Twenty-five-year-old Sgt. Gray Phillips is at a crossroads in his life: stay in the Marine Corps or get out and learn to be a civilian? He’s got forty-five days of leave to make up his mind but the people in his life aren’t making the decision any easier. His dad wants him to get out; his grandfather wants him to stay in. And his growing feelings for Sam Anderson are wreaking havoc with his heart…and his mind. He believes relationships get ruined when a Marine goes on deployment. So now he’s got an even harder decision to make: take a chance on Sam or leave love behind and give his all to the Marines.
Twenty-two year old Samantha Anderson lost her husband to an IED in Afghanistan just two months after their vows. Two years later, Sam is full of regrets—that she didn't move with her husband to Alaska; that she allowed her friends to drift away; that she hasn't taken many chances in life. Now, she's met Gray and taking a risk on this Marine could be her one opportunity to feel alive and in love again. But how can she risk her heart on another military man who could share the same tragic fate as her husband?
Note: Although these books are part of a series, they do not need to be read in order
by Jen Frederick
Published: January 20, 2014
My rating: 4 of 5 ⭐️
Two years ago, Sam Anderson lost her husband after only two months of married life. She was twenty at the time and had been merely existing since that time. She dropped out of school and works at a bar, avoiding any involvements, especially with anyone from the military. Never would she go down that road again. Life would remain risk free for her, it was the only way to keep her heart safe.
With a family legacy deeply rooted in the Marine Corps, Gray Phillips feels the pressure to reenlist, while at the other hand there is the firm suggestion for him to make a mark in civilian life while he still can. He is unsure which way to turn and hates that his indecision is causing discord within his family. On leave for six weeks to try and find an answer, he is visiting with friends when he spots Sam in a bar.
From the start Sam and Gray's interaction has been nothing short of combustible. The chemistry is thick, but obstacles seem to be in the way at every turn. Not in the least, the memory of Sam's late husband which is actively being kept alive by his family. Of course the fact that Gray is a military man has not escaped Sam's notice and is a cause of great concern, causing her to hold back.
Determined to teach Sam to let go of her fears, Gray shows her different adventures where she can hopefully let go and enjoy. But will she be able to take a leap and enjoy the greatest adventure of all, with Gray?
Deliciously rich and compelling!!
I love Jen Frederick's style of writing. It has an easy flow and an intelligence that is complimentary to the reader. Her characters have depth and broad context, and in this book, despite their young age, are not portrayed as high school morons, goofing about and playing games. Jen's ability to delve into the psyche of both male and female psyche and relate it convincingly is impressive and I am a big fan of her descriptive abilities when it comes to sex scenes.
Her protagonists go through quite some growth. Both are stuck in a situation they don't really want to be in anymore, but don't quite know how to get themselves out of.
For Sam, the death of her husband rendered her apathetic for a period, and certain patterns were set in place that she would now love to escape to move on with her life, but she is unsure how to get out of that rut.
In Gray's case it is the Marine Corps, and his insecurity whether that is the right choice for him, or whether he is there out of a sense if family obligation. He needs to step away to examine his own true feelings and needs for the future before he can move in any direction.
Sam and Gray turn out to be each other's catalyst in taking charge of their lives, and changing the course they are on.
The story in itself was not unfamiliar and a bit predictable and although well-written and most definitely moving, it lacked some originality. Despite that, I would not have any hesitation recommending this book!
✨An insightful, red-hot and passionate novel.✨
“I’ve been watching you all night.” His mouth was right above the tip of my ear and I felt something crack inside me, a fissure was forming in the mask I’d donned earlier today or perhaps his breath, his touch, his words were simply hastening the demise of the barriers I’d held between myself and everyone else for two years. Because inside my body, it felt like there was an awakening and every fiber of my being reached toward him, upward and outward as if I was a flower on the first day of a spring rain. I lifted my head to gaze up, wide-eyed and anxious with anticipation.
Some part of my brain was telling me that the storage closet was just two steps to my right at the end of the hallway and the exit door was just beyond that. My Rover was outside and all three were safer than standing here almost in his embrace but I couldn’t hear the warning over the pounding of my heartbeat. He bent toward me, his face serious and even in the low light of the corner I could see the gold flecks feathering out from the center of his eyes.
“I'm going to kiss you now.” His voice was deep, rough and matched the rest of his thoroughly masculine body.
“I know,” I whispered back. And I wanted that kiss from Gray who ordinarily wouldn't be my type at all. I wanted it more than I wanted to breath. When his mouth molded against mine, it felt like bliss as if my whole cold body had been submerged into a warm bath. If I thought I was engulfed before it was nothing like I felt at that moment. My entire world—my thoughts, my feelings, my senses—were full of him. I tasted the mint and hops on his tongue. I inhaled the cinnamon, bergamot, ocean of his faint cologne into my airways. I felt the calloused palm on my waist and then lower against the exposed skin of my thigh. His dense muscles were drawn tight under his skin and the fabric of his t-shirt and he felt as strong as a citadel. The moan that had been building since he first backed me into the wall escaped. It had been so long since I’d had the touch of a man’s hand on any part of me and I nearly wept at the pleasure of it.
Sgt. Gray Phillips (Kellan Lutz)
Samantha Anderson (Shailene Woodley)
Jen Frederick lives with her husband, child, and one rambunctious dog. She's been reading stories all her life but never imagined writing one of her own. Jen loves to hear from readers so drop her a line at jen@jenfrederick.
Woodlands Series (Book 1 & 2)
Cover: Undeclared (Book One)
For four years, Grace Sullivan wrote to a Marine she never met, and fell in love. But when his deployment ended, so did the letters. Ever since that day, Grace has been coasting, academically and emotionally. The one thing she’s decided? No way is Noah Jackson — or any man — ever going to break her heart again.
Noah has always known exactly what he wants out of life. Success. Stability. Control. That’s why he joined the Marines and that’s why he’s fighting his way — literally — through college. Now that he’s got the rest of his life on track, he has one last conquest: Grace Sullivan. But since he was the one who stopped writing, he knows that winning her back will be his biggest battle yet.
Cover: Unspoken (Book Two)
Whore. Slut. Typhoid Mary.
I've been called all these at Central College. One drunken night, one act of irresponsible behavior, and my reputation was ruined. Guys labeled me as easy and girls shied away. To cope, I stayed away from Central social life and away from Central men, so why is it that my new biology lab partner is so irresistible to me?
He's everything I shouldn't want. A former Marine involved in illegal fighting with a quick trigger temper and an easy smile for all the women. His fists aren't the danger to me, though, it's his charm. He's sliding his way into my heart and I'm afraid that he's going to be the one to break me.
Impulsive. Unthinking. Hot tempered.
I allow instinct to rule my behavior. If it feels good, do it, has been my motto because if I spend too much time thinking, I'll begin to remember exactly where I came from. At Central College, I've got fighting and I've got women and I thought I was satisfied until I met her.
She's everything I didn't realize I wanted and the more time I spend with her, the more I want her. But she's been hurt too much in the past and I don't want to be the one to break her. I know I should walk away, but I just can't.
Bonus Content: Upon reaching the USA Today Bestselling milestone, I wrote a 10,000 word epilogue as a thank you to the readers who loved and supportedUnspoken. I posted it for free on my blog but at the urging of readers, I have added it to the original version.
$200 GC to retailer of your choice
Full set of Woodlands print books (5) with dog tags.