INTO THE BLUE – Chanel Cleeton
A Perfect 10
A Wild Aces Romance , Book 2
Berkley Sensation
ISBN-13:  978-1-101-98698-1
July 2016
Contemporary Romance

Bradbury, South Carolina – Present Day

Becca is meeting her two friends at a bar for some girl time, but when she arrives they are surrounded by three hot looking guys.  A subtle question lets her know which one is up for grabs for her, and she's just fine with this hunk of manhood when the worst thing that could happen does.  They are all fighter pilots, but not only that, F-16 fighter pilots, the same as her fiancé from ten years ago, Eric.   Maybe they don't know Eric, but the F-16 fighter pilot community can't be too big, and she's afraid to ask if they know him.  The hurt that has lingered all these years immediately rises up and prevents her from enjoying talking to the men, until the inevitable happens and Eric walks through the door with a beautiful blonde on his arm.  Ten years ago Eric broke off their engagement, not even in person, so that he could become a fighter pilot.  After her parents both died in her teenage years, Eric knew everything about her before she could even say or feel it.  Becca has avoided any information about him in her small town, and just seeing him opens up all her wounds, and she can't get away fast enough.

Eric can't believe he is seeing Becca in the bar after all those years apart.  He has never returned to Bradbury since leaving, even though his grandmother still lives there.  There will never be a more uncomfortable moment than when he talks to Becca again.  He and his teammates are in town for the bachelor party for another pilot, and seeing Becca and telling everyone he used to be engaged to her isn't easy.  He knows he made a mistake all those years ago, but there's nothing he can do to erase the hurt it caused her.  It's only when he returns to Oklahoma and his base after the weekend and the team goes on a flight that Eric realizes thoughts of the death of his squadron leader, Joker, just months ago is causing him to not be in control of the fighter.  To some degree everyone who was on the practice flight in Alaska those months ago is dealing with the horror, but Eric can't seem to cope.  Before they have to let him go, they give him leave to deal with his emotions, and he heads back to Bradbury, and the one person who always understood him and could help him cope…Becca.

Inevitably in a small town Becca and Eric meet, and all the old feelings open up between them.  The hardest thing for Becca will be to let Eric back in her heart, and then struggle with what that means.  Will she have to give up being a lawyer for years maybe as she follows him around the world; or does she make him leave not just a job but a calling that saved his life all those years ago?

Chanel Cleeton bring us another inspiring and emotional roller coast as Becca and Eric meet again after years apart.  Becca struggles with the resentment and hurt Eric caused her, and her feelings are palpable as she must talk to him and interact as if it isn't killing her inside.  Eric is sorry for the hurt he knows he caused Becca, but in his heart of hearts he knew he couldn't have done anything else.  He was going nowhere in their small town, and when he talked to the enlistment officer and knew he could be a fighter pilot, that is what he was destined to do.  Becca is a lawyer now and desperately wants to have her own house and live her life in Bradbury.  Her parents raised her there, and it feels like home even without them.  Told from Becca's and Eric's points of view, we can easily understand why each of them did what they did all those years ago, but Becca especially feels the betrayal still deep in her heart, and doesn't know if she can truly let go of it.

Secondary characters are members of Eric's fighting squadron and now some of their wives.  Especially poignant is the story of Dani, the squadron leader's widow.  Easy is Eric's friend and another of the pilots, the team womanizer.

INTO THE BLUE is so emotional and touching, and yet reality rears up its ugly head on the relationship between Becca and Eric.  Perhaps there was no other route they could have taken years ago for Eric to realize his dream and make himself into a man that Becca could be proud of and love.  The Wild Aces Romance series started with FLY WITH ME (May 2016), which also received a Perfect 10.  There is no way the emotion INTO THE BLUE deals with could be anything other than another Perfect 10.  Next is Easy's story, ON BROKEN WING, in January 2017.  Easy has been in love with Dani since he first met her, but she was married to Joker, their leader.  Can Easy deal with a single Dani who is still coping with the death of a beloved husband? 

Grab your ice cream and a spoon and spend the night empathizing with Becca as she tries to come to terms with the man who broke her heart and to accept Eric again into her life.

Carolyn Crisher