Purple Heart by Elaine Cantrell

(about this author)

  • Jenna West has no idea what she might have done to her new tenant Mike Hightower. He's surly and hateful every single time they meet, and he looks at her as though he despises her.
    He does despise her. She's from the Middle East, and people like her killed his friend Ramirez when the army sent them to Iraq.
    Will the power of love work its magic to soften Mike's bitter hatred, or will he ignore his growing attraction for his pretty landlady?


    PRINT ISBN 1-60154-133-3
    (101 pages) Sweet


    Mike tilted her head back and kissed her. "You taste like chocolate," he said with a smile. "What did you eat that you didn't share with me?"

    "Half a Hershey bar."

    Mike gently kissed her lips. "You taste better than a Hershey bar."

    Jenna pulled away from him. "I n ... need a shower first."

    "Okay, you take your shower. I'll be waiting for you."

    Jenna hopped into the shower and indulged in a little cry while she had some warm water to wash the tears away. Who would have dreamed that her life would fall apart in the course of a few weeks?

    Irrelevantly, she wished that she had a nice gown to wear; her old, thin, faded, cotton gown certainly didn't seem appropriate, but it probably didn't matter. He'd seen it once before, right? She brushed her teeth and finally rejoined Mike.

    She felt a small shock when she saw him in her bed. He had turned on the bedside lamp, and Jenna saw that he had been reading her Good Housekeeping magazine. He tossed the magazine aside and folded back the covers. "Come to bed, honey," he coaxed.

    Jenna slipped under the covers and pulled the sheet across her breasts as Mike slid closer to her and stroked her hair. "You've got such pretty hair. It shines and bounces all the time."

    "Uh huh."

    He ran a finger gently down her arm. "You're soft too. Your skin feels just like velvet."

    "Oh, er..."

    "I like the look of your lips too. I can't stand skinny lips, and yours are nice and full." He bent his head and brushed her lips with his own. "Very kissable."

    He put his arms around Jenna. "You can hold me if you want to."

    Jenna didn't want to, but so far things had gone pretty well so she did put her arms around him. She felt the play of hard muscle beneath her fingers, and her heart picked up a little speed.

    "Kiss me, Jenna."




Read the full review: http://thestephanieloves.blogspot.com/2011/01/purple-heart-by-elaine-cantrell.html

Elaine Cantrell is a new author for me. When given the opportunity to read her The Wild Rose Press Rosebud (novella), Purple Heart, I accepted, being a fan of the independent romance publisher. 152 pages and two hours later, I was happy I had.
Purple Heart is a heartwarming, poignant tale that bends the rules of common manners and tests the shallow capacity of our American society. Mike Hightower, a handsome Purple Heart recipient for the war-wounds he attained while serving in Iraq, still holds bitterness against the Iraqis, even a year later after the death of his fellow soldier and good friend, Ramirez. He blames the entire Middle Eastern entire race for what happened to his comrade, and when returning home to Eden's Crossing after serving, is put at much unease when discovering his landlady and cohabitant of the new duplex he's renting is Lebanese.
It was really uncomfortable for me to read Mike's thoughts. His hatred toward Jenna -- a perfectly polite and welcoming neighbor -- was based solely off her ethnicity, which is definitely a touchy subject, especially in our country. On the other hand, I could understand his resentment, and enjoyed being able to see his attitude towards Middle Easterns change as he realized that not all of them were terrorists. In fact, I would have thought this book to be extremely prejudice, had not his opinion change as he found himself falling for Jenna more and more everyday.
Jenna West, the protagonist of the novel -- I loved her. So maternal and affectionate in character, and still an exceptionally hard worker, she was exactly the kind of woman I enjoy reading about; one with morals, charm, and most importantly, persistence. Her little daughter, Jo was adorable too. With precious naïvete, she brought both tears to my eyes, and laughter to my heart.
The turning point of the novel was when Jo was taken away by social services, under the accusation that Jenna, by her precarious father-in-law (father of her late husband, Ethan), was a neglecting and unfit mother for the little girl. Mike, sensing Jenna's anguish and disarray, did everything in his willpower to help her get Jo back, and in the process, became conscious of how much he actually cared about her and Jo, coming to senses that a single aspect of a certain ethnicity did not define the entire ethnicity itself.
Purple Heart is a delectable story that universally shows to the reader, any reader, that true love is always out there for everyone, only if one's heart is open and willing. After all, as Jenna's mother told her, you always catch more flies with sugar than with vinegar. Purple Heart is a book you don't want to miss.

Overall, 9 out of 10 stars.



    A lovely story about two well-developed characters -- Mike and Jenna -- that the reader immediately cares about. It's uplifting to watch these two grow and overcome predjudices.

    Kathleen O'Connor, author of Something Borrowed and Overdue for Love

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