THE CHRISTMAS HE LOVED HER (Bad Boys of Crystal Lake #2) by Juliana Stone-a review
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 1, 2013
All he wants this Christmas is her.
In the small town of Crystal Lake, Christmas is a time for sledding, hot chocolate, and cozying up to the fire with those you love. For Jake Edwards, it’s also time to come home and face his past. He thought there would never be anything harder than losing his brother. Turns out there is: falling in love with his brother’s widow, Raine.
Ever since they were little, Jesse was the Edwards brother who was always there for her, and Jake was the one who knew just how to push her buttons. Raine can’t imagine a life without them, which is why it was doubly decimating when Jake left town after his brother’s sudden death. Now he’s back and she doesn’t know whether to be mad or thrilled. Maybe both. Maybe it will be the perfect chance for both of them to finally find happiness again.
REVIEW: THE CHRISTMAS HE LOVED HER is the second instalment in Juliana Stone’s contemporary romance, erotic Bad Boys of Crystal Lake and it is one h*ll of an emotional ride. This is Jake and Raine’s story but it is so much more. This is a story of forbidden love, second chances and letting go.
In the first book-The Summer He Came Home-we were introduced to the Edwards family and the bad boys of Crystal Lake-Jake and Jesse Edwards, Cain Black, MacKenzie Draper and the fifth wheel Raine, who had gathered for the funeral of Jake’s twin and Raine’s husband Jesse. Jake witnessed Jesse’s death on the streets of Afghanistan and his nightmares and guilt are eating away at his last vestiges of sanity. Fast forward eighteen months and, Jake and Raine are no closer to closure than the that fateful day so many months before. But a night of passion together has left the couple with bitter regret and painful memories.
With the past steeped in dark secrets and a present that includes sleepless nights, nightmares and painful memories, Jake and Raine will come full circle when Jake moves back to Crystal Lake to face the demons and the woman he has loved forever.
We watch as one man suffers with the trauma of PTSD reliving his twin’s death over and over and yet he is still able to support a fellow soldier’s sister in her time of need. As his buddy lies in a coma for the past eighteen months, Jake endeavors to move forward but the past keeps pulling him under in a nightmarish world of memories and survivor’s guilt.
Raine has had a difficult time since Jesse’s death but the grief is complicated by the knowledge and guilt that she had loved his brother Jake more. When Raine’s life took an unexpected turn, she turns to Jake for support but Jake is no longer on the radar and Raine must endure her own personal grief alone. She too, suffers nightmares and painful memories, but another loss compounds her sorrow and grief. She doesn’t eat, has become a recluse and the only family she has ever loved are the people who are suffering the loss of one son and the possibility of the loss of another. Raine has had to keep a secret so painful that she is lost in a world of heartbreak and defeat.
The storyline is a testament to grief, the loss of loved ones and friends and recovery. Raine and Jake are two broken souls who have wandered aimlessly for eighteen months with no end in sight to the pain and suffering. But Raine and Jake have loved each other since their early teens and it will take the maneuvering of friends and family to show, that in death, life must go forward-you must give yourself permission to heal and in doing so, heal those who have suffered as well.
The sexual tension between Jake and Raine is palpable and strung tighter than a bow. There is no denying the attraction and love between the pair but the grief and guilt continues to burrow so deep and so painfully that neither is able to move forward. And it will take one woman, who has loved Jake forever, to prove that there is light at the end of the proverbial tunnel when she opens her arms and her heart to the possibility of a future without guilt and sorrow.
Juliana Stone has written a heartbreaking, gut-wrenching storyline of grief coupled with guilt than ensures no tears left unshed. We are pulled onto a roller coaster of emotions that will tear at your heart and beat at your soul. You will cry as our couple face their demons and the guilt of loving each other when the man that they both loved is dead and gone. And you will sing with the choir when Jake finally realizes that life does go on when the only woman that he has ever loved has gone through the same h*ll if not more.
The Christmas He Loved Her is a story of heartbreak and sorrow; love and loss; second chances and moving on. But is also a story with a happily ever after and one that I hope continues in Mac’s story-The Day He Kissed Her-in April 2014.
Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley
Reviewed by Sandy