Love is never easy. It’s especially difficult when you love a Marine. I knew the risk when I said “I do”, but I chose to love anyway.
In a flash, he was taken from me, and now I’m alone. Struggling and desperate. There’s no hope, no future. Just the endless cycle of day-to-day survival. But a letter returned could change all of that.
Hope and love often come from the last place you’d think to look, when you least expect it.
* * *
I was a lost, broken soul, tortured by the memories of what I’d endured. When I visited that old farmhouse in rural Texas, all I wanted to do was return the letter. Keep a promise to a friend.
What I got was healing. Understanding. The chance to find a measure of peace when all I’ve ever known is war.
We both lost everything. But in each other, we found something worth fighting for.
“I vowed to love and remain faithful to Tom in sickness and in health, till death do us part. Well, death parted us. Now what?”
When Derek West survived the unmerciful hands of the enemy, he was sure it shouldn’t have been him. He had no obligations, no people before or after him willing him to return home. But his best friend, Thomas Barrett? The same Thomas Barrett who died a brutal death, right in front of Derek? He didn’t deserve to die. That man needed to stay alive. And it’s not like Derek didn’t beg for him to go instead of Thomas. But fate just laughed at him and did what it wanted to.
“Tell her…she’s everything.”
Reagan Barrett poured all her love, her desperation and the one secret she had withheld from her husband into her last letter to him. She told him how he needed to come home, no matter what. By the sheer force of her passion, she willed him to back to her safely. She reminded him of how they’d met, what they’d been through in order to reach where they are and how she hated when he went but supported him, nonetheless.
All of this in a letter that he would never read.
And when Derek returns, a mere shell of the happy man he used to be, he finds comfort in the last place he’s accepted to be welcomed—in the arms of his best friend’s widow. What follows is a tale of forgiveness and moving on, of looking at the past with fondness and accepting the future with love.
Derek and Reagan individually had a lot of issues. Pretty understandable, expected even, considering their circumstances, but from the very beginning I had a feeling that they would be electric together. These two kind souls, although damaged, had so much love to give and that showed in their every action.
And through all this healing, they have their moments of guilt and have to sort through an array of what ifs. And if this isn’t enough, the Marines aren’t done with Derek. Not by a long shot.
To say that Derek and Reagan had “chemistry” would be the understatement of the year. They had their faults and that made them far from perfect but they were perfect with each other, and that’s all that matters. This was not only illustrated by the actual way they were with each other but also by the Wilders’ unique way of writing. I’ve never made a secret of the fact that the way Jasinda writes has my heart and while Wounded will always be my absolute favorite, I can’t deny that she’s an equally amazing job with Captured.
I’m a true believer of the fact that, given the right reader and the ideal circumstance, a book has the power to change you. It can change the way you look at things. It can change the way you look at yourself. But more important than all of this is another unique power that the written word holds: the power to make you a better person.
And I’m not saying that Captured made me a better person. What I’m saying is this: Captured made me think about my actions. War isn’t any good for any one. One killing does not justify another. But these are seemingly petty reasons for me to give while I turn a blind eye towards war veterans who’ve sacrificed their futures for my safety. So while Captured has not made me look at war differently—I still loathe it—it’s definitely changed my outlook of the people who endure war, if that makes sense. And that’s more than any other book has ever done for me.
I so, so wanted to see what Rania and Hunter were up to, too and I thought that the fact that they got little mentions throughout the book was enough to keep me satisfied. But of course, the Wilders had to go ahead and give me a complete look of how the Lees’ were doing. It was completely awesome! Lovers of Wounded, beware of all the feels 🙂
NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, WALL STREET JOURNAL and international bestselling author Jasinda Wilder is a Michigan native with a penchant for titillating tales about sexy men and strong women. Her bestselling titles include ALPHA, STRIPPED, WOUNDED, and the #1 Amazon and international bestseller FALLING INTO YOU. You can find her on her farm in Northern Michigan with her husband, author Jack Wilder, her five children and menagerie of animals.
Jack Wilder—aka Mr. Wilder—is one half of the writing team “The Wilders.” You might know his wife, Jasinda Wilder, as the author of bestselling books such as Falling Into You, Falling Into Us, Stripped, and Wounded, among many others. The Missionary is Jack’s first solo work, but you can bet it won’t be the last. The Wilders live in the suburbs outside of Detroit, Michigan with their five kids, a dog that vaguely resembles a coyote, and a manny.
You’ll often find Jack drinking beer and eating Cheez-Its.