“I’ve been watching you all night.” His mouth was right above the tip of my ear and I felt something crack inside me, a fissure was forming in the mask I’d donned earlier today or perhaps his breath, his touch, his words were simply hastening the demise of the barriers I’d held between myself and everyone else for two years. Because inside my body, it felt like there was an awakening and every fiber of my being reached toward him, upward and outward as if I was a flower on the first day of a spring rain. I lifted my head to gaze up, wide-eyed and anxious with anticipation.
Some part of my brain was telling me that the storage closet was just two steps to my right at the end of the hallway and the exit door was just beyond that. My Rover was outside and all three were safer than standing here almost in his embrace but I couldn’t hear the warning over the pounding of my heartbeat. He bent toward me, his face serious and even in the low light of the corner I could see the gold flecks feathering out from the center of his eyes.
“I'm going to kiss you now.” His voice was deep, rough and matched the rest of his thoroughly masculine body.
“I know,” I whispered back. And I wanted that kiss from Gray who ordinarily wouldn't be my type at all. I wanted it more than I wanted to breath. When his mouth molded against mine, it felt like bliss as if my whole cold body had been submerged into a warm bath. If I thought I was engulfed before it was nothing like I felt at that moment. My entire world—my thoughts, my feelings, my senses—were full of him. I tasted the mint and hops on his tongue. I inhaled the cinnamon, bergamot, ocean of his faint cologne into my airways. I felt the calloused palm on my waist and then lower against the exposed skin of my thigh. His dense muscles were drawn tight under his skin and the fabric of his t-shirt and he felt as strong as a citadel. The moan that had been building since he first backed me into the wall escaped. It had been so long since I’d had the touch of a man’s hand on any part of me and I nearly wept at the pleasure of it.
"I wanted everyone to know I'd fallen irrevocably in love with this woman whose courage in life blew me away."
*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.*
I am a big fan of the Woodlands series and I look forward to each character's story. Gray was introduced in Unspoken and we didn't know much about him so I was intrigued to know more.
Gray is at a crossroads in his life, does he re-enlist in the Marines or does he opt out and try his hand at being a civilian? He spends his extended leave with his friends Noah and Bo trying to make sense of his choices, what he doesn't plan for is to meet and fall head over heels for Sam Anderson, a young army widow. Gray is so hesitant at first as he has been left emotionally scarred from his last long term relationship and he doesn't believe a couple can survive long distance when he is deployed overseas. But then again he didn't count on Sam changing all that he thought was true.
I really liked Sam, she was a strong girl that had been through a lot and lived with many regrets and what ifs. Sure there was a dark period in her life after the loss of her husband at such a young age but Sam slowly but surely grew stronger and she was back to standing on her own two feet. There were still a few obstacles for her to overcome but it wasn't until meeting Gray that forced her to confront her fears and really move on.
The storyline was original and I liked the time Sam spent with Gray, their dates were fun and their alone times were sexy. The parachute scene added drama to the plot as well. Of course Gray had to make a douche move and mess things up but then that's always to be expected. What I did like from this situation was the independence Sam showed and I loved that she took things into her own hands. I also liked that the ending stayed true to the characters and who they were, the couple didn't take the typical route of their friends before them.
I really enjoyed the author's writing and my favourite scenes had to be any with Bo, Noah and the rest of the Woodlands boys. The banter between them was hilarious and I loved the camaraderie they shared. I felt the characters grow as a group and I really liked that for going forward in the series.
I didn't really take to Gray and I think that hampered my overall love for the story. I really like the author's writing style and Sam was my favourite of the pairing but for some reason I wasn't swooning over Gray. Maybe I've been spoiled by Noah as he will remain my favourite. I get that Gray was trying to be emotionally shut down but in turn I felt emotionally turned off and I needed more to connect with him. I wasn't keen on the time jumps towards the end of the story as I felt it lost a bit of momentum although I did like what Sam did in between that time as she confronted her fears and grew stronger. I think if I had read this as a standalone I would have loved it more but I can't help compare it to the first two books and I enjoyed them more. Sam was the main reason I liked this story as much as I did as I could empathise and connect with her.
I do look forward to the rest of the books in the series, I can't wait for Mal's story as well as Finn's and I'm hoping Lana appears in there somewhere! Unraveled can be read as a standalone so it is a good place to start but all the books are well worth a read so you need to check them out.
"You're starting to feel again. You were asleep for a long time. When you wake up sometimes it is painful."
"I was fun dammit. He was going to see that if I had to hold him down and motorboat him."
"Gray watched out for me, too. Always making sure I had enough to eat or drink. There was a tenderness in his gestures, a sweetness too. Carrie was a fool but I wouldn't be."
"Will was my past and Gray was my future."
"In a rare fit of possessiveness, part of me wanted to take her right there on the dock to mark her as mine so that no one would even look at her without seeing my body covering hers. She'd gnaw off my balls with her teeth if I did that."
Check out books 1 and 2: