Just This Once by J.H. Croix

Just This Once Cover

Sizzling romance with a fabulous hero

Just This Once (Last Frontier Lodge #3) by J.H. Croix

Reading Level: Adult Romance
Release Date: April 7, 2016
Pages: 244 pages
Source: Purchase
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

Aidan McNamara is a close friend of Becca Hamilton’s two older brothers, and beloved by her whole family. He and her brothers served together as SEALs, thereby forming a lifelong bond. Unbeknownst to Becca, Aidan has been half in love with her for the last 10 years, ever since the first time he met her when he was 28 and she was 23. Unfortunately for Aiden, the timing was never right to approach her to form a relationship. He was either overseas on a mission, or she was in a relationship with someone else. And during the last 3 years, even though they have both been single and both live and work in Seattle, she as a prosecutor and he as the owner of a private security firm, Becca has bitterly sworn off men. She discovered her fiancé cheating on her days before their wedding, and her trust in men, and her own judgment about them, has been sharply eroded.

Then comes the night when, on the way to visit her parents in a small town near Seattle, she is run off the road by a drunken driver who flees the scene. Fortuitously, Aiden, who has a younger sister who lives in the same town as her parents, is driving to visit his sister along the same highway where Becca is stranded. He recognizes her car in the ditch and rushes to assist her. During a moment of emotional vulnerability for both of them, in Aiden’s dark car on that same rainy night, they share a steamy kiss. Suddenly, all sorts of romantic possibilities flare between the two of them that neither of them would ever have dreamed possible before that moment.

Becca is a strong heroine and very admirable, both personally and ethically, but for me, Aiden steals the show in this book. He is a phenomenal hero, both strong and compassionate. A dynamic occurs between them in their sex scenes that I have only ever seen in a few other romance novels where the heroine is recovering from a traumatic sexual assault, which this heroine is not. Knowing how prickly Becca is, with emotional defenses a mile high after her fiancé’s devastating betrayal, Aiden instinctively allows her, during every single sexual encounter in this book, to make the first move. While I have nothing against the classic romance novel favorite, the alpha male who leads the way, I found it simultaneously heartwarmingly cozy and blazingly sexy for a blatantly alpha male like Aiden to surrender sexual control to his female lover.

This is the third book in an extremely enjoyable series whose books are set mainly at the Frontier Lodge in Alaska. This particular book occurs partly in Seattle but mostly at the Frontier Lodge. As a result, this very naturally and organically permits fun cameos by characters from the previous two books in the series as well as quick and meaningful appearances from characters who star in books of their own later in the series, most especially Aiden’s younger sister Ellie.

I rate this book as follows:

Heroine: 4

Hero: 5

Subcharacters: 5

Romance Plot: 5

Setting: 5

Writing: 5

Overall: 5

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