Just in time for Veteran's Day, a book filled with soldiers, war, and sex.
Other than the hot soldier sex – which we are in no way discounting – here's why we picked this book for review: A Tampa man, who happens to be smoking hot (that's his body on the cover) co-wrote it with romance novelist K.L. Grayson. B.T. Urruela is a disabled veteran who lost one of his legs in Baghdad. Go ahead and take another look at that cover. That's the chest that wrote sex scenes hotter than anything E.L. James ever sold.
Makes you want to hug a veteran, doesn't it?
A Lover's Lament, the first joint writing effort from Grayson and Urruela, stands a few things on its end, and if it occasionally does so awkwardly, it's forgiven in the strength of the story.
The first chapter opens with a sex scene between two teenagers, although clearly these teenagers got around a lot more than I ever did my junior year of high school. You slide into the read, thinking this might be not a bad book for some bedtime reading.
The next thing you know, it's 2 a.m., you haven't moved from the couch, you find yourself empathizing with a drunk driver, and everything happening overseas gives you new insight into those WWII movies. It's that sort of book.
A Lover's Lament alternates points of view between Katie and Devin. Katie, reeling from her father's tragic death, unintentionally begins a penpal relationship with Devin, her high school boyfriend now serving overseas. Between them, authors Grayson (who wrote Katie's point of view) and Urruela (who wrote Devin's point of view) craft a love story rising out of not one, but several tragedies.
The book has awkward moments; it is not a traditional romance following the formula romance readers expect. The story, however, compels the reader to keep going. Devin's chapters appeal to women but have a masculine tone often lacking in traditional romance novels; Katie's lighter tone balances the realities of war presented in Devin's chapters. The larger questions posed in the story, too, make this a distinctive read. Both writers have a tight writing style and take the readers on an emotional roller coaster throughout the book.
Grayson has experience writing romance novels; Urruela, for his part, is no stranger to tragedy. Before he was legally old enough to drink, the Army sent him to Baghdad. Two days before he was set to head home, an improvised explosive device hit his Humvee and he lost his leg. Over the following years, surgeries, physical therapy and PTSD became Urruela's constant companions. He emerged triumphant, and his achievements include co-founding VETSports, an outlet for veterans with both physical and emotional scars, extensive work as a male model, and now, published author. He puts his grit and his heart into his character, and his writing tells the story of many of today's veterans, albeit with a happier ending than many of the men and women serving the United States may face.