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Sunday, July 31, 2016

To Have and to Hold (Returning Home #3) [Trina & Hunter] by Serena Bell

PERFECTION, This book drawn me in from the first page, not allowing me to let it go until I was finished (which is why I'm DEAD on my feet today..). I LOVED both previous installments in the series, there is something about wounded soldiers/heros, right? Yet it's different with how much realistic this story feels, or just how much emotion this story (as with the previous ones) sucked out of me. Trina and Hunter deserved each other SO MUCH, and losing each other the way they did left ME broken. Both didn't know how to fight for one another even though it was obvious from the start the WANT to. 

Trina and Hunter knew each other for a few years, since their daughters became best friends. Trina is a single mom to 10 years old Phoebe, her high school boyfriend didn't feel obligated to her and so when he heard she was pregnant he left. Having Phoebe changed her life, though it didn't enable her to follow her dreams of becoming a set designer she loves her daughter and so she doesn't dwell on the past. She is a pragmatic woman. Hunter and Dee met in the their military service. While Dee loved Hunter, for him, it was mostly a sexual relationship. When Dee got pregnant Hunter did the "right thing", they got married and raised Clara together (mostly separately while the other one was deployed). Hunter never did learn to love Dee and so their relationship was strained all the time. When Dee died 3 years before he kept on taking care of Clara between deployment, using his mother's help in raising her. Before I continue can I say how COOL his mother (Linda) is! I LOVED HER! She is one feisty lady!

The story starts a year prior to the main timeline, Hunter and Trina are a couple, against all odds, even though their 10 years old daughters still don't know they are together, and even though he is about to leave for a year, telling Trina it's the last year before he comes back to her, to their daughters. Not only that, because Linda is gone on a motorcycle ride with her boyfriend, Trina moves into Hunter's house (using his spare bedroom, not to confuse the girls) in order to raise the both of them while he is away. Promising her, to move the next level (her permanently moving in with him and Clara).

As they say - man makes planes, god laughs.. 
(at least that's how they phrase it where I come from :)).

Hunter is injured and so when he finally returns home he realizes he doesn't remember the WHOLE of last year, including and mostly what happened between him and Trina. Yeah, he knows who she is! But why is she living at his house with his and her daughter? Trina should have known better than to trust feelings or even love. Promises are made to be broken as it seems. So while she still loves Hunter dearly seeing him looking at her with confused eyes breaks her heart. Getting an opportunity to stay near Phoebe's father, she decided to give Hunter a week before she and Phoebe move away. It's hard for her, not only leaving Hunter behind, but leaving Clara who became a daughter to her, and also breaking two sisters apart. 

Hunter is confused and frustrated. Being with Trina doesn't SOUND like his old self, the one who kept away from women as possible, not wanting to offer anyone what he shared with Dee, a sort of broken relationship in which he can never really deliver what a woman wants. His love. Yet though looking at Trina does nothing to remind him of who she was to him, touching her is a WHOLE different experience. In his dreams, in the darkness, his body remembers. Also spending time with her he truly enjoyed having her around and he realizes also how much she means to his daughter and yet how can he ask her to stay? He simply cannot. 

That's where I'm going to end my review. It's an absolute HIGHLY RECOMMENDED MUST READ.  
Which is why I won't say anything more of how Trina and Hunter find their way to each other. Prepare some Kleenex, and also to not be able to put this one down until you get to the HEA. 

There's a small appearance of Jake and Nate so this totally can be read as a standalone though you SHOULDN'T miss on the previous ones!

One last note though because it's me :) I actually enjoyed Clara and Phoebe, they were cute and really didn't interfere with the romance story. Usually I dislike kids in romance novels, so it's always nice to be in a way out of my comfort zone and still enjoy the book so much :)

Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 218 pages, 30 July 2016 / On GoodReads

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