Ten years ago, Jackson Hardy joined the Marines, leaving behind a woman he still dreams about. When he’s called home to care for his ten-year-old nephew, no one is more shocked than he to run into Emma again. Or to still have those same feelings. But Jackson isn’t looking for love, and neither is Emma, especially not with him. His precocious nephew, though, and a retriever named Bandit, are about to change that. So what if Emma Mercer is an overachiever? She has plans to get her doctorate in psychology and create a no-kill shelter for the EST dogs she trains. Which leaves absolutely no time for romance. She’s fine with a furry family—dogs don’t teach you to love and then rip your heart to shreds. But young Matty’s situation tugs at her heartstrings and there’s no way she can’t help him…and Jackson. She may have hotter-than-ever chemistry with the soldier, but forgetting the past isn’t easy.
I received this book from NetGalley and Entangled Publishing as an ARC for an honest review.
Jackson Hardy and Emma Mercer were high school sweethearts and each other’s first loves. When Jackson follows through and leaves Emma to join the military, she expects that she will never see him again. Ten years later, Jackson now a career Marine, is called back to to care for his 10 year old nephew, Matthew (Matty), after his beloved sister gets into a car crash and put her into the ICU. When Emma, now a doctorate candidate who is also training emotional support dogs for people in need, run into each other at an event that Emma hosted at the local Middle school. Matty, Jackson’s nephew, attended her seminar about emotional support dogs and thought that one of these dogs could help his uncle with his bad dreams (PTSD).
This is a feel good read (but also heart wrenching at the same time) about two people who get a second chance at falling in love with each other. One of the main reasons I really thought this Romance novel was really intriguing and a great story was that it talked about the mental health of an active duty Marine and how the impacts of PTSD can affect your day to day “normal life” as a civilian. Traci was not afraid to integrate this topic into the story and I think it is so important. With opportunity to talk about mental health and how it really affects people, I believe lessens the stigma people have toward it if they hear, see or read about other talk about it openly.I was completely immersed into Emma and Jackson’s love story from the first page. They are both very likeable characters as well as sweet Matty. Overall this book was extremely easy for me to read. I was able to speed through this book with ease as it it written well and has great dialog. Traci doesn’t take long to describe things that has happened in the past with Emma and Jackson and what they have each gone through after high school. Which is something I enjoy.
This book is a solid ★★★★ read.