Isaiah Wright is broken. So broken he's positive he'll never be fixed again. Surviving every soldier's worst nightmare is enough for him to want nothing more than to give into the blackness that plagues him.
Emma Nicholls knows pain. Four years after the devastating loss of her fiancé, she's set up her own business providing service dogs to veterans in an attempt to put her own life back together.
Circumstance brings Isaiah into her life, but neither are prepared for the fire that burns between them. It's immediate, one broken soul finding solace in another, but it's also... terrifying.
His soldier's heart is surrounded by walls ten feet high. But maybe, just maybe, Emma and her brood of trainee service dogs can break through and be the light he so desperately needs.
“Just through here,” I say confidently.
“Are you sure, Wright? I have a bad feeling about this place. Something doesn’t feel right.”
“Trust me. We’ve been watching this area for weeks. The men we’re looking for are on the other side of this wall.”
My men line up, preparing to enter the room.
I lift my hand.
On my count.
I kick open the door, falling back as I let my men charge into the room.
Everything happens so fast.
A shout in Arabic.
A clamor of English.
I jerk from my bed, my arms raising in a defensive position as I take in the room around me. It’s pitch black, the only semblance of light coming from the digital alarm clock glowing in the corner. By its faint light, I’m able to make out my bed. The chair in the corner covered in yesterday’s clothes. My dresser. I’m in my bedroom. I’m home.
I repeat the words over and over to myself, but they do nothing to calm my frayed nerves. My heart races, my breathing ragged. I feel as if I’m going to crawl right out of my skin. I bring my trembling hand to my face, wiping my sweat-soaked brow.
I sit on the edge of my bed, tucking my head between my knees and taking several deep breaths, like my therapist suggested for when these moments occur. And like every other time this has happened, cowering and deep breathing does jack shit. I stomp out of my bedroom, heading for the medicine cabinet in the hall bathroom. I fling open the cabinet door, grabbing for the pills she gave me for when the breathing exercises don’t work. Fuck breathing exercises. I don’t believe for a minute that shit works for anyone.
I swallow two of the pills, not bothering with water, before placing the bottle back on the shelf and swinging the mirrored door shut. I stare at my reflection. I look like shit. My eyes are bloodshot, the dark circles surrounding them deepening every day. The pallor of my normally copper skin is shocking, even to my own eyes. I splash some water on my face, rubbing at my tired, aching eyes.
My thoughts return to my dream. The same one I’ve had every night for the past six months. I hear the voices. The sound of gunfire. I see the flash of the grenade exploding.
“Fuck it,” I mutter, grabbing the pills again and swallowing three more, this time with a small sip of water from the sink. It’s more than Beth wants me to take. But I need some fucking sleep. I need some fucking silence. I need some fucking oblivion.
I stagger out to the couch, feeling the rush of calm already settling over me. I honestly don’t know why I don’t take these damn pills all the time. They’re so much fucking better than the alternative. I collapse on the couch, pulling a blanket around me before allowing the sweet serenity of sleep to take over.
AMIE'S 4 STAR REVIEW
I adored this story. This is one of the few books I have read where some kind of animal therapy is used and I have to say I just think it is amazing work and I love to know that in reality there are options such as this to help people. I have also read more than a few stories about soldiers suffering from PTSD and other after effects of the war. It is never an easy read , it hurts so much to see the amount of guilt and blame some of these amazing men and women put on themselves. I am the first to admit I do not have what it takes to serve my country and I am always content with the fact that none of my loved ones have served while I have been around to witness it. It takes a strong person to do it and a strong person to be there for them after when they are plagued by nightmares and suffering and I am being honest saying I would crumble under the pressure. This may have been a story but we all know in reality this struggle goes on daily and that made the connections with the characters easy for me. I plan to go back and read book 1 and will also continue on with this author to see what she has planned next.
Emma has suffered loss but with the help of her best friends and business she has managed to get by and is doing wonderful things for many that suffer the after effects of war. I loved getting to know her and Joey and seeing how they formed their bond and implemented their plan. The puppies/dogs are super cute and again the business is just amazing. Isaiah has lost so much due to the war and even more after he came home and didn't know how to deal with his emotions. Now struggling to get back to himself he is in therapy. The program Emma and Joey run seems like it may be a good fit for him to volunteer at and though he is guarded he gives it a chance and it doesn't take long to see the effects. We also see Emma open up and help to open up Isaiah. It is a shock to them both and although they face some hurdles it is a beautiful story to watch unfold. Emma finally moving on and finding love again while Isaiah faces his past and mends the relationships he has let go due to his guilt. It was an emotional read and my heart did crumble at times. Struggling with anxiety myself I could feel the hopelessness in Isaiah at times and it really hit home. There are a couple of twists and I was on the edge of my seat a couple times wondering where we would go BUT rest assured it was a great story and an HEA !!
Megan lives in Northern Utah with her handsome hubby, Adam. When not writing, chances are you’ll find her curled up with her Kindle. Besides reading and writing, she loves movies, animals, chocolate, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. She loves hearing from readers, so drop her a line!