Monday, January 9, 2017

ARC Review: On Broken Wings by Chanel Cleeton

Series:     Wild Aces #3
Pub. Date:January 3, 2017
Publisher:Berkley Romance
Length:319 pages
Source:NetGalley

WARNING! This review contains spoilers for the first book, Fly With Me. If you have yet to read Fly With Me, what's wrong with you? Go read it and come back to this review once you are done wiping your eyes from a soul-cleansing ugly cry that will result from that book. 

I have been itching to get my hands on this book from the minute Fly With Me ended. I knew it was going to be a tearjerker in the best possible way. On Broken Wings takes place approximately a year after the end of Fly With Me. The squadron is still flying, deploying overseas, and playing hard when they are stateside. The guys and their families are still dealing with their grief over the loss of their squadron leader, none more so than the hero and heroine of this book.

Dani Peterson is such a sympathetic heroine. Having lost her husband, call sign - Joker, in the first book of this series, she has been buried in grief for the past year and doesn't think she will ever come out of it. While the prologue to On Broken Wings lets you re-live part of the difficult moments with Dani, I really think that my emotional connection to her was cemented in Fly With Me. I'm glad that Cleeton did give us a prologue however just to remind the reader of exactly how devastated Dani was after Joker's death. Dani was a complex character full of diverse and conflicting emotions. She knows her grief and anger cannot continue to consume her, but she really seemed at a loss as to how to move forward. 

Alex "Easy" Rogers stole my heart from the moment we were introduced to his character. Outwardly he is a playboy with model good looks and kickass flying skills.  But inwardly, Easy has been in love with Dani for years, even when she was married to his best friend. The recklessly oversexed persona is a front for his feelings... and sometimes a crutch when the emotional torment is too much to bear. Easy is so drawn to Dani, but he thought it would be better for them both if he tried to avoid her. Yet when he gets even a tiny inkling that Dani needs something, he can't stop himself from stepping in and coming to her aide. Easy's emotions are even more complex than Dani's... his grief is clouded by guilt, love and longing for a woman he can't have. I loved Easy, and I'm glad that Cleeton didn't shy away from allowing this alpha male to experience the full range of emotions. It really helped to draw me into his character and form a strong connection.

I really liked how this friends-to-lovers romance was crafted. When they are just hanging out, Dani and Easy are so, well, easy with one another. Easy is so solicitous to Dani, taking care of her at every turn and making sure she is happy. I can't imagine having all that yummy attention on me, and it's clear that Easy's beauty starts to trigger feelings in Dani that she doesn't know how to handle. She takes his kindness for granted much of the time, blind to the fact that easy is in love with her. I was worried how she would handle the new and emerging feelings, and she didn't always do well... but it was understandable given the heaviness of her loss. I credit Easy for never giving up on her, especially when things got tough and hurtful things were said.

Cleeton does a fabulous job with detail. She knows exactly what to gloss over and what to include. I love the detail she adds about the military. She either has experience or is a very thorough researcher as I totally felt like I was in the cockpit with Easy as he was prepping his F-16 for flight. I am a huge fan of this series, so I can't wait to see which of the Wild Aces we get next.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Berkley Romance.

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