Healed by Love is my first Melissa Foster book. By way of background, this is apparently the first book in the Bradens of Peaceful Harbor series which will feature Nate and his siblings. This is a ‘little sister of my best friend’ romance with some emotional depth that makes it a decent read.
My super fast rewind of the story is that Nate is a soldier suffering from some major guilt (totally unjustified but since when does guilt have to be realistic?) over the loss of his best friend, Rick. For reasons explained in the book, he thinks he was the cause of Rick’s death. Rick left behind his younger sister, mother and siblings. Jewel, the sister and our heroine, has been home spending most of her time taking care of her mother and her siblings. When not being the most selfless person ever, she remembers that she is intensely attracted to her brother’s best friend Nate. The story progresses as Nate alternates between denying his feelings for Jewel to fighting his feelings for Jewel to claiming Jewel as his own. If you’ve ever read one of these books you can pretty much guess how it goes from there.
Overall, this was a decent addition to the little sister romance sub-genre. I liked Nate because he had emotional layers and some complexity. His feelings about his time overseas and what happened to Rick made him my favorite flavor of tortured alpha male. Similarly, his feelings for Jewel were intense and despite his denial, the passion in his inner thoughts was leaping off the pages right from the beginning of this story. I like Jewel slightly less than Nate. It’s weird because I get that the author was trying to portray her as a strong caretaker who stepped in when her family needed her but something about her came across as…silly? Even at the very beginning of the book when Jewel gets hurt it just seems like well what the hell? You couldn’t find a better way to spend your free night? Really ma’am? And I know I’m a cold hearted b!tch but I didn’t entirely get Jewel taking care of her family. My lack of understanding can’t ALL be attributed to my lack of warmth. At some point it seemed like Jewel’s family just didn’t need her anymore and she was caring for them only to avoid actually living her life. I guess that gave her character some complexity so perhaps I should be more respectful of that part of the plot.
As for the relationship between Nate and Jewel, I can only describe it as emotional. Because Nate was so tortured by guilt and Jewel by loss, the both need healing. What I really like about this book is that the author does an outstanding job of depicting how two people who are broken in different ways can heal one another. If you like a lot of emotional intensity and occasionally enjoy a good cry, this is the book for you. It’s a hopeful story that leaves you with good feelings. (p.s., nothing to see here when it comes to the sex but get your mind out of the gutter. This book is about healing and love. Not everything is about sex…..ok, I could barely write that without laughing but seriously, you need a little emotional feel good in your life too).
**ARC provided by Tasty Book Tours**