Just A Kiss – Denise Hunter – Summer Harbor #3 – Thomas Nelson – Published 6 September 2016
Watching the love of his life falling 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 he’s 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. He has nightmares and mood swings, and his unwavering independence keeps him from accepting help from anyone, including her. 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 the money needed to save it.
As the weeks wear on with the two in such close proximity, Paige’s feelings for Riley begin to shift into unchartered territory. Why is she suddenly noticing his corded 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?
Just A Kiss is a wonderful story. I love stories where best friends fall in love and this book reinforces why. Family, friendship, romance, heartache and faith combine in this charming story, and there is no ‘just’ about the kisses in this book!
Riley has been in love with his best friend Paige for all of his adult life. But he never dared risk their friendship, even going so far as to enlist to avoid seeing her with other guys, especially his older brother. But now Riley is returning home from war and he will be living with Paige while he recovers from a bomb blast that cost him his leg. Riley believes, now more than ever, that Paige deserves more than he could give her, but he never counted on Paige’s own feelings, nor how the time they spend in close proximity could draw them together or push them apart.
I loved every minute of this story. There were times I just wanted Paige and Riley to get it out in the open and talk to each other about how they felt! It would save them so much heartache. And while this certainly ramps up the tension between them, I loved how it doesn’t continue on for too long. Riley and Paige have bigger issues to deal with than staying stuck in an I-love-him-but-I’ll-never-say-anything phase. And that’s what takes this beautiful book from a fun romance to a story of true courage and friendship.
Just A Kiss is the third and final book in the Summer Harbor series. It has been a wonderful privilege to share in the lives of the Callahan brothers, watching as they fall in love and grow within themselves and in their faith. Each of the books could be read separately but I think that this series does work best read in series order. And there is no reason not to when they are all such charming and enjoyable books. That said, I think Just A Kiss was my favourite.
I loved Riley, really loved Paige and loved their love story even more. Riley is dealing with a lot, including returning home from war, loosing half a leg and PTSD, not to mention his repressed feelings for Paige. Paige too has some underlying issues to deal with, and I totally felt for her in her loneliness and her belief that she doesn’t belong. We also get to continue the stories of Beau, Eden and Micah, Zac and Lucy and even Aunt Trudy and Sheriff Colton, as well as the other Summer Harbor residents. There are also two weddings in this book (I’m not saying whose).
Overall, a fabulous and touching romance that mixed family, friendship, faith and perseverance perfectly.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: Christian contemporary.
Themes: Family, romance, PTSD, friendship, best friends.
Published: 6 September 2016 by Thomas Nelson.
Format: Paperback, ebook, audio. 336 pages.