5 Hearts

Welcome to Forever (Hero’s Welcome #1)           by Annie Rains

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Welcome to Forever
Hero’s Welcome #1
By: Annie Rains
Releasing December 1, 2015

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Synopsis 

If you love Kristan Higgins, Susan Mallery, or Jill Shalvis, you won’t want to miss the Hero’s Welcome military romance series! Welcome to Forever introduces a small coastal town where America’s best and brightest risk everything for love.

In Seaside, North Carolina, there are two kinds of people: Marines, and kids of Marines. Then there’s Kat Chandler. Recently hired as the principal of Seaside Elementary, Kat makes it her mission to turn the school into a place of peace and calm. That’s not going to be easy with hard-liner parents like Micah Peterson storming in, telling her how to do her job—and then kissing her with those gorgeous lips of his and turning her brain into mush.

As a Marine Sergeant and a single dad, Micah Peterson has just two priorities: doing his job better than anyone else, and getting the absolute best for his son, Ben. ​But when 

he meets Ben’s beautiful new principal, a different yearning shifts into focus. He wants her, sure, but he’s also moved by the connection Kat forges with her students. So after learning that she refuses to date Marines, Micah sets two more objectives: convincing Kat to give him a chance . . . and then holding on to her forever.

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           I received an ARC from 
​   Netgalley for an Honest Review. 

​Super – Duper Cute! I am a sucker for military love stories. If you are from a military family then you know the difficulties that come with that line of work. I know from my own personal experiences, being a military wife. Long nights alone, husband gone for weeks or months at a time. Many times you feel like a single parent. As a child you are not sure how often you may get to spend with your mom or dad. As a parent your relationship with your child/children may be strained. It is its own lifestyle and culture. Grocery shopping, award events, days off, lingo, and more create the differences in those that are military and those that are not. 

This story is bitter-sweet. Our male and female protagonist are both struggling with loneliness and responsibility. Kat is the local elementary school principle. Micah has taken up working on the school grounds part-time. He is still on active duty status training his unit at the Marine base. While not at work he is taking care of his 8-year-old son who has cerebral palsy.  Kat and Micah have strong chemistry. They both struggle with external influences and internal loneliness, that they refuse to verbally acknowledge. 

I think the story is really great. The dynamic between Kat, Micah and Ben is touching and real. I love Ben. The kid is so funny. The author did a great job showing the struggles of being a single parent and raising a child with a handicap. No matter what was going on around Ben, he always tried to have a positive and optimist attitude. He was our little matchmaker in the story. 

There was only one thing I was not to pleased about with the book. There is a conflict between Micah and his father. His father is a Colonel, who expects Micah to put the Marine life first and everything else second. They have a few encounters and Micah usually brushes-off his fathers comments. When he stands up to his dad about leaving the military his father is a jerk – which we all know was going to happen – I just wish we had a some type of resolution between the two. 

Spoilers Ahead:
After Micah comes back from the deployment that is he forced to go on because of his father, we have Kat and Ben waiting for him to come back. We have our happy ending, but we do not have any resolve with the Colonel? I mean does Micah get out of the military once he is back? does the Colonel have any type of relationship with him and Ben? I felt that, that part of the story left us hanging, while everything else was resolved.  


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Kat Chandler
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Micah Peterson
 Should you read it?
Yes.
​It has struggles with family and career.
It has just enough steam to 
​satisfy your need for romance. 
Over all I give the book a 4 star rating. 
It is well done and I truly enjoyed it. 
I am looking forward to the next book in the series. 
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     “Have you thought about that kiss?” she asked, as he leaned in close to fasten her seatbelt. She couldn’t control what was coming out of her mouth. “Because I have. A little.” She started laughing again. Val had warned her that she was a horrible drunk, and evidently, it was true.
    “What have you thought about it?” he asked, his voice low and bristly. Her buckle snapped into place with a loud click. He could step back now, but he didn’t.
     And she didn’t want him to. What was the point of being drunk if you couldn’t say and do what you wanted, and then apologize for it in the morning? No one blamed a drunk, they blamed the drink. “I thought that I liked it. The kiss. It was amazing.” She held her breath as he lingered in front of her, his hand still resting on the seat’s buckle.
​     “I thought the same thing.”
     “You did?” She swallowed thickly, as her heart rode up her throat.
     His brow lifted. “You sound surprised.”
     “I’m out of practice.” She nibbled on her lower lip, drawing his gaze there. Then his gaze flicked back to her ring. Just the thought squashed the flutterings in her chest, leaving a deep ache that vibrated with the alcohol. “He’s been gone for two years,” she said.
     Micah’s brows pinched together softly.
     Explaining about John in her state wasn’t a good idea, though. She might start crying, which she didn’t do in front of others anymore, and right now all she wanted to do was forget everything but their kiss. That she wanted to remember. “You could kiss me again,” she said softly.
     His smile deepened and, damn, he smelled good.
     Leaning in closer to her ear, his hot breath melted her as he whispered, “Kat, you’ve had too much to drink. I’m taking you home now.”
     Before she could process what he’d said, he stepped back and shut the Jeep’s door, the sound as offensive as if someone had crashed cymbals in her ears. A moment later, he reappeared on the driver’s side and cranked the engine, another sound that made her wince.
    She closed her eyes, unsure of what to do with her drunken emotions.
    “If I kiss you again, I want to be one hundred percent sure it’s what you want. Not because my almost ex is walking up and you want to help me out. Not because you’ve had too much to drink and want to escape.”
    She suddenly felt very tired, as the Jeep Cherokee headed out of the parking lot. “So, you are going to kiss me again?” she asked. Before she could hear his answer, though, her eyes closed and the sounds of the road and his voice, and the blood thundering in her head, blurred together. She remembered their kiss, the feel of his stubble roughly brushing against her cheek, and the way he had smelled like pine and fudge brownies.
    No, wait. His eyes reminded her of fudge brownies. He didn’t smell like them.
    Her eyes fluttered open. Yeah, she was definitely going to regret tonight in the morning.” 

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Author Interview Questions 
Annie Rains author of Welcome to Forever


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​Annie Rains is a contemporary romance author who writes small town love stories set in fictional towns on the coast of North Carolina. Raised in one of America’s largest military communities, Annie often features heroes who fight for their countries, while also fighting for a place to call home and a good woman to love. When Annie isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and 3 children, or reading a book by one of her favorite authors. Represented by Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency ​ (NYLA).


About the Book:

In the story Micah has a lot to deal with just regarding his job and position in the marines. What prompted you to have him be a father to a child with a handicap?
 
I have a heart for children with special needs. I have worked with many children with special needs in my day job as an occupational therapist. I didn’t make a conscious decision to give Ben cerebral palsy when I started writing the book—it just happened when he wheeled himself on the page. I’m so glad it did, though. I have already had so many people tell me how much they love Ben. He kind of stole the book in a way.
 
What was your inspiration for Micah and Kat’s relationship?
 
I knew I wanted Micah to be a Marine because Hero’s Welcome is a military series. Since he was a single father, it felt natural to make my heroine (Kat) someone who worked closely with Micah’s son. I pulled inspiration from my life, which is immersed in the military and educational communities.  
 
Will we see Kat, Micah and Ben in any future books of yours?
 
Yes, definitely! Book 2 follows Kat’s sister, Julie, and Micah’s best friend, Lawson. And book 3 follows Kat’s best friend, Val, and new-in-town bad boy Marine, Griffin Black.
 
What can we expect for the next book, Welcome Home, Cowboy?
 
Expect to see a sexy cowboy-turned-Marine wearing yoga attire—all for the love of a good woman.
 
Getting to Know You:
 
What got you into writing? Did you always want to be a writer?
 
Yes, I have always been a writer! I remember writing my first stories at age 6 and telling my grandfather that I would be an author and a ballerina when I grew up. My ballerina dreams fell to the wayside, but not my love for writing.
 
As a mom of a toddler I understand there are only so many times you can read and watch the same books and shows. You are a mom of 3, so tell us which book and movie can you read and watch 100 times and still enjoy it with your kids?
 
My kids are still little (7, 5, 1), so if they’re watching T.V with me it better be an animated movie or I’m in trouble. I love all the cartoons they enjoy, though (or most). If I’m watching a movie on my own, I could watch You’ve Got Mail on repeat forever. . . As for books, I love reading Harold and the Magic Crayon to my children.
 
What authors do you enjoy reading the most in your spare time?
 
I love Kristan Higgins! She’s so witty and laugh out loud funny. I also enjoy Lori Wilde’s sweet and sexy romances. Jill Shalvis is another go-to author for me.
 
             Thank you so much for the interview, Book Plus Heart! This was a lot of fun!



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