SEALed with a Kiss by Mary-Margret Daughtridge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I don't usually go for contemporary romance, or any kind of military romance, but it was free at Amazon, and I decided to give it a try... By almost 4 AM, I figured I probably liked this book I had stayed up all night reading on my iPod to finish.
Jax is given leave to get to know his four-year-old son, who had been living with Jax's ex-wife. Due to the demanding lifestyle of a Navy SEAL, Jax has not seen Tyler much in his four years of life. Now that Jax's ex-wife has passed away, he has to decide what he wants to do about Tyler. Jax has no idea how to behave with the boy, and the first few scenes with Jax and Tyler had my heart breaking. (Maybe because I have a son around the same age). Pickett is a family therapist and can't help but step in when she sees Jax and Tyler on the beach. She knows how easy it would be to get them to start interacting and she astonishes Jax with the ease with which she makes Tyler open up.
I loved that there was some curious attraction between the two at first, but it was not an instantaneous, off-the-charts type of thing. Jax even sees Pickett in the grocery store later that day, and barely acknowledges her, writing her off as high-maintenance and too much work. Jax doesn't want a woman who is going to make demands, and Pickett doesn't really believe in love.
There's a hurricane coming and, after a couple of strike outs, Jax has nowhere to take Tyler during the storm. He ends up looking up Pickett's number because she was the only person who seemed to connect with Tyler and Jax is hoping she will teach him how to connect with his son. Pickett reluctantly allows Jax and Tyler to come stay with her during the storm.
What follows just blew my mind. I fell in love with Jax, empathized with Pickett, and wanted them all to be a happy family. The author does such a great job of having you get to know the characters. We learn about their pasts, what they want out of the future, and we see them grow. The tension between Jax and Pickett is delicious and each is holding back for different reasons. As Jax gets to know Pickett more, he realizes she has some serious hang-ups that he is not sure why she has. Together, they work through her insecurities about herself and his insecurities involving his son.
I just loved this book, I couldn't stop reading. Jax and Pickett's scenes had me sighing at one point, then made my chest tighten with sadness in the next minute. I wanted them to try and make it work, even though they both were trying to convince themselves it would never work. And at one point, Jax even says "This doesn't mean...anything." I could feel my heart breaking!
This is a heartwarming story that made me laugh and cry, and even get angry at some of the characters. I was drawn into the story and didn't realize how long I had been reading until I was done. The sex scenes are steamy, but nothing too explicit. I would probably give it a heat rating of 3 out of 5. There is some description, but not too much. The sexual tension is deliciously built and you may find yourself screaming, "Just do it, already!"
I completely recommend this book, it was amazing!
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