IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU by Jessica Scott
(March 31, 2014; Forever Mass Market)
She plays by the rules . . . Captain Ben Teague is many things: a tough soldier, a loyal friend, and a bona fide smart-ass. He doesn’t have much tolerance for BS, which is why he’s mad as hell when a trusted colleague and mentor is brought up on charges that can’t possibly be true. He’s even more frustrated with by-the-book lawyer Major Olivia Hale. But there’s something simmering beneath her icy reserve–and Ben just can’t resist turning up the heat . . .
. . . and he’s determined to break them
The only thing riskier than mixing business with pleasure is enjoying it . . . and Olivia can’t resist locking horns–and lips–with Ben. He’s got more compassion in his little finger than any commander she’s ever met, a fact that makes him a better leader than he realizes. But when the case that brought them together awakens demons from Olivia’s past, she will have to choose between following orders–or her heart . . .
I saw a quote of Facebook the other day, “Too often when you ask a warrior if he suffers from combat PTSD, his answer is NO. If you want to know the truth, ask someone who loves him.” That quote took me right to the pages of this book. But this book is more than just PTSD. This book is heartfelt and heartwarming and an insightful look at the tough side of the military. Not only do they struggle through combat, but the struggle continues when they return home.
Ben has just been given a bigger leadership role in his company. But he doesn’t want it. Ben feels loyalty to his brothers and those who fought along side him and he wants to protect them as much as he can. He know there is always more to the story than what you see on the outside.
Olivia doesn’t see it that way. She sees the law, she knows who is trouble and who needs to be removed, regardless of the circumstances. She is not going to let it go. It is the law and she will stand by it at any cost.
But when Ben and Olivia find themselves with a whole new set of struggles. Ben wants to do things his way and still show a level of compassion to his soldiers that served along side him and especially the one who saved his life. Everything is more than just an order to him, it is personal. But Olivia sees things differently, she does not see them through the same lenses as Ben. She sees a scared little girl that no one will listen to. She sees her past and those who have walked the path before her that she couldn’t help. She is not willing to risk it all again.
But the more they struggle with one another on the cases they must deal with, the heat begins to burn up the pages. Oliva and Ben are just so unbelievably perfect for one another, but can they keep their personal interest in one another separate from the business on the base?
I know I have said it before, but Jessica Scott just does so much with her military based books. She reaches in and touches lives and they always leave me with a deeper emotional connection to the military and the good and bad that goes along with it. I love her writing and I love her characters. I love the passion and compassion in her work. This book is absolutely no exception.
Internally flawed characters struggling with the true right and wrong of the situation and when they are in uniform the struggles seem to be that much more difficult. The military doesn’t have room for grey area. But Ben is determined to do right by his men. They have given a lot to their country and to one another, just getting rid of them isn’t always the best option. I am glad he fights for his men. There is just something so touching about the military and the military way of life. Jessica Scott brings it all out and makes it a touching and beautiful story.
USA Today bestselling author Jessica Scott is a career army officer; mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs; wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she’s a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon and someone liked some of the stuff she wrote. Somehow, her children are pretty well-adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house. She’s written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View: Regarding War Blog, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn and has served as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas. She’s pursuing a PhD in Sociology in her spare time and most recently, she’s been featured as one of Esquire Magazine‘s Americans of the Year for 2012.
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