Jan 6 2014 10:30am

First Look: Jessica Scott’s Back to You (January 7, 2014)

Back to You by Jessica ScottJessica Scott
Back to You
Forever / January 7, 2014 (digital), July 29, 2014 (print) / $6.00 print, $2.99 digital

He's in for the fight of his life...

Army captain Trent Davila loved his wife, Laura, and their two beautiful children. But when he almost lost his life in combat, something inside him died. He couldn't explain the emptiness he felt or bridge the growing distance between him and his family-so he deployed again. And again. And again...until his marriage reached its breaking point. Now, with everything on the line, Trent has one last chance to prove to his wife that he can be the man she needs ...if she'll have him win back his only love.

Laura is blindsided when Trent returns home. Time and again, he chose his men over his family, and she's just beginning to put the pieces of her shattered heart back together. But when Trent faces a court martial on false charges, only Laura can save him. What begins as an act of kindness to protect his career inflames a desire she thought long buried-and a love that won't be denied. But can she trust that this time he's back to stay?

From the mid-'90s to the early 200os, the romance industry exploded with military novels. In those early novels the hero and or heroine zoomed into dangerous areas, and then successfully come home to a happy ending. But as the war against terror continued, romance authors started to introduce more realism into their novels, from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to characters suffering from life altering wounds. Most of the stories dwelt with the hero or heroine finding love again under these challenging circumstances. Only a few stories addressed the true challenges facing the whole family, and addressed those.

In Jessica Scott’s very capable hands—she is a career army officer who served in Iraq, mother of two daughters, and wife to a career NCO—Back to You is an emotional but timely read.

Trent is relieved of command while on his fourth tour in six years after a well-connected lieutenant under him stole weapons and sold them. The lieutenant claimed Trent knew what was happening, and the lieutenant’s girlfriend, another soldier, stated that Trent acted inappropriately when she and Trent were alone. Trent is ordered not to contact anyone after he is relieved of duty and he blindly follows orders, not even calling his wife, naively believing in the system. But after a long investigation, the only thing he gains are divorce papers from his wife, Laura.

Now, more than a year later, both his career and his marriage are still in limbo. But his counsel, Patrick, believes he has a foolproof plan to discredit Trent’s accusers—who are now married to each other. He wants Trent to pretend that he and Laura have a solid marriage. Trent needs to show that he is “a good solider, a good officer, and a good husband, and father.” Trent demurs, but Patrick goes straight to Laura:

“The primary witness against your husband, PFC Adorno—"

“Oh, we’ve met,” Laura said dryly.

Patrick’s smile was humorless. “Yes, well, that’s part of the prosecution’s problem. She’s alleging that Trent was inappropriate but the problem is that she and Lieutenant Randall were caught in their shenanigans downrange.”

Laura frowned. “So you think this is a ploy to get herself out of trouble?”

“Her and her husband. If they were working together to steal the missing weapons systems, then what better way to get out of trouble than to make this stuff up against Trent? Takes the focus off her, and her husband completely.”

Patrick leaned forward, tapping his index finger on the desk. “If I can cast Trent as a sympathetic family man who would never do anything like what she’s alleging, this case is all but dismissed. I’m not attacking her. All I have to do is make Trent look better than the story she’s telling and we’ve got a win.”

“And you need me to paint on a happy face and be the loving wife.”

Patrick shook his head. “No, I need you to be one half of a loving couple. And I need you to do it publicly where everyone can see it—in the PX, in the chow hall, everywhere. I need the officers on this board to believe exactly what I’ll be telling them on the day of the hearing.”

But if Trent could be a part of a happy couple, he would have done it years ago, instead of re-upping again and again for dangerous assignments. But he is willing to give it his all, because it is something that he wants more than anything in the world. But he can’t do it alone:

“I’m so tired of screwing everything up, Laura, he whispered. “I want to fix this. Not for the trial. For us.”

“It’s not that simple.”

“Yes, it is.” He voice was urgent and harsh. “I can’t fix what I’ve done. And I damn sure don’t deserve your forgiveness.” He lowered his forehead to hers, his palms warm and solid against her skin. “But I’m asking you to help me. Help me reset my normal. Help me learn how to be a dad again. A husband.” He blinked rapidly.

But it is not that simple — the journey to becoming a dad and husband is filled with up and downs:

She heard Trent shouting for Ethan from the bedroom.

Then everything exploded in slow motion.

The door to the bedroom slammed violently against the wall. Ethan’s red backpack flew across the living room, knocking a picture of Laura and Trent from its nail. Glass shattered across the living room floor.

Ethan dove to the fireplace, picking up the pieces of a new broken dinosaur. Tears ran down his face as he held the shattered remains of his favorite dinosaur from his backpack. His cry rose through the entire house, a slow wail.

Silence crashed over the house. Laura’s heart slammed against her ribs. Emma crouched on the counter her hands over her ears.

Trent stormed into the living room. “Ethan!”

She stepped in front of Trent, pulling his attention away from their crying son. Hands up, fear clutched at her throat. “Whoa! That is enough!”

But she’d be damned if whatever started this was going to continue.

Her husband stood in front of her, his fists bunched at his sides, his chest heaving. His eyes were dark and filled with a thousand angry emotions.

You can’t but feel and root for Trent, Laura, and their two children as they earnestly try to put their family back together again. If you are looking for a poignant and heartfelt read, then you won’t want to miss Back to You, the second book in Ms. Scott’s Coming Home series.

Learn more or order a copy of Back to You by Jessica Scott, available as an e-book on January 7, 2014:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes & Noble



Leigh Davis, Blogger

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2. Kareni
And I finally got to read this! It was an excellent book; thanks for bringing it to my attention.
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