Author: Cheryl Etchison
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Date of publication: July 2016
Former Ranger Medic Lucky James feels right at home working long night shifts in the ER, but less so during the day, when his college classes are filled with flirtatious co-eds. When his 19-year-old chem lab partner shows up at his work with dinner for "her Lucky," he quickly enlists the help of Rachel Dellinger, a nurse and fellow third shift "vampire".
Rachel is a people pleaser at heart, but she's finally decided enough is enough when it comes to her on-again, off-again boyfriend. When Lucky begs Rachel to help him ward off the advances of his teenager pursuer, she blackmails him into helping move her things out of the apartment she shared with her ex into a place all her own.
From there a friendship is born between two people just trying to make it through the night. Neither are living in the past or planning for the future. Until one day changes everything.
Here and Now is the second book in the American Valor series. In this one, Lucky has left the 1st/75th Rangers for a civilian life. His goal is to finish college and go to medical school. Rachel is a blast from the past who blames Lucky for her brother's death. She quickly realizes that Lucky may be the key to help her get away from her cheating boyfriend.
I thought this was an enjoyable second chance romance. Lucky and Rachel both have a lot of demons to work through. Rachel struggles with her parents as Lucky struggles with adjusting to the "normal world" after being in the Army for so long. His struggle with adjusting came across as very real. His frustration at having so much medical training from the Army that he can't use in the civilian world was also a reality and unfair. The couple was cute together and I liked watching them fall into friendship first before love. The ending was very sweet.
This did well as a stand alone. I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't more of the characters from the first book (Once and For All) until toward the ending. I'm hoping they show up more in the next one. If you are a fan of second chance/friends to lover stories, I do recommend this one. It's a sweet story that will leave you happy in the end.