Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: hot (not erotic hot though)
Publisher: Kaylea Cross
Publishing Date: May 2013
Series, #: Not a series
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The Civil War has torn Brianna Taylor’s family apart and made her a widow. Determined to ease the suffering of the wounded crowding the Union hospitals and honor the memory of the man she loved, she embarks on a career as a nurse. But then he arrives—a patient who makes her feel alive again in spite of her resolve to stay detached.
Captain Justin Thompson understands the cost of war all too well, yet he felt compelled to fight for the Union his father died defending. Wounded at Cold Harbor and left to die at a military hospital, he owes his life to Brianna, who seems determined to guard her professional boundaries despite his best efforts to breach them. Just as he’s winning the battle for her heart, he’s forced to return to the front of a cruel war that could very well separate them forever.
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As you may know by now I am a huge history geek and so when the opportunity to review The Vacant Chair, a civil war romance, came around I lept at the chance. I am extremely glad I did. While a work of fiction the accurate historical detail is astounding.
The hero of The Vacant Chair is Justin Thompson a captain in the Fifth Michigan Cavalry known as the Wolverines. Justin and his brother Mitch are both injured and end up in a Union army hospital where a beautiful nurse he met in passing is working, Brianna.
While she helps to restore his health they fall in love.
Breanna is a widow who saw her first husband die at the beginning of the Civil War in appalling conditions in an army hospital because of that she dedicates herself to becoming a nurse and saving as many young men as she can. Brianna because of her dedication saves Justin's life when he is wounded and brought to her hospital.
This romance follows some of the ugliest fighting and situations of any war in this countries history. The detail is rich and descriptive as well as moving and heartbreaking. Ms. Cross brings us into the war and into the lives of not only Justin and Breanna but of their families as well. The gripping tale of long distance love during a time of war and the anticipation and worry are written in a way that you can feel it along with the characters in the story.
While this does have some steam it doesn't reach what I would consider erotic and is done well so it flows with the story and doesn't feel like the author added it to make the book racy. It is very well done. Overall I must say this is well worth your time to read.
The Vacant Chair excerpt for My Reading Obsession:
Justin’s gaze darkened with longing. He gathered her hands in his and squeezed them, staring straight into her eyes. “I’m falling in love with you.”
Her heart drummed in her ears. Brianna’s feelings for him were so intense she hadn’t dared trust them. Was that possible? For her to fall in love so quickly? She couldn’t speak, simply drank him in and knew that no matter what happened, she’d remember this moment for the rest of her life.
“I think you care about me too,” he continued, his hands warm around hers. “But are you willing to wait for me?”
A nervous jitter started in her belly. “Yes, I absolutely will.” Her heart pounded like she’d jumped off a cliff.
Justin laughed at her astonished expression. “I realize we haven’t known each other very long, and there’s always a chance I won’t live to see the end of the war—”
She put a hand over his mouth to stop the awful words and shook her head. “Don’t even think like that.”
He pressed a kiss to her sensitized palm before pulling her hand away. “With you waiting for me, how could I not come back?”
Fear bubbled up, thick enough to choke on. She buried her cheek into the hollow of his shoulder, afraid of losing him as she had everyone else. “I don’t want you to go.”
Justin cupped her face between his hands and tipped her head back to settle his gaze on her mouth. Her heart skipped a beat when his lashes dipped down and he lowered his head toward her. Brianna met him half way.
A rush of sensual heat swept through her when his lips settled over hers, firm and warm. She made a soft sound of relief and gripped his shoulders as long-buried desire exploded inside her.
Justin angled his head and took her mouth in a velvet caress of lips and tongue. His clean scent wrapped around her, citrus and soap, and he tasted of the lemon tarts she’d seen in the kitchens earlier. Her body tightened, pulsed, and her thoughts scattered. Even wounded he was much stronger than her, yet so gentle as he held her head still. He slid his tongue over her lower lip, turning her liquid with the hunger she sensed raging beneath his controlled exterior.
It only intensified the ache inside her.
Raw need ignited in her blood. Her breasts tingled as a wave of heat engulfed her, making her breathless. This kiss wasn’t enough. She wanted his hands on her, all over her bare skin. Wanted to hold him inside her body as deeply as she could. She craved the release her body clamored for. Brianna shifted to her knees and twisted closer to him. A frustrated whimper slipped out of her and she arched her back to press her breasts against him to find some relief.
Justin held her firmly in place, teasing her with his tongue. Impatient, Brianna touched her tongue to his. He tangled both hands in her hair and groaned as he fused their mouths together.
Meet Author Kaylea Cross:
Kaylea Cross writes edge-of-your-seat military romantic suspense. Her work has won many awards and has been nominated for both the Daphne du Maurier and the National Readers’ Choice Awards. A Registered Massage Therapist by trade, Kaylea is also an avid gardener, artist, Civil War buff, Special Ops aficionado, belly dance enthusiast and former nationally-carded softball pitcher. She and lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband and two sons.