Stephanie Tyler’s sole job is to fly overseas to war torn areas of the world to retrieve and escort the bodies of fallen soldiers back home to the United States. It is a tough and emotional job but she is honored for the privilege. Her duty also helps her to escape her past and her failed marriage.
But those flights have become increasingly more dangerous and she is forced to have a partner accompany her. Much to Stephanie’s surprise and dismay, she is partnered up with her ex-husband, Captain “D.A.” Douglas Aston.
From the moment Captain D.A. enters the scene, he irritates her. It could have something to do with the fact he slept with her best friend while they were married. As they go on several missions together, Stephanie is forced to be courteous and professional with D.A. even though the very sight of him irritates her beyond comprehension.
Then, Stephanie’s cheating, husband stealing, ex-best friend is killed in Afghanistan and Stephanie and D.A. must escort her body home. While executing this difficult duty, a myriad of conflicting emotions makes Stephanie ponder how short life really is . . . and to question her own ability to forgive.
Our eyes met and he let the question linger in the air before answering.
“I understand that.” He held my gaze. “But why can’t you just have fun?”
“I used to have fun. A lot of fun, in fact, with this person I called a best friend. He and I would go on walks in the evenings, to the beach on the weekends. We’d go to movies, the theater, concerts. I could even convince him to go get a pedicure and a massage with me once in a while.”
DA smiled at all the memories.
I added, “I also had this other really good friend. She wasn’t as close as my best friend, but she and I would do all the girly things that my guy friend wouldn’t do with me, like shop for hours on end.”
“Yeah, I still hate shopping.” DA maintained his smile.
“Then, both of them broke my heart and my trust in one afternoon.”
The smile on his face disappeared and he dropped his eyes to stare at the floor.
DA had risen from the love seat and crossed the room in two strides to waylay me. He shut the door with my hand still on the knob. He was so close behind me I could feel his breath on the back of my neck.
“Steph . . . I’m sorry.”
I refused to turn around. I didn’t want him to see that I was about to start crying.
“If I could do it all over again, I would never have become such good friends with Alex,” he whispered against my hair. “If I had known what her intentions were, I would’ve stopped it before it ever became an issue. I honestly didn’t know what she was trying to do until that day in the kitchen. Then you left so fast and wouldn’t take any of my calls or see me.”
He pressed his forehead to the back of my neck. “I’m so deeply and truly sorry for ever hurting you. And I really hope one day you can forgive me.”
By the time he’d finished speaking I had tears streaming down my face and I didn’t know what to say to him. He kissed the back of my neck, the warm sensation so familiar that I couldn’t resist turning around. He had me pinned against the front door as we began kissing, lightly at first, then deeper, urgent.
I wanted to believe him, but I just couldn’t. I couldn’t get past the image of the two of them together. I abruptly pushed him away.
“I have to go,” was all I could say, then I opened the door again and this time he let me go.
This was certainly a poignant read. Stephanie, a Captain in the Air Force, has a difficult and emotional job bringing the fallen home to their families. It is a job that she treats seriously with dignity and respect. When her ex-husband joins her team, she is forced to confront the feelings of betrayal and pain from their past. The time Stephanie and DA spend together in close quarters brings old feelings to the surface. When one of those they are tasked to bring home is someone from their past, they must finally confront their past and their raw feelings.
The beauty of the service bringing those fallen home is an emotional one with its simplicity. The dedication and strength of those men and women who bring their fallen comrades home in a dignified way is what makes this read. I would have liked to explore more of the impact of Alex's death on Stephanie and DA as well as an exploration of the feelings that it brings forth in them. It felt as though it ended too soon and abruptly. This doesn't take away from the emotional impact though.
✯✯✯✯✯Grab some tissues and a quart of mint chocolate chip ice cream---A Journey Home is an awesome read!
A Journey Home is beautifully written, balancing the tragedy of fallen soldiers with light-hearted moments of a couple falling back into love. Honor. Protocol. Faith. Trust. Friendship. Love. This novel will stick with me for a long time.
✯✯✯✯✯A MUST READ
By Amazon Reader
I don’t remember the last time I had tears rolling down my cheeks from a poignant passage in a novel. An ex-marine friend of mine who worked at an airport in Afghanistan verified the authenticity of these scenes of bringing fallen soldiers home. I felt so honored to share in this beautiful reading experience. We are reminded by Angela Scavone of the ultimate sacrifice that some must give in order for us to live free while sharing a sweet love story of a marriage reunited.
There was much love and humor between the couple who needed to learn to trust each other again. At the end, I sighed, with a wonderful, ahhh and slept soundly for the first time all week.
Angela lives in Ontario, Canada sharing her home with her father and her two much-loved pups (and one evil cat). She currently works for the Board of Education behind the scenes supporting and analyzing student data, however, in her spare time, apart from her avid love of storytelling, she likes to read, spend time with family and friends and concoct dairy free recipes from scratch. Sometimes she wins some, and sometimes she loses some – tofu, banana and peanut butter pudding we are looking at you.