This is the first book in the Treading Water series by Marie Force. It follows the life and love that develops between Jack and Andrea. I’ve read books by Force before and have always enjoyed the realistic characters and situations that allow love to blossom between the characters. Sadly, this is not one of those stories.
The book begins with Jack and his heartbreaking story about carrying on after his wife of twenty years is hit by a car and lies in a coma for over a year. His pain and suffering are written so well that it made me cry thinking of how I would be in that situation. Other characters, like Jack’s sister and friends, all describe how they had the ideal marriage. A true partnership between them that would withstand the test of time. There is a little blip about how things have been strained for a bit, how Clare (his wife) was acting distant and avoiding physical contact with Jack. But nothing that would raise a red flag or indicate a failing marriage, more just a bump in the road of life that would be fixed with time and communication. What haunts him the most is the video the police show him of the accident. His three daughters jump out of the way of the oncoming car, but Clare just stands there, making everyone wonder if she was suicidal. Fast forward a year, and he’s back at work trying to put his life back together and get back to ‘normal’ after the accident. He meets Andrea and immediately falls into lust with her. There is a pathetic attempt to fight off the attraction they have, but neither one really try to stay away from each other. Sickeningly, his own mother in law tells him to move on from Clare and gives the relationship with Andrea her blessing. He is, of course, distraught over moving on – so much so that he doesn’t sleep with her for about 2 chapters and doesn’t have her move in with him until midway through the book. She then becomes pregnant and they start planning on raising a family together, all while she knows of his current wife and that she can’t marry him because he IS MARRIED. Not so shocking, Clare wakes from her coma and now he has to backtrack and fix the marriage because he’s now having twins with another woman. To make matters worse, she confesses that she was depressed and distant because she was raped by a client and her family’s lives threatened if she told and that’s why she didn’t move out of the way of the car. She accepts that he had an affair and doesn’t put up any fight to keep Jack. They get a quickie divorce so he can marry Andrea. The “HEA” is the wedding and birth of Jack and Andrea’s twins and how they are soul mates and so lucky to have each other.
I am disappointed that this is considered a romance novel. It’s nothing but a book about a man that has an affair on his comatose wife that he promised to love and care for in sickness and health until death. Jack is a deplorable character and Andrea is a weak woman with no morals. I wouldn’t recommend reading this one and I’m not going to read the others in this series.