A guest review by Lasha
Summary Review: A sensuous and thought-provoking novella that hit all my buttons.
Kage is a Marine, newly returned from Afghanistan and having difficulty adjusting to being home. He tries to decompress with a quiet, solo trip to Puerto Vallarta.
Zach is newly graduated from college and facing the realities of adulthood and beginning his new career. Their mutual attraction is immediate and intense. Zach is undemanding and seems to understand what Kage is going through. Kage has the physical strength that Zach desires, as well as the strength of character to let him be his own man.
Their summer vacation romance sizzles, but when the time arrives for Zach to return home, will either of them be willing–or able–to walk away?
Sometimes a book surprises you; you expect one thing and get another. That is the case with Waves Break My Fall. I was expecting a light tryst between two guys on vacation and what I got was a whole lot more.
Kage is a Marine on leave for thirty days from his post in Afghanistan. Instead of going home to see his family, he heads to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to pull his head together and try to adjust to life outside a war zone. His first night he runs into Zach, a recent college graduate and the two hook up for a sexy romp on the beach. Kage figures that would be it. However, when the two men realize they are staying at the same resort, they continue to hook up until the end of their respective vacations.
To me that sounds like a fun PWP, but Ms. McKenna takes it to another level. Kage is damaged from the war. He has PTSD and has had a hard time connecting with other people. His struggles figure in heavily into the plot and that’s why this goes from a light short read to a well-written novella. Kage is that military person everyone knows or has in their family: a strong guy trying not to show his vulnerability. He’s a deeply complex character for sixty-eight pages. I also loved Zach. He’s got depth too. He understands Kage — he’s joining the sheriff’s department after his holiday, another hero in the making. He’s not pushover and meets Kage on his level as an equal. Something hard to do in my opinion unless you’ve been in the military also.
The only reason I did not give this 5 stars? The ending. It was a little too pat and abrupt for me. Some other readers may disagree. Otherwise, Waves Break My Fall was a great read and from now on Ms. McKenna goes on my auto-buy list. I hope she writes a sequel as I would easily buy another book detailing the lives of Kage and Zach.