Title: Vital Sign
Author: J. L. Mac
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 11 2014
I used to have a great life. My little world was bright. I had no complaints. My perfectly simple life made the fall from grace that much more devastating. I plummeted from the heavenly little bubble that I shared with Jake. I fell fast and hard straight into the fiery pits of hell. The knowledge of how things used to be is a bittersweet torture that refuses me even one moment of respite. I live in a painful reverie that I can’t escape.
I had it good once.
That’s gone now.
All of it disappeared like vapor into the ether. I’m a lost woman, wandering through grief and struggling to come to terms with my new title: widow. My family says I need understanding and closure. I say a cigarette and a bottle of wine is a much better option for instant gratification.
I’m the awkward, depressed one standing in the corner making everyone around me miserably uncomfortable. I’m the one with vacant eyes that society strives to help but can’t. I’m the one who hands out tight smiles and derisive snorts. I’m the widow adrift in this world with no direction. No meaning. No hope. No vital sign.
I very much enjoyed this book. It’s a deeply emotional read with a heart-pounding prologue that will have you turning the pages lightning fast to follow the story within. It’s a story of love and loss and also despair and hope.
Two years after she was widowed when her police officer husband was killed during a home invasion, Sadie is a bitter and angry young woman whose life is beset by grief. She’s tried any number of ways to come to terms with her loss, mostly to appease her worried family who have staged an intervention when it became apparent that she was crumbling under the enormous weight of her grief. She’s become an inconsolable loose cannon and, after various different coping mechanism have not helped, Sadie sets about meeting the recipients of her husband’s organs – the people who have had a chance of life because of her husband. His gift to them. Just to see if it helps.
Of course, everyone she meets is full of platitudes and gracious thanks and she isn’t finding it that it helps at all until she means the man who has her husband’s heart beating in his chest – Alexander McBride. Zander, as he is known, is very straight forward, doesn’t pander to her grief and is incredibly plain talking. He’s a refreshing change for Sadie and she can’t help the way that she finds herself attracted to him and how he makes her own heart pound.
I want him so badly. I want to talk to him all night. I want to touch him. I want to listen to his short, choppy sentences. I want to find myself laughing at one of his jokes. I want to be touched. I want to be held. I want Zander, the man carrying my husband’s heart, to wrap me up in him. I want to pretend for a while that I can have Jake back in the form of Zander.
JL Mac does an amazing job of showcasing the barren and lonely existence of a widow, stricken by grief long after the initial tragedy and the funeral when everyone else has gone back to their normal lives leaving Sadie to attempt to carve a path for herself through the sorrow. Jake and she were childhood sweethearts and had been together forever and just assumed they had a long and happy future together. Sadie just can’t move past this loss and her grief and her pain were tangible things – it’s powerful, emotional writing beautifully delivered. I truly felt her loss and mourned right along with her.
She feels incredible guilt at her growing attraction to Zander – she feels that she is betraying Jake and her inner struggle and reluctance really did make my heart hurt. Zander has his own reasons to feel guilty – as a former wildchild playboy struck down by a debilitating heart condition, he doesn’t feel that he measures up in any way to the noble man that Jacob Parker was and he feels undeserving of his heart but he is also incredibly attracted to Sadie’s frail beauty and she seems so lost to him, she fires up all his protective instincts and he just wants to keep her safe and hold her in his arms and never let go.
“Zander…” I breathe into the hollow at his collar bone and he immediately moves back from me to read my face. “Not like that.”
His eyes immediately morph into something all his own. His gaze turns fierce and determined, driven and wanton. He doesn’t say anything, just regards me carefully, skillfully interpreting my expression, the look in my eyes.
“Touch me like Alexander McBride wants to touch me,” I encourage him. “I want you. Just you.”
This is a sweet and gentle romance, not overly dramatic, but with infinite time told to tell the story to allow their feelings to realistically develop. It’s emotional and heart wrenching but I didn’t actually all out sob. It’s tragic and uplifting all at the same time and it’s beautifully paced. I found it to be a compelling read, I completely believed in the characters as they came vividly to life in my imagination and I felt very emotion, from intense loss to the beginnings of a new happiness, right along with them as they tried to shed the horrors of the past and put it all behind them and move on together. It’s a contemporary standalone romance with no cliffhanger and a recommended read.
4 second chance stars
About The Author
USA Today Bestselling Author J.L. Mac is twenty-seven years old and currently resides in El Paso, Texas, with her husband and children. She is a native Texan, having been born and raised in Galveston, Texas. J.L. admittedly has had a long and sordid love affair with the written word and has loved every minute of it. She drinks too many glasses of wine on occasion, and says way too many swear words to be considered “ladylike.” J.L. spends her free time reading, writing, playing with her children, and living her happily ever after with her very own Prince Charming, who she affectionately calls Tight Buns McHotness.
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