The second Harlequin Special Edition story taking place in Whispering Oaks reconnects the reader with a family whose members are living through many ups and downs. While one daughter seems to have her life turning out as desired, her brother is a changed man when he returns home after bravely serving his country. Lynne Marshall makes the emotional scenes in THE MEDIC’S HOMECOMING compassionately insightful and very realistic.
As an Army medic, Lucas Grady was forced to live through way too many horrendous events while in a far away desert and now often has troubling flashbacks. His life was dedicated to the service for ten years, but he has come back to Whispering Oaks after his parents were in a bad accident in order to help them out. When he was younger, Lucas knows he was seen as an underachiever and still does not know what he wants to do with his life after getting out of the military.
Being back in his hometown is not where Lucas really wants to be, but when he meets up with the woman who lived next door while he was growing up, things become much more interesting. He previously enjoyed teasing Jocelyn Howard and thought of her as a friend. While she also liked being around him, her feelings of friendship had started to become more sexual as they got older but he never showed the same interest. Jocelyn unfortunately had her share of failures over the years that altered some of her opinions, but her desire for Lucas has not diminished one bit. Though she can tell he is different in ways she cannot yet comprehend, she is not ready to give up on them finally being in a relationship.
Since true-to-life reactions are ever present in a Lynne Marshall story, her characters are totally believable and vividly come to life. By also having issues arise that do occur in ordinary lives, Ms. Marshall repeatedly had me thinking the main couple in THE MEDIC’S HOMECOMING could actually exist in a quaint town somewhere. While the troubles taking place in Jocelyn’s life come across as real, the dilemmas which Lucas has to face time and again really tugged at my heart. Anyone who gives so much of himself in protecting others and then has to suffer the consequences has my full sympathy, and the author convincingly shows the cost to those who suffer with PTSD. Lucas and Jocelyn both believe themselves to be undeserving when it comes to being completely happy, and Ms. Marshall made their journey to discovering their true worth not only memorable but constantly moving. Extremely sincere feelings are conveyed by these two quite frequently, and my entire attention would be focused on their conversations as I never knew for sure how they would respond. Since the theme of the story is friends-to-lovers, it was fun watching Lucas come to realize just what Jocelyn meant to him. Any intimacy between them is expressed with very honest feelings, and how they became thoroughly caught up in several of the moments had me smiling. The first book about the Grady family does not have to be read to understand this story, but learning what has happened since it concluded is definitely enjoyable. THE MEDIC’S HOMECOMING is captivating with emotional challenges and dynamic characters.