A Resilient Love Story
What happens when friendship catches fire?
Former Marine and lower-leg amputee Carey Everett keeps a grueling schedule of counseling fellow war veterans and their families. The injury he received in Afghanistan forces him to rely on a reserve of strength he didn’t even know he had. A much deserved vacation will let him reconnect with his best friend, who saved his life and has been there for him through devastating injury and painful recovery.
Part-time EMT and aspiring singer Jase DeSantis has been in love with Carey for years, but he’s come to accept that his straight friend will never be able to offer more. Jase fills his days with band rehearsals, ambulance shifts, and willing groupies, all while trying to cope with debilitating PTSD.
A week of sun, fun, and music in San Diego changes Jase and Carey’s lives forever when their relationship takes an unexpected turn. Jase has been longing for that change, but it leaves Carey reeling with confusion. As Jase fights to hold things together, Carey deals with doubts, fears, and his own preconceived notions about labels and the true nature of love.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
FiveStars If I could, I WOULD give it more than 5 stars!!! This is my first novel by Melanie Hansen, and I have to say the Prologue grabbed my attention. This was one of the most profound, heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching, and beautiful journey's I have read and I read a lot!!!! Jase and Carey met and became friends when they were both in Afghanistan. One was on the front lines, one was a medic. When Carey was wounded, Jase saved his life, and the feelings Jase had for his friend were forever, and deeply embedded in his heart. Carey was indebted to Jase but he also wanted to forget everything that happened during the War. They remained friends but it was strained...until Carey decides to take a visit to Jase, in San Diego. And what ensues is a panty-melting page turning seduction that will leave you flushed and breathless. *fans self* Phew!!! Melanie Hansen has an incredible way of describing so many gut-wrenching and heart-felt moments, you will sob out loud without even realising it, and not care either. I would suggest not reading this in public as the emotions won't be contained. Both have very difficult inner battles to overcome. The war did not leave them unscathed. But with each by their side, the battle doesn't feel so lonely.... Sigh. I devoured this in one sitting, one morning actually, could not put it down!!! That is all I got, and if you are getting the impression that I loved this author, and the story is a MUST READ, then I said enough. I was given this in return for an honest review by Inked Rainbow Reads. Reviewer: Kimberley FiveStars This is truly a beautiful piece of writing. The enduring friendship between Marine Corey and Medic Jase is forged in the heat of an Afghanistan warzone. The men are inseparable on deployment until a tragedy leaves Corey badly injured and Jase trying desperately to save his life even if he can’t save his leg. Both men return from the war deeply damaged, but their friendship is immutable. What Jase never tells Corey is how much he truly loves his straight best friend. Hansen’s elegant prose elevates this book beyond the average wounded warrior story. Her characters are complex and fully developed. Hansen never shies away from the realities of war or underestimates the strain of civillian life on former servicemen and women. Her plot drags readers back and forth in time until we have no hope but to fall madly, deeply in love with both of her captivating leading men. A character in the story explains that “the best kind of love is friendship that has caught fire.” Hansen captures this love with sensual, sumptuous language. Corey’s growing awareness of Jase sexually is delectably slow. The chemistry between Jase and Corey is explosive, delivering moments of almost unbearable desire. The slow burn attraction between two men who have loved each other for a very long time is painfully sexy. Highly recommended. I was given this in return for an honest review by Inked Rainbow Reads. Sarah FiveStars Get your Kleenex ready, that's all I can say. This book was heart wrenching, romantic and funny. The story revolves around two ex military guys and their PTSD. It will tear your emotions apart. It's about Jase and Carey, friends in the war. Jase saved Carey's life and was their for him after the war as he struggled through a trying period. Their emotional battle to find each other romantically was so sweet and yet heart breaking at the same time. Carey struggled with his feelings. But together they could conquer anything. This is an excellent read, I highly recommend this book. I can't wait to read more of Melanie Hansen's writing. I was given this in return for an honest review by Inked Rainbow Reads. Sherry FourandHalfStars Jase and Carey are kind of an odd couple. They had such a close connection while in the army – so close, that they stayed connected even after the tragedy that is war touched their lives. Carey seems to hold all of his emotions in side. He hides himself away. Hints from his past creep in to the story and the reader can then guess as to why Carey is the way he is. His character was a hard nut to crack – despite his inner dialogue, he was very frustrating at times. I wanted to hit him over the head to get him to really see how he was living. Jase is much more free spirited. He is much more go with the flow. However, even with that attitude, he was not unaffected by the war and he has his own demons to overcome. Despite years of loving each other, neither was able to express that love for quite some time. The story of their love is a struggle – it is filled with years of meaningless encounters with other people, sometimes with each character floating through their life, not really living. While I thought the story was slow at times, I really liked how Hansen brought it all together. One quote that really hit home was “Just give me one more day. And if that’s all you have to give me, it just today, I’ll take it.” I think that is a great way to get through rough times. This story was about survival, love, finding yourself and finding happiness even among the broken pieces of your life. Today is not tomorrow, nor is it yesterday and these characters were able to live in the moment. So many times, people are not able to do that. So, this story was touching, hopeful and romantic. I was given this in return for an honest review by Inked Rainbow Reads. AvidReader
4.5 stars- Raw emotion with a hopeful tone I love military romances, but because I’m a military wife, I’m also picky. Everything Changes is a fantastic romance that deals thoroughly and respectfully with combat veterans. This book addresses both the psychological and physical wounds left by war- one hero is an amputee and the other suffers from PTSD. After reading this book, Melanie Hansen solidified her place as my go to author when I want a military romance that is as honest as it is beautiful. There is a lot of military information and scenes throughout this book- some narrated as flashbacks. Told in vivid detail, the author never shies away from the hard truth, yet keeps the overall tone uplifting and hopeful. The specifics occasionally slow and disrupt the pace of the romance, though excluding them may have taken away from the story’s raw quality. I think this may be a case of a lot of elements within too few pages, between the history, their individual pasts, and the friends to lovers romance a lot transpired. That said, there are plenty of moments the narrator couldn’t read fast enough because I just had to know how a scene played out. While the pace may have fluctuated, I never lost interest in the Jase and Carey’s story. The dialogue and writing is solid and the sexy scenes certainly aren’t lacking in heat. The characters have depth and their emotions are as vivid and palpable as the combat scenes. The connection between Jase and Carey is well established throughout the book, and you can feel the unbreakable bond the men shared. The chemistry builds off that and is strong both in and out of the bedroom. Despite having a deep friendship that morphs into more, lust fuels the bulk of the romance, particularly for Carey. This aspect works well within the gay-for-you frame. However, I found myself wishing there was a bit more exploration of Carey’s hang-up in admitting his attraction to Jase and reluctance to form a relationship. The subject is broached a few times, but I think a bit more detail would have propelled this romance to a greater depth. I listened to this as an audiobook and I have to comment on the narration. I had not heard anything narrated by Robert Nieman before, but going forward I’ll seek out audiobooks he does. He uses excellent intonation, even including breath support to match the scene and emotions. Everything Changes is told in the third person omniscient voice, but the way Mr. Nieman narrates, the characters and their thoughts always come through unmistakably. While he doesn’t use voices per say, he uses distinct inflections which make it easy to follow along with Jase and Carey’s viewpoints. It truly was a performance and one of the better audiobooks I’ve listened to. Once again I am taken by this author’s raw storylines and intriguing characters. Everything Changes proves this is the type of book I can continually expect from Miss Hansen and guarantees I’ll read all her past and future works. If you enjoy the GFY trope, military romances, or even friends to lovers romances, I highly recommend this one. *Reviewed for Alpha Book Club*