Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Release Week Blitz: It's Always Been You by Jessica Scott {Review, Excerpt, + Giveaway}

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I am super excited to share my review of It's Always Been You by Jessica Scott today along with an excerpt from the book and a giveaway!

It's Always Been You (Coming Home #5)
    by: Jessica Scott

Publication Date: Mar. 31, 2015
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: Adult
Source: e-ARC provided via the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 352 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | BAM | GooglePlay
My Rating: 4/5 stars

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 . . .

I just cannot get enough of this series. Jessica Scott is a master of creating rich, emotional stories whose military setting will make you really stop and appreciate everything our soldiers have gone through and the burdens they carry even after their return stateside.
This installment follows Ben Teague, who has just been promoted to the rank of commander and is not so happy about it. Ben doesn't want to be in that kind of political position and he certainly doesn't want to be the one to make the hard decisions when it comes to men he's known and served with. However, the unit needs cleaning up and that means a total reorganization of command. It's time to get serious and take action against those who are not assets to the United States Army. Major Olivia Hale is brought in as well to ensure this is happening, taking care of all legal matters and advising the commanders as to the best courses of action.
An especially difficult case is laid in front of Ben and Olivia, one that is extremely personal to Ben. The two clash on how to handle the situation, as Olivia is looking at it in terms of the family being affected and from a legal standpoint. Ben is deeply involved, as the soldier in question is one of the best men he knows and once saved his life. Ben is a good man and the last thing he wants to do is hurt men he's gone to war with and known. However, Ben's compassion is one of the best things about him. Sure, he came back from deployment scarred, but he hasn't taken to using drugs or drinking alcohol like some of the others have because they struggle to keep the demons at bay. It's hard for Ben to separate the men he once knew with the ones they are now. Thankfully, Ben has been assigned a good first sergeant to help shoulder some of the burden, and he also has Olivia too.
I liked Olivia. She is also compassionate and having been through some deeply painful experiences of her own, she is dedicated to doing what's right. The case that her and Ben butt heads on is important to her and she refuses to let it slip through the cracks. She has seen too many commanders sit on cases before and let them slide and she will not allow that to happen again.
Olivia and Ben have a very slow burning relationship and I found I really liked that. Their relationship developed so naturally and never once did I feel it was forced or overdone. It was a subtle coming together and it just worked really well. They don't beat around the bush when it comes to wanting one another either. Olivia is slow in opening up to Ben though, and that does cause a bit of a problem with them, but it didn't last for pages to cause all this unnecessary angst. I adored seeing Ben and Olivia support one another and I think they were a great match.
I really liked this one because it was interesting to me to see all the politics at play, as well as everything that goes on and has to be taken care of on base. The romance is more on the subtle side, but so perfectly woven into the storyline without taking emphasis away from the bigger picture. I really hope she decides to write Galen's book, because I am totally in love with that guy and am especially interested in seeing him reconnect with his daughter.
“You don’t like being in command, do you, Ben?” she whispered. The air was thick between them, heavy with unsaid things.

He shook his head. “It’s too much responsibility for other people’s problems. I’m not qualified to judge someone else’s screw ups,” he said.

He shifted so he could face her, his body angled toward hers. A shadow partially concealed his face, casting it in hard lines and a dozen shades of grey.

“You’re not supposed to be perfect to be a leader,” she whispered. Her voice cracked, hung on the tension in her neck from sitting a little too close.

Silence filled the space between them. Heavy and warm and crackling with latent energy.

He licked his bottom lip, his gaze locked with hers. “I don’t want to be either,” he said. His voice was a husky whisper filled with need.

Her breath caught in her throat. A hesitant movement. A breath closer. This was monumentally stupid. Infinitely so.

And yet she parted her lips, her entire body trembling in anticipation of the faintest touch of his. He was there, just there. A breath separated them. Nothing more.

It was a hesitant kiss. A light, teasing brush of his top lip against hers. Her breath mingled with his, threading between them and urging her closer. She met his eyes, waiting. Wanting. Needing more of this deeply sensual man who made her feel so many writhing, hungry things.

It was forever before either of them moved. Her breath was locked in her throat. Then she felt it. His palm slid over her cheek, his fingers rough on her skin. Warmth penetrated her, wound its way over the surface to slide beneath her skin and stroke something long dormant to life.

Need. It was need that made her lean toward him. Need that made her part her lips and trace his mouth with her tongue. Need that made her nip his bottom lip and thread her fingers in the short hair on the back of his neck.

Need that made her gasp in pleasure as his tongue slid against hers, twining in that sensuous dance that brought her blood to life. Heat pounded between her thighs, an aching, pulsing want that scorched her like nothing she’d ever felt.

She gave herself over to the sensation, to the pleasure of his touch. Knowing it was a mistake and far past caring as her breath finally released, mixing with the heated strokes of his tongue.

She eased back after a moment, before she did something monumentally stupid, like crawling into his lap in broad daylight.

“We really should talk about those legal packets,” she said against his mouth.

His smile was unexpected. “Wow, you are hell on a man’s ego,” he said.

The laugh caught her off guard and she rested her forehead against his as she struggled to regain her composure. Something opened against her heart, something unexpected and warm.

Something complicated.

For a brief moment, it was tempting to throw caution to the curb, to nuzzle his mouth with hers, to absorb his taste and warmth.

And then reality kicked in.“We really should head back. We’ve got that meeting in two hours,” she said.

He smiled. “Always responsible and focused.”

He brushed his thumb over her lip as he said it. This was something nice.


It was going to be an interesting legal briefing, that was for damn sure.

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.

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  1. OK that's it! This month I'm going to read a book by Jessica Scott. I love slow burn romances! The main story line also sounds interesting. I'll have to check this out for sure.
    Lovely review!

  2. Lovely review! Another author and series I must look into! I do love books that deal with the military and such because I can closely relate to most of them. This one I will be checking out when I can!


  3. Ohh this sounds sooo good! I love the slow burns and I love it when the romance is just woven in to a bigger story. Awesome review Jessica!


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