Just a Kiss by Denise Hunter (review by Kristi)

just-a-kiss

About the bookRiley Callahan’s plans to reveal his secret feelings for his best friend are derailed when his life is drastically altered in Afghanistan.

Watching the love of his life fall for his brother was enough to send Riley straight to boot camp. But over a year later, he’s officially a marine, and Beau and Paige are no longer an item. When Riley’s tour in Afghanistan is up, he intends to confess his feelings to Paige and win his best friend’s heart once and for all.

But all that changes when an IED takes the life of a comrade and leaves Riley an amputee. Now he’s heading home, injured and troubled. His plans to win Paige are a distant dream. She deserves so much more than the man that’s left. All he can do now is put some healthy distance between them. But upon his return he discovers his family has arranged for him to stay with Paige.

Paige is a nurturer at heart and happy to take care of her best buddy. By all appearances Riley is adjusting miraculously well to his disability. But as the days pass, Paige begins to see that the smiles and laughter are just a mask for the pain he’s hiding. To make matters worse, her job is in serious jeopardy. The animal shelter that she’s poured her heart into has lost its funding, and she has three months to come up with the money needed to save it.

As the weeks wear on, Paige’s feelings for Riley begin to shift into uncharted territory. Why is she suddenly noticing his arm muscles and the way his lips curl at the corners? Will she be able to deny her feelings for another Callahan brother? And will Riley let his heart heal so he can let Paige in?

Paperback, 336 pages                   Published September 6, 2016 by Thomas Nelson

 

My review:  I was a little hesitant to read this book due to some of the subject matter. Having just lost his leg I was afraid that Riley may have been a real jerk or too depressed and I didn’t want to read either of those scenarios. I was also worried that Paige might be too clingy. I’m happy to say that none of these things were issues and this was a really well-written book.

I found Riley and Paige to be realistic characters. The author did a fantastic job of portraying Riley and his state of mind upon returning home under circumstances that were less than ideal. Like I said earlier, Riley could have come across as a real jerk but instead, I found him to be someone who was just trying to adjust to his new normal and I found him easy to relate to. It was easy to understand his feelings and attitude. I thought Paige was the perfect compliment to Riley’s character. She was understanding and helpful without being suffocating to him. I liked the fact these two were long-time friends who had strong feelings for each other. I’m glad the author didn’t go over the top with their friendship but instead kept it feeling natural and realistic.

It was nice catching up with the rest of the Callahan clan and others in Summer Harbor. I liked the way the town was described. I felt like I was there at the community center and the Roadhouse. I truly felt a part of the story and found the book a smooth and easy read.

This book was a quick read for me. I became engrossed in the story from the very beginning and found it hard to put the book down. The book wrapped up the series nicely and would be an enjoyable read for fans of romance or someone looking for a good realistic read.

I was provided a free copy of this book and was in no way required to write a positive review. All opinions in this review are entirely mine.

 

About the author:  Denise Hunter is the award-winning author of 30 novels, including The Convenient Groom and A December Bride, which have been made into Hallmark movies.

Denise writes heartwarming, small-town romances. Her readers enjoy the vicarious thrill of falling in love and the promise of a happily-ever-after sigh as they savor the final pages of her books.

Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

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