Imagine you go about your day, thinking nothing about the things you usually do. You go to work, go for a beer, you think shopping is what you want to do right now and all of sudden your life changes. In the blink of an eye you are thrown into chaos. This is what happens to Jessica in Karina Halle's new installement of her MacGregor men.
Jessica is the victim of a terrorist attack. Not a terrorist from abroad but one of her own. A terrorist who used to fight for the country she lives in, yet something must have shifted, because he just goes ahead and shoots people in the middle of London's Oxford Street. Jessica survives the attack but is left with a mangled leg and a huge case of survivors guilt. The survivor in her knows that she needs help so she finds a support group of people who live with PTSD. After one of her meetings she goes to a pub where she meets Keir MacGregor. The attraction is instant but she has no business to burden somebody with her messed up life.
Keir has been living with guilt too. He is the reason why Jesscia was shot. His only thought surrounding the attack on Oxford Street is "if only I had said something...". He wants to make it up to the beauty he doesn't exactly meet by chance. The more often he sees her, though, the deeper he falls for her brave heart and her strength. There is only one problem...how can he tell her that he is guilty for her to be shot in the first place?
Karina Halle gives us again two completely damaged and flawed souls who both have to face their own demons to receive absolution. They don't realize that they have to forgive themselves before they can gain it from somebody else. Jessica is incredibly strong and her way to healing is hard and stony. Keir is the person who holds her hand along the way but doesn't let her pity herself too much and gets her out of her head if things get too intense. He is sweet, careful and tender with her, her wellbeing and feelings are always put above his own. I loved this about him. He treats her with reverence, as if she were a delicate flower, yet he knows that she has immense strength.
Each of them is brave in their own way and while Keir thinks he is bound to lose his girl if he reveals his role in her tragedy he still does everything to soften the blow and doesn't give up to help Jessica heal and find a footing in life again.
This story is about forgiving yourself, even if there is nothing to forgive. The slow burn between Keir and Jessica was all kinds of sweet and sexy. The development of their relationship was absolutely plausible, their way to salvation emotional and intense. Their love is raw and complicated and has something desperate that more often than not is not healthy in real life.
Karina Halle's MacGregor men are always alpha but also always swoonworthy and sweet. I have read all of them (except Brigs but he'll follow soon) and each and everytime I was swept off my feet by them. Not only is Ms. Halle a master of character driven stories she also has an incredible talent for making the Scottish landscape appear in your mind with her vivid description. I am pretty sure that this is not the last we've heard about them and I am looking forward to the next book in this series.