By Heidi McLaughlin
Ryley Clarke has grown up with the military in her blood, with both parents serving their country. Ryley knows the risks of being married to the military. But when the unthinkable happens, and her future husband is killed in action, Ryley can barely survive… until Evan’s twin brother, Nate, helps her pick up the pieces.
After serving on a special mission with the military for six years, Evan Archer returns home to find the unthinkable – the love of his life, Ryley Clarke – engaged to his brother, Nate. With Nate on deployment, Evan needs to figure out what happened in his absence, and more importantly, how to win Ryley back from the man he once considered his best friend, but now thinks of as his rival.
Wow, I really got drawn into this one. HERE WITH ME starts off with Ryley and Evan visiting a therapist one week after Evan returned home from a six year mission to find out that he was declared dead years ago and his family and fiancé have grieved and moved on without him. To make the situation worse, Ryley was pregnant with his son, EJ, when he left and she has since moved on with Evan’s twin brother, Nate, who EJ thinks is his father. Yeah, fucked up doesn’t even begin to describe this situation.
The entire book is told in the dual POVs of Ryley and Evan, with Nate’s POV being the final chapter when he returns home from deployment. From their discussions with the therapist and flashbacks into their pasts, you find out how much Ryley loved Evan and how much Evan loved Ryley. You really feel the connection between them, and the confusion felt by everyone about what happened then and what’s going to happen now. But I think what I enjoyed most was the conspiracy element to the story. Evan’s been working a mission for six years and during that time he was receiving photos of his son, letters from his wife and care packages from back home. But when he finally returns home, he is told that he was killed in action and buried mere months after he left. So who’s behind all of this? Why did the team receive updates from and about their families while their families were told they were dead? Why have they suddenly been brought back home with no explanation? What will happen to the team and their loved ones if they start digging too deep?
The first 40% of the book takes place at the therapist’s office, which was a bit hard to follow and there’s a bit of duplication as we hear both sides of their stories. I’m interested to see how long it took Nate to make a move on Ryley. I don’t doubt that Nate loves her, but without having read his story yet, I don’t see how his love with Ryley compares to what she and Evan had. Evan intends to fight dirty to get Ryley back and is very angry with his brother for what he considers the ultimate betrayal. Everyone will be affected by whatever choices are made and by what’s uncovered regarding Evan’s mission. The Archer family will be torn apart, more so than it has been already. I’m really looking forward to reading CHOOSE ME (book 2) and hate that I have no idea when book 3 will be coming out.
Here With Me (The Archer Brothers # 1)
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