Saturday, January 4, 2014

ARC Review: More Than a Touch

More Than a Touch (Snowberry Creek #2)

by Alexis Morgan 


In the town of Snowberry Creek, there is always hope....
Wounded in combat, Leif Brevik is haunted by survivor’s guilt. For the first time in his life—unsure if he still has a military career in his future—he feels completely lost. So when a war buddy calls for help with restoration of their fallen brother’s house, he jumps at the chance to regain a sense of purpose.
Zoe Phillips is assigned to monitor Leif’s physical therapy while he’s in town. But she’s a former military nurse, and she senses that his wounds are more than just physical. As she pushes the handsome soldier to open up, the connection between them deepens beyond the professional facade she tries to maintain.
And as Leif begins to put down roots in her beloved hometown, Zoe realizes that maybe having him around is exactly what she needs to heal her own wounded heart as well....

Themes: Contemporary, Military

Rating: 4.5 stars

Heat Rating: 


Returning to the small town of Snowberry Creek, Alexis Morgan takes us along on the journey of healing forced on a man through his courage and sacrifice to our country.  Leif and Zoe’s journey to come together is one that was packed with trauma, emotional upheaval and increasingly intense bouts of anger.   This new series revolves around a group of soldiers, ones that have suffered a joint trauma, but have come together to offer support and the friendship they each need to heal from their losses.  Returning to the small hometown of one of their fallen comrades they have each found a home for themselves, but not without challenges and stresses on their journey.  This second installment in the series continues right where the first ended, with Leif dealing with his physical injuries and the treatment needed to try to get back to himself.  Another wonderful tale of the strength of friendships, More Than a Touch, will remind you of the healing power of a touch, a touch given in love, no matter the kind of love. If you haven’t read book one in the series, I strongly recommend you do so, because while you get the highlights in this book, you will miss a lot of the deeper story and the connections linking all these characters together.  
Leif’s injury hasn't improved on it’s on, so giving in to the requests of the doctors he has made an appointment with a physical therapist, to try to get his leg back up to par.  Color him surprised when he arrives at his appointment to find out the new nurse in charge of his case is the woman he’s been thinking about for days since they danced at a party given by Leif’s friend, Nick.  Zoe interested him from the first, but knowing that she is now in charge of his care puts a kink in both their plans to get closer to one another.  No matter how hard they try to stay away though, they keep running into each other and just can’t seem to resist that magnetic draw. When they finally give in to the pull, having a passionate night together that could so easily lead to more, Zoe pushes him away, determined not to fall for him and cross that line again with him. But pushing him away in a small town like Snowberry Creek is a bit more difficult than either of them imagined.  Thrust together by their friends and circumstances again and again, Zoe and Leif try to find their balance as friends while keeping the lust between them from overwhelming their senses.  Finally forced to face her hang-ups or face losing Leif, Zoe has to come to a decision that could either make or break their chances at a future.  Will the love developing between them be enough to force them to overcome their issues and find a way to have a future together?
Leif is in pain, and I know form firsthand experience that living with a person in pain is not always easy.  He has mood swings and is touchy about even the smallest acknowledgement of his weaknesses and even though he knows he is no longer as strong as he once was, facing that truth becomes just too much for him sometimes.  Aside from his physical injuries are the hits he has to take to his pride again and again when he is no longer able to do all the things he once could.  Though it is obvious he is a good man, strong of character, free with himself, and having a loving nature until the end, Leif can’t accept the changes his injury has forced on his life.  Meeting Zoe at a time like this is just not a good thing for his unstable emotional health.  Though he is having deep feelings for her, he can’t get past the fact that he is not a full man and isn't good for her.  Zoe on the other hand is determined to keep Leif away for her own reasons.  Mainly she is determined not to have to relive a trauma in her past, one that she still hasn't fully dealt with.  When her fear is forced to the front, Leif is determined to help her heal just as much as she is determined to keep her past to herself.  With two such hurt and stubborn people coming together can there be healing, or will they give up their chance to happiness because they are determined to hide behind their fears?
Leif and Zoe’s romance is one that led with the emotional before becoming physical, but when they do finally cross that line, there is a heat and zeal to their loving that is hard to ignore. Leif is a sexy soldier, even with his injuries and battle scars, one that can still lead a woman to temptation.  He sets his sights on Zoe from the minute he sees her stroll up the road to his temporary home and nothing can stand in his way, even himself when he tried to resist.  Zoe is just too much to resist.  Giving in to Leif will fulfill the needs of her body and soul, even if it puts her professional ethics in question, but the larger danger Leif represents is to her heart.  She knows that he could break her heart as easily as snapping his fingers, just by walking away and returning to his life, but she is unable to stop herself from having him. 
Emotion packed and filled with the sorrow and trauma of the life of a combat veteran, More Than a Touch, is the story of two people that have gone through hell and are determined to get their lives back and find their future together.  Though not action packed, or filled with dangers like many contemporary romances, Leif and Zoe’s story has the most important element—Heart.   Overcoming their own stubbornness and allowing themselves to heal is the first step for both Leif and Zoe, but they needed each other to push them toward those steps.  Dealing with their pasts allows them each to understand that though they could live without each other, and maybe even have decent lives, only together will they truly find happiness.  I hurt for Leif throughout the story when his injury plagued him or his memories left him racked with guilt, and though I can’t relate personally, I felt connected to him in a way that I never connect with most of the Heroes of my novels.  Zoe was an amazing woman herself and I was thrilled when she finally opened up to Leif about her past and accepted his help in moving on.  Together I know these two will find healing and the strength to build a long and happy life together.  Filled with laughter, strife, love and life, More Than a Touch will take your heart on a roller coaster and leave you a better person for having had to chance to travel this road with the characters.  I look forward to reading the next story soon and learning more about the future in store for Leif and Zoe and their many friends in Snowberry Creek.

*ARC provided by author for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

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