Patriotic Duty (When Riley Met Cara, Book 1) has everything that I love in this contemporary romance by C.J. Pinard (Enchanted Immortals series). This short novel is fun, cheeky, sexy and saucy but not without the drama of a beautiful romance. If you’re looking for a hot, cute soldier who’s looking for more than somewhere to spend the night, then Riley is your man and Patriotic Duty is your kind of book!
Single mum and recent divorcee, Cara Reid spends most of her weekends with her best friend, Miranda, having fun going to clubs, living it up and meeting hot guys. She is young and not in the least thinking to settling down any time soon, especially after her experience with her ex. However, one night after hooking up with Riley her summer is planned. He is to be in California for the summer before he is due back in Colorado, and so they spend summer together.
Cara naturally opens up to him and accepts his ways far more than she would anyone else. She is falling for him, even though she doesn’t want to admit it. Of course, it is just a summer fling. Or at least that is what she keeps informing Miranda when she stops partying for a while to be with Riley. However, as the summer comes to a close, Riley is given orders to do a tour of nine months in Afghanistan. As they agree to keep in touch, Cara is left feeling a little lost. Still not wanting to admit to her true feelings and yet not wanting to return to her life of partying with Miranda, Cara is left with a decision to make. Will she wait for her cute, hot soldier or does she move on with her life?
During the summer that they are together, Cara and Riley spend day trips together, go to a concert, visit bars, have some hot, fantastic sex, and Riley even gets to meet Cara’s son on some occasions. This shows how well their relationship is going, as usually Cara keeps this side of her life away from her son. Riley is very sweet, although the strong, silent type in some instances. Cara seems to be his world and the reader feels his sincerity to her. It is only his quieter side at times that makes Cara and the reader wonder what he is really thinking. But all will be revealed as the story moves on.
Patriotic Duty is a nice, light romance that becomes a little more serious and dramatic as the novel enters its second half, especially with Riley on tour in Afghanistan and Cara having little contact with him. What is going through Cara’s mind? Can she focus on getting her party life back with Miranda?
When Riley Met Cara has the potential to bceome much more complex and darker as the series moves on. However, for the first book of the series it does have a simple straight forward plot, which I loved after reading some heavy psychological horrors recently!! There were parts early on that made me laugh out loud as the interaction between Cara and Miranda was fun. They certainly knew how to have a laugh and cheer each other up.
I found Miranda to be a great supportive friend for Cara. Miranda, also a single mum, had been left by her ex to bring up their child and therefore, was in the same boat as Cara. Both characters are realistic and so long as the babysitters are available, of course young women would want to go out at weekends and have some fun. They also spend time together with their kids and meet up for lunch during their working week, and so have a tight bond, like sisters.
Although, Miranda’s attitude towards Cara does slightly change as she realises that Cara is becoming quite serious with Riley. She is perhaps worried for Cara that Riley will treat her bad in the end, and she may be a little jealous of the time that Riley spends with Cara when she could be with her. This is what makes Patriotic Duty realistic and easy to connect with. The characters have real feelings and thoughts that the majority of us have, and these lead to similar situations that we have either been in or those that we know have been in.
Brilliantly written by C.J. Pinard, Patriotic Duty is very fluid and there is not a moment that you lose grips with the story. I read this book in one day and so it is a very quick read. Due to the hot love scenes this book is recommended for those above the age of 18 yrs.
If you are a fan of C.J. Pinard’s urban fantasy/paranormal series, Enchanted Immortals, you will see a whole different side of her work in Patriotic Duty. C.J. has shown just how versatile her writing can be, and I for one absolutely love it. I am looking forward to reading the second book in the When Riley Met Cara series.
A Reader’s Review Blog received a copy of Patriotic Duty from the author in return for fair and honest review.
Reviewed by Caroline Barker