Some of you may have noticed that there’s been an influx of wounded warrior romances. Several schools of thought exist on why, but it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that these brave men and women have fought for our country (thank you!) and are now suffering, and writers are transforming that struggle into powerful stories. In these romances, protagonists (men and women) help veterans heal from injuries without prejudice or judgement. Watching these characters change and grow through the support shown by their partners is heartwarming and incredibly romantic.
Only a Promise, by Mary Balogh
Still on the shelf at almost 27, Chloe Muirhead has accepted that she will not find a husband. A family scandal has left her cut off from society and ruined her chances for happiness. She retreats from London to the country estate of the Duchess of Worthingham, a family friend where she encounters Ralph Stockwood, Earl of Berwick and heir to the Duke. Ralph fought in the Napoleonic Wars and came back a changed man. Now, he has no desire to be around anyone, let alone marry, but he knows that he must in order to produce an heir. Chloe needs a husband, Ralph needs a wife. It seems so simple, so they head to the altar. What begins as a marriage of convenience slowly turns into a friendship, and then it turns into a romance as Ralph and Chloe take the time to learn about one another, both in and out of the bedroom.
The Longest Night, by Kara Braden
Former marine captain Cecily Knight lives off the grid in a remote cabin in the Canadian northwest with a generator for power and a manual typewriter that she uses to write children’s fantasy novels. She struggles every day and night with memories of her time as a POW. On the other side of the continent, Ian Fairchild has developed an addiction to painkillers after a car accident—he is in and out of rehab for a few months. When his law firm tells him to stay out of Manhattan until he’s clean, his brother Preston arranges for him to stay with Cecily. Their remote location and the chilly climate create a slow-build romance as they learn to fight their inner demons.
Only Love, by Garrett Leigh
Looking for a book that will tug on all your heartstrings? This one is it. Army Sergeant Jed Cooper’s military career is over thanks to a stomach illness and a leg injury he sustained in Iraq. He comes back to a hometown that was never really home. Seeking solace, he retreats to his friend Max’s lake house. Max and Jed find companionship and understanding before a similarly slow-burn romance is lit. Their issues, both physical and emotional, pose challenges, but they are stronger together than they are apart. Max’s service dog, Flo, is a great addition for animal lovers.
Escaping Yesterday, by Pamela Nowak
In 1905, PTSD wasn’t named or discussed. Men who came back from war were expected to continue as if nothing had happened. Caleb Hudson fought in the Spanish–American War but now works at an amusement park in Denver, Colorado, where he finds tranquility and peace in its beautiful gardens. Lottie Chase suffers a different type of PTSD, brought on by years of sexual abuse from her uncle. She and her daughter, Elsa, flee Coney Island to make a new life in Denver. When they run into hard times, Lottie takes a job at the amusement park where Caleb works. Lottie and Caleb butt heads when they first meet, but they soon learn to put their issues aside as they begin to trust one another enough to fall in love. A well-researched, atmospheric historical with a little mystery and a lot of love.
A Chance of a Lifetime, by Marilyn Pappano
Calvin, Benita (Bennie), and J’Myel were the best of friends when they were growing up, young black kids in Tall Grass, Oklahoma. Calvin and J’Myel dreamed of being like their war hero, Audie Murphy, and after high school, they joined the army while Bennie remained. A disagreement between the two men had ended their friendship and J’Myel had married Bennie, but when J’Myel is killed in action and Calvin sent home to recover from PTSD after a suicide attempt, he is home with Bennie again. Calvin has always loved Bennie, but secrets and low self-esteem stand in the way of their relationship. They slowly rekindle their friendship, but open up, even if it feels like they are risking everything for love?
Just Remember to Breathe, by Charles Sheehan-Miles
Alex Thompson and Dylan Paris met during a high-school exchange trip to Israel, but a long distance relationship and finishing high school turns out to be more than they can handle. After a misunderstanding, Dylan cuts off all contact. They both enroll at Columbia, and, as luck would have it, are paired together on a work-study assignment, but Dylan isn’t the same man. He was injured in Afghanistan and is struggling with PTSD. Their jobs force them to be together and the spark is still there, but can they learn to trust again?
A Love Like Ours, by Becky Wade
When Lyndie James returns to Holley, Texas, the town where she grew up, she finds her childhood best friend, Jake Porter, a changed man. When his Humvee was struck by an IED, he was left with a scar across his face and lots of other scars that are not as visible. Keeping everyone out is his way of keeping it together and Lyndie threatens to crack his shell. Jake hires her to help with the thoroughbreds he races. Their passion for horses brings them back together, but Jake’s PTSD and his loss of faith challenge their love.
Looking for more wounded warriors romances? Try one of these:
Before I Fall, by Jessica Scott
The Captive, by Grace Burrowes
A Change of Heart, by Barbara Longley
Come Back to Me, by Mila Gray
Full Exposure, by Sara Jane Stone
The Homecoming, by JoAnn Ross
Hard as It Gets, by Laura Kaye
Her Perfect Life, Vicki Hinze
If You Leave, by Courtney Cole
In Your Dreams, by Kristan Higgins
Lady Hellion, by Joanna Shupe
Love in the Afternoon, by Lisa Kleypas
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, by Jennifer Ashley
Never Surrender, by Lindsay McKenna
Primal Force, by D. D. Ayres
Return to Me, by Kelly Moran
Something Like Normal, by Trish Doller
Sweet Madness, by Heather Snow
Taking Fire, by Lindsay McKenna
Under Fire, by Catherine Mann
If you or someone you love is suffering from PTSD, the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs provides information and resources for mental health services at http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/where-to-get-help.asp. You can also find information by calling the Veteran’s Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255
Many of the organizations listed here have state or local groups that provide services and programs to service members and their families.
For more information about the Wounded Warrior project, check out https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/