My heart was pounding and the tears were welling up in my eyes during the first few minutes of reading the prologue. I was already invested in these characters, their story, and their lives before I even got into the first chapter. I just knew that this was going to be the kind of book that would stay with me long after the final word.
The prologue begins with a heart-stopping scene. It’s as if everything is in slow motion as Jessa sees the Marine Chaplain at her front door. Knowing that this unexpected visit is the one that every loved one fears the most, she is beyond afraid and reluctant to learn the identity of the victim. There is no right answer. Either way, she loses an important person in her life – is it her brother, Riley, or Kit, the love of her life?
The author then takes the reader back three months earlier, to when Kit and Riley were home on a four week leave. Riley and Kit have been best friends since they were fourteen years old. They’ve been inseparable buddies, partners in mischief, and now Marines. The last thing that any best friend is supposed to do is fall for his best friend’s sister. Over the last year of deployment, Kit hasn’t been able to get Jessa off his mind. He no longer sees her as the little sister, he sees her as the beautiful young woman that she’s become. Not only is she forbidden because of Kit’s friendship with her brother, but also because of her father, a Colonel in the Marines, who detests even the mere sight of him.
Colonel Kingsley hasn’t been the father that he used to be. Since his last tour to Iraq, he’s been suffering from PTSD, which he refuses to seek help with. Although he has never become physical with his family, he has been emotionally abusive, overly protective, and has frequent mood swings that leave him fighting his rage. This has caused his wife and children to walk on eggshells around him. Their once loving, happy home has become an unpleasant atmosphere.
Beyond the love story, there are family issues that both families have faced. They have both had to fight their personal demons and their pasts.
Jessa has had a crush on Kit for quite some time, but she figured that he would never truly see her for anything other than Riley’s kid sister. When Kit finally gets up the nerve to approach her on her eighteenth birthday, what begins is a romance that is as sweet, romantic, and swoon-worthy as any that I’ve ever read. I never doubted for one minute that they were meant to be together. They brought out the best in each other.
I was counting down Kit and Jessa’s time together as his redeployment was lurking in the not so distant future. I was dreading it almost as much as they were, of course, I knew that their time together could be permanently over. I felt their need and desire to prolong each and every moment that they had left.
“Come back to me. That was the very last thing I said to him. Come back to me.
Always. The very last thing he said to me.”
Come Back to Me was filled with everything that I crave when reading a book in this genre. It is beautifully written, romantic, has a forbidden element, and is incredibly emotional. I felt the emotions, fell in love, and lived the story right along with the characters. It was impossible to not be completely swept away with this story. Mila Gray’s storytelling is some of the best that I’ve read.