Jake Tucker is broken. At twenty-two, he went in to the Marine Corps a naïve, troubled youth. Nine years and four tours later, Jake finds himself back on US soil, though his mind remains firmly planted in the sands of Afghanistan with the men he left behind.
Wounded, chewed up and spat out by war, Jake has only his dog, Nuke, PTSD, and survivor’s guilt to keep him company. He’s lived every day for nine years wondering when it will be his last, but there’s little comfort in the fact that he’s still standing when his platoon isn’t.
Ellie Mason doesn’t have time for broken. She’s too busy trying to put food on the table. And keeping up with the demands of her autistic son, Spencer, is sometimes like fighting behind enemy lines. As if navigating the minefields of single parenthood isn’t enough, Ellie finds herself drawn to the quiet Marine who’s just as lonely as she is. But she’s loved damaged men before, and it left her wounded.
Set against the picturesque backdrop of Fairhope, Alabama, Ellie and Jake find themselves running toward the sound of chaos.
Love is war.
Only the strong survive, and surrender is inevitable.
Oh the feels, the turmoil, the love, the overwhelming heart break for these characters. Subjects that touch people’s lives, portrayed with such care and truth. Carman Jenner is truly a talented story teller. Her words are effortless. The emotions she invokes within you with those words are strong.
Jake is a damaged marine both physically and emotionally. So many stories about Marines depict a mentally broken soldier, the fact that Jake bares so many physical scars is refreshing. Does that make me weird hmmmm. I don’t think so, I think seeing a physically imperfect marine who has been through what Jake had makes this story so much more endearing, passionate, and real. Yes not all soldiers come back like that but not all come back perfect either. In true Carmen form this story is gritty slightly uglier then typical romance stories. Her characters have suffered and continue to suffer. But through it all there’s a beautiful story. Love, compassion, understanding, acceptance. No one is perfect, these characters are far from it, but their story is perfect.
Ellie has been bruised and battered by life, physically, emotionally. She soldiers on, copes, some days wishes for things to be different.
“None of these things make me a bad mother, but despite the fact that I love him unconditionally, sometimes I lie awake at night wishing things were different, I wish that we had it easier. I wish that we didn’t have to live one paycheque to another, that there wasn’t a mealy down every time there was the smallest change to his routine. And the horrible truth that I’ll never admit to anyone: sometimes I wish my child wasn’t born autistic.”
Raw emotion slices through me reading how hard it is for Ellie, how real her struggles are. Carman delivers this particular storyline with such finesse and emotion that you feel like you are right along side Ellie, feeling her feels. Together Jake and Ellie have passion and fire. Struggles and pain.