BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Blog Tour Review, Excerpt And Giveaway of It's Always Been You by Jessica Scott

Publisher: Forever Romance
Series: Coming Home #5
Format Read: eARC
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Buying Links: Amazon*ARe* | Barnes & Noble 
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

She plays by the rules . . .
Captain Ben Teague is many things: a tough soldier, a loyal friend, and a bona fide smart-ass. He doesn't have much tolerance for BS, which is why he's mad as hell when a trusted colleague and mentor is brought up on charges that can't possibly be true. He's even more frustrated with by-the-book lawyer Major Olivia Hale. But there's something simmering beneath her icy reserve--and Ben just can't resist turning up the heat . . .

. . . and he's determined to break them

The only thing riskier than mixing business with pleasure is enjoying it . . . and Olivia can't resist locking horns--and lips--with Ben. He's got more compassion in his little finger than any commander she's ever met, a fact that makes him a better leader than he realizes. But when the case that brought them together awakens demons from Olivia's past, she will have to choose between following orders--or her heart . . .


Bea's Thoughts:

As always with a Jessica Scott book, "It's Always Been You" was a powerful story. This time around, Scott looks at the challenges of command and how and when to help the soldiers with problems. In the previous book, "All For You", she looked at addiction and suicide, this time we get soldiers who are acting out - public fights, drinking while intoxicated, and domestic abuse for example. I get the feeling, reading these books, that Scott really doesn't like those in command in the army and definitely not the ones who makes the policies and run things. The book was overly preachy at times, which detracted both from its impact and the love story.

The romance between military lawyer Emily Hale and battalion commander Ben Teague is sweet but moved rather fast for me. I'd have liked if it had moved slower but I liked that the problems they had were realistic. Scott has a knack for writing realistic situations and not throwing up artificial barriers. In this case, Emily and Ben both had incidences from the past that presented problems as well their current work which provided challenges where it was difficult to separate the personal from the professional.

I empathized with Ben's struggle with command and his conflicted feelings concerning his men. He went from being one of them to overseeing them and that was a challenge for both him and them. He's not as tortured as Reza from "All For You" or Trent from "Back To You" but he has his problems. He's a good, decent, honorable man with deep wells of loyalty and a snarky sense of humor. He deeply believes that taking care of his men is more important than regs or procedures, which, as you can imagine, causes problems for him. The military is big on obedience and on following procedures. When he becomes the commander of his unit, his loyalties are challenged and in conflict. He wants to help his men and take care of them but means more than just putting them in rehab or keeping them out of jail; he also has to make sure all the men receive the training and preparation they need to be deployed. Taking care of the problem soldiers cuts into the time needed for doing that.

Emily is a lawyer who works with command to drum out soldiers who are no longer fit to serve. As you can imagine, that creates conflict between her and Ben. At first, she tries to ignore the flicker of
interest between her and Ben but it isn't long before she and Ben give in. Emily is passionate about her work and especially so about keeping the families of soldiers safe. Again, conflict with Ben. But while she's passionate, she's not hard-headed, she's willing to listen to reason, though it may not change her mind. She comes off as a stick-in-the-mud at first, but gradually we get to see other sides of her and see that she has a sense of humor, is compassionate, honorable and willing to drop everything to help a friend.

I didn't love "It's Always Been You" as much as I did previous books; it was, as I said, too preachy at times and too issue-laden but it's still a darn good book and it kept me up late finishing it. Scott writes such realistic characters and such engaging stories that I can overlook minor flaws. I'm ready for the next one!



“Hey,” she said quietly.

The memory of that kiss made him crave another taste of her. He’d thought she was fire and passion and so damned determined before. Now he knew that quiet energy she directed toward work was merely a hint of the passion concealed beneath that cool exterior.

It was a passion he wanted to feel beneath his fingertips. That he wanted to slide against.

“Hey.” He swallowed, about to cross a line from professional to… something else.

And damned if he wasn’t afraid to cross that line. That kiss earlier was nothing compared to what she’d just given him.

She’d lied for him today. Ben had been about to make something up that would get his battalion commander off his back and Olivia had stepped in with a smooth story that had deflected Gilliad’s attention with no one the wiser.

She’d agreed not to tell the boss. He hadn’t expected her to all-out lie for him. And now that she had? He didn’t quite know how to broach the subject with her. Not at all.

She straightened and leaned against her desk. The broken scale tray swayed as she bumped it with her hip. He grasped at it for a distraction from his racing thoughts. “You know one of these is broken?”

She nodded. “It’s supposed to be.”

He studied her quietly. “What like broken justice?

Ben paused, studying the soft bun at the nape of her neck. Her skin was exposed. Her neck was long and lean. He had the sudden image in his head of dragging his tongue down that tender flesh. Would she gasp? Would she tip her head and grant him access to more of her secret places?

He cleared his throat roughly. “You lied for me today.”

She stilled, guilt flashing over her face. “Yeah, about that…”

“Thank you,” he said quickly.

She lifted one brow. “For lying?”

“For giving me the benefit of the doubt. That doesn’t happen very often,” he said quietly.

“Really? But you’re such a charmer.”

Ben shifted until he stood a little too close. Until he could see her eyes darken the way they had in the car when he’d given in to the temptation to kiss her. “Are you teasing me? Because if you are, I think I need to make a note on my calendar that yes, you do officially have a sense of humor.”

A smile crossed her lips. It took everything he had not to slide his thumb over that soft skin. He wanted to see her lips close over the tip. To feel her warm mouth encircle him and… Jesus, he still had to go back to work.

“I do have a sense of humor. I just don’t get to break it out very often because the only thing I see at work is the seedy underbelly of the army. There’s not much humor in what I do.”

“Maybe you need to relax a little more.” Ben shifted until he could nudge the door shut behind him. He didn’t want anyone to see. Didn’t want to give anyone a hint of something that was private and intimate and deeply compelling. Were they flirting? This felt like flirting. And with this woman, he had absolutely no basis to say either way what this really was.

“I don’t know what this ‘relax’ is that you speak of,” she said.

He felt a long-forgotten twinge deep in his belly. It was something so foreign, he’d forgotten it was something he was capable of. In all his casual encounters, he’d forgotten what real attraction felt like.

He swallowed the dryness in his mouth. He didn’t know what to do with this realization that Olivia Hale was someone he wanted to… someone he wanted. It was one thing to flirt with someone at a bar, to take them home for a few hours of mindless sex.

This? This was something entirely different.

Something more than wanting a few hours of sheets sliding over skin, of warm bodies slipping together. This was something darker. Something warmer.

Something infinitely more valuable.

“Maybe I’ll ply you with alcohol tonight at Stable Call. We’ll see if we can’t get you to unwind a little bit.” His voice was low, grating on his ears.

“Good luck with that. I only drink socially. There will be no drunken pictures of me immortalized on the Internet.” She stepped toward him then, closing the last distance between them. She reached up and slid her hand over his cheek. Ben went very still as her palm slid over his skin. Her palm was cool against his face. Gentle. It took everything he had to let her slip out of reach again.

He captured her palm before she could slip away. Held it there against his cheek. “Thank you,” he whispered. “For Zittoro.”

Her lips parted. He could feel the slight huff of breath on his skin. “Thank you

for trusting me with the truth.” She slipped her fingers from his, her eyes sparkling. “Just don’t make me come after you for that packet.”

Ben caught her hand before he thought about it. His hand closed over hers, her index finger captured in a gentle loop between his thumb and forefinger.

He had the sudden wild idea to put her finger to his lips. He pressed it gently to his mouth. Felt the pad of her finger on his bottom lip. A single bolt of electricity snapped over his skin.

A simple touch. Nothing more.

They were at work. It was the single stupidest thing he could have done.

He released her quickly, before anyone could see. Before he could do something stupid like pull her close and kiss her again. The want inside him was powerful. Raw and needy.


About the author ~ 

USA Today bestselling author Jessica Scott is a career army officer; mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs; wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she's a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon and someone liked some of the stuff she wrote. Somehow, her children are pretty well-adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.

She's written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View: Regarding War Blog, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn and has served as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas.

She's pursuing a PhD in Sociology in her spare time and most recently, she's been featured as one of Esquire Magazine's Americans of the Year for 2012.

Find Jessica Online:




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  1. I am determined to finally give Jessica Scott a try this year, I love the way the story sounds from your review & the excerpt :)

    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

  2. Ahhh yeah from the couple I've read she really does have a knack for creating situations/characters that feel real. That's a shame it bordered on being too preachy but glad to hear everything else kept it enjoyable!


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