Just a Kiss by Denise Hunter

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Riley Callahan’s plans to reveal his secret feelings for his best friend are derailed when his life is drastically altered in Afghanistan.

Watching the love of his life fall for his brother was enough to send Riley straight to boot camp. But over a year later, he’s officially a marine, and Beau and Paige are no longer an item. When Riley’s tour in Afghanistan is up, he intends to confess his feelings to Paige and win his best friend’s heart once and for all.

But all that changes when an IED takes the life of a comrade and leaves Riley an amputee. Now he’s heading home, injured and troubled. His plans to win Paige are a distant dream. She deserves so much more than the man that’s left. All he can do now is put some healthy distance between them. But upon his return he discovers his family has arranged for him to stay with Paige.

Paige is a nurturer at heart and happy to take care of her best buddy. By all appearances Riley is adjusting miraculously well to his disability. But as the days pass, Paige begins to see that the smiles and laughter are just a mask for the pain he’s hiding. To make matters worse, her job is in serious jeopardy. The animal shelter that she’s poured her heart into has lost its funding, and she has three months to come up with the money needed to save it.

As the weeks wear on, Paige’s feelings for Riley begin to shift into uncharted territory. Why is she suddenly noticing his arm muscles and the way his lips curl at the corners? Will she be able to deny her feelings for another Callahan brother? And will Riley let his heart heal so he can let Paige in? – from Goodreads


Denise Hunter pushes the boundary of what is acceptable in Christian fiction in romance. This book is no different. An unmarried man stays with an unmarried woman and doesn’t raise many questions from the characters except from the unmarried man because he is in love with the woman he is forced to stay with and doesn’t want her to know. There are also numerous make-out sessions that made the romance more steamy. The scene with Paige’s mom seemed forced and that it was included and orchestrated solely to move the story along. It felt contrived and left me disappointed in how Riley left. One of the things I really enjoyed about this book, though, was how real Riley’s struggle dealing with the loss of his leg felt. The ups and downs he went through before he came to acceptance with the loss of his leg and allowing people to help him felt genuine.
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