Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
Date: February 14th 2014
Genre: Contemporary Military
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Stay sober. Get deployed. Lead his platoon. Those are the only things that matter to Sergeant First Class Reza Iaconelli. What he wants is for everyone to stay out of his way; what he gets is Captain Emily Lindberg telling him how to deal with his men. Fort Hood's newest shrink is smart as a whip and sexy as hell. She's also full of questions—about the army, its soldiers, and the agony etched on Reza's body and soul.
Emily has devoted her life to giving soldiers the care they need—and deserve. Little does she know that means facing down the fierce wall of muscle that is Sergeant Iaconelli like it's just another day at the office. When Reza agrees to help her understand what makes a soldier tick, she's thrilled. Too bad it doesn't help her unravel the sexy warrior in front of her who stokes her desire and touches a part of her she thought long dead. He's the man who thinks combat is the only escape from the demons that haunt him. The man who needs her most of all . . .
This is #4 in the Coming Home series of military romances by Jessica Scott. It is an excellent series giving insight into military life for those involved in modern warfare. All For You carries on in the vein of the previous three and to my mind even goes a step further. Jessica Scott is a career army officer, she writes about what she knows.
In some ways I don't believe the cover really portrays the kind of book this is. There is a bloody, dusty, sweaty reality to this book that the cover does not in any way indicate. The models are too clean - they need to look like the amazing characters that Jessica Scott writes into her Coming Home books.
Reza is a complicated man, a man full of character - although he doesn't see it himself. He shows integrity, raw loyalty and care in the dealings with his soldiers. He has made some errors in judgement and he beats himself up about this. Plus he battles an addiction that points to an underlying vulnerability in this tough soldier.
Emily is reasonably new to the army and doesn't have much background experience in terms of life in the face of enemy attack. However as she deals with the soldiers and Reza inducts her into some aspects of army life she gains in knowledge and some real life experience. She also knows when to break rules and stand by Reza.
The book itself explores a really difficult issue of suicide. Men who have come back from the war, have served a number of deployments, and then they crack from the pressure of indelible memories and lost comrades. How long does it take them to receive the help they need? Do they even receive it? What about those who haven't even been on deployment but show signs of pressure that are heading towards breaking point? How are they viewed?
The army is an organisation and as such has its inspired leaders and great soldiers. Unfortunately like all organisations it has its bullies, ineffectual leaders and struggling members. I can only thank Jessica Scott for the realism that she brings to this book, the compassion it awakens in my heart for soldiers - and the way it calls me to look at those around me and as she says at the end of her book...
If you know anyone who is hurting, if you suspect someone is having a hard time, ask them. Don't be afraid. Speak up. Ask the question. Because you never know what someone else is going through.
Coming Home series
1.5. Anything for You
2 Until There Was You
4 All For You
5. Its Always Been You