(Bad Boys Of Crystal Lake: Book 2)
Advanced Reading Copy
Published: September 24, 2013, Sourcebooks
My Rating: 5 of 5 ⭐
It has taken Jake Edwards a year and a half to return back home to idyllic Crystal Lake after his twin brother, Jesse was killed in action overseas. Jake had been part of the same unit and survived, but there were days he wished he hadn't. Frankly, he had avoided going home. Too afraid to face the pain in his parents faces, but especially to be confronted with Jesse's widow, Raine.
All Raine can feel is fury, when she sees Jake standing on her front lawn. All this time she never heard from him, she needed him and he wasn't there for her. Yet there is part of her that can't help being relieved he is here. Losing her husband and having his brother, her best friend, disappear from her life permanently, would have devastated her beyond repair.
The past year and a half has done damage to everyone. Raine is is a mere shadow of her former self, functioning only to appease the outside world and to take care of her grieving in-laws, but barely cares to take care of herself. And pain and guilt have become so overwhelming for Jake, that he has completely shut off from everyone, attempting to hide in work.
But when Jake's father becomes ill, and Jake finally returns home and is confronted with his parents and Raine, he realizes that he is done hiding. Buying and restoring an old local home is a catalyst for the reparations to be made in his life. With life long friends, with his parents and most importantly, with Raine, who he's loved all his life. She can see the monsters that haunt him and won't rest until they're gone, and there is only one way left for them to go........forward.
OMG..... Within a few pages I could feel myself getting emotionally yanked into this story.
Such a devastating situation, with no easy resolution for anyone. You just know whatever scabs have formed have to come off before any of the wounds can heal properly.......for anyone involved.
Only 25% into the story, I felt such a strong connection with the two main characters, that my emotions would run the gamut along with theirs. This was NOT what I expected when I read the title of this book, but what an amazing surprise!
A family so intensely affected by the loss of one of their sons, lost in battle, who each in their own way, are trying to cope with the everyday life after.
The parents try to avoid thinking too much about the actual loss, about what happened and attempt to focus on what they have left; one son, and a daughter in law, who has always been more like their own daughter.
Raine who initially tries to find Jake for comfort, is forced to turn her grief inside and focuses on functioning instead. Mostly for the sake of her inlaws, for whom she is concerned, especially with Jake's absence. When her father in law becomes ill, even more responsibility comes Raine's way, she finally isn't able to hold herself together anymore, and her job falls a victim. Once Jake returns, and despite her anger at him, he returns some colour to her days, and her battle to regain herself begins.
Most conflicted in his pain and grief is Jake. Not only is he the single one person who was present when his brother died, but he has some serious doubts as to the state of mind his brother was in, and this is a load he has to carry alone. No one wants to hear what happened and he is not sure he can bear to tell anyone, but he aches to unburden himself. He also lost his brother, his twin and best friend. He grieved for his parents and felt guilt towards them. But again, most of the conflict he felt was with respect to Raine. He loved his brother's wife, couldn't bear to see her in pain and was unsure how to be the friend he had always portrayed to be when all he wanted was to be the lover he didn't deserve to be.
What struck me most about this book was how respectful it was of all of the different types of grief and how people deal with it. I really felt there was no judgement from the author, she just allowed the characters to handle it the way they needed to handle it. It may sound like it is a depressing story, but really it is not........it is quite a hopeful book, an incredibly realistic tale of the different ways of coping with loss and how we sometimes can be our own roadblocks in healing.
I had previously read a few works by Juliana Stone, and I knew she could write and that her steamy style appealed to me, but this one blew me away!! The book is not only incredibly moving, it is very passionate and sensual in all the right places!
I hope people will take the time to read this review and take my words to heart........this book is worth it!!!
✨A gorgeous, utterly compelling and intensely emotional read!!✨
**ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Sourcebooks in return for an honest review.**