Comment: To be honest, I got interested in this book because of the author. I'm a fan of one of her series and while browsing her back list at goodreads, I've seen this book and by the blurb and my knowledge of what her work felt like to me, I've decided to get this title. I've got it some time ago but only now really picked it.
In this book we follow Troy, a marine new to North Carolina, and his first task before really settling in. He is asked to help in the follow-up of an hurricane in searching for people who might be hurt. He is placed with sheriff deputy Austin and his K9 partner in a team to find people and bring help.
Troy feels good by being helpful despite his more served nature and his attraction to Austin is a good feeling even if he isn't certain about the reciprocation of those feelings.
But the devastation he finds is overwhelming, Could he get past his memories from the war and focus on his new job and possible romance?
Apparently, this book belongs to the series Storming Love: One Storm, Twelve Men which explores the relationship of 6 couples through the hurricane Lauris and its aftermath. I haven't read any other story and to be honest, I don't plan on it. I've briefly read the blurbs of them all and this is the 4th story. Of all of them, it seems this is the only one featuring a couple that meets for the first time at the beginning of the story and the other books are focused on couples that met, and some had had a relationship.
I'm very glad I picked this story and that the author decided to write it this way, as lovers reunited is my least favorite trope of them all. Each author has a story, and if I got it right, independent from one another, as I didn't find any seemingly connection to other couples in this story. Some readers seem to prefer the other stories set during the hurricane but this one happens after, when the rescuing is going on.
Overall, I liked this short story. I think the author did a good job with the short amount of time she had to develop the plot and the result was a small but very decent story.
I liked that the author didn't try to add as many subjects as she could, she focused on one or two details and that gave a solid structure to the plot.
The biggest issue, I think, is Troy and his thoughts coming out of a war zone, learning to deal with everything he saw and how he's supposed to feel and staring a new job can be overwhelming. But before he can settle in, fix his new house and so on, he is asked by his superior to help in the rescue missions which, of course, he accepts because it makes him feel useful. While seeing the devastation he seems worried and sad and we learn he saw many bad things while he was deployed and it's difficult to process that. I felt sorry for him, because I can't imagine but it's certainly very hard to deal with guilt and hopelessness.
Interestingly, Troy meets Austin and his K9 partner Decker and they help him to see things through a different light. He's also very attracted to Austin, he's the type of men he likes and seems to like him back. Their relationship was very slow developing, mostly kissing and some small touches and sentences here and there but they do seem to be a match. I liked it that despite one or two more hot and heavy love scenes, the author didn't exaggerate things and kept their relationship more on the cautious and hopeful side than consummated. The book ends with a HFN but I can totally imagine the HEA on the horizon.
The author decided to write this - possibly due to limit issues - very simply, just an average broader idea about how the rescue missions are, how things work, how it must have been for Troy to compare this to what he's seen, how does that affect him, choosing a love interest that is also very balanced and easy to care for...I really think she was clever.
However, this isn't perfect in my opinion, because the same simplicity can seem incomplete or lacking purpose and everything they do ends up seeming like just something thy had to do and we never get the whole grasp of the difficulty because we can't stay with each situation or scene for long.
The romance is slow, not definitive and I understand, but with the time given for the more sexy scenes we could have had a bit more romantic gestures...yes I know it would be too soon for that, but it would have been fun. I also wanted to see more of the chemistry between them before they admitted it.
Despite everything, I consider this a good story. Not as absorbing as the series by her I follow, but considering the possible page limit, the subject and the series' rules or indications, the author did a good job, a very solid and well structured plot and I was very glad about the type of trope as well.
A good one for me.