Saturday, February 1, 2014

REVIEW: Because Of You & Anything For You by Jessica Scott

ALL FOR YOU: From the USA TODAY Bestselling author of Because of You comes an all new Coming Home short story.

Sergeant First Class Shane Garrison has spent a year recovering from his combat injuries. A year spent in the arms of the woman of his dreams. But loving Jen comes with a price: every time he touches her, he faces the uncertain fear that loving her might mean losing her forever.

Jen is a breast cancer survivor and with Shane, she’s found a man who loves her despite her scars. But her scars may be too much for their love to survive.

As their love grows, so does the risk to Jen’s life. And Shane must make the toughest decision any man can make to save the woman he loves.

From the war-torn streets of Baghdad to the bittersweet comforts of the home front, two wounded hearts navigate the battlefield of coming home from war in this explosive eBook original from newcomer Jessica Scott.

Keeping his men alive is all that matters to Sergeant First Class Shane Garrison. But meeting Jen St. James the night before his latest deployment makes Shane wonder if there's more to life than war. He leaves for Iraq remembering a single kiss with a woman he'll never see again- until a near fatal attack lands him back at home and in her care.  Jen has survived her own brush with death and endured its scars. And yet there's a fire in Shane that makes Jen forget all about her past. He may be her patient, but when this warrior looks her in the eyes, she feels - for the first time in a long time - like a woman. Shane is too proud to ask for help, but for Jen, caring for him is more than a duty -it's a need. And as Jen guides Shane through the fires of healing, she finds something she never expected - her deepest desire.

Excerpt from Anything for You

Fort Hood, late 2008
“Jen is going to kill you. You know that, right?” Vic Carponti took a long pull off his
ever-present Dr Pepper. “I think she has first dibs on your balls. You don’t have exclusive use
over them any more.”

Sergeant First Class Shane Garrison glanced over at Carponti and fought the urge to use
the physical therapy ropes to strangle the younger sergeant. No matter how much time they’d
spent together training Army privates at Benning or blowing shit up downrange, Carponti still
managed to push all the right buttons. “You’re not helping, you know.” Shane was already
having a hard enough time trying to find the nerve to talk to his fiancée about his desire for a

“Jen wants kids.”

“I know that,” Shane growled. He leaned down to stretch, barely suppressing a groan as
the muscles in his thighs protested the daily pain his physical therapist insisted on. He’d have
thought that six months after being blown up in Iraq, physical therapy would stop being a
morning torture session. Guess not.

“Why are you so adamant about this?” Carponti held up his hand at Shane’s fierce look.
“I’m an expert in amputations, not women and babies, okay?”

“She had breast cancer. A really aggressive version. If she gets pregnant and the cancer
comes back, the choice comes down to her life or the baby’s life…and I don’t want to have to
make that choice with her. I don’t want her to have to make that choice. Granted, it might all be
fine. She might never get sick again, or the hormones from pregnancy might not do anything to
her.” Shane walked over to the free weights. His legs protested each step, so his next words came
out slowly, one with each step. “I can’t risk it. No matter how much I might want a kid with her,
I’m not going to risk her life for some selfish need to feel my baby growing inside her.”

“I realize that,” Carponti said, “but why on earth are you looking at this without talking to
her first?”

“I’m going to talk to her.” Shane sighed hard. “I just haven’t yet.” He didn’t want to
admit he was afraid. Not to Carponti. He’d never hear the end of it.

“Did you ever think you’re overreacting?” Carponti asked, following him.

“No,” Shane snapped. “Because I’m not.”

“You just said there’s no rule that if a woman gets pregnant after cancer, she’s going to

“Yeah, well, I’ve also talked to the brigade surgeon. There’s a higher risk of the cancer
coming back for younger women like Jen who had aggressive cancers. There’s a higher risk that
if she does get pregnant and the cancer comes back, it could come back even more aggressive.”
Shane looked at Carponti seriously. “I want kids with her. I just don’t want to kill her.”

“So you’re going to get unmanned and tell her later?”

“This isn’t funny.”

“Vasectomies are always funny. Especially watching a big guy like you squirm over the

“It is my balls we’re talking about,” Shane snapped, grabbing the fifty-pound dumbbells.
It was one of those times he’d rather not have Carponti chirping in his ear.

“If a vasectomy is such a big deal, then why do it?” Carponti placed the bottle in his
prosthetic hand. “There’s other ways of preventing pregnancy, you know.”

“We’ve talked about all of those. She had a bad reaction to an IUD. Anything hormonebased
is out. And condoms scare the shit out of me.”

“Did we have a bad experience with a condom?”

Shane groaned, wishing he hadn’t said anything. “When I was seventeen, I had a condom
break on me. The girl and I spent the rest of the month terrified she was pregnant.” He glanced at
Carponti. “So while I appreciate that you think me getting my balls clipped is amusing, this isn’t
all that funny.”

“Maybe not, but watching you freak out about it certainly is.”

“You’re so good for morale.”

“You can bitch all you want, but I still don't see why there aren’t other options.”

Why? Shane ground his teeth and counted as he curled the weights. He’d read the
literature about Jen’s specific cancer. Everything he read created a little more fear that he could
lose her. Shane did not do well with fear. If the only thing he could control in the equation was
his sperm, he was doing that.

Sometimes, at night, when the nightmares came, it was no longer his soldiers who’d died
in the war haunting his sleep. Sometimes, it was Jen, bleeding out in his arms. He didn’t tell her
that. Every time he tried, the emotion got jammed up halfway between his throat and his mouth.
Jen wasn’t a random number in a study. She was his heart and soul, and while she was
determined to live a normal life and not let the cancer define her, every time they made love, he
was aware of the risk.

The worst part about it all? He wanted kids with her, too. But the risk was too great.
“Hello? Candyass who’s stressing about getting his balls chopped off? Why is a
vasectomy the only option for you not to get her pregnant?”

Shane finished his set. “Because it’s the smart thing to do. Condoms break. Birth control
fails.” Carponti was probably about to accuse him of writing country songs again. “This is the
only one-hundred-percent sure option.”

“You could always be in a celibate marriage with her,” Carponti said dryly.

“Yeah, and then she bangs the FedEx guy when I’m in the field.”

Carponti snorted and coughed. “That’s just wrong.”

Shane dropped the weights, the muscles in his left arm screaming. He was nearly back to
his previous strength in his upper body, but sometimes his bones liked to remind him that no, he
was never going to be as good as he’d been before.

It frustrated him that there were more aches and pains now. More stiffness just getting out
of bed in the morning. But he was determined to heal, so he could get back to leading soldiers.
Because that’s what he did.

Beside him, Carponti finished not choking on his drink. “You’re serious about this.

You’re really going to let a doctor near your nutsack with a scalpel?”

“Will you just drop it? I shouldn’t have said anything to you, damn it.”

“What? I just want to be sure you’re making the best, most informed decision.” Carponti
grinned. “You’re going to let me see the cut, right?”

Shane just shot him a baleful glare and Carponti held up both hands, the soda in one.
Funny, Shane was used to the prosthetic now. It no longer caught his eye like it once had.
Carponti was just...Carponti. The missing hand didn’t really matter.

“Hey, so have you heard what’s going on back at battalion?” Carponti asked.

Shane picked up his water bottle and flipped open the cap. “I haven’t been in to see
Sarn’t Major in a while. I’ve got a meeting with him later today. Why?”

“There’s a ton of bad shit going on. Iaconelli got in a bunch of trouble up in Colorado on
a mission.”

“That’s nothing new. Ike’s always in trouble.” Shane and Sergeant First Class Reza
Iaconelli had never really gotten along, which was a shame, because Ike was a damn fine

“Yeah, well, apparently there’s a whole bunch of crap going on down there. Maybe that’s
why Sarn’t Major wants to see you. See how much longer before you’re back at work?”
“Maybe.” Sarn’t Major would no doubt fill him in when he saw him later. Shane wanted
to get back to work. Badly. But if Ike was screwing up again, Shane damn sure didn’t want to get
back just to clean up after him.

Carponti grinned. “So, back to the more pressing matters, are you going to gift wrap your
nuts and put a little bow on them and say, ‘Here baby, for Valentine’s Day, I’ve sacrificed my

Shane shook his head and tried not to laugh. “There’s something the matter with you.
You know that, right?”

“Sure. My traumatic brain injury is acting up again.” Carponti turned toward the door as
it opened. “Speaking of nuts, here’s my wife. I need to get mine out of her purse.”
Shane turned to see Nicole Carponti walking onto the physical therapy floor, looking
polished and perfect. No one ever looked at her and thought she was a cop. It made her a perfect

It also made everyone wonder what the hell she was doing with a scruffy, red-headed
sergeant like Vic Carponti, but hey, she’d stuck with him after he’d gotten blown up. And worse,
through his incessant bad tricks with his prosthetic. Shane watched as Carponti kissed his wife
on the cheek, then slung his good arm around her shoulders as they walked out. Shane was
reasonably certain Carponti tried to pinch Nicole’s ass with his prosthetic.

Life was never dull around Carponti, that was for damn sure.

Shane finished his therapy in blessed silence and headed to the locker room to change
back into his duty uniform. He took a deep breath, running his hand over his jaw. Last week, Jen
had slipped her body over his, her slick heat caressing his bare erection, and Shane had almost
died from the pleasure of skin on skin. No barriers. He didn’t know which one of them wanted it
more—the desire painting her features had been beautiful. And she’d gotten bolder since then,
driving him toward a little death each time he touched her. No matter how much he was tempted
to make love to her without a goddamned condom, he would not risk her life for a few moments
of pleasure.

He loved Jen. More than life itself. The vasectomy was a very real discussion he was
going to have with her very soon.

Sarah's Review: 
Thanks to Jessica Scott for writing a series about service members and making it realistic.  There is something about Ms. Scott's writing that makes me know even further that I want to work with Veterans and their families.

My first introduction to Shane Garrison was in Carponti's book, "I'll be Home for Christmas" and I was excited when I knew I had others to catch up on.  My second interaction with Shane was in "Back to You" which is Trent's book.  Yeah, I completely read this series out of order.  It didn't ruin anything for me, but I would recommend reading them in order.

Because of You:
Shane Garrison is that guy in the platoon that catches shit for both ends but you can tell that he is a soldier and will protect his platoon.  When Shane is injured, we see a different side of Shane.

Jen St. James is the nurse that is helping take care of Shane, but they had 2 brief interactions before they deployed.  Jen is not without her scars and history.  She knows something similar to what Shane is going through.  She gives him the kick in the ass when he needs it. 

Watching these two build their relationship is amazing and heartbreaking at the same time.

Anything for You:
Well, I won't say much about this one because Carponti says a lot of what I wanted to say and Jen is a stronger woman than I am. I would have hurt Shane.  Just saying.........

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