Welcome to my review stop on the Come Back to Me tour hosted by Fantastic Flying Book Club! Don’t forget to check out the giveaway at the end of the post.
by Mila Gray
Series: Come Back to Me #1
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Publication Date: December 8, 2015 by Simon Pulse
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Source: FFBC Tours
In this heart-wrenching tale of love and loss, a young Marine and his best friend’s sister plunge into a forbidden love affair while he’s home on leave.
When a Marine Chaplain knocks on her door, Jessa’s heart breaks—someone she loves is dead. Killed in action, but is it Riley or Kit? Her brother or her boyfriend…
Three months earlier, Marine Kit Ryan finds himself back home on leave and dangerously drawn to his best friend Riley’s sister, Jessa—the one girl he can’t have. Exhausted from fighting his feelings, Kit finally gives in, and Jessa isn’t strong enough to resist diving headfirst into a passionate relationship.
But what was just supposed to be a summer romance develops into something far greater than either of them expected. Jessa’s finally found the man of her dreams and Kit’s finally discovered there’s someone he’d sacrifice everything for.
When it’s time for Kit to redeploy, neither one is ready to say goodbye. Jessa vows to wait for him and Kit promises to come home to her. No matter what.
But as Jessa stands waiting for the Marine Chaplain to break her heart, she can’t help but feel that Kit has broken his promise…
Riley or Kit? Kit or Riley? Her brother or her boyfriend? Who’s coming home to her?
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Jessa and Kit have grown up together but Jessa has never expressed her feelings. She’s sure Kit only sees her as his best friend’s little sister. That is until Jessa turns 16 that Kit starts developing a crush. Neither have spoken about their attraction towards one another especially when Jessa and Riley’s father holds a grudge against Kit’s father which also leads to hating Kit. One summer, Jessa and Kit go from friends to lovers but they only have weeks before Kit and Riley leave on a military tour. Who will return, Kit or Riley?
“Come back to me. Promise you’ll come back to me.” She whispers.
This story was sweet and would pull at your heartstrings. The beginning starts with a prologue that leaves you in a bit of a suspense, wanting to know what will happen but of course the reader finds out near the end and ultimately leading up to a wonderful conclusion to the story.
Sadly I didn’t feel any connection towards the characters. I had no emotion towards them until almost the end when something happens that really makes me feel for some of the characters but that’s pretty much it. There was some kind of insta-love in the story depending on how you see it. For me, it was kind of fast but it didn’t bother me THAT much. But the romance was definitely there and the reader could actually believe this romance and the insta-love aspect of it. The relationships with the family were portrayed very well. We have the military father who has been affected by war and holds a secret that’s been killing him inside so he feels the need to yell all the time which leads to his family to walk on eggshells when they are around him. We have the understanding mother who tries to keep everyone happy. We have Jessa who knows what she wants to do with her life but is scared to go after it because of her father. We have Riley who is fun and caring and sweet. We have Jessa’s best friend who’s having her own book coming out next year! I cannot wait for her story. We have Kit who is very swoon-worthy and loyal to his best friend, girlfriend and his dad. And finally, we have Kit’s father who is honestly the most sweetest man in the world.
All of these characters make for a very interesting and impacting story. This story is about a forbidden romance of two friends who become lovers but is more than that. It also focuses on trying to experience life as much as you can with your loved ones and to appreciate those people who surround you. The author did a great job in portraying all of these characters, their individual lives and a subject that many people talk about but not many pay much attention to and choose to ignore. I really recommend this to everyone above the age of 18 because it really has a beautiful meaning.
A whorl in the glass distorts the picture, like a thumbprint smear over a lens. I’m halfway down the stairs, gathering my hair into a ponytail, thoughts a million miles away, when a blur outside the window pulls me up short.
I take another step, the view clears, and when I realize what I’m seeing, who I’m seeing, my stomach plummets and the air leaves my lungs like a final exhalation. My arms fall slowly to my sides. My body’s instinct is to turn and run back upstairs, to tear into the bathroom and lock the door, but I’m frozen. This is the moment you have nightmares about, play over in your mind, the darkest of daydreams, furnished by movies and by real-life stories you’ve overheard your whole life.
You imagine over and over how you’ll cope, what you’ll say, how you’ll act when you open the door and find them standing there. You pray to every god you can dream up that this moment won’t ever happen. You make bargains, promises, desperate barters. And you live each day with the murmur of those prayers playing on a loop in the background of your mind, an endless chant. And then the moment happens and you realize it was all for nothing. The prayers went unheard. There was no bargain to make. Was it your fault? Did you fail to keep your promise?
Time seems to have slowed. Kit’s father hasn’t moved. He’s standing at the end of the driveway staring up at the house, squinting against the early morning glare. He’s wearing his Dress Blues. It’s that fact which registered before all else, which told me all I needed to know. That and the fact that he’s here at all. Kit’s father has never once been to the house. There is only one reason why he would ever come.
He hasn’t taken a step and I will him not to. I will him to turn around and get back into the dark sedan car sitting at the kerb. A shadowy figure in uniform sits at the wheel. Please. Get back in and drive away. I start making futile bargains with some nameless god. If he gets back in the car and drives away, I’ll do anything. But he doesn’t. He takes a step down the driveway towards the house, and that’s when I know for certain that either Riley or Kit is dead.
A scream, or maybe a sob, tries to struggle up my throat, but it’s blocked by a solid wave of nausea. I grab for the banister to stay upright. Who? Which one? My brother or my boyfriend? Oh God. Oh God. My legs are shaking. I watch Kit’s father walk slowly up the drive, head bowed.
Memories, images, words, flicker through my mind like scratched fragments of film: Kit’s arms around my waist drawing me closer, our first kiss under the cover of darkness just by the back door, the smile on his face the first time we slept together, the blue of his eyes lit up by the sparks from a Chinese lantern, the fierceness in his voice when he told me he was going to love me forever.
Come back to me. That was the very last thing I said to him. Come back to me.
Always. The very last thing he said to me.
Then I see Riley as a kid throwing a toy train down the stairs, dive-bombing into the pool, holding my hand at our grandfather’s funeral, grinning and high-fiving Kit after they’d enlisted. The snapshot of him in his uniform on graduation day. The circles under his eyes the last time I saw him.
The door buzzes. I jump. But I stay where I am, frozen halfway up the stairs. If I don’t answer the door maybe he’ll go away. Maybe this won’t be happening. But the doorbell sounds again. And then I hear footsteps on the landing above me. My mother’s voice, sleepy and confused. ‘Jessa? Who is it? Why are you just standing there?’
Then she sees. She peers through the window and I hear the intake of air, the ragged ‘no’ she utters in response. She too knows that a military car parked outside the house at seven a.m. can signify only one thing.
I turn to her. Her hand is pressed to her mouth. Standing in her nightdress, her hair unbrushed, the blood rushing from her face, she looks like she’s seen a ghost. No. That’s wrong. She looks like she is a ghost.
The bell buzzes for a third time.
‘Get the door, Jessa,’ my mother says in a strange voice I don’t recognize. It startles me enough that I start to walk down the stairs. I feel calmer all of a sudden, like I’m floating outside my body. This can’t be happening. It’s not real. It’s just a dream.
I find myself standing somehow in front of the door. I unlock it. I open it. Kit. Riley. Kit. Riley. Their names circle my mind like birds of prey in a cloudless blue sky. Kit. Riley. Which is it? Is Kit’s father here in his Dress Blues with his Chaplain insignia to tell us that my brother has been killed in action or that his son – my boyfriend – has been killed in action? He would come either way. He would want to be the one to tell me. He would want to be the one to tell my mom.
Kit’s father blinks at me. He’s been crying. His eyes are red, his cheeks wet. He’s still crying, in fact. I watch the tears slide down his face and realize that I’ve never seen him cry before. It automatically makes me want to comfort him, but even if I could find the words my throat is so dry I couldn’t speak them.
‘Jessa,’ Kit’s father says in a husky voice.
I hold onto the doorframe, keeping my back straight. I’m aware that my mother has followed me down the stairs and is standing right behind me. Kit’s father glances at her over my shoulder. He takes a deep breath, lifts his chin and removes his hat before his eyes flicker back to me.
‘I’m sorry,’ he says.
‘Who?’ I hear myself ask. ‘Who is it?’
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