Just a Kiss is the third book in the Summer Harbor series, written by Denise Hunter and published by Thomas Nelson. I have really enjoyed this series, and am sad to see it end. I was hoping that this would be the best book of the series, but for some reason, something felt off about it to me. The story seemed to be researched with regard to Riley’s injury, but, well, I don’t know. Riley’s character didn’t seem as realistic as he did in book one.
Paige Warren has always had a thing for the Callahan boys. First she was best friends with Riley through tough personal problems of her own, then she dated the eldest, Beau, which made Riley crazy, then after Riley enlists to get away from seeing Beau and Paige together and returns, she’s caring for Riley.
Riley Callahan has always loved Paige, and it was torturous to watch her with his brother. Thus, he enlisted into the Marines–only to have the couple break up around his going-away party. Now back from deployment with one less leg than he left with, Riley has mixed feelings about seeing Paige again. On one hand, he is excited to be reunited with her after all their Skype chats, but on the other hand, he doesn’t feel worthy to be with her because of his survivor’s guilt, PTSD, and one leg.
I wish that I could pin down what felt “off” in this book. Maybe it was the fact that Riley had to stay at Paige’s house during his recovery. Or that Riley didn’t seem as realistic of a PTSD victim as did Jake Porter in Becky Wade’s A Love Like Ours. Maybe it was how Paige and Riley fought over stupid things and had poor communication even though they were supposed to have this great, long-lasted friendship. Friends have to know how to communicate. Maybe it was also that the climax seemed weak, and the romance not as strong as in the first two books.
Really though, I did enjoy this book–I read it over one weekend. I would still recommend reading it, especially after reading the other two in the series, although it does work as a standalone. It was a sweet story, and I hope I didn’t dissuade anyone from reading this, as it is still worth reading. I only wanted to explain why it was four instead of five stars for me.
Thank you so much to Thomas Nelson for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.