by Rebecca Crowley, Stacy Gail
Genres: Contemporary Romance
I'll be home for Christmas… A batch of special Christmas cookies helps a wounded ex-Ranger remember the love of his life. A surprise phone call reunites a woman with the soldier who once broke her heart. There's no place like home for the holidays, and there's no better way to spend them than with the one you love. Edited by Angela James, this anthology includes:Starting from Scratch by Stacy Gail and Hero's Homecoming by Rebecca Crowley. Stories are also available for purchase separately.
Gifts of Honor features two heart-warming holiday tales about loss, hope and second chances that had me crying, signing and craving chocolate. I am a sucker for holiday themed novels, but when you add in injured, damaged military men and their romances, lord have mercy this woman gets gooey on the inside. The book contains two stories; Starting from Scratch by Stacy Gail, an author, whose work I have previously enjoyed, and new to me author Rebecca Crowley shared a Hero’s Homecoming. Both authors had me breaking out the tissues and believing in the power of love. Mini review: heart-warming, sensual and perfect for the holidays.
Starting from Scratch – This was delightful from the small-town to the wounded couple. Sullivan Jax has been in love with Lucy since high school, and the two grew up and wed. When an IED wipes out all memory of his wife he asks Lucy for a divorce. She agrees even if it almost kills her. For Lucy, the Christmas spirit is all bah and humbug, especially when Lucy learns Sullivan is back. How can she see the only man she has ever loved and be nothing more than a stranger? As Sullivan struggles to put back the piece, he is drawn to the woman who was his wife. I really got caught up in these two and felt their emotions. Lucy was so brave, and I literally consumed this as I searched and hoped for my Christmas miracle. I love tales of rekindled love and second chances and Gail nailed this one. Even the secondary characters, like Lucy’s best friend sprung to life and had depth. I would love to read more stories from this small-town. I laughed; I cried and thoroughly enjoyed this heart-warming tale.
Hero’s Homecoming– The previous holiday Beth met and had a whirl-wind four day romances with an officer named Chris. She thought it would be a weekend fling, but Chris continued to email her, and call her while stationed overseas. She fell in love, and then suddenly his calls and emails stopped. She feared the worse, only to get a two-line email saying it was over, she should move on. Imagine Beth’s surprise when she gets a phone call from Chris asking for her help. Chris has been injured, and breaking off things with the girl he fell in love with seemed liked the noble thing to do. A snow storm forces him to spend time with Beth and he begins to realize he was a fool. While this couple’s romance was still in the fragile stages when it ended, Crowley did a great job of expressing Chris’s fears and Beth’s tender heart. This couple didn’t have the history of Gail’s characters, and while enjoyable, it didn’t slam me with the emotions that the first tale wrought. Crowley captured Chris’s disability, and PST allowing me to feel his struggles, but I needed Beth to be fleshed out more. I didn’t feel her emotions. Despite wanting more depth, I got caught up in their tale and enjoyed myself.
Gifts of Honor offers two delightful tales perfect for reading around the holidays. Both tales were heated, but Gail’s was spicier in part because I felt the relationship more. Holidays are busy, and these are perfect for stepping out of the rush, curling up by the fire and escaping for an hour or two. Oh, bring tissues, wine, and chocolate you’ll need it!
Four cups of coffee out of five
About Stacy Gail: A competitive figure skater from the age of eight, Stacy Gail began writing stories in between events to pass the time. By the age of fourteen, she told her parents she was either going to be a figure skating coach who was also a published romance writer, or a romance writer who was also a skating pro. Now with a day job of playing on the ice with her students, and writing everything from steampunk to cyberpunk, contemporary to paranormal at night, both dreams have come true.