Never Forget

Author: Heather Ashby

Publisher: Amber Books

Release Date: September 12, 2014

Blue Ribbon Rating: 5 + RR

Format: EBOOK

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Even the most stalwart of the workers were brought to tears in the aftermath of 911 as the steel from the Twin Towers was smelted to forge the bow stem of the Navy’s newest ship, the USS New York. Amid sniffles and prayers, the job is completed as they work on, unaware of being overheard by a certain soul that no longer lives.

After being betrayed by his girlfriend of eight years, Nick Nikopoulos’ ends their engagement. Aware that she is being transferred to his ship, he knows he needs to get away. So he signs up for the yearlong exchange officer program between the United States and Britain. Assigned to the HMS Atlantic, Nick is adjusting to his new station, amused at the difference in the slang between the two countries and captivated by his attractive assistant engineer, Trudy. Unfortunately, he is her boss and there can be no fraternization.

As the daughter of a high ranking officer, Trudy, the assistant engineer on the HMS Atlantic, yearns for her father’s attention, but he goes overboard so he doesn’t appear to show favoritism, to the point of being rude whenever they meet. Trudy suspects that Nick has other reasons than those he gave for leaving his former ship, but at last here is a man who is taller than she is and she cannot deny her attraction to him.

Meanwhile, Royal Navy Lieutenant Gwyn Pritchard, Trudy’s friend, is the exchange officer on the USS New York, which is rumored to be haunted. While on a tour of the ship, she cannot help noticing all the people, including a child, dressed in civilian clothing, despite the fact that she was told that no visitors were allowed on the ship. When it seems that no one else sees these people, Gwyn realizes why. She has inherited her mother’s second sight abilities. Unfortunately, it appears that no one else on the ship can see them and she knows that if she mentions anything about them, she may be bound for the looney bin. At any rate, it would not be good for her career. However, she finds it easy to talk to a particular gunnery sergeant onboard and is soon telling him about her abilities and struggling with her longing for him.

Scarred Gunnery Sergeant Adam Connor is one of the only two marines permanently assigned to the USS New York. He is still suffering from his wounds and PTSD after losing his best friend in Afghanistan and being injured himself. He would like to be back in the thick of the action, but his diminished sight has landed him at his current duty station, where his duties include providing physical fitness for the rest of the servicemen and women. He is rumored to be a player onboard the ship, but this is far from the truth. Gwyn is the first woman he has really been attracted to in some time. However, if the romance between Gwyn and noncommissioned officer Adam is discovered, their careers could be ruined. When one of the spirits, a former spy, uncovers a betrayal that could cost many, many lives, will Gwyn come forth with the information that could save them and risk her career, or will she keep quiet? Will she be able to help the spirits move on into the light?

After reading this story, all I can say is Wow! While reading NEVER FORGET, the third book in gifted author Heather Ashby’s LOVE IN THE FLEET military romance series, take my advice and keep plenty of tissues ready. Trust me, at times, the tears will flow as the aftermath and the heartbreak of 911 are revisited with touching moments as well as joy-filled ones.

Both couples in this tale are wonderfully realistic with all the foibles, vulnerabilities and issues experienced in real life. Additionally, the chemistry between each of the couples on the separate ships is off-the-charts, enhanced by their deep love for one another.  Also, the British colloquialisms versus American slang throughout the story provide added charm and humor, giving readers a glimpse at the likenesses and differences between the British and American military, with an emphasis on the comradeship of the servicemen and women, regardless of country.

For beautifully written, memorable military romances, Ms. Ashby has quickly become my go-to author. Her innate storytelling gift reaches for your heart and touches it, leaving you with chills at the possibilities. Though relatively new as an author, with only three books under her belt thus far, Ms. Ashby packs a wallop. Her experiences and knowledge of military life shines through as the story unfolds. Filled with authentic details, heart-pounding action, believable characters, emotion-packed issues, spirits, loyalty, healing, PTSD, sizzling sensuality, tender romance and deep love, this story is sure to be treasured by its readers. An unputdownable tale, this is one you will certainly want to read more than once. Although this book can be read as a standalone, I am sure that after reading it, you will be searching for the first two stories in this series, FORGIVE AND FORGET and FORGET ME NOT. Also watch for the fourth book in this series, UNFORGETTABLE. I know I will. In my opinion, NEVER FORGET is a beautiful tribute to the victims of 911. I enjoyed it so much that I have made it a Recommended Read!

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Dottie

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