On Broken Wings by Chanel Cleeton | Wild Aces #3
Published on January 3rd, 2017
ARC from Netgalley
| Book Review |
I may have discovered this book late in the year, but as soon as I did, On Broken Wings soared to the very top of my most anticipated list. And I was not disappointed. This was one of those books where it was so damn good I just know my review isn’t going to do it justice. Every word was beautiful, seeping with emotion and breaking my heart more than the last. But don’t despair, reader friends. My heart was (barely) intact by the end of this read.
First off – I love a story where the widow’s previous marriage was a happy one. Not only because I feel like it’s not the norm, but because you suspect someone who was that content isn’t going to settle for anything less the second time around. Dani and her first husband, Joker, were incredibly happy together, but she didn’t have this man on a pedestal. She loved their marriage as it was, imperfections and all. She just didn’t think she could find that happiness again. Luckily for her, Alex ‘Easy’ Rogers is out to prove her wrong. (Even if he doesn’t know it yet.)
Dani and Easy’s road was a rough one and a long one (especially for Easy,) but boy was it ever comfort food to my reader’s soul. There were things that happened in this story that frustrated me, but not in a way that made me angry with the actual writing. It was more like, ‘man. I know it needs to go down this way, but why, oh why?’ One of my frustrations was Easy’s friends telling him to be careful with Dani. As if he would ever do anything to intentionally hurt her. And I know, I know. They were looking out for their brother Joker’s widow. But I just wanted to reach into the book and shake them and say ‘can’t you see how much this man loves this woman? Leave him alone! He is broken, damn you!’ I don’t say this often because I don’t feel this often, but I feel like Easy was made to love Dani. That his one purpose on this Earth was to love that woman. And he was so damn good at it. I love the way he appreciated every single moment with Dani, no matter how ordinary that moment might seem. Nothing about her was inconsequential to him.
And there was one scene with Dani that broke my heart, but even while I was frustrated with her character, I knew exactly where she was coming from and understood her choice. For me, that’s what separates a good writer from a great one. When the character makes choices that kill you, but you can’t possibly be mad at them because the author has so clearly communicated their motivation. To be honest – when I started reading this book, I wasn’t sure Dani could possibly be in a place at the end of the story where she was ready to move on, but the events that took place really made me believe she was. And I think it helped Dani that Easy loved Joker, too, and wanted to treat his friend’s memory with respect. At the end of this story, I was convinced that the way things went down were the only way they could have for Dani and Easy to find their way together. This story was absolute perfection. And the title of this book…wowza. It could not be more aptly named.
While this book is amazing, I don’t recommend reading it as a stand-alone. You could, for sure, and appreciate Dani and Easy’s story on its own. But there are things in the first two books that lead up to this one, and I guarantee that if you read this book and love it (which you will, love it, that is,) and then decide to go back and read the others, you will be kicking yourself in the ass for reading them out of order. (Thanks to Birdie Bookworm for keeping my ass straight and making sure I did not read book three before book one!) There are appearances from previous characters in the series, and I loved seeing them. They were pertinent to the story going on, and, of-course, I am always up for a Noah-sighting! (Psst…things happened in this story that made me love him more than I already did. Can you even believe that’s possible???!??!??!) I love the camaraderie between these men.
I know this review has already just been one big endorsement for On Broken Wings, but wait! There’s more. This series has reinvigorated my love for Contemporary Romance. It had everything I love, and it has made me so excited to read more from the genre I’ve always loved most. I would feel 100% confident in recommending this series, knowing that while this series keeps its momentum, each story’s circumstances are so different that even with the reappearance of previous characters, they remain new and fresh. My only complaint? These books are not in audio yet, and as that is the best way for me to re-read, I need them! I plan on rereading this series. Often. Let’s make this happen!
To recap – read this series! You won’t be disappointed.
| Rating |
Series: Wild Aces
Snippets I loved:
Hadn’t I always known we hurtled toward this? That at some point, the bill would come due, and eventually he’d go up in the air and the sky wouldn’t give him back.
The thing about being a widow was that you never knew when the tears would come. You could have a string of good days, and then something would set you off—the scent of your husband’s cologne on a stranger, the sound of a jet screaming overhead, your wedding song playing on the radio. Apparently mine had come today.
Some women slid under your skin so deep, you couldn’t carve them out no matter how hard you tried.
Her hugs weren’t casual; no, she hugged you as though she meant it, and I couldn’t resist the urge to let her hold me close, for my palm to rest on her back as I inhaled the scent of her shampoo. Her hair was silk against my face, a strand brushing across my lips. She wasn’t curvy, but she was soft, her body the kind you wanted to curl up against. The height difference between us was significant enough that she felt tiny in my arms, and the familiar need bubbled up inside me—to protect her, love her, worship her.
I wasn’t someone who messed around with married women or the kind of guy who would ever move in on a bro’s girl. There was a code to this stuff and it was the same code that made us willing to die fighting to protect the guy at our side. I’d vowed to put her out of my mind, that whatever I’d felt in that moment, or thought I’d felt, wasn’t real, didn’t matter, had to be forgotten at all costs. Two years later, I was still trying.
I knew the reputation I had in the squadron—player, asshole, manwhore—and I couldn’t care less what people thought about me. Hell, I’d worked hard to cultivate that reputation and had a pretty damn good time doing it. As fucked up as it was, in my world you got ahead by being the flashiest guy in the group, by having a larger-than-life personality that translated to how you handled yourself in the jet. Ours was not a profession for the meek or humble. There was an arrogance to what we did, an absolute belief in yourself that often meant the difference between life and death, a need to be the biggest, baddest motherfucker in the sky and on the ground.
Maybe that was what drew me to her—the way she made me want to work to be a better person, to be more than I’d ever thought I could be. Flying came easy; the rest of it? Not so much. Maybe that’s why it mattered more, why I felt more like a hero when she swept those green eyes my way than I ever did in the sky.
There was something about Easy, the way he held on to me as though he wouldn’t let me ago, how he scanned the parking lot as if I was someone he wanted to protect, that gave the impression bad shit didn’t go down on his watch.
“What would you do if you were me?”
“You’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel, asking me for advice, aren’t you?”
“You’re all almost married and shit. I figure you have to have learned something.”
He was silent, and when he finally did speak, his answer shocked the hell out of me. “Maybe you should make a move. A small one. A move that’s not a move. See if she responds.”
“‘A move that’s not a move’? What the fuck does that even mean?”
“That you should do something that gives her an out in case she’s not interested so you don’t freak her out. Do I really need to spell this out? Aren’t you supposed to be a woman-whisperer or something?”
“Call me Alex.” He reached out with his free hand, his fingers skimming my jawline, and the ache grew. “I want to hear you say my name. My real name. Not my call sign.”