Home is where his heart can heal.
Former Navy SEAL Grant Anderson failed to see the IED that took his lower leg and couldn’t fix the cracks that ended his marriage. Embarrassment kept him from returning home to Dale, Georgia, after his discharge. But with his father ill, his family needs him.
One of the first friendly faces he encounters is Ellie Hall. The gawky little girl next door now has curves that shouldn’t make his mouth water. She deserves a hero, not a broken man. Ellie can’t remember a time when she didn’t have a crush on Grant. Now if she could only get it through Grant’s thick skull that she doesn’t need to fear him.
As they work together to straighten out his family business, holiday fireworks aren’t the only thing making Grant sweat. But by the time they uncover why the figures aren’t adding up, Grant must rely on pure instinct to keep Ellie safe from danger—and pray that this time, he won’t fail.
Warning: Contains a wounded warrior who’s his own worst critic, and a determined heroine who’ll take the whole package as is. While not a series, this story takes place in the same fictional world as Son of a Preacher Man.
Source: ARC from Samhain Publishing via NetGalley
I love Ellie. I can’t help it, I ended up a total fangirl for her throughout this book. She starts off as a gangly, too-smart teenager who no one ever sees, raised by her grandmother and working as many jobs as she can fit in. As an adult she’s a little less gangly, but she’s still super smart and does anything she can to help other people out. She’s great, basically, and I really liked her.
Luckily, I really liked Grant too. He has definitely been through a lot and does have a tendency to brood occasionally, but I liked how quick he was to see the good Ellie had done and to recognise the nice side of living in a small town like Dale. He also really admires Ellie, so I couldn’t help but like him. Besides, the chemistry between the pair of them is scorching. Sure, he had plenty of hangups about his leg and scars, but Ellie’s so awesome he can’t hide for long.
I loved their romance. It flows and develops really well, with each of them getting their chance to shine in their own ways. They have very different strengths, and it’s hard to know what interests they have in common, but they fit so perfectly into each other’s lives that I really enjoyed reading about them. There’s plenty of heat too, which helps.
However, as much as I loved that side of the book, the whole plot strand concerning cousin Greg and the family business felt flimsy to me. As great as it was to see Ellie wow Grant with the power of her maths brain, there were moments in this book where I wondered if that side of things would ever get resolved. It sort of fades away unfinished at one point, then appears right, right, right at the end, meaning things are dealt with very swiftly.
Which is a shame, because the rest of this book was 4.5/5 stars for me, I enjoyed Ellie and Grant’s romance that much. It’s fun and sexy as well as sweet, with Grant’s injury and service history forming an integral part of who he is and not ever coming across as a cliché plot device. So if you like reading about ex-SEALs this will definitely tick the right boxes. If you like reading about smart heroines living in the real world, this will also work. Or if you’re just looking for a good small town romance with a decent amount of heat and really enjoyable characters, then you should probably try this. It might have been my first Arianna Hart read, but it definitely won’t be my last. I especially look forward to any more tales set in Dale.
Giving It All is out September 1st!
Visit Arianna Hart for more details.