Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: Adult
Publication Date: June 9th 2014
Source: Purchased from Amazon
Burned by an unreliable source, Savannah Carmichael, returns to her hometown of Danvers, Virginia with her once-promising journalism career in ruins. Given the opportunity to get her skin back in the game by writing a patriotic human interest piece, Savannah turns her attention to the town hermit, Asher Lee, a wounded veteran who returned to Danvers eight years ago, and hasn’t been seen since. After an IED explosion in Afghanistan took Asher’s hand and disfigured half of his face, he's lived a quiet life on the outskirts of Danvers where the locals respect his privacy…that is, until Savannah Carmichael comes calling in a borrowed sundress and a plate of homemade brownies. When Asher agrees to be interviewed by Savannah, he starts feeling things for the beautiful reporter that he hasn’t felt in years. Misfits in small-town Danvers, Savannah and Asher create a bond right away, touching each other’s hearts in ways neither thought possible. When a terrible mistake threatens to drive them apart, they’ll have to decide if the love they found in one another’s arms is strong enough to fight for their hard-won happily ever after.
I've been sitting on my feelings for this book for almost a month now and I'm no closer to putting into words what this book did to me and for me. I picked this up on the heels of watching the movie Lone Survivor starring Mark Wahlberg about a group of men trapped in Afghanistan trying to take down a dangerous terrorist leader and one man's survival. Needless to say after watching such an emotionally charged movie the patriotic side of me that loves this country and the people who fight for our freedom was at an all time high so it's no wonder I loved this book. It's one thing to write a story about a soldier who gives up his freedom to protect yours but it's a completely different ball game to write a story about a wounded veteran. I've only read a few but in all honesty I would love to see more stories about this subject.
The story of Asher Lee is pretty cut and dry. After 9/11 he was stirred to action wanting to defend his country and joined the army and became a medic after having gone to college to become a doctor. During a routine mission he was in the blast zone of a roadside bomb that killed one of his friends and left him severely disfigured. Upon coming home he was welcomed with pitying looks or looks of disgust and the scar of that has caused him to hide away in his home for almost a decade with no human contact aside from an old friend of his parents. When Savannah Carmichael shows up on his doorstep wanting to do a story for the 4th of July about his homecoming she opens up something in him thought to be long dead. As the weeks go by and the two spend more and more time together what was at first a tenuous friendship blooms into something stronger and deeper than either planned for.
Both characters were very well written and for me the focus remained on Asher. I loved Savannah don't get me wrong but Asher Lee WAS The Vixen and The Vet in my opinion. This man served his country voluntarily so right there that's major cool points. He lost his hand and most of his face and suffers daily with horrible self doubt and loneliness because he's so afraid someone will pity him and cringe when they look at him. So he hides himself away never gives anyone the chance to get to know him. Right there that should make you want to jump in his damn lap and hug him until he can't breathe right but you know the ONE THING that made me adore the hell out of him? Asher Lee is a romantic at heart. He sits in his library and binge reads romance novels just to experience the love and closeness of a couple that he can't be a part of! *hands you a box of Kleenex* *pats your back* "Shhh. There, there, it's gonna be alright". I know. I died a little inside when I read that so naturally I wanted him to have that kind of love and connection with someone. Add all this into the fact that he doesn't have any family to cleave unto after his parents died while he was in college and Asher Lee is almost invincible in the hero department.
Savannah is coming off a pretty bad experience herself after learning the guy she had been intimate with was only using her to clear his name in the press. A move which left her career in shambles and had her laughed out of New York with her tail between her legs to move back home. Her Heart was broken and she wasn't looking to start anything else much less get close to another one of her interview subjects because after all she learned her lesson rather painfully. What I loved most about her was her determination to succeed no matter what it cost her and it almost cost her everything again. Savannah gets an offer from another slightly big news journal with one chance to prove she has the chops to make it so she sets her sights on Asher and his dismal homecoming and the repercussions afterwards. After spending time with him and getting to know him and love him she was willing to go to bat for him. Willing to stand up to anyone and defend him and I can't tell you how amazing that felt once I got to know how wonderful Asher was. He needed someone like Savannah in his life to love him for who he was. Savannah stole my heart as she steadfastly stood by his side and showed him the love and support he needed to grow and change.
9 times out of 10 I will side with the underdog of the story but in a way both characters had a little bit of the UD in them. Granted Asher tipped the scales a little more in his favor they both appealed to me in that sense. Building a friendship turned to love was flawlessly done between them and I don't know how many times I can gush about this authors writing. It's passionate. Heartfelt and heartwarming. Deep. Emotional and just downright amazing. Regnery never ceases to amaze me with her beautiful characters and her words. Asher wasn't just a disabled wounded veteran you wanted to feel sorry for. She made you love him then she had you championing him as he grew into a more assertive character and found within himself the will to keep fighting when he wanted to give up. Savannah wasn't just a shrinking violet who let a few people keep her down. She dusted herself off, found her story and even when things didn't go her way AGAIN she fought tooth and nail for what she wanted. At the heart of the story is a beautiful message about not letting someones outer appearance stop you from getting to know the amazing person they are within. The Vixen and The Vet is just another testament to how amazing an author Regnery is. The beauty that flows out of her pen always manages to squeeze the vice around my heart with more force than intended and I love every minute of it. Please do yourself a favor and pick up this amazing story. If you've read nothing else of Regnery's work or you're just now learning of her, this one should be your first experience.
Savannah blushed again, then looked up at Asher, and something miraculous happened. For as long as he lived and breathed, he wouldn't forget it, because it was really and truly miraculous on the order of the loaves and fishes. Savannah Carmichael, one of the most beautiful girls he'd ever seen up close , looked at his face. And she smiled. Loc. 663
He had all of the desires of a man, his body hardening and twitching at the very sight of her, living for her husky laugh and brilliant smiles, wanting the softness of her body beneath his while he touched her and stroked her and buried himself so deep inside her that Afghanistan and IEDs and dead parents and years of solitude never even existed. Loc. 924
Savannah had been kissed before—clumsily, hesitantly, passionately —but this kiss was on another plane of chemistry entirely . It was as though his taste, his smell, his touch, had been engineered solely for the purpose of making her give in. Loc. 1542
“You've got to work with what you've got.”
“Well, you certainly worked it.” She paused .
“Practice makes perfect?”
“Quit fishing. I haven’t been with anyone since …”
“No one? In eight years? Jesus, Asher. How’s that been working out for you?”
“As you noted, I still have my hand.”
“Gross,” she said, trying unsuccessfully not to giggle.
“So I’m …”
“The lucky beneficiary of eight years of pent-up lust.”
“Holy cow.” Loc.1895
About The Author:
KATY REGNERY, winner of the 2013 NECRWA First Kiss and 2013 Maine RWA Everything But the Kitchen Sink contests, has always loved telling a good story and credits her mother with making funny, heartwarming tales come alive throughout her childhood. A lifelong devotee of all romance writing from Edwardian to present-day, it was just a matter of time before Katy tried her hand at writing a love story of her own. As it turned out, one love story turned into a series of five Heart of Montana romances, following the love lives of the Yellowstone-based Lindstrom siblings. In addition to small-town contemporary romance, Katy is presently writing a paranormal romance that takes place in northern New England and the forests north of Quebec. Speaking of forests, Katy lives in the relative-wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut where her writing room looks out at the woods and her husband, two young children and two dogs create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories of all are the messy and unexpected ones.
50% of the proceeds earned from THE VIXEN AND THE VET in June and July 2014 will go directly to Operation Mend at the UCLA Medical Center.