Just a Kiss by Denise Hunter
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Date: September 2016
Reviewed by: Elizabeth Olmedo
Fiction Addict Scorecard: B
Riley Callahan had grand plans upon his return from Afghanistan — including finally come clean about his feelings for his best friend. However, he didn’t count on the IED that would take the life of his fellow marine, leave Riley an amputee, and forever change his life. Determined to wedge distance between Paige and himself — after all she deserves more than being burdened with a broken man — he is less than thrilled to discover his family has arranged for him to stay with Paige during his recovery.
Paige is just happy to have to have her childhood best friend back alive. But despite her best attempts to help him heal and acclimate to life with a disability, Riley continually pushes her away. She discovers that the brave front he portrays for his family and friends is nothing more than a show. But if dealing with Riley’s mood swings and the threat to her job and the animal shelter she’s devoted herself to weren’t enough, Paige starts noticing Riley in ways that don’t fit their friend status.
Denise Hunter combines the beauty and perils of love with the devastating realities of war in a heart-wrenching story. Just a Kiss brims with friendship, loss, pain, and forgiveness woven together with a thread of faith that infuses the story with hope.
I’ve been enamored with Riley and Paige ever since I met them in the first book of the Summer Harbor series, Falling Like Snowflakes. Their story couldn’t come fast enough, and for the most part it didn’t disappoint. However, the wisdom of having the pair living together, alone under the same roof is questionable, especially considering everyone (except Paige) knew of Riley’s long-held feelings toward her. That being said, since it’s a book, all worked out in the end.
Despite my desire whack the characters on occasion (couldn’t Riley just spit out how he felt already?), I understood the fears and doubts that restrained them. I enjoyed returning to Summer Harbor, though it was hard saying goodbye to the Callahan brothers and company, though it couldn’t have ended on a better book. Just a Kiss was definitely my favorite of three.
For those who haven’t read the previous installments, the novel easily stands alone. Nonetheless, knowing the history that accompanies the first two books makes reading this all the more fun and provides extra depth. I recommend this book and series to romance fans.