the physical pain is the emotional impact of the friend he lost back in Afghanistan, J.J., and the family that's been left behind - a family he's pledged to help move forward, even if it's at the expense of what he would choose for his own life. His brief interlude at the retreat is meant to be a way to find means of coping with the physical pain, though Nate slowly finds that confiding in Alia helps with the emotional side as well. I really liked how well researched the story was in terms of pain and how the body processes it. I found that aspect really interesting and it was essential to Alia's character, and to the relationship that develops between her and Nate. Alia herself comes across as a competent and caring person, willing to always put her patients first. This causes her some ethical dilemmas, as she knows that the feelings she had for Nate have only been buried and seeing him again in the flesh brings them out again, to her dismay. Nate however doesn't have the same qualms. Once he realizes that his feelings for Alia are equally as strong as hers are for him (after she proves to him that she's worthy of his trust again) , he's all for getting a chance to demonstrate just how much she can do for him, in bed and out. The result is a somewhat illicit but steamy affair between them, as Alia juggles her guilty conscience with her desire to be with Nate, and he constantly reminds himself that whatever they have here at the retreat won't extend to the real world once he's back doing what he's supposed to be doing - supporting his fallen comrade's family. As the story develops they come to an impasse, one that won't be broken unless a compromise is reached. Happily for the reader, the conflict gets resolved eventually and the couple gets the happy ending they should have had long ago. 4. 5 stars for this emotional, sexy and uplifting story.
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