There’d forever been a thread running through Trevor Estes’s life—his son, Riley, strong and constant like a heartbeat. But when Riley is killed in combat, everything in Trevor’s life unravels into a mess he doesn’t know how to mourn.
Then Jesse Byrne, Riley’s friend and platoon mate, arrives on Trevor’s doorstep with a box of Riley’s things. Jesse’s all-too-familiar grief provides an unlikely source of comfort for Trevor: knowing he’s not alone is exactly what he needs.
Trevor never imagined he’d find someone who fills his heart with hope again. As the pair celebrate Riley’s memory, their unique bond deepens into something irreplaceable—and something neither man can live without.
But diving into a relationship can’t be so simple. Being together means Trevor risking the last link he has to his son…leaving Jesse to wonder if he’ll ever be enough, or if Trevor will always be haunted by the past.
This book is approximately 120,000 words
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Read an Excerpt
July 2007 — Ten months before
Trevor Estes winced and glanced toward the open window, resisting the urge to go look out. The men in the backyard weren't children, but ...
A loud splash and some whoops had Trevor pushing out of his chair and hurrying to the window. The party was rowdy, but nothing was broken and nobody had gotten hurt — yet. Trevor jumped as he felt strong arms wrap around his waist, a chin coming to rest on his shoulder.
"Everything's fine, babe," Carl whispered in his ear.
Trevor shook his head. "That damn keg. Some of them are underage. What if —"
"Trev, if they're old enough to go to war, they're old enough to have a beer first." Carl's voice was firm. "Besides, you laid the rules out for Riley before you agreed to the keg. Nobody drives, everybody stays the night. You collected all the keys, right?"
Trevor nodded, waving his hand at the small plastic bucket on the corner of his desk. It currently held all the car keys surrendered to him at the door by grinning young men who'd made a beeline for the backyard pool and the full keg his nineteen-year-old son had talked him into getting.
Carl tightened his arms. "Then let them have their fun tonight, just guys hanging with their buddies, swimming, having some brats and beers."
Trevor took a deep breath. It wasn't the party, or even the keg, not really. It was the thought of the next day, of the goodbye, of sending his son off into the unknown ... The keg was just the convenient target of his anxiety.
Carl seemed to realize this, because he gave Trevor a gentle kiss. "You're wanting to play dad one more time tonight, and that's okay."
Swallowing against the gigantic lump in his throat, Trevor forced out, "How am I going to get through this deployment, Carl?"
"Like every other parent, every other spouse, every other loved one does. One day at a time."
With a small sob, Trevor turned and hugged Carl close, breathing deeply of the comforting, familiar scent of his aftershave. He let himself wallow for a few moments, then, squaring his shoulders, pulled away. "You're right. I'm not the only dad saying goodbye to his son tomorrow. I've got to get a grip."
"That's the spirit." Carl winked at him and ran the backs of his fingers down Trevor's cheek. "Now go man that grill and try to have a good time. You know if Riley sees you upset —"
"I know." Trevor pulled Carl's head down to give him a hard, smacking kiss. "Thanks, babe."
The doorbell rang with a loud, echoing peal, and Trevor hurried to answer it. He swung the door open, saying brightly, "Hey, I'm Riley's dad, Trevor. Here for the party?"
The man in the entryway nodded. "Yes, sir. I'm Jesse Byrne, one of his roommates at the barracks."
Trevor stuck his hand out and they shook, looking each other over. Jesse was a few inches taller than Trevor's 5'11", military-cut blond hair bleached almost white by the sun. He was wearing a pair of board shorts in a loud Hawaiian print and a faded cotton tank top with the words Polite as Fuck printed on it. When he pushed his sunglasses to the top of his head, Trevor could see his eyes were a bright blue-green.
He seemed a little older than the other guys, maybe early twenties instead of late teens. Good. At least there'd be one legal drinker in the bunch. Trevor tried to remember what else Riley had told him about his roommates but couldn't bring anything to mind.
He stood back to let Jesse into the house. "I need your keys before you drink. House rules." Jesse didn't protest, just handed him the keys without comment, dropping them into Trevor's outstretched palm.
"Thanks. Everyone's in the back swimming, and I'm about to grill some burgers and brats. You hungry?"
"Yes, sir." Jesse's voice was deep and husky, with what sounded like a hint of the South in it.
"Well, go on out and join the party. We'll eat soon."
Trevor gestured toward the French doors leading to the backyard, and Jesse nodded. Loud exclamations from the others greeted his arrival, and soon the splashing and yelling escalated again as Jesse joined them in the pool.
Carl was right; they deserved their fun tonight. These young men, barely out of high school, had volunteered to serve their country and now were headed straight into harm's way. Trevor hurried into the backyard to search out Riley, who was standing in the shallow end of the pool with Jesse's arm thrown over his shoulders.
They were laughing, so young, so carefree. Trevor traced his son's face with his eyes, committing the happy moment to memory.
What would the year bring? Would Riley come home a totally changed man?
Of course he would. He was going to war.
Just let him come home, Trevor prayed. Please, God, just let him come home to me.
* * *
Trevor flipped the burgers before grabbing some tongs to turn the brats, listening to the sounds of merriment coming from the pool behind him. The eight young men in attendance seemed to be enjoying themselves, and the trash talk was flowing, thanks to the beer. Trevor, standing at the grill not far away with his back to them, was getting an earful. "What we need now are some girls," someone commented lazily, and there were several grunts of agreement.
"I could call Brittany to come over." Trevor recognized Jesse's voice. "She fills out a bikini like you wouldn't believe. Huge tits."
"Fuck yeah, man, call her. Tell her to bring some friends."
"Fuckin' A, let's get some chicks out here."
Riley's voice. "Nah, man. My dad won't let us have girls over."
Loud exclamations of disgust, and then Riley gave a loud belch. "Look, I was pushing it to get the keg, assholes. Beer now, girls later. I figure that's what Italy is for." Trevor glanced over his shoulder in time to see Riley, standing at the edge of the pool, waggle his eyebrows and do a sort of swiveling hip thrust.
"Hell yeah." A guy named Smitty reached over and high-fived Riley. "We're gonna rock their worlds, bro."
Trevor turned back around to hide his grimace. Sorry, ladies. A bunch of cocky, drunken idiots are the last thing you need.
"Hey, Estes, you a trust fund baby or something?" This from a dude Trevor thought was named Enriquez. "Your dad loaded? This house kicks ass."
Riley's voice got louder as he headed to the keg set up not far from where Trevor was standing. "Just works hard, man. He's an accountant, does rich people's taxes and shit."
"This backyard is something else. Never seen anything like it."
Trevor looked around the backyard as if seeing it for the first time. It was large, meticulously landscaped. The custom pool was built in the style of a rock grotto, complete with waterfall and a "cave." An elevated hot tub was set to one side of the waterfall, with some lush greenery giving the whole thing a tropical effect. Trevor was grilling in the elaborate outdoor kitchen, which included a wet bar boasting a granite countertop and four leather stools. White Christmas lights were woven through the trees and the latticework over the porch year-round, giving the whole backyard a cozy yet cheery effect. He loved it.
"Well, even if we can't have girls, fuckin' awesome house and fuckin' awesome party, dude," Smitty shouted from the pool.
"Thanks, bro," Riley said, coming around behind the bar to switch on the outdoor surround sound system, the satellite radio set to a contemporary pop station. Speakers cunningly disguised as rocks piped the music throughout the backyard, and soon the sound of splashing and yelling once again filled the air.
Riley clapped Trevor on the shoulder as he passed, throwing him a cheeky grin and a wink.
God, I love you, kid.
His heart full, Trevor watched as he set his beer down on one of the many small tables dotting the pool decking and dove with a whoop into the deep end, joining the water volleyball game in progress.
The French doors opened and Carl emerged from the house carrying a huge bowl of potato salad and a plate full of sliced tomatoes and lettuce leaves for the burgers. A few more trips with condiments, chips, plates and utensils, and the top of the bar was soon set up buffet-style. As Carl passed behind him, Trevor turned and caught him around his trim waist, pulling him close and giving him a soft kiss on the lips.
"Thanks," he murmured, and Carl reached up to pat Trevor's cheek before pulling away.
As Trevor slid the cooked burgers onto an empty plate, he caught a glimpse of Jesse watching him narrowly with a deep scowl on his face. Uh-oh. Great. Riley has a homophobe for a roommate. Trevor ignored him, setting the plates of steaming burgers and brats down before bellowing, "Come eat, boys!"
A mad rush from the pool, towels grabbed and wrapped around waists, and soon chattering, dripping young men were gathered under the covered porch, piling plates high with food. They retreated to sit on the chairs ringing the pool, stuffing their faces like they hadn't eaten for a week.
Trevor shook his head, heading inside to grab some more burger patties from the fridge, his grill duty apparently not done for the day.
"Your dad is a fuckin' grill boss, Riles." The words were muffled as the speaker mumbled around whatever was crammed into his mouth. Trevor smiled to himself. He loved to cook, had even taken a few classes at the local culinary school. Nice to hear his efforts were appreciated.
The food was consumed as fast as Trevor could grill it, and he wondered where they put it all. Everyone was in great shape: lean, fit bodies honed by hours of PT and Army training.
How many of them would come home in one piece ... or in a body bag?
Trevor refused to let his mind go there, using a wire brush to scrub the grill's grate viciously until sweat was dripping off the end of his nose and the muscles in his arm burned. He tossed the brush aside and braced his palms against the bar top, breathing hard.
"What's up?" Carl handed Trevor a plastic bottle of water, watching while he gulped it down. Trevor shook his head and swiped the back of his hand over his mouth before tossing the empty bottle into the recycling bin.
"You have to let him go, Trev," Carl continued, reading the expression on Trevor's face. "We've been over and over this. Riley's an adult, and going into the Army was his choice —"
"But I don't have to fucking like it, Carl," Trevor hissed at him. "I'm fucking allowed to not fucking like it!" His voice rose a little at the last, and Carl put a hand on his back.
"No, you don't have to like it. But that kind of attitude won't help. If anything, you should feel —"
"Don't analyze me right now, Carl," Trevor interrupted wearily. "Just don't."
Carl's hand dropped from his back, and Trevor could tell by his body language that he was hurt.
"Carl —" he tried, but Carl was already turning away.
"I'm trying to help, Trev. You don't have to take things out on me." He went back inside. Trevor slumped down onto a bar stool. Carl loved him, and God knew Trevor was crazy about Carl, but he didn't seem to understand that Trevor was saying goodbye to his only child, his baby ... and sending him off to a place he might never return from.
Trevor sighed. He should cut Carl some slack for not being able to empathize. He was here, and he cared, and that meant a whole heck of a lot, it really did. Trevor needed him, now more than ever, and he shouldn't let this fester.
As if Carl had read his mind, he reappeared and stood in front of Trevor, looking down at him.
"I'm sorry," they both said in unison. Trevor spread his knees and pulled Carl to stand in between them, wrapping his arms around his waist and putting his head on his chest. Carl threaded the fingers of one hand through Trevor's hair, rubbing his other hand up and down his back, holding him close.
At last Carl pulled away. "I'm going to go on in, take a shower. I'll be waiting to ... take your mind off things a little, if you want." He tilted Trevor's chin up and kissed him deeply, thoroughly, until Trevor was clutching him around the waist again.
"Be there in a few," he rasped, and Carl brushed their lips together one more time before heading off into the house, giving himself a discreet adjustment as he went. Trevor scrubbed his hand over his mouth, breathing hard, waiting until his own body calmed down before standing to finish the cleanup.
He caught a glimpse of Jesse watching them again, a look of anger now in his eyes ... anger tinged with disgust. Trevor wanted to flip him off, but he didn't, deciding to ignore the little shit.
By the time Trevor finished oiling the grill and getting everything put away, dusk was falling, and the sunset was gorgeous, lighting up the Colorado sky with brilliant purples and pinks. Even though the late summer day had been hot, as the sun went down the air grew a little chilly, and Riley turned on the outdoor gas fireplace, the flickering flames making everything seem warm and inviting.
The young men sprawled about on the outdoor furniture, talking desultorily about the upcoming deployment, the married guys who were getting some that night, and how good the beer was. A few of them were smoking, the acrid smell of cigarettes drifting to Trevor's nose. He was enjoying eavesdropping on their conversation, and he fixed himself a cup of coffee, sitting at a small bistro table deep in the shadows on the porch.
A loud belch cut through the air, a couple of the other guys exclaiming, "Jesus, Byrney, excuse you."
"Fuck off." Jesse's voice slurred, and he ripped another belch even more obnoxious than the last. Trevor's lip curled. Drunk as a skunk.
"Damn, I wanna get laid tonight," Jesse went on loudly. "One last taste before we have to go without, dude. C'mon, let's get some girls out here."
"We can't." Riley's voice was firm. "My dad's house, his rules."
"Don't you want one last chance to be balls deep —"
"Shut up, Byrne, you're drunk," Smitty interrupted, although his words were just as slurred as Jesse's. "Talkin' about girls gonna make my dick hard."
"Ah, but you're in luck, Smitty. From the looks of things, you could probably get your dick sucked 'round here, no problem."
Trevor froze, and there was a charged silence before Riley said, his tone sober and deadly serious, "Watch it, Byrne. You do not want to go there with me in my own fucking home."
Trevor got up and slipped inside the house to watch and listen through the open French door, knowing Riley wouldn't want or need his interference. This was a battle his son had fought many, many times before.
"Daddy, what's a cocksucker?"
"What?" Trevor whirled around to see seven-year-old Riley standing in the doorway with a tear-and snot-encrusted face, his cheekbone bruised, his lower lip split and bloody.
"Steve's big brother called you a cocksucker. I don't know what that is, but I kicked his butt ..."
"I'm just saying," Jesse sneered, "that I didn't know your dad was a —"
The sound of a chair being scraped back. "You'd better fucking consider carefully the next word that comes outta your mouth. You didn't know my dad was a what?"
Trevor clenched his hand on the edge of the doorframe, resisting the urge to charge out there and get involved. He could see the mutinous look on Jesse's face in the flickering light, could almost see his lips forming the word fag before he amended it at the last minute to gay.
"I didn't know your dad was ... gay." The emphasis on the last word was insolent, rude. "All right? Gay."
"Knock it off, Byrne," Smitty started to say, but Riley cut him off, crossing his arms over his chest.
"Yeah, my dad is gay, and his boyfriend Carl lives here with him. If you got a problem with that, I'll call you a cab right now and you can get the fuck out. Or if you'd rather settle it a different way, well ..."
He beckoned to Jesse, balancing on the balls of his feet, and Jesse lurched to standing.
Jesus, no. Don't let it end like this ...
Jesse took a half-hearted drunken swing at Riley, stumbling, and in one smooth move Riley pivoted to the side and used Jesse's forward momentum to shove him right into the pool. Jesse went in face-first with a graceless splash, resurfacing to shouts of "Weak!" and everyone hooting and hollering. The shock of the cold water seemed to sober Jesse up a little, and he scrubbed his hands over his face.
"You gonna say shit about my dad when you're drinking his beer and eating his food?" Riley growled. "Fuck you, man."
He and Riley stared at each other for a moment, and then Jesse pulled himself slowly from the pool to stand dripping on the deck. "Sorry, Estes," he mumbled. "I don't like those kind of people being in my face, that's all. But I'm at your house, and I shouldn't have said all that shit."
Excerpted from "Point of Contact"
Copyright © 2018 Melanie Hansen.
Excerpted by permission of Carina Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I couldn't stop reading this book! From the first page till the last you had me caught. I was stuck with each character and how much they meant to Treavor. The relationship you made between his son and his best friend was unbelievable. This story could of been real from the very beginning. Congratulations on a book well written. W. Sparks, SC
What an amazing, heart wrenching, loving book. The love Jesse has for Riley, is gut wrenching. Takes your breath away and has you laughing out loud. While I would technically, classify is as a romance novel, it was just an over all fantastic read. I wish it would have went into slightly more detail about Jesse’s other teammates, but it didn’t leave that ache of wonder either. The love that Trevor has for his son is inspiring. Would definitely recommend to anyone who can stomach war novels or 9/11 related material.
Melanie Hansen’s novel Point of Contact should come with these directions: arrange your tissues next to your wine glass, open a bottle, and pour… you’re going to need it. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much over a story as I did with this one. It is completely and utterly heart-wrenching. Several times I wondered if I could persevere. But persevere I did, and believe me, it was worth every tear. Reading this one was a process. Between the crushing grief of a parent who loses his child, and a soldier who holds his best friend’s hand and eases him into death, this is a very moving, emotionally-draining story. Some passages were so painful I’d make a deal with myself; if I could just finish the chapter I’d call it a night. But the writing is so enthralling I never stopped reading, and before I knew it I was right back in the thick of it again! What made this story extra special for me is all the time Hansen spends introducing the characters in the beginning of the book. Seeing Trevor as a secure and successful man makes such a difference in understanding how he copes with tragedy. Likewise, spending time with Riley and his buddies before they head off to Afghanistan, and while they are deployed, adds perspective to their relationships and makes the aftermath much more intense. Initially I was skeptical of the premise. Melanie Hansen is a new author for me, so I was interested to see how she would develop the relationship between Trevor and Jesse. I did wonder how these two men could come together, support each other through this tragedy, and end up developing romantic feelings for each other. Well, the whole romance aspect of this story is done beautifully. The relationship develops slowly, after Jesse gets home from Afghanistan. Trevor’s whole world has fallen apart, all his visions of the future are completely shattered by his son’s death. He can’t live, can’t work, his relationship with his fiance crumbles and he’s a total wreck. Jesse reaches out, offering support and asking for the same. As the two men share their memories of Riley they develop a bond, and together they find peace and some closure. I was impressed with the way Melanie Hansen handles the physical connection, as the men grow closer. It’s never far from Trevor’s thoughts that Jesse is experiencing his first romantic relationship. And he can’t help but second-guess everything. Trevor wonders how this gorgeous and sensitive young man could ever want an old guy like him, and flounders over feelings for his son’s best friend. It feels so genuine, it really worked for me. Their encounters fluctuate between intensely passionate and sweet explorations that fade to black, and are beautifully erotic. Trevor and Jesse’s honest discussion, that they’d never be together except for Riley’s death, rings true for their characters. It’s a bittersweet pill to swallow as both men work through their feelings and try to be okay with finding happiness together. The other very moving portion of Point of Contact for me was watching Jesse and his fellow soldiers work through the process of healing as they come home from war. They deal with survivors’ guilt and PTSD, especially when their loved ones can’t handle it and leave them. They need each other’s support now more than ever. To keep moving forward, they recognize that their fallen brother’s didn’t get this opportunity. As Jesse tells them, “‘We owe it to those guys to live our lives in a way that honors theirs.’”
What a wonderful, heartbreaking, painful and romantic story. I always expect major catharsis reading read Melanie Hansen stories, since she usually takes me apart before putting me back together again, but none hit me quite so deeply as this one. I’m going to add a warning for anyone who has ever lost a child; proceed with caution. The narrative opens with Riley as a fully participating character in the months preceding his death. Even knowing what was coming, and my completely different circumstances, the emotional impact was more than I expected. I understood the author’s intent, I think, to get to know this boy, this man, this soldier, to see the way he impacted lives around him, and get a real grasp on what Jesse and Trevor went through. It speaks to the author’s prowess in painting her characters so vividly. The book is long, but didn’t feel long because events keep moving and drew me along easily. After part one, it picks up a year after losing Riley, as Jesse returns home from war, and covers several months in time. Trevor is still mourning, and there are those who don’t understand that people don’t process loss in the same ways. Jesse tries to help Trevor, offering his own memories of Riley, spending a lot of time reminiscing with him, but it’s not all sad and mournful, mostly how they help each other move forward. Trevor and Jesse don’t actually become a couple until later in the book since both have other matters to be settled in their lives. The story gradually becomes lighter in mood, shifting to fun and sexy at just the right pace. It’s stays very realistic too, since Trevor is much older than Jesse and sometimes they run into obstacles. I’ve tryied really hard to explain how much I loved this, without too many spoilers, and encourage reading it. Every story the author writes is an emotional journey about real life circumstances, blending them with hope and positive, uplifting messages. This story is no different and has the kind of epilogue that will only bring happy tears; it’s an awesome HEA. I would highly recommend this story.
5++++ Stars So, first thing first, from just the blurb I knew reading Point of Contact would be an emotional journey and it was, it was angsty and I went through so many tissues reading it. Truly, this is a book to be savored and devoured in the comfort of your own house, it might cause sporadic bursts of tears and we don't want those in public, do we? While I will admit that I'm sensitive and it's not all that difficult to make me cry, Melanie Hansen had me sobbing my eyes out, completely broken over both Trevor and Jesse's pain at losing Riley. I swear I'm dehydrated and exhausted from the emotional rollercoaster, Ms. Hansen took me through. PoC is not truly a romance—although it does have one—but it's a love story. It tells us about Trevor's unconditional love for his son and Jesse's love for his brother in arms, and the love they find together while grieving for Riley. Again, it wasn't an easy read, but it's completely worthwhile. Trevor was an amazing father and even if Riley wasn't planned, he did his best to provide for him and be the best dad he could be. The way he missed Riley when he went on deployment and then his pain at finding out he'd been killed were so poignant, so acute, so real, that as a mother I just couldn't not relate to him. And Jesse, sweet, responsible Jesse, who'd already gone through so much since he was a little boy helping take care of his Deaf parents and then being left on his own at 18 after they both died, hiding his sexuality so he could join the army and then suffering the rigors of war and being there with Riley until he died so he wouldn't be alone, I just wanted to hug him and make it better. It's obvious Ms. Hansen did her research, apart from her inner knowledge as to how the army works and the process of grief, but more than that, she was able to put it into words that reached my heart and made me care for these men and want a HEA for them. I loved the progression of Jesse and Trevor's friendship into them becoming lovers. It was a slow burn, but I could feel the tension and the feelings growing between them and when they finally made a move forward, it was beautiful, hot, sexy and loving. They not only had amazing chemistry, but had this intangible bond of their love for Riley and their support for each other that made it even more special, deeper, more meaning. I loved to see both their relationships with Riley and how truly special Riley was for everyone he came in contact with. I also enjoyed seeing that Jesse was still there for his brothers, especially Watty, once they were back from Afganistan. All in all, PoC is a book you can't miss out on, emotional, sweet, angsty, fantastically written and did I mention heartbreakingly angsty? Just don't forget the tissues, because believe me, you're going to need them. Highly recommendable! *** Copy provided to the reviewer via NetGalley for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***
Trevor’s love for his son and Jesse’s love for his friend drive this story. These men come together, mourning their loss by remembering his life. While slowly becoming aware that maybe, even though Riley is gone, they don't have to let him go. Realizing that maybe his memory can be the path to their future. My reviews tend to tell as much of the story as I can by giving away as little as possible. The synopsis tells us Riley died. It didn't say it was gut wrenching and poignant and heartbreaking. I rarely cry while reading but this one brought so many tears, mostly sad but surprisingly a few happy ones. This book will go into my forever library. Beautifully done.
Very deep, emotional story. I read Point of Contact a few weeks ago but just couldn't seem to find the words to write my review. It's the first book I've read by Melanie Hansen but I sure look forward to reading more of her work. If you like a "meaty" story, this one's for you. The book spans a fairly long period of time and is broken down into before and after. The first section begins with us looking in on a party at Trevor's house – his son Riley and his friends are having one last fling before they deploy. Section two beings 8 months after Riley's death. The blurb for the book is good so I recommend reading it. One of the things it doesn't tell you is that there's another relationship in the story (there's no cheating) and it added another level of complexity to an already complex story. I also don't think the blurb can convey how much feeling there is to this book – it broke my heart in more than one place. Even though I knew going it that Riley dies, reading how it all happened, and how it affected those who loved him, was tough at times and had me in tears more than once. It's been a long time since I've read a book that is as complex as this one and I loved it. Melanie Hansen has crafted a story that grabbed my attention and held on to I from start to finish. It's a very emotional read but well with the ride. A review copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley but this did not influence my opinion or rating of the book.
I’m not one to regularly cry over books, but this one got me more than a few times. Point of Contact hit all the emotions: pride, friendship, loyalty, fear, sadness, grief, and love- both new and everlasting. I knew this book would tear at my heart, which is probably why I delayed diving into it as soon as it landed on my device; but I had no idea just how much it would impact me and is my favorite book of the author’s to date (which is saying a lot). Point of Contact was incredibly touching. The author didn’t spare readers any of the pitfalls as she detailed the main characters’ grief and coming back from those dark places to find hope and move forward to make a new normal, while still honoring old memories and those lost. The writing in Point of Contact was smooth, descriptive, and beautiful, the pacing measured. There was an ebb and flow of action, but every moment had a purposeful role in developing Jesse and Trevor’s characters and story. I especially loved the honesty in emotions and dialogue of both the main and secondary characters. I say honesty because not only was the emotion clearly written and palpable, but I’ve heard my husband and friends, who are combat veterans, say many of the same things. It was a window into an experience and Miss Hansen managed to expose vulnerabilities while showcasing strengths. More than a slow burn romance, this was a gentle love story. By the time the two men got together, I was already thoroughly invested in both individuals. Their romance acted as an undercurrent to their personal growth stories rather than the main attraction. That isn’t to say their love story wasn’t poignant or heartwarming, because it was, it’s just that I see Point of Contact as much more than a beautiful love story. It’s a life-affirming, emotional survival story. There’s not an author I trust more to deliver a military story and romance with grace, dignity, respect, and integrity than Miss Hansen, and Point of Contact is a perfect example of why. This title will definitely be a top read of all time for me, let alone 2018, and I certainly recommend it to any reader who doesn’t mind shedding a few tears over a book. *I received an eARC via Netgalley. The publisher and author had no influence over this review*