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Everything Changes by Melanie Hansen
Gay Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (March 13, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1632165694
ISBN-13: 978-1632165695
Amazon: Everything Changes
Amazon Kindle: Everything Changes

What happens when friendship catches fire?

Former Marine and lower-leg amputee Carey Everett keeps a grueling schedule of counseling fellow war veterans and their families. The injury he received in Afghanistan forces him to rely on a reserve of strength he didn’t even know he had. A much deserved vacation will let him reconnect with his best friend, who saved his life and has been there for him through devastating injury and painful recovery.

Part-time EMT and aspiring singer Jase DeSantis has been in love with Carey for years, but he’s come to accept that his straight friend will never be able to offer more. Jase fills his days with band rehearsals, ambulance shifts, and willing groupies, all while trying to cope with debilitating PTSD.

A week of sun, fun, and music in San Diego changes Jase and Carey’s lives forever when their relationship takes an unexpected turn. Jase has been longing for that change, but it leaves Carey reeling with confusion. As Jase fights to hold things together, Carey deals with doubts, fears, and his own preconceived notions about labels and the true nature of love.

This is a great read with more than a little angst.  If you love the friends to lover’s sub-genre then this is the book for you.

Depth of research, emotion, connection, feeling, love, hot sex, and even angst and realism that the author put into the story. It was the same with the setting and character development, the author did such an exceptional job with them, that I felt as if I know Jase and Carey. I felt as if I served along with them. As if I grew up with them. I could taste the Afghani sand, feel the splatter of warm blood against my skin, I felt as if I were ducking from the spray of bullets and the hail of fire and bombs from above. Sweat dripped down my brow as Jase and Carey relived their time in the service, and when they felt pain rip through their bodies, Mrs. Hansen did such a great job describing it, putting the reader there in the warzone with them, melding their minds and hearts with Jase and Carey that I too felt pain. As a veteran serviceman who suffers from PTSD as well and sees a therapist and is on antianxiety medication, Mrs. Hansen's descriptions of combat, of the comraderie between soldiers, veterans, and active servicemembers, and the way they bond, look out for each other, form attachments, and even with their families, and her vivid depictions of PTSD, its effects and some of the treatments were spot on and strikingly realistic. The author's writing style can only be described with one word: Breathtaking. She did an amazing job, bringing such a real, true, startling vivid story to life. I, for one, hope that there is more with Jase and Carey. I don't feel as if there story is complete and perhaps those small niggling issues will be addressed in a second book if there is one. But even if there isn't, Mrs. Hansen did such a perfectly imperfect job of writing this story that she now goes on my auto-buy list. Worth every point.

This was an outstanding book. It sucked me in and held me enthralled from start to finish. The flashbacks to Afghanistan were written so well that I felt as if I were there smelling the grit of the dirt and sand, the copper of blood and the acrid scent of gunpowder in the air. Just a phenomenal read, the best thing I’ve read in this contest this year.

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