In Tempting Tessa by Samantha Lind, for five years Tessa has grieved the loss of the love of her life, but the moment she meets Jake she feels she may be ready to move on. Except he has his demons too, after having been injured while in the military. Will they be able to help each other combat the pains of their pasts to achieve their happy ever after?
When I started reading this book, it showed real promise with the prologue and two main characters whose emotional back stories drew me in, but it was the plot that fell flat for me. Certainly, there were moments that weren't easy to deal with such as the connection Jake shares with Tessa's late husband and the moment where the hero is dealing with PTSD, but they didn't lead to anywhere. It felt like either of those two situations should have been the critical moment of the story; the moment where everything falls apart for the couple and they go their separate ways for a while, but it seems Jake and Tessa overcome those moments a tad too easily.
As for the characters, I really liked both Jake and Tessa as well as the secondary one. But, because I was unsatisfied with the plot, I found I couldn't enjoy them as much as I should have. Yet, I have to admit, I loved the growing relationship between Jake and Tessa's son. It was cute, and the young boy certainly needed a male influence in his life; someone that he could think of as a dad and possibly call that man dad in the future. Then there's Tessa, she's strong and brave in the way she's a single parent still grieving, but I liked that she wasn't so bogged down in that grief that she failed to do what was best for her son. Seriously, she was a really good mom that deserved to finally find happiness again.
While Jake, he's been through a lot too, and I felt sorry for him when the anniversary of what happened to him during his time in the military comes around. The way he suffers with such guilt and the nightmares, I could understand why he'd rather deal with that alone than lean on someone. However, in saying that, I liked that Tessa pushed him to talk about what he was going through, because it was palpable that she helped him to get better. But there was also parts of his dialogue I got frustrated with, especially his terms of endearment towards the heroine. The words babe, beautiful etc just felt too repetitive.
Overall, Ms. Lind penned a read that I liked, but can't give any more than three stars for, even though the chemistry was strong between this couple and the characters were entertaining. The way this story ended was good, because this couple were meant to be, especially because of the tie Jake has to her late husband. However, it was the epilogue that wrapped everything up nicely, as we learn how far Jake and Tessa have come together and how happy they are. I would recommend Tempting Tessa by Samantha Lind, if you enjoy second chance romances or books by authors Kate Canterbary, CM Seabrook or Mae Wood.