Ellie Bell used to be a professional ballet dancer until an injury led to her retirement. Now she teaches ballet to young children. Ellie has spent the last 11 months focussing on her work as she's been on a self-imposed man-free year to try and break herself of her bad habits of dating sexy bad boys who will just break her heart. Ellie's parents are both dead and the only real family she has is her brother Sam.
Sam is a soldier, and he's currently home, sporting a large scar as a reminder of his last tour. He was very badly injured while on a mission, and, knowing that news might be slow to filter through, his fellow soldier and good friend, Charlie emails Ellie to let her know what has happened. Ellie replies, and she and Charlie strike up an email correspondence. They feel very comfortable with each other, and get quite close over email and share some quite personal things. But Charlie hasn't emailed her since the unit returned home.
Ellie goes to visit Sam at the Warrior Centre, a centre for service men where Sam receives counselling and generally hangs out with friends. There, Sam, who is unaware that the two have emailed, introduces Ellie to Charlie, but he introduces her by his nickname, Hunter. Ellie has heard all about this guy 'Big Game Hunter', the man who goes through women at a rate of knots, and she doesn't have a high opinion of him. The fact that she finds Hunter charming and attractive is all the more reason to keep her distance from him, given the fact that he's just the type of man she's decided to avoid.
Charlie has come home hoping to turn over a new leaf as regards his womanising and he's disappointed that his reputation has soured Ellie's view of him. Rather than ruin her memories of Charlie he decides to try and improve her view of Hunter before he tells her the truth. He decides to volunteer at the centre, as Ellie does, and in addition, they work together on a fundraiser. But will it be enough?
This was a fairly enjoyable romance and very easy reading, but I found it a little frustrating that the characters would say they weren't going to do x and then go straight off and do it! There was also the issue of secret keeping. In real life, are you going to be able to keep your identity a secret in this way? Considering Charlie's family and friends live in the area, I can't believe he would have thought it was possible for more than a day or two.
On the plus side, I liked the healing side of this story. Charlie thought he was OK with what he'd been through on his last tour, but he had just been suppressing it. Similarly, Ellie still had lingering elements of resentment at the injury that ended her career.
There are no sex scenes in this book, but they are thinking about it :)
I had a suspicion while reading that this was part of a series, and it is, but it reads fine as stand-alone, I don't think reading this out of order is likely to spoil the others for you unless it's a surprise who ends up together. Book 1 in the series is called Playing at Love and features Charlie's sister, Tess. Book 2 is Speaking of Love which has friends of his, Mackenzie and Rick. I will certainly add those to my wishlist.