Embattled Hearts is the first book in the Lost and Found Series by J.M Madden. This is my first read by Ms. Madden and I am happy to say that after reading this story, it definitely won’t be my last. Ms. Madden writes an engaging, emotive and romantic wounded warrior/military romance that was not only believable- but inspiring and meaningful as well. There is much more to this great story than the beautiful romance. Thee is suspense, danger, action, camaraderie, brotherhood, drama, chemistry, and some hot, steamy scenes that will leave you hot under the collar.
John Palmer was badly injured in Iraq, which ended his Military career and changed his life forever. John has become quite bitter and angry, and has spent the past 5 years trying to pick up the pieces of his life and move on. With his two friends from his military days, Chad and Duncan, they open Lost ‘N’ Found Investigation Services. When they hire a new office manager, John feels wants her so badly- but his disability has left him feeling like ‘less’ of a man and he really doesn’t feel like he has anything to offer her.
Shannon Murphy has had a crush on her boss since meeting him six months earlier. He may be angry and grumpy, but she finds him entirely sexy. But when strange things start happening and danger seems to be stalking her, it’s John she looks to for help. What ensues makes for avid reading!
I applaud the fact that while Ms. Madden depicts some sensitive issues, she does so in compassionate and respectful way, whilst also highlighting the hardships faced by wounded warriors and veterans. The obstacles that they face not only to recover from any injury, but also in having to carry the memories of their experiences with them, as well. It’s not just the physical scars/wounds, but mental and emotional ones too that are a little more difficult to deal with. Going from proud, able bodied Marine- to having a life changing injury such as John’s, takes a lot of adjustment- physically and mentally. The pride is still there, as is the sense of responsibility and expectation- and being looked at or treated differently is not easy to get over. This story brings a lot of these issues into focus, as Ms. Madden gives us a glimpse into the toll that has on a soldier and the sacrifices they make for their country- as well as a little of what they endure when things go awry while in service.
The story was also quite romantic, and I loved the connection between Shannon and John. I love that she saw past John’s disability and found him to be virile and sexy despite it all. Ms. Madden crafts wonderful characters- giving them strengths, but also not shying away from giving them some vulnerability, depicting them in a very honest way.
Ms. Madden’s story is so well written, realistic, believable, very emotive and entirely captivating.
Thank you, Ms. Madden!
Reviewed by @angelahayes