Title: Welcome Home, Soldier
Author: Terry O’Reilly
Publisher: JMS Books
Length: 204 Pages
At a Glance: All in all, a solidly enjoyable read with a nice buildup and a satisfying ending.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: A broken-hearted Ward Cartwright left town to join the army when his boyfriend Tyler Hughes turned his back on their love and married a woman.
Ten years later, Tyler is a widower with two young boys, and Ward has returned home. He is hopeful he can re-establish his relationship with Tyler.
Even though a decade has passed, Tyler still feels tied to the family-owned feed mill. He has folks depending on the mill for employment, there are his children to consider, they live in a small town, and … But despite this, Tyler finds there are plenty of benefits to giving Ward a job in the mill—lots of out-of-the-way places to explore Ward’s army-honed, muscular body.
Just when Tyler resolves to live more openly with Ward, rumors begin to surface, not just at the mill, but at his sons’ school.
Ward knows the upcoming battle is just as serious as anything he’s faced in Afghanistan. Instead of fighting for his country, the soldier is fighting for his lover’s heart. Will Ward finally emerge victorious, or will Tyler’s self-doubt and fear of prejudice win out again?
Review: This book is definitely a bit of a roller coaster ride! Ward has returned after a long stint in the army and decides to visit his high school boyfriend, who is now a widower with two young sons. He literally walked away and joined the army when Tyler told him he was marrying a woman, and they have not had contact in ten years. Ward is a little surprised by the warm welcome he gets from Tyler, and he’s happy to see his friend is OK and to meet his two boys. Turns out Tyler’s oldest boy is even named after him.
Well, it seems that Tyler has never stopped loving Ward either, and so they fall back into each other’s arms. Their closeness doesn’t exactly go unnoticed by Tyler’s oldest boy and at first, Eddie is quite standoffish with Ward. But, he comes around eventually. The biggest hurdle is Tyler’s fear of anyone finding out about his real relationship with Ward. Ward does his best to be patient. Tyler goes through a lot of worry. Tyler seems to be on the brink of being honest about who he is and who Ward is to him, but when he thinks his kids might be threatened, he hits the panic button. When Ward tries to talk him off the ledge, he just digs his heels in deeper. Thankfully, there are a LOT of busybodies who decide to add their two cents to the mix.
I enjoyed this story quite a bit. Ward is a genuinely good guy who has been never loved anyone but Tyler. Tyler annoyed me a bit throughout the story, but he has had to deal with a lot of things, and he’s protective of his children—possibly to their and his detriment. I loved both Tyler and Ward’s parents, and Ward’s brother is also very entertaining. I even liked Ward’s old girlfriend! The supporting characters at the mill and in the town also added to the story without cluttering up the narrative. All in all, a solidly enjoyable read with a nice buildup and satisfying ending.
You can buy Welcome Home, Soldier here: