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‘Until There Was You’ by Jessica Scott

UNTIL THERE WAS YOU‘ – (Coming Home #3)

Cover Image 'Until There Was You' By Jessica ScottA by-the-book captain with a West Point background, Captain Evan Loehr refuses to mix business with pleasure—except for an unguarded instance years ago when he succumbed to the deep sensuality of redheaded beauty Claire Montoya. From that moment on, though, Evan has been at odds with her, through two deployments to Iraq and back again. But when he is asked to train a team prepping for combat alongside Claire, battle-worn Evan is in for the fight of his life.

Strong, gutsy, and loyal, Captain Claire Montoya has worked hard to earn the rank on her chest. In Evan, Claire sees a rigid officer who puts the rules before everything else—including his people. When the mission forces them together, Claire soon discovers that there is more to Evan than meets the eye. He’s more than the rank on his chest; he’s a man with dark secrets and deep longings. For all their differences, Evan and Claire share two crucial passions: their country and each other.

Clicking on the book’s title will link you with its dedicated Goodreads page

JESSICA SCOTT

image of author Jessica Scott

Jessica Scott is an Iraq war veteran, an active duty army officer and the USA Today bestselling author of novels set in the heart of America’s Army. She is the mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs, and wife to a retired NCO.

She’s also written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View Regarding War, and IAVA. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)/New Dawn and has had the honor of serving as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas twice.

She’s holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Duke University and she’s been featured as one of Esquire Magazine’s Americans of the Year for 2012. Jessica is also an active member of the Military Writers Guild.

Keep up with all the latest news at Jessica’s website

Follow Jessica on Twitter

Cover Image 'Until There Was You' By Jessica Scott

FIRST LINES

Fort Hood, Texas … July 2005

Captain Evan Loehr was having a bad day. Granted, it could have been worse.

It could always be worse. But as he pulled his Stetson out of its carrying case and dusted it off, he contemplated the consequences for blowing off the mandatory fun of tonight’s hail and farewell. He was not in the mood. Not in the least. Not when he was eight weeks out from leaving on his third deployment and was up to his neck in maintenance issues and, well, other issues that he’d never in a million years thought he’d have to deal with as a company commander.

Cover Image 'Until There Was You' By Jessica Scott

TEASER LINES

There was nothing she could say that would erase the thirteen years of guilt he’d carried with him. She traced her fingers across his forehead, brushing a strand of hair from his eyes.

.

But tonight he was shaken, his grief so real and raw, he might have been standing at the scene of the accident after it just happened instead of in a field of snow-covered memories.

Cover Image 'Until There Was You' By Jessica Scott

MEMORABLE WORDS

Sometimes the only battle worth fighting is the one that lets you keep your integrity

Bad leaders did stupid things that got people killed

Cover Image 'Until There Was You' By Jessica Scott

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THE BOOK

‘Evan and Claire share two crucial passions: their country and each other’.  

A small warning, this book does contain scenes of a mild sexually explicit nature.

Although this book was a competition win and not a direct request for review, after researching Jessica’s background a little more, I was curious and intrigued enough to want to know just how this whirlwind manages to reconcile two such diverse and demanding careers, as well as raising a family 

This is so much more than a sizzling, sexy and sensual love story, although the raw passion, eroticism, naked lust and sexual longing, is abundant in spades.

‘Until There Was You’,  is a multi-faceted story, which touches on so many issues, treating each with just enough depth and detail to raise important questions and observations in the readers’ mind, although perhaps not dwelling on any for too long, or exploring them too deeply. The characters however, are well defined and complex, evoking strong emotions within me as their individual personal stories unfolded.

I found it difficult at first to reconcile the on / off nature of any relationship between Claire and Evan, although as the story progresses, it becomes clear that each, in their own way, are damaged goods, both stubborn, unforgiving, unwilling and unable to confide in the other. The added complication in the equation is that Claire is an officer who has risen up the hard way, through the ranks, who when she looks at Evan sees only the echoes of people who have failed her in the past. She has therefore set up an invisible, yet tangible barrier around herself, with the ‘Keep Out’ signs loud and clear and hiding the real person behind the distant facade.

Claire Montoya was afraid to face the world without the rank on her chest.

Evan however, is a career West Point officer graduate. A scarred and damaged man not used to admitting his vulnerabilities and the ever deepening void inside him, where his family once lived.

“Captain America”

Each, it transpires, are using the uniform as a shield to hide their personal demons and secrets, which must be confronted, before there can ever hope to be a future for them as a couple.

Claire tends to wear her heart on her sleeve, which doesn’t always do her any favours with her commanding officers and she can be a little too forthright when voicing her thoughts and opinions, with scant regard for who hears her. Evan on the other hand, is a little more circumspect and although not always agreeing with decisions made by those in command, is a career soldier, doing everything by the book and seldom challenging a decision. Claire, despite Evan’s best intentions, gets right under his skin and he finds himself putting his own position very much on the line, as he struggles with his conscience and the emotions Claire has stirred up within him, as she battles to hold on to her integrity and do the best by her troops.

The sparks and palpable tension are ever present, but I found myself wondering just where this relationship was going and how it was to be reconciled with two such obviously career minded individuals. The ending, when it came, seemed a little flat, but perhaps I had just been expecting too much from Claire and Evan, although all the fun was certainly in the getting there!

The quiet of coming home from deployment.

Sometimes though, the personal saga between the two of them almost paled into insignificance, as I wondered just how much of what is portrayed in the story, of the battle with the powers that be, over the hurried and inadequately organised training schedules for the troops about to deploy to the battleground, is more a case of reality than fiction.

Jessica’s detailed writing about the military references and the well drawn character of Reza, illustrates so well a typical case of PTSD. A career soldier, with too many deployments behind him and only the promise of more to come, sustaining the terrible pain, which he can now only assuage with drunken binges, wanton depravity and casual sexual encounters. In Claire he has a true friend and ‘sister’, who has come up through the ranks, yet never lost her humanity and is worried and angry for both him and her fellow inexperienced colleagues, who are about to be deployed, with little or no training.

Then there is Claire’s best friend and fellow officer, Sarah. Trained for back office command, totally inexperienced and unprepared to lead a troop into a combat situation, her motives for taking on the mission, despite its last minute timing and total lack of preparation, are purely personal. They do however affect the lives and futures of the many soldiers under her command and Claire worries that the mission is doomed to end in failure and devastation, unless Sarah’s mindset can be re-focused.

I guess that to see if all the terrible things I surmised, were and still are, anything akin to reality, then I should really read the two installments of Jessica’s autobiography, ‘To Iraq And Back‘   and  ‘The Long Way Home‘, written in blog form and detailing her life and feelings during her own 2009 deployment to Iraq.

This is a sizzling contemporary romance novel and was a win, in a competition organised by the lovely Naida, over at ‘The Bookworm‘. The author Jessica Scott, kindly sent me the gift of a  Kindle download, in exchange for which, I offered a review.

This will in no way influence any comments I may express about the book, in any blog articles I may post. Any thoughts or comments will be my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article.

 

 

 

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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8 comments
  • I do enjoy good romance and this one sounds worth a read. Claire and Evan’s relationship seems like a good one to read about, even if the ending fell a bit flat. Being that the author is an army officer herself, the military references must be interesting to read. Like you, I wonder Jessica juggles it all!
    Great review Yvonne, I’m glad you enjoyed this one.

    • Hi Naida,

      It is thanks to you that I came across the book in the first place.

      I put a link near the bottom of the post, to your own website and the page where you hosted Jessica as a guest author and book giveaway opportunity, although I couldn’t find your review of the book anywhere, so I am not sure if you read it yourself, or not.

      I think that Jessica’s army career has taken on a whole new direction since the last time I spoke with her and despite not being a fan of memoirs, I am almost tempted to take the time to read both installments of her personal diaries, written during and discussing her own tour of active duty in Iraq in 2009.

      I have no idea how Jessica juggles the many facets of her daily work and family life, however, it does seem that her writing is taking up more of her free bandwidth and she is clearly liking it that way!

      Thanks for the kind comments, I really appreciate both these and the many visits you have made to Fiction Books.

  • I love a good romance too and hate it when people look down on romance books as somehow being of less worth than others. This one certainly seems to have quite a lot of depth to it. I have a few on my tbr pile which I fancy I might get to soon.

    • Hi Cath,

      Whilst I couldn’t read romantic fiction exclusively, to slip a story in occasionally makes a refreshing change, so long as there is some substance to the premise and the writing is of a good standard.

      ‘Until There Was You’, ticks all of those boxes for me and I am okay with the mild sexually explicit content, although out and out eroticism definitely wouldn’t be for me.

      I personally, can’t see why a good romance is any less worthy than a ‘cozy’ mystery, or ‘chicklit’ story. I have very eclectic reading tastes and within reason I will give just about anything a try, I just like to vary my genres from book to book.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving such an interesting and conversation invoking comment.

  • Great review, it really does tell me everything I need and want to know but why the cover?

    A bit tired of the perfect specimens on book covers especially amongst those aimed at the youth market, I know they say they sell books but really.

    • Hi Tracy,

      Thanks for the lovely comment about the review, I really appreciate it.

      I can see where you are coming from regarding the cover image, although as Evan is described as some kind of ‘Captain America’ and it is first and foremost a romantic novel, I think that it is quite apt in this instance.

      The only other cover option would probably have shown Evan and Claire in some kind of naked, or semi-naked clinch, which would have been even more cheesy and nauseating.

      Besides which, at my age, a bit of eye-candy when you open a book, isn’t such a bad thing …. is it? … LOL!

    • Hi RAnn

      If you like your romances hot and slightly steamy, then this is definitely one for you. It seems as though Jessica has found a whole new ‘string to her bow’ so to speak, as following your comment, I have just checked out her websight and the new books are flowing from her pen thick and fast!

      I am so glad that none of your pet peeves are visible on Fiction Books, although I can’t accept any credit for that I’m afraid. Were it not for hubbie building the site in the first place and maintaining it in such a brilliant way, my voice would not be heard out there in the blogosphere at all, as my computer skills are basic to say the least!

      Thanks for checking out this review, I appreciate your time in commenting.

Written by Yvonne

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