The Homecoming (Shelter Bay Series #1)

The Homecoming (Shelter Bay Series #1)

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by JoAnn Ross

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First in a heartwarming new series from the New York Times bestselling author

Former Navy SEAL Sax Douchett returns to his home town and is hailed as a local hero. But starting over is difficult when he unearths a long- buried secret that reunites him with a past he's never forgotten. She's Sheriff Kara Conway, a girl who's always held a…  See more details below


First in a heartwarming new series from the New York Times bestselling author

Former Navy SEAL Sax Douchett returns to his home town and is hailed as a local hero. But starting over is difficult when he unearths a long- buried secret that reunites him with a past he's never forgotten. She's Sheriff Kara Conway, a girl who's always held a special place in his heart. But as he cautiously reconnects with Kara and bonds with her young son, another long-held secret in Shelter Bar threatens their second chance at a life together...

Editorial Reviews

From Eloisa James's "READING ROMANCE" column on The Barnes & Noble Review

At cocktail parties I often find myself face-to-face with a man bent on proving that romances give women unrealistic expectations about the male sex. After reading one too many, he'll explain earnestly, she might dump a perfectly acceptable man simply because he can't talk about emotion as fluently as do romance heroes. His eyes shift uneasily as he makes his argument, well aware that he himself is no Prince Charming. Next time around, I have the perfect comeback: I've discovered some wonderful novels that depict the harshest challenge of all: falling in love with a man who, for one reason or another, is unable to understand emotion, let alone express it.

Christine Feehan's Water Bound probably depicts the most difficult of these relationships, because neither partner is comfortable with intimacy. Rikki Sitmore is a sea-urchin diver with the paranormal ability to make water obey her. What she doesn't have is the ability to read facial expressions; she's a high-functioning autistic. The man she saves from a rogue wave, Lev Prakenskii, is an assassin who is, he thinks, incapable of emotion. He suffers from an extreme form of PTSD that makes him a danger to Rikki: if startled, he instinctively attacks. Feehan deftly describes a kind of raw novelty in their every kiss: "He tasted passion. He tasted emotion. He tasted a world he'd never imagined, one he could never enter." Water Bound is a paranormal suspense, with a couple of baddies running around. But the heart of it is quiet and joyful, as two very lonely, very unusual people fall deeply in love.

Jack Wyndham, Earl of Gracechurch, is as damaged as Lev, though for different reasons. Eileen Dreyer's Barely a Lady spins a fascinating story about a marriage gone horribly wrong. Five years ago Jack divorced and ruined Olivia Grace, accusing her of adultery and leaving her penniless. She has every reason to wish him dead, and yet when she finds him on a battlefield, badly wounded and suffering from amnesia, she saves his life against all her better instincts. Like Feehan's romance, this novel is less about the machinations of evil men (though they exist), than about the slow blossoming of a very damaged man. The real problem standing between the pair is not Jack's fractured mind and body: it's that trust, as Jack finally realizes, involves faith. And until he keeps faith with Olivia, even in the face of the worst accusation of all, she won't have faith in him -- and he'll lose everything that might make his life worth living. Like Lev, Jack has to learn to accept the reality of his own violent past. But he, too, finds that love is a great healer. Barely a Lady is a deeply emotional, deeply moving novel that will make you believe in second chances.

Armand, Comte de Valère, in Shana Galen's The Making of a Gentleman, also shares a good deal with Feehan's hero. Lev is incapable of emotion because he was taken from his family as a young boy, and trained to be an assassin; Armand doesn't speak and can't bear to be touched, after having been kidnapped at age eleven and held in captivity for years. When his family hires a tutor in a desperate bid to push him toward civilized behavior, Felicity Bennett is horrified by her new charge: he howls rather than speaks; he wears no shoes or stockings; his mind is broken. The story of how Felicity woos Armand with music, teaching him to speak and follow "The Rules" is fascinating. You'll find yourself rooting for Armand, who knows immediately that he wants to marry Felicity, no matter her station in life. But she wants love, and he doesn't understand the emotion. The tale of how he learns that love is wanting to be with her in the morning and do anything for her smile…well, it will make you smile too.

Several of these novels look squarely at the side effects of being a soldier. Former Navy SEAL Sax Douchett, in JoAnn Ross's The Homecoming, finds himself dreaming of Afghanistan every night, unable to break free from his memories. Sax has come home to the small Oregon town where he grew up, bringing with him the wisecracking, sweet ghosts of three wartime buddies: Jake the Snake, Cowboy Montgomery, and Randy. After Sax's dog finds a human bone on the beach, Sax encounters the local sheriff, Kara Conway, a girl that he didn't have a prayer of winning back in the day. But now they've both changed. He's a bad boy turned American hero (with all the complications that implies), and she's the widow of a soldier, raising a small son named Trey. The Homecoming is a rueful, complicated tale about the power of love: not just the love between Kara and Sax, but the love between Sax, Jake, Cowboy, and Randy. When his teammates tell him they're finally free to move on -- "SEALS don't leave men behind," but Sax isn't stuck in the Kush anymore -- I dare you not to get a lump in your throat. At the end of this novel, Kara, Trey, and Sax have all learned to say goodbye to beloved, lost soldiers:  the love that binds them will carry them into a new life together.

Barring that little ghost problem and some terrible dreams, Sax is essentially a wounded man who merely needs to heal. But like Feehan's Rikki, the hero of Kristan Higgins's All I Ever Wanted is a person who has to be loved for himself, as personalities aren't "curable." Higgins's novel offers an utterly charming and hysterically funny account of falling in love with a social misfit. Callie Grey is turning thirty, and getting desperate -- desperate enough to pack up her cheerful dog Bowie and haul him down to the new (single) vet with a pathetic excuse. Ian MacFarland has, in Callie's words, "just a splash of Asperger's," along with a strong antipathy to what he terms Callie's "emotional diarrhea." I laughed aloud over and over as Callie learns to spell out every emotion so Ian can understand it, and Ian learns that a messy, emotionally challenging life is not the end of the world. It's rather wonderful to watch him discover that the one thing he's always avoided -- an emotional, impulsive woman -- may, in fact, be all he ever wanted.

These romances tackle the most difficult men of all -- those who are unable to express emotion, whether because of physical and mental trauma, or a twist of personality. These aren't fantasies about easy love or the perfect man. They will strengthen your belief in the most wonderful aspect of the human spirit: the capacity to love deeply and truly, even when one's beloved is walking a different road than the rest of us.

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Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Shelter Bay Series , #1
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Sales rank:
File size:
379 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

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Homecoming (Shelter Bay Series) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 73 reviews.
DoB77 More than 1 year ago
After reading the High Risk series I was glad to see that Ross was extending her stories of military heroes. I enjoyed the story between Sax and Kara but wish there had been more plot development like her previous books. I recommend reading the previous series before starting this one... you will have background on some of the characters that headlined the other stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading the Homecoming enough to entice me to buy the 2nd book in the series, One Summer. Enjoying that as well. I like to read about a good romance novel, but not the light porn erotica that's so popular now and making the best seller's list. This story did not offend me with too much sexual information. Just enough to give you the idea.
Judy_F More than 1 year ago
The Homecoming by JoAnn Ross is another incredible story of love and the path to happiness. Former Navy Seal Sax Douchett has returned home to Shelter Bay, Oregon. He is determined to put his war years behind him and start a much more simpler life. It seems everyone in town wants to honor the war hero at every turn, this is making things that much harder for Sax. His quiet life is disturbed when a long ago buried bone is found on his property. This brings the local law around, which is his high school crush Kara Conway. Sheriff Kara Conway moved back home to take over as Sheriff after the sudden death of her father. She also is brought home her young son Trey. Both Trey and Kara are learning to rebuild their lives without Jared Conway. Jared was killed in the line of duty and Kara believes Shelter Bay will help them both heal. Kara sees Sax as a great role model for her young son. He needs a positive male influence in his life. Spending time with Sax involving the bones found on his property has her seeing Sax as more then someone to influence her son. Sax always had a soft spot for Kara during high school. But he always knew she was Jared's girl. Now he sees her as a strong woman and someone that he wants to get to know on a more personal level. The Homecoming is stellar. The characters are complex and are dealing with real emotions. Their relationship isn't easy but the journey is well worth any stops along the way. The secondary romance of Kara's mother Faith and her deputy John O'Roarke is exceptional as it deals with love the second time around. You can't go wrong in picking up any JoAnn Ross novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put down. Once the story starts Kara and Sax just keep you going, you can't wait until the conclusion to see how it will all end. And on the side, there's the romance of Kara's mom Faith and John. Everthing just keeps coming, a very good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ms. Ross is a new author to me and I really enjoy her style, I will be ordering each of her novels!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Play a 2-chain song
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too boring to finish
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Crap. Sorry for sounding rude...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Soooo...when ish de parteh
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
U pick Alex.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Uhm.... hmmmmm..... Howa bout..... In the esrly evening Thursday? That way people won hafta leave so quick because of schook If we do it thursday night....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this would be an awesome book series but the writer puts in to much detail sexually in the characters attractions. I was disappointed, I don't mind reading about some but this was too much. I love Robin Carr's, and Susan Wiggs series and looked forward to this being simuler
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
lovemybooksMG More than 1 year ago
A romantic series with a bit of mystery too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago