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Love in a Sandstorm (Pine Harbour Book 6) Kindle Edition
Captain Sean Foster came back from war broken from the inside out. And he doesn't care about being fixed. Not even by a woman who followed him halfway around the world due to some misguided loyalty.
Jenna Kowalczyk had two weeks with a man who stole her heart. They promised each other forever, but one brutal explosion proved that promise to be paper-thin.
She should leave him in the past. That's what he wants her to do. But from the second the determined midwife shows up in Pine Harbour, she knows she's staying--no matter how much heartache is in store for her.
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From the Inside Flap
Sean heard voices downstairs and hauled another pillow over his head. He could handle the ringing, or the spinning, or the nausea. Any one of those things were manageable. But all three together filled him with the worst kind of impotent rage, because there was nothing to be done. Even the medications he'd been prescribed didn't work. They didn't touch the dizziness or the tinnitus. Sure, they helped with nausea, but so did being unconscious.
He closed his eyes and willed himself to fall back into the broken sleep he'd been riding when the noise had started again.
But instead of quiet, he got a knock at the bedroom door.
"Go away," he growled in the cold, hard voice he still didn't recognize as his own.
His oldest brother didn't listen, because that wasn't his way. Instead he pushed the door open. Creak.
Sean moved the pillow that was in front of his face out of the way and found Dean looming in the doorway. "You've got a visitor."
"Not up for it."
"Not an option for this visitor."
"Someone from the unit?" Definitely not up for that, then. He was no hero. He'd been dodging visitors the entire month he'd been home, and that wasn't going to change any time soon. "If it's the padre, tell him to screw off."
"It's your wife."
For two weeks in the military hospital in Germany, he'd imagined those words. At first, he'd wanted, needed to hear them. Tried to ask the nurses to get in touch with Jenna, but his words had been all effed up, and they'd ignored his badly written notes.
He'd dreamed of her. Futile, frustrating dreams, of falling asleep in her arms, only to wake up and she was gone.
He'd dreamed of his late mother, too. Hadn't done that in years.
Then the doctors started to talk about his rehab and transitioning out of the army. He'd been reminded at every turn about the ever-present threat of another stroke. Of disability and accommodation. Faces grew sympathetic and voices softened.
Did he want to go to a rehab hospital far from home?
Would he have adequate support if he was discharged? It wasn't a lie to say yes. His brothers would do anything for him. Of course he hadn't allowed them to. He'd hissed and growled and snarled until they gave him space.
And as he struggled with the transition back in Pine Harbour--as he realized just how well and truly screwed he was, not for a short time, but maybe forever--he couldn't stomach the thought of having one of them reach out to her. Couldn't bear the thought of her pitying him, too.
Better for her to be angry and righteous. To move on and leave him behind.
He'd resolved himself to that plan, deciding it would be better for her that he be nothing but a memory.
But she was here.
His stomach heaved.
He lurched to his feet, ignoring the way the room twisted obscenely around him, and shoved past Dean. There was no way for him to keep the floor from coming up to meet his face. It was only absurdity that drove some part of him to keep trying, like on the three-hundredth try, mind-over-matter might finally work.
Dean hauled him up and half-carried him into the bathroom, where he lost his lunch in the toilet.
Silently, his brother handed him a damp towel.
His whole life, Dean had been taking care of him. Ten years older and endlessly wiser, he'd been shoved into a parent role before he was ready, but he'd stepped up anyway.
And now he was doing it again, his new life with Liana on hold because Sean was a mess.
Sean swiped angrily at his face. He didn't look in the mirror. He hated what he would see if he did. Gaunt cheeks, scruffy beard. Too long hair, sunken eyes. He didn't need to see himself today to know Jenna couldn't, ever. "Make her go away."
"I'm not going to do that."
"Then what good are you?"
"I honestly don't know." Dean growled under his breath. "You got married?"
That was before.
It hurt so much, a bright, sharp regret in his chest.
"We had a fling." The words turned sour in his mouth. A lie. It had been so much more than that. He'd been the luckiest man in the world.
Like everything else in his life, the idea of having a wife was now done. Broken. Impossible and shoved deep down lest it destroy him to think about it.
"She's downstairs." Dean kept pushing that fact in front of him, like he wasn't covered in a cold sweat already.
"You don't have a choice." His brother opened the bathroom door. "Liana and I are going out for an hour to give you some space. I'm telling Jenna you're up here."
No. It was a wounded, pathetic cry, and he swallowed hard not to let it out.
He wouldn't beg.
If he needed to do this, he'd do it. He'd find a way to tell her this was a mistake. Her coming here, them getting married, the whole thing.
He stood there, in front of the sink, and listened to Dean's heavy steps descend the stairs. Murmurs, then silence, followed by noisier murmurs. Dean had gone to get Liana from her studio--interrupting her work--so they could get out of the way.
His chest tightened. It was too late to move--not that he could on his own. Too late to try and look good for her--not that he deserved to preen.
As the front door clicked shut, his pulse pounded loud inside his head. It added to the disorienting cacophony of sound in there that made it so hard for him to think.
All of his screwed-up brain stuff should make it hard to hear things, but if anything, it heightened his sense of sound. He heard her downstairs. Shifting on the spot. Restless, worrying.
If she'd stood there any longer, that knowledge would have twisted tight enough inside him that he'd have tried to move. Tried and failed, like all the other times, but he was close to lurching forward when she took her first step up the stairs.
Creak. Another two steps, and a pause. Then a sigh and a resolute return to climbing, step by dooming step, until she appeared in the doorway, wearing jeans and a jacket, her Chucks still on her feet, like she knew he wouldn't let her stay very long.
Her eyes widened and her perfect mouth, sweet and soft, pulled into a surprised O. "Sean?"
"You shouldn't be here," he said, his voice rough. His knuckles hurt from how hard he gripped the sink to keep himself steady, but what was another layer of pain?
Her eyes flicked down, then dragged up his body, her gaze searching. He stood there and let her hunt for any answer that would satisfy her curiosity. Any answer that would reassure her he was nothing like the man she'd married.
Nothing like the man who'd loved her for too brief a time.
She took a shuddering breath as her eyes met his again, and his chest cracked open in a hard, wrenching twist. "And yet I am," she whispered.
- ASIN : B072YXZCDX
- Publication date : July 25, 2017
- Language : English
- File size : 1438 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 416 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1926527453
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #122,032 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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Two weeks in Spain and they return home a married couple. They decide to keep the marriage a secret because of the danger of her being kidnapped because she is married to an Officer. They have to leave to fulfill their commitment but they have plans to reunite in Canada. However, about 3 weeks before she is suppose to leave for home all correspondence stops from Sean. And then she learns that he has been badly injured but he is home with family. She can't figure out why he hasn't reached out to her and she is his family so why is he not with her.
She arrives in Canada, rents a car and heads for Sean's hometown. She intends to find him and take up where they left off. She finds him but she doesn't find the man she left in Spain. He has completely changed and he seems to not want her anymore. But she took a vow and she intends to stick with it.
This is a wonderful story of love through sickness and health, till death do us part. It is a great story of how a family sticks with a sibling and they will do anything to get their brother back. He just wants the pain to go away and to be his old self. That is not going to happen so he needs a new plan for his future. He loves his wife but he feels she needs someone better than a broken down man filled with pain and anger. He is determined to run her off. She is equally determined to stay.
A good story. Very entertaining and interesting. It will hold you from the first page to the last one. I highly recommend this book. It is part of a series but I didn't feel lost at all for not reading the other books. It is a complete story with a happy ever after for all. Great read.
I was not paid for this review. I am not a writer nor do I know one. I am not kin to this author. I am a reader and this is my opinion, nothing more, nothing less. 10/5/2019
The chemistry between these two was off the charts and well done. We see them really develop a relationship in that first bit of the book and the rest unfolding during a few flashbacks, more like triggered memories during the present day story. They marry in Spain while on vacation. He returns to duty as does she. She doesn't hear from him, only to find out a month or so later he's been injured seriously and is back in Canada recovering. She leaves her post overseas and returns to his hometown, showing up at his brother Dean's, whom we've met. Sean is living, no scratch that, subsisting at Dean's making everyone's life a living hell including his own. He's not only severely injured and trying to cope with his brain and physical injuries but has also had a stroke. He suffers from severe migraines and severe vertigo and other TBI symptoms. He never contacted Jenna.
You can imagine Dean's surprise when she shows up and announces herself as his wife. Sean doesn't want to see her and acts like a total jack hat the first few month. With Jenna now in the picture and she doesn't give up on him, the brothers and a best friend stage an intervention of sorts and Sean wants to try to get better, agreeing to go to physical therapy and work hard on his recovery. Jenna is worth it.
Pine Harbor is a tiny town and everyone knows everyone and Jenna is warmly welcomed there. She soon meshes into the family and daily life including getting a job, the commute is long but worth it.
It's a great story to watch unfold and grittier than Zoe's norm. Which I loved. She puts forth some of the often overlooked casualties of war, the psychological aspects and the ripple effects on family, loved ones and friends.
Not meaning to sound trite here, but this story is a great love heals a multitude of woes and in this book that's the truth. Her unconditional and consistent love for him, reminded him who he was inside, the man who fell in love with Jenna.
Great story and Matt is up next and can't wait to see what kind of trouble he gets into.
Bravo Zoe... right down the middle of the road.
Top reviews from other countries
Poi la tragedia. Mentre lui è in missione una bomba cambia la vita a Sean ed è solo dopo alcune settimane che Jenna è in grado di capire e corre a casa di lui a Pine Harbour. Solo che Sean, non è più lo stesso uomo che ha sposato e inizialmente la respinge con forza.
Ci vorrà tutta la pazienza di Jenna e l'aiuto della famiglia di lui per consentire ai due di ricostruire il loro rapporto.
Tutto qui, ma il romanzo è scritto bene, non offre inverosimili scappatoie o assurdi lieti fini e la strada che riporterà insieme i protagonisti è fatta di rinunce e compromessi, come nella vita reale.
Se ho un dubbio è l'estrema facilità con cui la piccola comunità di Pine Harbour accoglie Jenna e la rete di amicizie che molto rapidamente Jenna costruisce attorno a sé. Nella mia esperienza questo non succede e questo dà al romanzo un tono da favola che proprio non serve.
I enjoyed the time travel, from present day to the day they met. It set up the plotline better I think than had the story start all in the past and then the present. It helped to develop the characters then and why they are who they are now.
The dialogue is written with both a light and strong hand. Small sentences, for example when Sean tells her that she should not be there and she replied, “Yet here I am” slayed me. And then we swing into the past. I had shivers after that line. When she says yes to his proposal and he replies thank god, I was seriously thinking that I would have to kidnap you, I laughed then I fell in love. When they must separate after their vacation, I felt their pain and reading her thoughts, her memory of him running like the wind was special.
The pain that they both go through as Sean works through his rehabilitation was at times gut wrenching and hopeful (even doing rehab for a broken dick!) You follow their journey as both them adapt to this new normal and when they talk about being exactly where they need to be I choked up a bit.
I had a serious Ah moment when Jenna thinks about how Pine Harbor is a wonderful corner of the world if an unexpected one.
This story had the same softness as Ryan’s book (Love on a spring morning for those of you who are new to this author's work) and really gets grabs you with its emotional intensity.