FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Inkslinger PR.
Series: Twelve Beats in a Bar #1.5
Publisher: Self-Published on November 23, 2014
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (NA)
Hayley’s finally come back to Texas, and seeing her is everything Nate dreamed it would be. But three years apart means that everything has changed between them, and all the things that broke them up in high school have come back to haunt them.
Nate’s barely recovered from the explosion that lost his leg, part of his eyesight, and his entire squad. Being able to spend a week back in Leland was supposed to help him recover, yet all it has done is make everything worse. Everything still seems like a threat, nothing is safe, and Nate’s nightmares are only getting worse. His survivor’s guilt is crippling him, and ruining his relationship with Hayley. He loves her more than anything, but she deserves more than a broken man slowly losing his mind.
Being with Nate again is all Hayley’s wanted for the past three years. But reality isn’t exactly like her dreams. Nate’s fighting demons he brought home with him from Afghanistan, and Hayley’s scared that she’s not enough to help him fight them. When an unexpected ice storm and road trip stumble into their Christmas plans, Hayley and Nate are both forced to face their pasts and the unknown future.
It’s a love story that has spanned four years, over seven thousand miles, and countless YouTube videos, and it all boils down to a seven hour road trip.
A Different Kind of Fine did exactly as I’d hoped, picking up the story of Nate and Hayley right where it left off in Come Back to Texas and giving us a view of the relationship I’d been so disappointed to not see in the first book.
After several years, the trauma of war for Nate and the relatively safe if not confusing college years for Hayley, countless YouTube videos and a well-earned reunion, Nate and Hayley are faced with a new reality. As can only be expected, Nate’s psychological scars from his time in combat are every bit as difficult to bear as the physical ones. He and Hayley are clearly still in love, but they’re also very different people than they were back when he first enlisted, and reconnecting is about more than simply finding each other.
Not surprisingly, they both want their relationship to pick up where it left off, as well, but the years of separation and very different experiences out in the world have created a new kind of wall that they must breach. Nate’s suffering from survivor’s guilt, not to mention learning to take on life in a changed body, and the PTSD he’s experiencing is something for which Hayley could never be entirely prepared. His return home to Leland is fraught with a new kind of tension, and while it’s understandably traumatic and serious, the story manages to impart a sense of hope, even when Nate’s at his lowest.
For her part, Hayley is understanding, even when she can’t quite grasp the depth of Nate’s issues, but it’s her determination that really stands out. Despite the fact that Nate in many ways feels like he’s a burden Hayley shouldn’t have to shoulder, she doggedly clings to a belief that she can love him through it.
A Different Kind of Fine is a rather unique story, exploring young love, PTSD, and second chances during what is already a rather confusing time in young adulthood. It doesn’t gloss over the gritty reality faced by injured soldiers returning from war, but it does confront it from the particular perspective of young people who’ve been disillusioned, forced to grow up a bit too fast, and don’t yet have the usual life experiences to put everything into context. Watching these two navigate their emotional obstacles, mature, and come out better for it on the other side finally provided that sense of closure the first book in the series lacked, and I’d definitely suggest reading both books in quick succession.