Soldier On by Sydney Logan
NA, college romance
Published 2014 by Mountain Media
About the Book:
Will his call of duty break both their hearts?
Losing her father in Desert Storm has left Stephanie James with a bitter soul when it comes to the military. As a college senior juggling a full course load, Steph's only goal is to graduate with honors at the end of the semester. She’s focused, determined, and a firm believer in all work and no play. Then she meets Brandon Walker at a New Year’s Eve costume party. Despite his disguise, Steph finds herself attracted to the camouflaged soldier who curls her toes with a scorching midnight kiss.
Brandon is an engineering major and ROTC student from the hills of Kentucky. Growing up as the son of a major general has given Brandon firsthand knowledge of the struggles military families sometimes face. Now that his father’s memory is fading, Brandon is even more determined to make his dad proud and graduate as an officer in the United States Army. Then he meets Stephanie, and suddenly, his focus is less on his military service and more on the pretty brunette who has stolen his heart. When he becomes aware of Steph’s resentment toward the military, he worries their relationship is doomed.
Steph unexpectedly finds herself in need of a roommate. Brandon volunteers, thinking it’s the perfect opportunity to show her the real Brandon, before he’s forced to admit the truth about his four-year obligation to the army. Afraid that living together will be a distraction to graduating on time, Steph establishes house rules—rules they both find difficult to obey.
When faced with the realization that she's fallen in love with a soldier, can Steph’s wounds from the past be healed with love in her present . . . and in her future?
Stephanie is in her last semester of college, focused on graduation and finding a teaching job. Between her class work and job, she doesn't have time to date, even if she found someone who interested her. Then on New Year's Eve she shares a midnight kiss with a stranger, and something changes. Suddenly she can't stop thinking about him, but she doesn't even know his name.
Brandon is also in his last semester of college, racing to finish his engineering degree before heading to Basic Training. On an ROTC scholarship, he's already committed four years of his life to the Army after graduation. Between classes, physical training, and his job at the local coffee shop, he doesn't have time for dating either, but that sizzling New Year's Eve kiss opened his eyes to the possibility of love.
Except there's a catch, of course.
Stephanie's dad died before she was born, killed overseas in Desert Storm. She wears his dog tags to keep him close to her heart, but can't forgive the military for taking away any chance for her to know her father. She definitely doesn't want to repeat her mother's mistakes and fall in love with a soldier. And she has no idea that Brandon is ROTC.
I love the way the author fully develops each character, exploring the emotional complexities of both their motivations and their reactions to circumstances. The story is told in alternating first person POV, the chapters labeled with the narrator's name. I found myself as torn as the characters, hoping and rooting for a resolution that would allow love to triumph without sacrificing either of their dreams. The secondary characters are also engaging and fully developed with their own agendas.
Sydney Logan has a masterful way with writing emotional conflict, as well as dragging you into the story and not letting go. Not only does she write from the heart, she makes it all real -- I have a son currently attending a military academy and so much of Brandon's POV reminded me of him, and how he thinks about serving his country, that it struck a deep chord. I think readers with military connections will find this story especially poignant, but I totally recommend it to anyone who likes to read sweet college romance.