Title: The Only One Who Matters
Author: L.A. Witt and Cat Grant
Cover Artist: Angela Waters
Publisher: Self Published
Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary M/M, military
Rating: 5+ stars out of 5, DIK
Review Summary: This book is even better than The Only One Who Knows as the intensity is greater and the MCs let their emotions dictate their actions.
No man—and no heart—left behind.
The Only One, Book 2
Months after a bullet ended his SEAL career, Senior Chief David Flint doesn’t know which is worse: struggling to adjust to life as a civilian, or watching his lover, Lieutenant Commander Josh Walker, leave for one deployment after another.
Missing the career he loved—and knowing all too well the danger Josh faces—doesn’t help. And as Josh walks out the door for another assignment, David can feel their relationship cracking under the strain.
With so little time between assignments, Josh has no idea how to fix things with David. One thing he’s sure of, though…if they don’t find a way to resolve the rising tension between them, there’s a storm coming they might not be able to weather. But he plans to give it his best shot—when he gets home.
Assuming he makes it home alive…
Warning: Contains plenty of smoking-hot sex between two dudes who just wanted to be SEALs, not deal with all this romance crap. They went and fell in love anyway, and now have to figure out how to make it work while saving the world and teaching their puppy not to beg.
The Only One
I reviewed The Only One Who Knows, the prequel to this book, a week ago and promised at that time that I would review the sequel before the end of the year. Here it is:
This book has a more sombre tone than The Only One Who Knows because it deals with issues most men and women in the armed fores have to face during their tour of duty, and when it ends prematurely due to injuries, dealing with the aftermath of their injuries: forced retirement, unemployment when they return to civilian life, self image, and the impact of the stress on their loved ones.
David and Josh had moved in together 6 months ago but David wasn’t sure whether their relationship would last as it was tenuous at best. When Josh returned home from his latest deployment he tried to pick up where he and David had left off, but it was obvious to both of them that there was something wrong. Adding to the stress was the fact that David had not found a job, he was in pain from the bullet that ended his career and he was refusing to take the painkillers his doctor had prescribed because he didn’t want to become addicted to them. They had been apart a lot during their 6 months of living openly together as a couple, and David worried about Josh every time he went away because he knew the danger he faced on his missions and what were his chances of returning home alive and in one piece. On top of everything else, David was bored out of mind because he had nothing to do but stare at the four walls of their home and talk to his dog – it was more stressful to be home and safe than in the line of fire because then at least he would be doing something.
There were many differences between the guys such as the fact that at 32 Josh was healthy and vibrant and had a great career in front of him with the Navy SEALs, while David at 40 had to resign due to a combat injury and face the fact that he was never going on another mission with Josh or couldn’t even go for a run on the beach with him. Whenever Josh came home the sex was still good (mostly) but David was dreading the answer to the question of how long it would be before Josh left again. It was the elephant in the room that he didn’t want to face. They were unable to talk about anything important without the discussion becoming a war of a different kind that they didn’t know how to diffuse.
David was trying to find his way in the civilian world without a compass while worrying about Josh and the one thing he couldn’t ask him to do – quit the SEALs, because that would kill Josh. Yet he couldn’t handle the life of a military spouse. He hated being pitied by his former teammates but he could endure anything as long as Josh was in his life. His most difficult issue was being the one left behind to cope with the long separations, not knowing if Josh would come home alive and well, injured, or in a body bag.
The last time Josh came home he and David fought constantly as the tension was getting to both of them – the house was like an armed camp and the distance between them was widening every day. Then just before he left on his next mission David asked Josh to marry him. However, spending forever with David 24/7 scared the hell out of Josh although he loved him and couldn’t imagine being with anyone else, but the constant arguments were wearing on him.. The answer to the proposal was not what David wanted and a couple days later Josh shipped out.
During his mission Josh and two other SEALs were captured, tortured and injured. When they eventually escaped their nightmare by fighting for their lives, the torture they endured and the stress of not knowing if they would ever get out alive had an irreversible impact on all of them. Could Josh deal with what the future held?
The Only One Who Matters is an incredibly complex story that didn’t hold back from the reality of what fighting in the armed forces entailed and the terrible cost to those who served. David was there to comfort a devastated Josh, and their deep and abiding love for each other brought them closer together as Josh realized that he needed David and couldn’t lose him or he would lose his sanity. He knew that if it came to a choice there was only one for him.
Witt and Grant have written another wonderful book about military men, but this one showed how their careers impacted their spouses and other family members. All of the characters were three dimensional, especially Josh’s parents and Jenny, the spouse of another SEAL who was a really great character. I don’t usually read books with lots of angst but this one was more than worth it. 🙂
The Only One Who Matters is not a standalone and should be read after The Only One Who Knows, for maximum enjoyment.