Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: She doesn’t have a lot of tolerance for stupidity and well, I’m an infantryman. I’ve got a lot of stupidity I’m still working out of my system.
First Sergeant Gale Sorren lost more than he gained when he joined the military. His wife divorced him and left, taking his daughter with her. But after fifteen years, he has a chance to make things right when he is finally stationed close to his family. Now all he he needs to figure out is how to be the man he should have been from the beginning.
Melanie Sorren never stopped loving or caring for her ex husband but she couldn’t handle being essentially a single parent. She divorces him after one too many deploys and tries to put her life back together. When Gale appears back in her life and informs her he’s stationed near by, she is shocked and dismayed to find their chemistry is still as potent as ever.
Can Mel forgive Gale for breaking her heart so many times? And more importantly…can Gale forgive himself?
Jessica Scott has an astute and empathic voice for military life and the romantic problems that can accompany it. As a career officer married to a career NCO, I can imagine that she has not only seen it all but possibly lived some of it. My first husband was in the military and I can honestly say, being a military wife is not easy. The military is often an unwanted bed partner whose needs and desires will override your own. Add in kids and years of separation, and the stress and pressure can become unbearable. It takes a lot for a person to accept someone who comes with a million plus at their back and a commitment to duty that will take them from you at the blink of an eye.
Homefront is an emotionally bittersweet second chance love story that focuses on such a relationship. Well written with a flowing steady pace and well developed characters. Scott addresses the pain of war and not only the casualties wounded in service but also those who remain at home. Heavily character driven, Scott chooses to focus more on the couple and their issues in here then her usual MOD of balancing complicated romance with a strong defining conflict.
Gale and Melanie (Mel) married young when Mel became pregnant. If that wasn’t hard enough, Gale had already enlisted into the Army when they found out. He had to go and Mel knew that thought she felt abandoned all the same. Jamie, Mel and Gale’s daughter, was a fretful baby and miserable toddler. Mel’s anger over having to deal with Jamie’s needs by herself caused her to become bitter towards Gale and she gave up on him and the marriage after a few years; serving him with divorce papers and moving back home with her parents.
Your heart will hurt for this couple as you get an intimate look at their marriage and the emotional state they were in then and now. The love they have for one another is still a potent blend but time and bad decisions on both their parts has made the gulf between them seem uncrossable. Gale readily admits he wasn’t a good husband or father. Over a decade of his life has been spent skyping with his daughter and seeing her on the rare occasions he was stateside. Not a derelict dad but more that the career he chose left him with little in the way of choices when it came to his personal life. And he accepts the blame for that.
“He’d given the Army everything he’d had. And he could never get that back. The war, work, all of it was a convenient excuse for being a shitty father and a terrible ex husband.”
Mel never wanted to leave Gale but she was young and just couldn’t deal with it all alone anymore. Too many tears and broken promises left her with little choice. After the divorce, she valiantly accepts it’s just her and Jamie with Gale popping in when he can. Though he offers financial support, he is unable to offer the physical and emotional support she and Jamie need from him. When he shows up out of the blue, offering to Shock, anger, and more distressing…longing and attraction.
“She needed a few minutes to put everything back in the box marked “Gale” and did her best to ignore. Because she’d damned if she was going to cry over this man one more time.”
A slow and sensual romance builds; a tentative dance between two people who are still suffering from the guilt, sorrow, resentment, and anger over their shared past. The attraction is strong but the trust is at a bare minimum. Gale goes above and beyond to show Mel that he truly means to take an active part in his family’s life. His daughter is suffering from some serious issues and Gale sees that Mel needs him more than ever to be a hands on father and take some of the responsibility off her shoulders. Erotically charged love scenes add a punch to the storyline; showing readers that this was one area that never needed fixing for them.
“I think I want to skip dinner.”
“I think I want you for dinner.”
A pair of subplots intertwine, introducing some low-key conflict to the story and a way for Gale to finally exercise the demons that have been haunting him for years. Old friends make multiple appearances, giving us hints to how their lives are doing since reading their story. We also meet some new ones and gain hints to future stories. If I any qualms, I would have liked to go more in-depth on Jamie’s issues and hear her reasons behind her actions. Scott does a wonderful job of bringing Jamie to life with realistic behavior and dialogue for a teenager.
Homefront gives readers the perfect blend of romance and emotional entanglements as Scott once again divulges into the real time problems facing the military and their families. I look forward to reading the next in the series, After The War, which releases May 5, 2015 from Forever.