Unbreak My Heart
Nicole Jacquelyn     

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Book: 1

What do you do when your soul mate marries your best friend?

If you're Kate Evans, you keep your friend Rachel, bond with her kids, and bury your feelings for her husband. The fact that Shane's in the military and away for long periods helps-but when tragedy strikes, everything changes.

After Rachel, pregnant with her fourth child, dies in a car accident and the baby miraculously survives, Kate upends her entire life to share parenting duties. Then on the first anniversary of Rachel's death, Kate and Shane take comfort in each other in a night that they both soon regret.

Shane's been angry for a year, and now he feels guilty too - for sleeping with his wife's best friend and liking it . . . liking her. Kate's ability to read him like a book may have once sent Shane running, but their lives are forever entwined and they are growing closer.

Now with Shane deployed for seven months, Kate is on her own and struggling with being a single parent. Shane is loving and supportive from thousands of miles away, but his homecoming brings a betrayal Kate never saw coming. So Kate's only choice is to fight for the future she deserves - with or without Shane. . .

When I sent out June’s newsletter, Unbreak My Heart was in my mentions. I hadn’t read it yet but I stated,“Unbreak My Heart sounds like it’s going to break mine. I’m getting a bit of Sarah’s Child by Linda Howard vibe from it.” Guess what? I was right. Talk about putting my heart through the wringer. It had my stomach in knots. I literally stopped breathing a couple of times, my emotions were that involved. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt for a heroine this way. I seriously felt her pain.

Kate Evans has been in love—in some form or other—with Shane Anderson since her aunt and uncle fostered him at the age of seventeen. So about twelve years. She’s endured his marriage to her best friend and has been like a second mother to his three kids. After Rachel dies in an accident, there are now four children left without a mother. Kate is determined to be there for them. Shane doesn’t make it easy.

As one would expect, Shane is devastated by his wife’s death. And his feelings for Kate, someone he once considered his friend, are practically nonexistent. She irritates him. He’s more than aware she had a crush on him when they were younger. He gets the feeling those feelings are still there, so he’s taken to ignoring her. Yeah, he could have gotten with her when they were younger—before she brought Rachel home for the first time—but Kate is just not his type, which he lets her know in no uncertain terms.

“You knew I wouldn’t fuck you sober, so you waited until I was shit-housed and got what you wanted.” I shook my head as I picked up my keys and wallet off the table. “You feel better now, Katie? Was it everything you’d imagined? I didn’t disappoint, did I?”

To say that Shane could be cruel is an understatement. And that’s not the only time he savages her like this. Honestly, this particular scene (the anniversary of his wife’s death and his youngest son’s first birthday) left me gasping. Reeling. Slack-jawed. This was one of those times I felt Kate’s pain. I tweeted how I needed him to grovel. Man oh man, I wanted him to crawl like I haven’t wanted a hero to crawl in a very very long time. I don’t know what it says about me, but I was seriously hooked after this scene. I’d known he was somewhat dismissive of her, but this cruel? He cut me off at the knees.

I don’t want to give too much away, but that one-time hookup does result in some serious consequences, and it’s not an ideal situation for Kate or Shane.

Kate. Oh Kate. There were times I wanted her to be stronger. Where I was yelling at my iPad, “Don’t take his shit, Kate. Leave and don’t come back for a long long time. That’ll teach him.” But of course I wasn’t thinking of the kids. They needed her and she could never do that to them. But I wanted her to punish Shane so bad. So bad.

Unlike some readers who will call him an ass and call it a day, I got where Shane was coming from. He was dealing with a ton of guilt for having those kind of feelings for his dead wife’s best friend—sleeping with her. And I really do believe he didn’t think she was his type. He liked edgier women.

I wasn’t into her, and her crush had made me feel weird, uncomfortable in my own skin. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, but shit, she just didn’t do it for me. She was too clean-cut, too naïve and trusting. Even then, I’d been more attracted to women who were a little harder, a little darker, than the girl who still had posters of fairies on walls at seventeen.

Thank God he grows or I would have had to kill him with my bare hands. I think he broke my heart, frustrated and infuriated me as much as he did Kate. I was happy that Kate finally got some steel in her backbone though. Heeded my advice.

Ms. Jacquelyn does a great job with characterization from Shane and Kate, right down to all the children. This is no fairytales and castles in the sky kind of romance. It’s real—the people, the events, the dialogue, the whole lot of it. And I have to say that was incredibly refreshing, and it’s one of the many things I really appreciated about it.

The mark of a really really good book is that you don’t want it to end. That’s what happened to me when I turned to the last page. I wanted more of Shane, Kate, their many children and their extended family and friends. And I absolutely want to revisit them again.  

~ Beverley