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(US & INT)
Lt. Grayson Masters is focused on graduating the Apache helicopter course, and the last thing he needs is his gorgeous new roommate Samantha Fitzgerald distracting him. While her smart mouth and free spirit are irresistibly irritating, he can’t deny their off-the-charts chemistry, no matter how hard he tries.
Having just been expelled from college, Sam has no business digging for Grayson’s secrets while she’s hiding her own, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to tear down his walls. Each barrier she busts through drops one of her own, though, and she’s not prepared for the truth: another woman laid claim to Grayson’s heart long ago.
Falling in love is something neither Grayson nor Sam can afford, and when that line is crossed and secrets are exposed, they’ll learn that sometimes it’s the answered prayers that will put you through hell.
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Grayson’s choices were so calculated, so deliberate, I doubted he’d ever so much as been late for a class.
“Samantha?” His eyes softened, revealing the give in him, and it cracked my own defenses.
“Have you ever made a mistake, Grayson? And I don’t mean the kind that costs you an apology. I mean one that destroys you? Where you lie awake at night, unable to sleep, because you’re terrified of what’s going to happen the next day, and the one after that? Where you’d give anything, and I do mean anything to go back and make a different choice? Where you’re sick all the time at the thought of what you’ve done? Because I have. I’ve crumbled my entire future, shredded any hope of finishing college, and killed off who I used to be. And I don’t...I don’t know how to come back from something like that.”
“You don’t.” I jerked back, but he held me immobile against him. “Stop, and listen to me. I’m not going to belittle you by saying nothing is that bad, because some things are. Things happen that change who we are, and what we’re capable of. So you’re not going to ‘come back’ from that any more than you’re going to erase whatever you did. You have to decide if you’re going to try to keep patching yourself up or if you’re going to tear down and rebuild.”
“I don’t know how to do that.”
“You wade through the pain, and the guilt, and the excuses you make to yourself. Stop drowning in alcohol to numb the fear, and suck up the bitter taste of accountability.
You move on with who you are now. It’s not easy. If you think you screwed up that badly, then maybe you did, but you also have to leave room for the chance that you didn’t. Have you talked about it?”
I shook my head. There were two of us who knew the whole truth, and that circle was big enough. “I’m not sure I’m ready to let go of everyone’s vision of who I am. It’s so much prettier than the truth.”
“Not even Ember?”
“Definitely not think-through-everything-twice Ember. She wouldn’t understand, and I’m not sure I could handle her reaction.”
He swallowed and broke our stare like it had become too much because we both knew the truth—it had. “That’s the hardest part, letting someone see who you really are— scars and all. I’m...” He cleared his throat. “You need to trust someone enough to tell them the truth. Make peace with it before it eats you alive. I listen really well if you don’t have anyone else.”
I scrambled to throw up a wall between us. It was safer when he was hurling snotty comments at me. That, I knew how to handle. But this Grayson? The one holding me carefully, keeping me warm while the storm raged outside, offering to help carry the crippling weight destroying me? I didn’t know what the hell to do with that one.
What I thought about Beyond What Is Given
The last thing Grayson wants or needs is to get involved with someone. He's super-focused on his career as an Apache pilot and his secret obligations at home. But when Sam(antha) ends up renting a room in the house he shares with Josh and Jagger, he can't resist her as much as he tries.
Sam is running from an incident at her old college, and when she can't get accepted anywhere else, she ends up taking Jagger's invitation to rent a room. She's not looking for romance either, but neither Grayson or Sam can stop the attraction between them.
I love it when the main characters can't fight off their attraction, and as a reader of this series I've been waiting to find out Grayson's secret. It's a serious situation he's in, and his behavior shows incredibly strong character. But he's also a bit wishy-washy when he has to make a choice between Sam and his past, and I was pleasantly surprised to read that it's Sam that helps him see the light, although some of those moments were painful and might require a quick dab of a tissue. I loved that she's the one that says and does the hard stuff in this story, because it's true that behind every strong man stands a strong woman.
Sam also manages to put herself first, even though it's clear that she loves Grayson deeply. That took some sacrifice, and I felt her pain right along with her.
I really love this series. There's a lot said about strong personal character and doing the right thing, even though it may be painful. These stories are such an ode to the military man and their women that it just fills my heart with a wonderful feeling and respect for our armed forces. I hope that someday we'll get a story about a woman pilot from this author.
While Beyond What is Given didn't have quite the level of drama and tears as the previous two books in the series, it's still a great read. And there are some great scenes with Josh and Jagger too. So overall, another winner from Rebecca Yarros! I'll be waiting patiently (maybe) for her next installment in the series.
ARC provided for review.
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When she's not writing, she's tying on hockey skates for her kids, or sneaking in some guitar time. She is madly in love with her army-aviator husband of eleven years, and they're currently stationed in Upstate NY with their gaggle of rambunctious kiddos and snoring English Bulldog, but she would always rather be home in Colorado.