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His Road Home by Anna Richland with Excerpt and Giveaway

Welcome to my stop for His Road Home by Anna Richland.  Please be sure to check out the other tour stops and don’t forget to read my excerpt and then enter the tour-wide giveaway where one winner can have a $50 donation made in the name of a Veteran of their choice to Fisher House Foundation, a programme that provides housing and support for families of wounded veterans.

Book Review:

I’m finding it hard not to gush, this story combines some of my favorite elements: a smart yet not glamorous heroine, a damaged hero with a strong streak of independence and the overall feel of the classic It’s a Wonderful Life with such heartwarming moments that if you don’t shed a tear or two you have no heart. 

Richland has used one of the characters from her debut novel, and given him a story of his own: doing justice to the original story and to veterans, wounded or not, everywhere. Everyone will be talking about their connection, the heat, and even the wonderful depictions and detail that are added to the story to build the background and feel.

Rey and Grace are adorable, with conversations and interactions that feel real, and with the solid point of view from Rey that clearly outlines his frustrations with his lack of mastery of the spoken word and his recurring flashbacks and nightmares.  Grace is the perfect foil with her patience and diligence and her refusal to allow him to behave badly show her core of strength even as she is fighting her own questions and concerns.

Most wonderful are the secondary characters that add a flash of normalcy to the story from Grace’s sister and parents to Rey’s friends and wives and his own mother.  Throughout the story I was smiling or wiping a tear, and completely broke down at their Thanksgiving celebration in the middle of nowhere.  Truly Richland uses her own personal experience of deployment and her knowledge of the bonds that hold soldiers together to bring us a sense of the connection: gut wrenching, palpable and often bittersweet. Her ability to tackle the issues head on and make a story that combines sadness, sweetness and hope MUST be that story you turn to when hopelessness at the bad news that surrounds us start to overwhelm.

Do yourself a favor and Buy this book and read it. Then tell your friends.  And while you are at it – add Anna’s first book ( First To Burn See My Review HERE) to your shopping cart as well.  You won’t regret it.

 

His Road Home by Anna Richland with Excerpt and Giveaway

Title: His Road Home
Author: Anna Richland
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Holiday Themed
Published by: Carina Press
Format:eBook
Source: Author via Tour Company
Pages: 108
Rated: five-stars
Heat: One FlameOne FlameOne Flame

Get Your Copy: Amazon iTunes Downpour IndieBound

Goodreads


About the Book:

Special Forces medic Rey Cruz needs to find a fiancée, fast, to avoid insulting a matchmaking Afghan warlord. Finding a picture online of a girl he barely knew back home, he fakes an engagement photo, thinking no one else will see it. But when Rey is injured while rescuing a local boy, the image no one was supposed to see goes viral.

Seattle marine biologist Grace Kim is shocked to find out she's engaged. When she's offered a plane ticket to visit her "fiancé," she takes it, looking for the answer to one question: Why did he lie? A traumatic brain injury means Rey can’t tell her, until they figure out how to communicate. Touched by Rey's funny texts and determination, Grace offers friendship—a big step for someone who prefers whales to most company.

And when Rey is finally sent home, Grace agrees to help him drive his classic car cross-country over Thanksgiving—a once-in-a-lifetime road trip that leads to what feels like real love. In front of his friends and family, she plays the caring fiancée, but what place will Grace have in Rey's new life once he's ready to be on his own again?

A copy of this title was provided via Author via Tour Company for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

Tasty Excerpt

Maybe some visitors fled without stepping inside, but taking the easy route wouldn’t give Grace answers about the engagement photo. To get her life back, she’d have to come all the way in.Despite the monitors arrayed around the top of the tilted bed, the room was quieter than she’d expected. No repetitive beeps, just the generic white noise of electronics and humming ventilation.

“Hello.” She swallowed and tried again, but the new greeting sounded too loud.

The man in the bed fluttered his eyelids and turned his head, and then his mouth fell open and his skin flushed to his hairline. She might have no earthly idea why he’d fabricated an engagement, but even with the robe and hairnet, he recognized her.

“Surprise, Sergeant.” The nurse stood. “Your fiancée’s here!”

The whole world believed the lie.

Standing at the head of the bed, if she focused on his face, she could keep the bundled stubs out of her peripheral vision. “Hello, Reynaldo.”

The nurse gathered a tray of dishes. “Buzz if you need me.”

After the other woman left, the silence absorbed the energy Grace’s nerves had supplied on the way to the room. She could almost graph how the longer she stood five feet from the bed, the smaller she became. Eventually, if neither of them spoke, maybe she would disappear.

On a paper taped to the wall, someone had written SSG Reynaldo Cruz, Pateros, WA and a string of numbers and letters that must have meaning to army people.

Enough time passed with her studying the room and him staring wordlessly that any change felt awkward, but she tried again. “I’m Grace Kim. But you know that, don’t you?”

The disposable paper cap created a desperate urge to scratch her scalp, a feeling almost as sharp as the one that overcame her when her cubicle-mate talked about his kids’ headlice, but she kept her hands at her sides and waited for the man in the bed to reply.

He nodded, and his lips flexed like a ling cod until he managed to say, “Rey Cruz.”

“This is awkward, isn’t it?”

“No.” This time his voice was deeper and stronger than she’d expected, and he nodded, which confused her.

“You don’t think so?”

He closed his eyes and blew out a huff of air while he made a twisting gesture with his hand, as if screwing in a light bulb or flipping things.

“You meant yes?”

He nodded again.

She pulled a chair beside the bed and looked over the rail at his head and shoulders. The edges of a tattoo peeked below the sleeve of his blue hospital gown. “I had two flights full of babies, so let’s cut to the chase. Why’d you claim we’re engaged?”

“Long.” His lips moved, and eventually a word emerged. “Stor-stor-story.”

“I have a week off that I didn’t want. Go ahead and tell me.”

He rolled his eyes and lifted empty hands, palms up. “No.”

Idiotic laughter, as sudden as the tears she’d almost released downstairs, bubbled close to the edges of her control. Of course he must have some sort of brain damage. “So how are we going to clear up this mess if you can’t even tell me how it started?”

Reynaldo Cruz looked terrible. Two fat rolls of bandages stopped above where legs and feet should fill the bed. Tubes emerged from the wrappings and disappeared under the sides. He’d lost both legs, that was obvious. He also had an oxygen tube taped under his nose and an intravenous line in his hand. Dark hair stuck to his head, and his tan skin shined as if coated with lotion or sweat. His eyes were closed.

She’d studied the pictures she could find, including one of him on the Pateros football team as a junior in 2003 and one printed in the Quad City Star Tribune when he’d completed basic training. Ten years ago, he’d been a skinny boy in an oversized army hat, but the arms and shoulders of this man were too muscled to be labeled boyish. Her stomach lurched over the contrast of his upper body filling the space between the bed rails and the empty mattress at the foot of the bed.

When the nurse looked over her shoulder and connected with Grace, she jerked her head at the bed, as if she’d been waiting for Grace to enter. Maybe some visitors fled without stepping inside, but taking the easy route wouldn’t give her answers about the engagement photo. To get her life back, she’d have to come all the way in.

Despite the monitors arrayed around the top of the tilted bed, the room was quieter than she’d expected. No repetitive beeps, just the generic white noise of electronics and humming ventilation.

“Hello.” She swallowed and tried again, but the new greeting sounded too loud.

The man in the bed fluttered his eyelids and turned his head, and then his mouth fell open and his skin flushed to his hairline. She might have no earthly idea why he’d fabricated an engagement, but even with the robe and hairnet, he recognized her.

“Surprise, Sergeant.” The nurse stood. “Your fiancée’s here!”

The whole world believed the lie.

Standing at the head of the bed, if she focused on his face, she could keep the bundled stubs out of her peripheral vision. “Hello, Reynaldo.”

The nurse gathered a tray of dishes. “Buzz if you need me.”

After the other woman left, the silence absorbed the energy Grace’s nerves had supplied on the way to the room. She could almost graph how the longer she stood five feet from the bed, the smaller she became. Eventually, if neither of them spoke, maybe she would disappear.

On a paper taped to the wall, someone had written SSG Reynaldo Cruz, Pateros, WA and a string of numbers and letters that must have meaning to army people.

Enough time passed with her studying the room and him staring wordlessly that any change felt awkward, but she tried again. “I’m Grace Kim. But you know that, don’t you?”

The disposable paper cap created a desperate urge to scratch her scalp, a feeling almost as sharp as the one that overcame her when her cubicle-mate talked about his kids’ headlice, but she kept her hands at her sides and waited for the man in the bed to reply.

He nodded, and his lips flexed like a ling cod until he managed to say, “Rey Cruz.”

“This is awkward, isn’t it?”

“No.” This time his voice was deeper and stronger than she’d expected, and he nodded, which confused her.

“You don’t think so?”

He closed his eyes and blew out a huff of air while he made a twisting gesture with his hand, as if screwing in a light bulb or flipping things.

“You meant yes?”

He nodded again.

She pulled a chair beside the bed and looked over the rail at his head and shoulders. The edges of a tattoo peeked below the sleeve of his blue hospital gown. “I had two flights full of babies, so let’s cut to the chase. Why’d you claim we’re engaged?”

“Long.” His lips moved, and eventually a word emerged. “Stor-stor-story.”

“I have a week off that I didn’t want. Go ahead and tell me.”

He rolled his eyes and lifted empty hands, palms up. “No.”

Idiotic laughter, as sudden as the tears she’d almost released downstairs, bubbled close to the edges of her control. Of course he must have some sort of brain damage. “So how are we going to clear up this mess if you can’t even tell me how it started?”

 

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About Anna Richland

Anna lives with her quietly funny Canadian husband and two less quiet children in a century-old house in Seattle. She writes paranormal romantic suspense and military romance in the spaces left after dealing with kids, laundry, crazy volunteer commitments and internet distractions.

Although she's not that picky about coffee, her favorite drink is a dark chocolate mocha, two espresso shots, nonfat milk, at the Dilettante café counter in SeaTac airport, because it means her family passed security with spare time. Her lifelong passion for new places (and a need to pay tuition) led her to become an army officer en route to visiting four continents and twenty-two countries. Now the places she goes are more likely to be field trips than trips to the field, but it's still fun.

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