It’s been two years since the events of Ask, Tell. Sabine and Rebecca are living together in Sabine’s house, and more importantly “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has been repealed. No longer required to hide their true selves, Sabine and Rebecca should be building their lives and planning a future together. But the events of the past continue to halt their progress.
Sabine has returned home from her latest deployment, and all she wants to do is make love to her girlfriend and enjoy what little time they have together before she’s scheduled to leave again. Yet, this trip home, Sabine feels something is off, with her and with her thoughts. And suddenly she finds the things she’s tried so hard to push aside from the past will not be ignored any longer.
Rebecca has settled into her new life as a civilian, as well as her role as a supportive girlfriend to Sabine. It’s everything Rebecca ever wanted. But when Sabine’s PTSD flares to an indescribable level, she’s left struggling with her own guilt about the incident, as well as her ability to help Sabine through this difficult time.
There’s no doubt that both Sabine and Rebecca want the same thing. But how do you help the most important person in your life when you’re facing your own struggles? Will Sabine and Rebecca be able to find a common ground to help each other through their pain? Or will the events of the past permanently hinder their future together?
One of the best ways to understand how much of an impact an event can have on characters is to revisit them and see just how much they have changed.
Sabine is still quiet and reserved, but for an entirely different reason. She has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Her actions are now defined by her current mental state, not her hidden sexuality. She’s developed OCD, questions the reality of every conversation and event she’s ever experienced in her life. And, most heartbreakingly, she feels she is too damaged to be the partner Rebecca deserves.
Rebecca is not the mysterious commanding officer anymore. She is a vibrant, active, loving woman who has settled into civilian life pretty well. She is a supportive partner to Sabine, trying to help the best way she knows how. Rebecca, however, is keeping her own secrets. It’s her own form of PTSD, projected in the guilt she harbors for being a catalyst in the events that lead to Sabine’s current state. She keeps it locked away and out of sight until she is alone. It’s the only chink in Rebecca’s armor. However, it will become the incentive to help Sabine, and in turn Rebecca, open up about the events that happened and allow them to begin healing.
The Writing Style
There really is only one way to tell this story, and Noyes executes it perfectly. She gives us events from the first person perspective. However, she alternates each chapter between Sabine’s point of view and Rebecca’s point of view. You’re able to get the full perspective of their inner feelings and turmoil they hide from one another. In addition, you’re able to get the complete picture of the unconditional love Sabine and Rebecca have for each other. It’s this little light of love that propels the reader to keep going and hope these women will finally reach the end of the darkness.
Wow. I don’t know what Noyes had to go through in her research, but I must commend her for going into such depth about exactly what having PTSD entails. Noyes shows us that along with reliving traumatic events, there are feelings of helplessness, guilt, and confusion. It’s no wonder veterans with PTSD continue to struggle, trapped in their own minds. It’s so commendable to soldiers like Sabine who choose to keep fighting to get better, not only for themselves but for the people they love most in this world.
Noyes does such a good job of tackling a very sensitive, and often times misunderstood, disorder. And it made it tough at times to read a lot of what Sabine and Rebecca were having to do to navigate the guilt and mental anguish both women were experiencing. So, I’ll admit, that I set the book aside for a couple of days. But, this was a sequel that needed to be told, and I’m so happy I read it…even if it took a little longer.
Not every story needs a sequel. Ask, Tell demanded it, and Noyes delivers in spectacular fashion. Sabine and Rebecca show us their fortitude and their strength in their love for each other, and I feel safe in saying they will get their happily ever after. Thank you, Noyes, for giving us a great story, a great series, and amazing women that teach us the best things in life are worth fighting for.
Excerpt from Ask Me Again by E.J. Noyes
I flung the covers aside, slid stealthily from the bed and started backing quietly toward the closet. The footsteps paused, then the partially-open bedroom door cracked open even further. Despite my panic, and my thumb ready to dial 9-1-1, I couldn’t help myself, whispering hopefully, “Jana? Is that you?”
The door opened further and a dull thud of something being dropped on the wooden floor echoed through the room. “Almost, but not quite.”
I would have known that voice anywhere. In my dreams or awake. Under water, from across a desert or crowded room. Most importantly, I knew it from where it spoke fifteen feet away. The light flicked on, illuminating the best thing in my life.
It took only two seconds to cross the room and the moment I was in reach, Sabine grabbed me and pulled me against her body. I let out a choked sob, wrapping my arms tightly around her waist as she held me. God how I missed her hugs. She loved hugging, and hugged hard and with her whole body, like she was trying to transfer love through osmosis. I buried my face in her neck, unable to stop the tremor in my arms. Her grip eased fractionally before she bent her head to kiss me.
Sabine reached up to grasp my wrists gently, the way she always did when I held her face and kissed her. This simple familiar action brought a fresh round of tears. Kissing her felt like that first sweet intake of breath after leaping into a pool. As she held me, kissed me softly, I realized how relieved I was at her sudden appearance.
Her forehead rested against mine, her voice thick with emotion. “Bec, I have spent the past ten months thinking of what I would say to you when this moment finally happened and now I can’t fucking remember any of it.” Sabine shrugged helplessly and her voice wavered. “Except that I love you. And I’ve missed you so much.”
“Me too,” I managed to say around the hard lump in my throat.
“Look at me.” Sabine lifted my chine with a forefinger, her eyes shining with unshed tears. “I love you,” she said again. Then her lips were on my neck and my cheek before they found my mouth again. We kissed like kissing was sustenance. We kissed like being together was the only thing keeping us alive. Now that she was home, and in my arms – it was.
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Ask Me Again
Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781594936128
- Publisher: Bella Books
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