Rating: 4 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
The Only One Who Matters reunites us with Lieutenant Commander Josh Walker and his partner, Senior Chief David Flint. David is now medically retired from the Navy SEALs after his leg injury on his last mission. He is walking much better thanks to physical therapy and their new dog, Major, who keeps David active. But knowing he will never again be an active SEAL is killing him, especially as he watches Josh sent out on mission after mission while he stays home. Making things even worse is that David knows exactly what Josh is facing each time he leaves, and his fear for the man he loves is hard to ignore, even as he accepts that being a SEAL is what Josh was born to do.
Things are not easy for Josh either. He worries about how David is handling civilian life and how to help him with his leg while still giving him the independence he needs. And while he loves having David to come home to, having to keep leaving the man he loves is not easy.
The guys have been living together for about six months, but with Josh’s constant missions, they have only had weeks together at home. With all the issues they face, they barely have time to talk and reconnect before Josh is deployed again, never able to give David an idea what is he is doing or how long he will be gone. The men both love each other, but the stress is taking a toll on their relationship and they must figure out how to work through their problems if they are ever going to be able to make things really work between them.
So I really loved the first book in this series, The Only One Who Knows. It is a great combination of sexy romance, lovely relationship building, and excellent military story. So I was really looking forward to reuniting with these guys and seeing how they fared in the wake of David’s injury and retirement.
Where this book really excels for me is in the military angle. Once again Grant and Witt really capture both life in the military and the missions themselves in such fantastic detail, it is clear that these authors know what they are talking about and really make it come to life on the page. Everything feels so true to life and it allowed me just to become immersed in this world, both in the action and the everyday routines of being a military family. The mission itself was the highlight for me once again here, as it is exciting and terrifying and intense. The action elements are just fabulous and really make the book for me.
I had a harder time with the parts of the story that take place at home, especially the first portion of the book. Here we are really seeing how these guys are struggling to make things work and things are very challenging. David is depressed over no longer being a SEAL, Josh is walking on eggshells around him not knowing what to do, and looming over them all the time is the fact that at any moment Josh can be called away again to risk his life. I think the authors really show us what these guys are dealing with, but it is also somewhat hard to read. We are about 40% of the way through the book before the action shifts to Josh’s latest mission and for me that was an awful lot of time to be focused on two unhappy men. After the mission the men must deal with the aftermath and figuring out their futures. Although this is also a difficult time for the guys, I didn’t find it quite as overwhelming as it is shorter and there is more going on. But I did miss the easy camaraderie and romantic elements from the first story here a little bit.
One thing I really enjoyed is seeing David’s developing relationship with Jenny, the wife of one of Josh’s teammates. David is caught in this unwanted position of military spouse. He is used to being on the other end of things, being deployed and leaving folks at home. But now he is suddenly the one being left behind. It is hard enough having Josh leave, but knowing what he faces is killing David. So his friendship with Jenny provides that support that he really needs from someone going through the same things he is (and being alone and pregnant with two toddlers, Jenny has got things tougher than David for sure). So this is a nice relationship to see develop and it really helps David through Josh’s absence and the aftermath of his mission.
So once again lots to like in this story. The action sequences were the definite highlight for me and Grant and Witt just excel at the military side of the story. The relationship end of things was a little on the slow side for me, but I really liked catching up with David and Josh and seeing how their relationship continues to grow. If you enjoyed the first book as I did, you definitely don’t want to miss The Only One Who Matters.
P.S. Just a quick trigger warning here, while nothing is shown on page, Josh and his team face waterboarding torture during his mission. It is not described in detail or in real time, but we definitely see his flashbacks and the aftereffects of the trauma.