Stitched Up Heart by Tarina Deaton
Series: Combat Hearts #1
Also in this series: Rescued Heart, Locked-Down Heart
Published by Self-published on September 18, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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As an Air Force medic, Bree Marks saw the worst the War on Terror had to dish out. Now a physical therapist, she uses her experience to help other veterans heal from their physical wounds; while she battles her own emotional damage.
Blaming himself for his best friend’s suicide, former Army Ranger Jase Larken, retreated from life. To honor his best friend’s memory and assuage his guilt, he started an outdoor adventure company to help veterans with PTSD.
Bree had better things to do than catch her cheating fiancé in bed with another woman. Jase is something better - for a night at least. For the first time in years, Jase wanted more. When he finds her again, he doesn’t give her another chance to run.
Jase’s possessiveness grates on Bree’s independent nature. She’s dealt with her fair share of alpha-male, door kickers and doesn’t need one telling her what to do now. But as a new danger emerges, Bree and Jase must face their pasts, before someone's obsession with Bree destroys any chance they have of a future.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
As readers, taking a chance on a new author is akin to going on a blind date. You check everything possible beforehand hoping it’s in a genre you like to read, the synopsis sounds like your kind of book and of course, you check out the cover…they do say a picture is worth a thousand words! Unfortunately, this method of selecting what to read next can be hit and miss. Lately, my new to me author selections haven’t turned out to be all that great.
So color me shocked when the hype surrounding this new to me author, not only blew my socks off but I really enjoyed it! Stitched Up Heart has reminded me of the reason we embrace potential new authors–because there is always the chance you’ll find a gem of an author like Tarina Denton
Both Bree and Jase gained my admiration. Military vets with some lingering issues, they each ended up doing their part to help out vets in need which in turn helped them beat back their own demons. Bree, a physical therapist for the military spent her days helping to make veterans whole again when they come home, and Jase helped them cope after leaving the military with his program that brought vets together to camp, hunt, decompress and enjoy some camaraderie with other vets who know what they’ve been through.
Jase was everything I loved rolled up into an alpha, bossy and, as Bree so aptly referred to him, a “walking orgasm”. Bree was strong, independent and driven. She didn’t do anything stupid when under pressure, and could take care of business if needed.
Although there was immediate chemistry between these two that ended in an exceedingly hot and sweaty one night stand, there was not insta-love. That’s not to say they didn’t go from 0 to 60 so fast relationship wise it was like one of the guys from the Gas Monkey Garage was driving the car. There was no immediate declarations of undying love, just a lot of grown up conversations, well plus some more hot, sweaty, sexy shenanigans.
I was also treated to some of the best supporting characters I’ve read in awhile. Bree’s best friend Denise had me chuckling and smiling despite a headache I was battling while reading the book. Jase’s brother Tim and his army buddy Chris had me smiling too. The banter between all of them was witty, funny, and never felt forced.
As far as I can tell, this is the author’s first book, which is amazing since it was well written, decently edited, with great characters and an interesting plot. Ms. Deaton, you’ve gained a new fan. I’m hoping you are writing Denise’s story next. Can’t wait.
4.5 Book Buzz Stars
That moment when you read a new to you author and it just wows you. That’s what happened to me with Ms. Deaton’s Stitched Up Heart. It had romance, suspense, action, heavily emotional parts that had me tearing up and even handled some difficult topics, but I smiled all through it.
Bree and Jase have both been retired from the military for some time and have been dealing with PTSD in some way. They also have both dedicated their now civilians lives to helping other veterans, Bree as a physical therapist and Jase through his company where he sets up camping/hunting/fishing trips where vets can get back some type of team-belonging feeling.
After Bree comes home to her fiancée boinking some Barbie looking chick on her bed, she promptly kicks him out and heads to a bar with her best friend to get some alcohol-induced-therapy.
Jase just so happens to be in that same bar with some friends, and one look is all he needs to know that that scorching-hot, flip-flop-wearing, red head is all his. And he wastes no time claiming her for the night. Bree can’t believe her luck when the walking orgasm she had been checking out invites them to join his table.
One thing leads to another, and soon they’re making out in a dark hallway as if the fate of mankind depends on it. Although Bree is not really upset about her scum of an ex, she doesn’t want to deal with an awkward hook-up-morning-after so she leaves Jase sleeping.
When chance puts Bree back in Jase’s path, he goes at her in full on caveman mode (which was super fun to witness) and when circumstances surrounding Bree give him the chance, he moves her in with him in two seconds flat. Now, with two very strong personalities, this made for some hilarious banter and even funnier situations.
“You’re going to come all over my face. Then you’re going to come all over my cock as I bury it deep inside this pretty pussy.”
“Oh my God…
… Are you going to fuck me or talk me to death?”
Even with some of the topics on the heavier side of the scale, Stitched Up Heart has a light-hearted feel to it that I really appreciated. At the same time, it didn’t feel like it was passing over or making light of serious subjects.
I loved Jase and Bree, as a couple they were great, their chemistry was ridiculously hot and they pushed each other to want to get and be better. Individually I found them to be truly inspiring people. They were dealing with really tough shit but they never let that get in the way of wanting to help others. Jase’s Neanderthal tendencies clashed directly with Bree’s independent and self-sufficient nature… it was perfect.
I did find some tiny, itty bitty couple of editing issues that, while not horrendous or copious, still were there and were easy to catch. Add to the lack of babies and marriage in the epilogues which is like a must for me, and I’m taking half a star of the rating.
The suspense subplot (very well done) and the side characters (loved them all…except for Chad -_-) made this an exceptionally good read, and left me invested and in need of some of their stories. Ms. Deaton, I hope you find some more “spare” time soon to get more writing done!
4.5 “Alpha-caveman Awesomesauce” Stars
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