I love debut novels for the simple reason that it’s a fresh voice and that’s exactly what I found in ONCE AND FOR ALL, book one of the American Valor series by Cheryl Etchison. Thank you for allowing me the privilege of reading it.
***eCopy provided by author/publisher as a gift, but I’m sharing my honest and unscripted review
Blurb for ONCE AND FOR ALL:
The Rangers of the 1st/75th fight hard, train hard and play hard. They are physically strong and mentally tough, disciplined and courageous. But all their military training hasn't prepared them for falling in love.
Rule #1: Military and matrimony don’t mix.
But if there’s one person Staff Sergeant Danny MacGregor would break all his rules for, it’s Bree—his first friend, first love, first everything. Maybe he likes playing the hero. Maybe he’s trying to ease ten years of guilt. Either way, he’ll do whatever he can to help her.
Wish #1: A little bit of normal.
Bree Dunbar has battled cancer, twice. What she wants most is a fresh start in a place where she can find a new job, and where people aren’t constantly treating her like she’s sick. By some miracle her wish is granted, but it comes with one major string attached— the man who broke her heart ten years before.
The rules for this marriage of convenience are simple: when she’s ready to stand on her own two feet, she’ll walk away and he’ll let her go. Only, as they both know all too well, things don’t always go according to plan…
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Bree has battled and survived cancer twice but it has done a number on her life. No job, no hope of one as long as any perspective employer thinks it will increase the company’s insurance premiums, she has no choice but to live with her folks and not have a life of her own. Not only that, but she feels like everyone thinks of her as being sick rather than being a survivor. Her greatest wish is just to be able to live her life, get a job, get back to normal, and unencumbered by worried watchful eyes. She knows they all mean well but she’s a grown woman and wants to live her life, her way.
When Danny comes home on leave…the first in a very long time…he discovers the girl he left behind has had one rough time of it. When he thought she’d moved on, he did. He joined the Army and chose a new life, one that didn’t include Bree Dunbar but now he wants to help her. He wants to give her what she wants most…her life back. With an offer of marriage, he wants to help her get free of her life as it is, start over, and get back to living a normal life. When she’s ready, he will let her go, if she wants, free to live her life, even explore love with someone new if she wants. Only once they start spending time together, he knows he wants her only to spend her life with him.
Orders take Danny back into action and an email gives Bree the chance to get what she wanted, but then everything changes in a blink of the eye.
ONCE AND FOR ALL by Cheryl Etchison started out a bit awkward and I wasn’t sure I was going to like this story but then I saw the friendship that exists between Bree and Danny. I understand this story. I understand Bree’s feeling trapped in her life and understand her accepting Danny’s offer of rescue. I had to laugh when Bree says, “If it weren’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all” because I say that same thing all the time, which is why I could connect with Bree. I’ve never had cancer, but I understand completely your life no longer being your own.
It is the life-long friendship growing into an adult love that made this story so wonderful. The characters are real and honest. Although, I was a bit put off that it took Bree so long to talk to Danny about her cancer but admittedly, in the beginning of their marriage, it wasn’t important. I appreciate his acceptance and caring for her, even after a decade apart. They may have split in their romantic relationship but their friendship was one that would last a lifetime, and all really good love matches are based in friendship first and foremost.
I truly recommend ONCE AND FOR ALL, book one in the American Valor series by Cheryl Etchison because it’s a real romance, even if it starts out a little wonky, and a little unrealistic, it’s real and it’s special. Cheryl has a wonderful voice and a talent that I think will take her storytelling to greater heights. I look forward to reading more from this debut author. Maybe brother Michael, will get his story too.
Happy Reading Everyone!
ONCE AND FOR ALL, an American Valor novel by Cheryl Etchison, Avon Impulse, available now in ebook formats, and later in print (June 28th) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobobooks.