by L.D. Rose
Former Navy SEAL Sebastian “Bash” Lockard died in Afghanistan after leaping on a grenade to save his comrades. Little did he know his act of heroism would grant him a ticket into Heaven’s elite army as one of the few and powerful Archangels. Struggling with his new existence, Bash still retains his human memories, leaving behind a wife he loves with all of his heart. Although he’s forbidden to see her, he can’t resist her lure, or the mortal desires he harbors for her.
As a young widow and nurse, Irene Lockard still mourns her husband two years after his untimely death. His absence is everywhere, and when her best friend weds, she hits an emotional rock bottom. As if summoned from the skies above, Sebastian appears before her, and they share an unforgettable night. But when he once again vanishes, she wonders if she’s truly gone mad with grief.
The only way Sebastian can remain with Irene is if he makes the ultimate sacrifice. But will she overcome her fear of losing him again to another war?
Bash’s gaze caught on a couple on the dance floor, the sight of her sinking into him like hooks and bringing him to a standstill.
With her dark curls springing over her shoulders, she spun across the hardwood, her pale gray dress flowing around her. Much like in his recent vision of her, she tipped her head back and laughed, beautiful, stunning, her smile as bright as the yellow calla lilies tucked in her hair. She swayed with a man in dress whites, a Marine, another fucking soldier she didn’t belong with. And as the rain of realization became a downpour of comprehension, he remembered the engagement, where Claude proposed to Lucille—at their wedding—right before Bash left for another tour of Afghanistan.
“Bash?” Gabriel stepped in front of him, blocking his view, pale eyes narrowed.
Bash’s hand slammed into Gabriel’s chest, pushing him away as he lurched forward. Gabriel reacted faster, though, snatching his arm and wrenching him back at least four feet. Bash lunged again and the Arc’s hand fisted in his white button-down shirt.
“Don’t,” Gabriel growled, all humor draining from his angular face and setting his expression in stone. “Do not.”
Bash’s heart punched at the angel’s fist, every fiber of his being burning with the urge to run to her, to wrap his arms around her and feel her body against his one more time. Envy, rage, longing, and sadness blasted through him in a toxic tornado of emotion ready to whip this place into oblivion.
He nearly ground his molars into pulp. “Let. Me. Go.”
“You are dead, Sebastian. You’re no longer part of this world. All you’ll do is bring her pain, bring yourself pain. Don’t do this.” Twin streams of air whistled from the Arc’s nostrils as he shook his head. “I should’ve never brought you here.”
Bring him pain? More pain than he’d already endured? No.
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This is one of the most intense romances I’ve ever read. Bash and Irene’s story is not for the weak of heart or those who doubt love conquers all. From start to finish, this is a love of epic proportions.
Bash is a great hero. Paranormal romance isn’t my usual stomping grounds, often because the male leads are too “grrr” for my taste. Bash, despite being a soldier, is not too gruff around the edges or all glare and no care. Instead, he cares very deeply. I loved that he wanted to protect and serve but that he also understood there were other aspects of life, namely love. I found him easy to care about as a character.
I also really enjoyed Rose’s take on heaven and the ongoing war against demons. Like Bash, the other angel soldiers are multifaceted, not one-sided tough guys. Gabriel (Gabe) was especially cool. I’d like a book about him and maybe how he finds love despite rules and regulations of his station.
I had a tougher time connecting with Irene. I’ve never been in her position, and I have no idea what it’s like to miss someone so much it hurts your soul. As a character, though, her emotional pain was overwhelming. I couldn’t get a sense of who she was beyond the hurt. And then after she and Bash were reunited, she did a complete 180, becoming overly cheerful and bubbly almost to the point of bursting. It almost felt like she had some other emotional disease that was hinted at but never mentioned.
The ending was satisfying. It didn’t bring about the conclusion in the way I expected, which was both interesting and a bit disappointing. The way it was brought about, though, left room for a sequel. As always, the Soul Mate Tree made an appearance, and like all the previous books in this set, it was used in different and cool ways. It’s never said outright, but I got the impression in this use that if one were to climb the tree to its top, they would find themselves among the angels. The epilogue gave my heart a pang while wrapping everything up nicely. Overall, a moving love story that tackles the ultimate question of duty vs. love.
L.D. Rose is a neurotic physician by day, crazed writer by night, and all around wannabe superhero. She writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy, but she's been known to delve into horror, sci-fi, and medical suspense on occasion. L.D. Rose is a PAN member of the RWA, FF&P, NEC-RWA and CoLoNY. She currently lives in Rhode Island with her studly hubby, her hyperactive boxer, and her two devious cats.
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