Serving much of his life as a Marine has affected Ryan in many ways, but nothing was more life changing than the day he met Shannon. His tough exterior melted a little the day he saw her, but she was and always will be forbidden to him as the widow of his brother. She can't know how much she has impacted his life as a Marine and the temptation her mere presence causes to the man underneath. However, temptation is a weakness to this soldier and he won't be ruled by feelings of lust or even love.
The couple of times Shannon had laid eyes on Ryan have haunted her more than she thought. Now that he's back home for the holidays, she can't help but want to reach out to him in some way. They are family after all and commonly share the loss of David. Ryan's suffering both mentally and physically is obvious, but the hardened Marine just needs a little help readjusting to life outside of combat. Shannon can feel his resolve weakening, but so is hers and before they know it the unimaginable happens.
Ms. Richards has created quite an emotionally gripping story. All of the characters are life-like and the dynamics of the family made it incredibly easy to fall for them. Each of the relationships are touching and the romantic development is beautiful, while the storyline is believable and reads quite fluidly with a nice balance in Shannon and Ryan's point-of-views.
I would love to have seen a bit more closure concerning certain open-ended possibilities that came up throughout the story. Since they aren't major plot breakers and I'm just naturally curious, I wouldn't have minded if the story continued. However, I am content in drawing my own conclusions.
Ms. Richards has become a favorite author of mine and the amount of story she's capable of putting into so few pages is remarkable. Add her talent for combining romance and eroticism deliciously in a story and all I want is more. Contemporary romance fans need to read this story!
Words of warning to the reader: this story will make you long for a tradition-filled family gathering for the holidays and wish it came soon.
Keeping promises is important to Ryan, but keeping his promise to his younger brother David will be hard. David’s final wish is for Ryan to watch over his wife and daughter, but Ryan’s been in love with Shannon for years. This holiday season, Ryan will learn he can keep his promise and still have his heart’s desire.