About the Book
Series: The Cousins O’Connor
Genre: Adult, Historical, Regency, Romance
Publisher: Phase Publishing
Publication date: April 1, 2020
She’s dead-set on giving everything to the war overseas …
Even if it means losing everything in a war of the heart.
A street orphan abused and abandoned by an alcoholic father at age five, Gabriella (Gabe) O’Connor has never let a man stand in her way yet. So when a handsome flight officer thwarts her plans to become a WASP — Women Air Force Service Pilot — she’s determined to join the war effort anyway she can. Her chance comes when she “borrows” foreign correspondent credentials from the Boston Herald—where her father is the editor—to stow away on a medical ship to the front.
Lieutenant Alex Kincaid pegs Gabe O’Connor as trouble the moment she steps foot on Avenger Field as a WASP cadet. As the eldest brother of a boy whose jaw Gabe broke in grade school, Alex is familiar with her reputation as both a charismatic ringleader and a headstrong hooligan who’s challenged every male and nun from grade school to college. As her WASP flight instructor, Alex eventually expels Gabe when she pulls a dangerous stunt. But when he is an evacuation pilot in France eight months later, their lives intertwine once again, exposing them to a danger as perilous as the German tanks roaming the Reichswald Forest: a love that neither expects.
About the Author
Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. A lover of all things Irish, she enjoys writing close-knit Irish family sagas that evolve into 3-D love stories: the hero, the heroine, and the God that brings them together.
Author of The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, Heart of San Francisco, Isle of Hope, and Silver Lining Ranch series, Julie was American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and has garnered over 18 Romance Writers of America and other awards.
Voted #1 Romance Author in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie’s novels also made Family Fiction magazine’s Best of 2015, Best of 2014, and “Essential Christian Romance Authors” 2017, as well as Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction and Borders Best Fiction. Her independent novel A Light in the Window was an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers’ Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner.
Julie has also written a self-help workbook for writers entitled Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Sweet and Inspirational Markets. Contact Julie through her website and read excerpts from each of her books at http://www.julielessman.com.
Here’s a continuing clip from two chapters where Alex brings Gabe home from the annual Bar-J Ranch Barbecue & Square Dance for the town of Sweetwater. On crutches due to a severe sprained ankle, Gabe railroads Alex into assisting her all day at the BBQ until he finally takes her back to her barracks.
It was still early for a Friday night, so everything was silent and still except for the faint hoot of a faraway owl and the rasp of Gabe’s uneven breathing. “Alex, I … can’t thank you enough,” she whispered, pulse chaotic as he reached around her to open the screen door.
“My pleasure. It was fun,” he said as he gently tugged her out of the way to pull it wide. He propped the screen with his hip while he reached behind her to jiggle the temperamental knob of the old wooden door, stuttering Gabe’s heart at the close proximity of his dark-bristled jaw.
Mere inches from her lips.
And that’s when she realized it had been fun. More fun than she’d ever had in her life, and she didn’t want it to end. Ever. She wanted to thank him and she wanted to touch him all at the same time. Without a second thought, she leaned in and brushed her lips to his cheek, totally unprepared for the rush of heat hurtling through her veins. She immediately felt the jolt of his body as he gave a sharp jerk of his head, shock glazing his eyes when the motion instantly aligned his mouth with her own, a shallow breath away.
Gabe had always been one who knew what she wanted and just how to get it, and she certainly had never been a woman to dally. So in the split second that she felt the catch of his breath, she didn’t pause. She didn’t think.
She simply kissed him.
With everything in her, heart thundering over the single most earth-shattering moment of her young life.
She was in love!
Alex gasped, but the sound was swallowed up by the press of Gabe’s lips, soft, pliant and hungry, fusing to his with a need that ignited his own. It was only a catch of his breath, but it seemed like eons that he wrestled with his conscience and lost, returning Gabe’s kiss with a fire that seared his very soul. Her crutches crashed to the ground when she rose on tiptoe to slip her arms around his neck, and her mouth united with his in a mating he never wanted to end. He lifted her off her feet, molding her body to his with an intensity that shocked him. Groaning, he butted her to the wall while his mouth explored hers, his passion apparently buried so deep, he’d never even known it was there.
Well, he knew it now, and it scared him silly.
“Gabe,” he whispered, voice hoarse as he carefully set her back down. He grasped one of her crutches to gently prod it beneath the arm of her bad leg with breathing as ragged as hers. His heart ached as he cradled her face in his hands. “Please forgive me. I never should have done that
Her eyes widened. “No, Alex, there’s nothing to forgive—”
“Yes, Gabe, there is.” Struggling to regain control, he removed his hands from her face to retrieve the second crutch, slowly tucking it beneath her other arm. Inhaling sharply, he took a step back, fortifying himself against the hurt in her eyes. “I am your superior and I stepped over the line, which never should have happened.”
“But I kissed you!” There was an urgency in her voice he’d never heard before, a neediness he had no will to exploit.
He steeled his jaw, heartsick over what he had to do. “And I took it a step further, Cadet, which I deeply regret.”
“Well, don’t!” she shouted, lurching forward so fast, those blasted crutches teetered along with his heart. His palm shot out in reflex, girding her waist to keep both of them from falling.
Sleet slithered his veins when he saw the yearning in her eyes. “Don’t you get it, Alex?” she whispered, her face contorted in pain that inflicted some of his own. “I think I’m in love with you because I can’t get you out of mind.”
His body went to stone. An unholy mix of guilt and shock depleted his air, fingers flinching from her waist as if he’d been burned. And the look of abject longing in Gabe’s face told him he had.
Burned as a PT.
Burned as a friend.
Burned as a man who knew better.
What a ride this story took me on! It was so hard to see Gabe make bad decisions over and over and over again. I couldn’t help but like her, even though she had so much growing to do throughout almost the entire book! But, grow she did…both emotionally and spiritually, leading to a beautiful change of heart for her.
Alex was a great character who struggled to keep his attraction to Gabe contained to simply friendship throughout the book. This showed quite a depth of character. I felt that it was realistic that even Alex had moments where he let his emotions rule, yet he always ended up trying to do the right thing where Gabe was concerned.
The author definitely had my emotions up and down all over the place with this novel! I felt immersed in the WWII time period and eagerly look forward to future books with the other O’Connor cousins.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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