A brand new series by New York Times bestselling author, Susan Stoker
The Refuge is a place to heal. Where those who have experienced traumatic events can go to heal. It’s run by seven former military men who’ve seen more than their fair share of the ugliness in the world.
Friend-zoned since childhood by the most amazing man she’s ever known, that doesn’t stop Alaska Stein from doing whatever’s necessary—including lying to the military—to be by his side when Drake ends up in a German hospital after a mission gone wrong. The broken man in the bed is not the boy she once knew. Despite that, and despite years apart, when Drake turns his gaze to Alaska, he sees her. Looks beyond the plain-Jane exterior to his childhood friend beneath. He may never be anything more than a friend, but putting her needs aside to see him whole is a sacrifice she’s willing to make.
Drake “Brick” Vandine walks away from the SEALs after his recovery, building a life around helping others struggling with PTSD. But he can’t walk away from Alaska. She was there for him in his darkest moment and her spine of steel saw him through one of the biggest challenges of his career. And now, although she lives half a world away, she’s still his anchor, his daily dose of support as he and several friends build The Refuge. A place of peace, a place of healing. But, for Drake, also a place of loneliness.
When the unthinkable befalls Alaska during a trip to Russia, it’s Drake’s turn to drop everything and race to her aid. Safely back at The Refuge, he just as quickly realizes what he’s failed to see for two decades—his oldest, dearest friend is the love of his life.
A revelation that may be too little, too late. Because Drake’s brought the enemy right to their door.
**Deserving Alaska is the 1st book in The Refuge Series. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings.
This was a heartbreaking, riveting and action packed story you can’t put down. I LOVED reading about Drake (Brick) and Alaska’s early days of friendship. And the life altering situations they went through to get to their HEA had my heart pounding the whole time. This was an awesome start to the new series and I can’t wait to read more.
The Refuge has been touched upon in other series, but now we get to know the men and their women. This is Drake “Brick” Vandine and Alaska Stein’s story which began 20 years before, when they met in high school, and picks up 16 years later.
Having lost contact after graduation, when Drake is injured during an op that killed the rest of his team, Alaska rushes to his side as his “fiancé.” Years later, when Alaska is the one in trouble, Drake is the one to rush to her aid and then offer her a stay at The Refuge. That’s when things really begin to happen!
Heartwarming friends to lovers tale.
Alaska had a crush on Drake ever since he asked her to play war and be on his team when they were kids. After he joined the Navy, they both got busy and lost touch. Until one day he ends up in Germany and she pretends to be his fiancé to see him, making sure he was okay. Years later, Alaska finds herself in a dangerous situation, with her childhood friend as the only hope to get out alive.
Drake didn’t waste a second when Alaska needed him. She was there for him at his lowest and he’ll be damned if he fails her now. Offering her to stay at the Refuge might be the first step for her to heal. And for them to explore their feelings for each other.
Danger might have followed them to the place they thought could only heal. And they invited him right in.
Deserving Alaska is a stellar start to the brand new series: The Refuge. Susan Stoker showed in this book what this series might offer; Stories filled with pain turning into ones filled with hope and love. It’s also a friends-to-lovers romantic suspense book with a former military soldier who will do anything to be there for his childhood friend when she needed him.
From the moment I opened this book, I got sucked into a world of pain and chaos, but as the story moved forward, it got a little laid back. The Refuge is a place for healing. It did just that for both characters. I loved reading the brief glimpses of their childhood together. It shows that soulmates will always find their way back to each other. Furthermore, I enjoyed reading about the Refuge, its animals, and the seven men who worked hard to make it into a safe space for those coping with PTSD.
The characters from Susan Stoker’s other books were mentioned, and I was pleased to see that they are still making an impact in all of her other stories. With this book, the series gets off to a promising start. My anticipation for the other stories in this series is high.
If you’re a fan of Susan Stoker’s books like me who would read any book she wrote, then this one won’t disappoint. In any case, if you’re looking for a romantic suspense story, you should definitely check out this book. The book contained some triggering topics that might not appeal to all readers.