water color covers?! - nice!!
Forgive & Forget by Heather Ashby
Conflict: ... more than one here - Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire / Big Secret / Reputation Ruination
Simple Background: If you are "enlisted" in the military you can't be in a relationship with anyone who is an "officer"/superior, etc. So basically, no romances with your boss. (Of course, it is more complicated, and I am told that lovers in the military will find ways around this, at the risk of losing their jobs, etc. - so this is the bulk of the reputation ruination conflict.) This goes hand-in-hand with our heroine being a huge liar.
Usually, I loathe the Lie-by-Omission in my romances. Grinding my teeth throughout the pages. But this one held my interest because it involved a lot of policy and regulation - trying to find a loophole in the rules, while also feeling the angst of "I really love you, but we can't be together" - and that ties into the Reputation Ruination. The heroine sailor Hallie and hero "officer" Philip fall in love. Hallie painfully breaks off their hot summer romance/passion (while he's still clueless that she is enlisted) and now she has to avoid him even more... because they're doing a tour of duty on the same aircraft carrier. The possible reputation ruination that could result from the romance makes Philip "understand" Hallie's dilemma just a little bit, and it's (putting this very lightly) easier to forgive her lie-by-omission.
There's also the "big secret" plot twist when a ghost from Hallie's past reveals an ugly truth that she is forced to deal with -- on top of all her stress that she's currently facing.
Oh, and there's a terrorist trying to blow up the carrier.
Things I loved:
- Policy, policy, policy - tell me all the rules, then break 'em!
- Description of life on the carrier
- Good tension building scenes
Why do I empathize with this heroine?
I appreciate that she is a hard-worker and wants to pursue a career in journalism, but lie-by-omission is still a big no-no for me. She should have come clean BEFORE things got hot and heavy with Philip, and it was selfish of her to do so... plus, if it were the hero taking advantage of the situation, I would've closed the book. My curiosity for the plot line kept me going through this one though - and I genuinely wanted her to have her HEA. (And yes, I obviously felt bad for her being on the carrier with the terrorist.)
Overall: As a regular civilian, I thought this would be a good read for any romance fans wanting an inside look of the Navy life. (Fair warning: if you really dislike reading about terrorism in any way, you might want to pass on this one.) I AM looking forward to Ms. Ashby's continuation of this series.