NOW AVAILABLE ~ Jack by Julia London ~ Sarah A’s Review

Fall in love with seven sexy and irresistible soldiers who find their courage and heart tested like never before in the battle for love! This multi-author collaborative series of contemporary romance novels is brought to you by bestselling authors Barbara Freethy, Roxanne St. Claire, Christie Ridgway, Lynn Raye Harris, Julia London, Cristin Harber and Samantha Chase. You won’t want to miss a single one!

Former Marine Jack Carter has left Afghanistan behind, but after a close encounter with a suicide bomber, he now battles a hidden enemy. Ashamed that he succumbs to heart-stopping panic attacks, he refuses to leave his house and makes excuses for failing to meet up with his best friends. He’s got the perfect set up—his job allows him to work from home, he hires out the dog walking and grocery shopping and he has subscribed to a meal delivery service that comes complete with a cook. Jack expected a lunch lady, but he gets Whitney. She’s bubbly, she’s way too chatty, and his dog loves her more than him. But he forgives her all of that because she’s sexy as hell and a bright spot in an otherwise lonely day.

Whitney Baldwin has been groomed to follow a long line of highly successful lawyers into an equally successful family law firm, but she’d rather bake a cake than read a tort. Her dream is to open her own patisserie. To say her father is disappointed in her career path is an understatement—if she can’t pull this off, she’ll have to head home with her tail between her legs. In a last bid to make her dream a reality Whitney accepts a job with Dinner Magic and lands an insanely handsome client in Jack Carter. His crazy good looks captivate her, but it’s something about his hyper-awareness of her combined with a vulnerability that is an irresistible recipe.

The smoldering attraction between Jack and Whitney quickly turns molten. But when he makes an important promise that he can’t keep, Whitney can’t fathom how this relationship is going to work. Will Jack ever be able to conquer his worst fears for true love?

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Jack is another bright spot in this series.  It’s a tough call between this and Wyatt for the top book in the series, to this point.  They were completely different, yet both held things I love when reading about veterans.  Where Wyatt held the suspense, Jack’s story leaned more toward the emotional fallout that war veterans often have to deal with.

Jack is book five of the Seven Brides for Seven Soldiers series.  It holds the fewest links to the other books in the series, therefore the easiest to read as a standalone.  There are a few cameos from the other soldiers, but nothing that gives away any part of the previous books.  Jack is told in dual POV, in third person limited.

Jack may be my favorite of all the soldiers whose stories have been told.  He had a great storyline in the work he was doing, one that I think sheds light on an all too common problem, and his character arc was fabulous.  He’d had so much trauma to deal with, and I loved that he was actively working on it, even if he struggled with genuinely having a reason to work through his fears in the beginning.  His growth from the man who couldn’t walk through his hometown to the man he was by the end of the book was tremendous, in every sense of the word.

Whitney, while vitally important to Jack’s character arc, didn’t have much of one herself.  I’m surprisingly okay with it because she did find her own strength, though most of her journey to finding herself was completed before Jack started.  Her strength was an integral part of Jack’s growth, and in helping him, she also found the final push she needed to the what was best for herself.  I was delighted to see how Whitney and Jack truly made each other better people.

My only wish for this book would be the first and final few pages be a little more in keeping with the rest of the story.  It seemed the author struggled a little with exactly how to start Jack’s story and where was an appropriate place to end it.  Unlike the other books in this series, I would have liked to have seen this book end a chapter earlier than it did, as the final chapter didn’t really add anything to the story but felt like a hasty addition to show the characters enjoying their HEA.

Julia London is obviously a skilled writer, with the exceptions previously stated, I was wholly engrossed in Jack and Whitney’s story.  She made me care deeply about the characters, their struggles, and the people they were fighting for. Given a chance to check out some of her contemporary romances, I’d give them a shot.

Ryder (#1) – Barbara Freethy
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Adam (#2) – Roxanne St. Claire
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Zane (#3) – Christie Ridgway
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Wyatt (#4) – Lynn Raye Harris
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Jack (#5) – Julia London
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Noah (#6) – Cristin Harber

Ford (#7) – Samantha Chase

Julia London is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of more than thirty novels, including the popular Secrets of Hadley Green series, the Cabot Sisters series and The Highland Grooms historical romance series. She also wrote the Pine River and the Lake Haven contemporary romance series. She is a six-time finalist for the prestigious RITA Award for excellence in romantic fiction, and RT Bookclub award recipient for Best Historical Romance for Dangerous Gentleman. She lives in Austin, Texas.

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