Noah by Cristin Harber ~ Sarah A’s Review

Navy SEAL Noah Coleman knows how to do two things well: underwater demolition and hand-to-hand combat. So renewing his enlistment is a no-brainer until he receives a message about his cousin’s aggressive terminal cancer. A quick trip home confirms the worst, which means his niece Bella will become his responsibility.

Elementary school guidance counselor Teagan Shaw has known Bella since her son announced the two were best friends. The shy little girl is also on Teagan’s radar because of Bella’s early signs of gifted aptitude. But Teagan is more concerned about the military man thrust into the role of single parent.

While Noah adjusts to civilian life and Eagle’s Ridge, he and Teagan begin forging a friendship. But Teagan has a secret, a shadowy figure from her past who is intent on returning to torment her.

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!

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Noah didn’t quite have the heaviness I was expecting, considering what Noah had been through, but it was still a wonderful, moving story.  It had a touch of suspense and was poignantly sweet.  The addition of the children, Bella and Will, made it that much more special.

Noah is the sixth book in the Seven Brides for Seven Soldiers series, each book from a different author.  They are all interconnected standalones, each one building on the world of the previous books.  They can all be read without having read any of the others, but I would highly suggest reading all of them, in order, to get the full experience and history of Eagle Ridge.  There are also mentions of things that have happened in other books Noah, so it makes those situations more easily understandable.

I’ve been looking forward to Noah’s story since we first saw him with Bella in Zane.  His story seems so sad, his loss so difficult, his new responsibility so great, I hoped his story would be equal parts devastating and healing.  While we did get a little of the healing, most of the devastation happened off page.  I’m surprisingly okay with it, because Noah’s love and concern for his niece, Bella, completely engulfed my heart.  For a man who was admittedly scared and unprepared for raising a child, he was an amazing guardian. I think we can all admit there is something about a big, military man tending to the needs of a bright, beautiful little girl – especially one who has just lost her mom – that melts the hardest of hearts.

Teagan added an interesting layer to Noah’s story.  Her job as a school counselor gave her unique perspective into helping Noah and Bella deal with their loss and transition into their new life together.  Add to that her son and his relationship with Bella, and it made for a delicate and significant dynamic the four of them had to figure out.  Teagan past also added to the precarious balancing act they were performing, in a way no one had expected.

The only thing I wish for Noah is that it had included more of Lainey, Noah’s cousin, and Bella’s mom.  I would have loved to see her with both Noah and Bella.  She was such a significant person in both of their lives; I think that the addition of some flashbacks with her or adding a few chapters between the prologue and chapter one would have given this the emotional punch I’d originally hoped for.

Cristin Harber delivered a sweet, somewhat emotional layer to the Seven Brides for Seven Soldiers series.  She did a great job of making me love a story about a war veteran that isn’t in keeping with the things I usually love about those kinds of books.  With only one more book in this series, I hope Ford is able to send the world of Eagle Ridge out with a bang.

Noah drew in a slow breath, searching for the right words. But they didn’t come. Who knew what those were supposed to be when they’d gone through the heartache that had pitched them together.

“Teagan.” He pressed them forward until her back met the cedar wood wall. “I have no idea what I’m doing.”

Her chin tilted up, her lips parting with tiny breaths he wanted to capture with a kiss.

“And that’s foreign to me.” He towered over her, but he gave her enough space that she could roll away, plenty of room so he could take in more than just her face. But she smelled like flowers. Not sweet but strong and wild. Noah ducked his cheek to hers, brushing his lips close to her ear.

Her palms smoothed the front of his Henley. Not pushing away, not grabbing for more.

Together they were back at the same line as in the kitchen earlier. The one they’d both eased away from. But this time they toed the line, savoring and wondering, testing whether the Do Not Cross was a figment of their imagination, a simple cautionary tale that they’d concocted for no good reason, or if hormones and arousal were calling the shots.

Teagan slid her cheek against his mouth, and he stifled a groan.

“Neither do I,” she whispered. “No clue.”

He chuckled quietly, leaning his weight against her. “It’d be easier if one of us knew.”

Pressed between them, her fingernails scratched down his stomach, and he nuzzled his nose against her neck, breathing against her skin and memorizing how she smelled. Teagan’s soft murmurs made the hairs on the back of his neck stand, and he let his lips drift to her cheek.

“I’m going to kiss you on one condition,” he whispered.

“What’s that?” Teagan’s breathlessness made his heart pound harder.

He let the rush roll through him then teased her lips with his, not making contact, keeping them a breath apart. “That neither of us will be sorry.”

“Promise.” Teagan’s fingers tightened against his chest. “I won’t be.”

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
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Ford (#7) – Samantha Chase
Goodreads

Cristin Harber is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author. She writes sexy, steamy romantic suspense and military romance. Readers voted her onto Amazon’s Top Picks for Debut Romance Authors in 2013, and her debut Titan series was both a #1 romantic suspense and #1 military romance bestseller.

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