Description: Callie Jacobsen isn’t about to open her heart to just anyone. Not so very long ago, trusting someone changed her life forever—and not in a fun way. Now she’s better off focusing on her career, her friends, and her dog. So when former Marine Everett Silverton takes an interest in her, Callie’s more than a little wary. No matter how charming he is, men are a bad idea. In fact, she’s got the scars to prove it. But Everett isn’t convinced Callie should shut everyone out—especially not him. He may be a hero to the people of Rock Canyon, but he’s got his own demons, and he bets they’re not that different from Callie’s. Still, he knows it’s going to take more than chemistry to get her to let her guard down. Everett will do whatever it takes to show her she’s safe with him. All she has to do is take a chance, take a step…and take his hand.
Review: Who lives a life without scars? Not Everett Silverton, the male lead in this story is well written, daring, heroic, understanding and hot. And not Callie Jacobsen, the female lead is tragic and torn, a sweet heart with the inability to accept others into her life due to her past. Their romance is not easy, not is it gentle, as much as Everett tried to make it so. It felt each chapter was him offering all he was and her throwing it back at him through reactions and fear, and if there was ever a man to root for in a romance it was him.
Callie is a DJ with a crush on a male caller, Everett (or Rhett) is infatuated by the woman he hears every morning. Slowly they talk through his calls to her show and make a connection, then one morning he ups the ante and offers to meet her. Callie freezes and then fate (or author’s device) kicks in and suddenly they are bumping into one another at every turn, sometimes literally. Their lives are already so enmeshed that it is almost a surprise they hadn’t met. She was DJ’ing his brother’s wedding, she is an AA sponsor for his father, her friend ran the bookstore he spent so much time in, a small town in which lives usually mix had left these two never meeting until that day he asked her out.
It takes time for him to admit to her that he was her morning caller, and when he does she reacts badly. Her ability to trust had been ripped so thoroughly from her that all he did was being judged and weighed on a scale that he could not begin to see or imagine. From the beginning he was fighting a losing battle as her past was too unsettled to allow for the future to begin. It was clear she could not love or trust as she deserved to be able to until she allowed all the healing processes to work their way through her life. Hiding and dealing with the past as best as you can is not the same as healing.
I struggled with this book because some pieces didn’t fit, minor things really, but enough that I was questioning their place. Callie is an AA sponsor, but then admits she never took the full process of the steps to heart and healed herself through them as they are meant to be, this was one of my main struggles outside of struggling to like Callie. To me addiction recovery like that is an almost sacred trust and being someone’s sponsor when you never gave your all to the program yourself seems hypocritical. Everett hit every key in me that makes me enjoy a good male lead. Callie, on the other hand, had me banging my head on the wall chapter after chapter, making me want to stand up and defend Everett to her over and over and make her get the help she needed to be able to move forward with her life, and their life together. Also, I felt something interesting that could have been used to greater purpose was the original communication in the story, the couple had their first connection through the radio and that line of their relationship just stopped once they met in person. I loved that between them and wished Rhett had kept calling each morning, showing her he still cared about that woman he first began to fall for.
I give this book 3.5 Fireballs because of the details above and because I really struggled to finish the book as I could not bring myself to like Callie. I felt for her, but being empathetic and actually enjoying a character are two different things. Scars can be on the inside or outside, and these characters have both types. Through the book the details of their lives unfold and you see both characters and all their flaws, or the flaws they perceive in themselves. The romance is interesting, the sex scenes are well written, if too few. Codi Gary wove a story of people that both deserve a forever kind of love, and all the struggles that deserving that kind of love brings.