by Lexxi James
“Marked” is the first book in the ‘Boys of Bishop Mountain’ series by Lexxi James. I’ve been wrestling with how to write this review because a lot happens in the story, and I don’t want to ruin any of it for anyone who hasn’t read it yet. So, forgive me for being circumspect, but I think you’ll thank me later. This is a second chance romance, and a brother’s best friend/best friend’s little sister romance. It also fits into the categories of being a military romance and a millionaire/billionaire romance.
Jess grows up with a crush on her older brother’s best friend, and as a child she’s not shy about it. It gets awkward and embarrassing as those things do, until suddenly when Mark is getting ready to leave for deployment again, a significant few minutes they share lead them both to believe that upon his return things are going to be different. The deployment ends in a nightmare, and when Mark gets home a terrible miscommunication wrecks everything.
Mark and Jess spend years on very separate paths in life. He moves away and becomes an extremely well-connected and successful businessman; she stays local and establishes a much- needed nonprofit organization to help military veterans. And they always remain aware of one another. Their families are close. Her brother is still his best friend, and one of his brothers is her best friend. The family relationships in this story are complicated, sweet, and sincere. They also feel very ‘real’. When Mark returns home for primarily business reasons, familiar sparks fly between him and Jess. They decide to see where it leads, which is straight into a scorching hot relationship. Unfortunately for them, (but fortunately for us), there is more drama waiting to happen and to be revealed.
This book hooked me quick, reeled me in, and kept me engaged right to the very end. There were a couple of small threads that I wish would’ve been resolved in some way, but with so much going on, it’s very understandable for that to happen. I thought the main and secondary characters were all wonderfully vivid. There is a lot of serious stuff here, but there’s also a lot of humor and scenes that will make you laugh out loud. I enjoyed the author’s writing style so much that as soon as I finished this book, I bought two of her others.