This review is part of Wild Aces reread tour in anticipation of On Broken Wings (the final standalone book) release on January 3, 2017 published by Berkley.
Eric Jansen—call sign Thor—loves nothing more than pushing his F-16 to the limit. Returning home to South Carolina after a tragic loss, he hopes to fix the mistake he made long ago, when he chose the Air Force over his fiancée.
Becca Madison isn’t quick to welcome Thor back. She can’t forget how he shattered her heart. But Thor won’t give up once he’s set his sights on what he wants—and he wants Becca.
Thor shows Becca that he’s no longer the impulsive boy he used to be, and Becca finds herself irresistibly drawn to him. But will Thor be able to walk away from his dream of flying the F-16 for their love or does his heart belong to the sky?
Chanel Cleeton has quickly become my new-found treasure this year because not only she wrote a series where the heroes were all fighter pilots (military romance is one of my guilty pleasure) but also because she wrote them flawlessly, pulling all the emotional and sexy punches all throughout.
Into the Blue is the second standalone book of the Wild Aces series featuring Eric “Thor” Jansen and his high school love, Becca Madison.
I dove right in blindly to this book, not expecting anything because I trusted the author to surprise me. And boy was I surprised that this was one of the most beautiful second-chance romances I’ve ever read.
After losing his pilot friend to the sky, Thor’s focus on his job went blurred making him decide to take a quick break from it than risk losing another because of his unfocused performance in the air and he felt like he needed a place to be grounded. To feel like he’s home. Home was a small town in South Carolina where he left 10 years ago. Where he’s broken the heart of a girl he truly loved for a chance to fly jets. I couldn’t really fault Eric when he left Becca. He wanted to spread his wings, sure, but I just wished he did it properly. A dick move for me. But I liked how he make up for all the lost times.
Becca Madison knew loss like the palm of her hand after she lost both her parents in a car accident. And after Eric left her for something as dangerous as flying F-16s, she was done. She shifted her focus to numb the pain to making a name for herself as a brilliant lawyer. But now that Eric’s back in town looking troubled, cozy and wanting her, she knew better than to lose her heart for someone who doesn’t include her in the future, again. I liked Becca. She’s someone who went through a lot of shit and was now careful of her steps to take. Her pain when Eric left her came crashing down again because of his return, making it hard for her to trust him again. For the record, she knew she still loved Eric (there was no one else) but it was hard for her to risk it again with him.
One of Into the Blue’s strongest point is its own rendition of second chance romance. It was that and slow burn romance in one. It was like taking a trip down memory lane but in the present time. The flashbacks were done and mixed well with Eric and Becca’s current situation. And really, the ten years of being apart wasn’t an easy fix and the author made sure of that. If anything, I loved how Becca pulled back because of her hesitation with Eric and how Eric proved to Becca he could be the man she deserved. The push and pulls of their feelings towards each other wasn’t annoying, wasn’t confusing. It was real in a way that both of them needed the time apart to grow up and be the person they needed to be for each other. Both of them wanted different things but they found a compromise that would work for them best.
Into the Blue‘s tone was deep and serious and really emotional but also very hot (let us not forget that). The struggles and emotions of the characters were authentic and heartfelt. The pace was not like “Hey you came back here. Now we get together again.”, no it was more like “I don’t want you here GTFO or better yet prove that you’re it for me in the long haul.”. And I loved that Eric had to work his ass off to get Becca again and for Becca to realize Eric’s dreams were also hers. I would also like to point out that Eric’s PTSD wasn’t over the top but it was realistically portrayed.
Overall, Into the Blue got the “you have to be your own person first before you become other person’s person” down pat. And I like it very, very much.