This is a beautiful story of second chances. I dragged to start reading as stories with PTSD character could be so angsty and full of drama. This was NOT
like that. It felt real. The hurt, the denial, the acceptance, and - finally - the healing.
Xander and Mackey were best buddies as well as friends-with-benefits for years, as long as their military service time. What they never revealed was their true feelings of each other. One new year's eve while on deployment in the sandbox, they had huge argument and the next day all hell broke loose during their field assignment. It left Mackey unscathed, but had Xander seriously injured and body part removed. The tragic accident, that had other fatal casualties, pushed Mackey to rethink the decisions he took and kept secret years ago..
The story was told alternately from Xander and Mackey POV. It allowed the reader insights to both MC's head, the guilt and fears they kept hidden all along. Both characters were likable despite their (Xander's mostly) hardheaded tendency. In my mind Mackey was this big lovable teddy bear that so wanted to surround Xander with love without being overwhelming. The process of how they finally - FINALLY - come together was achingly touching (impatient that I am, I often wanted to throttle Xan even when I understood his frustration). But the healing was just the beginning of their adjustment and journey together.
In a way I wish the story were longer, but also appreciate it ended the way it did. Xander still had long way to go, with his disability and with his family, and not least - his commitment with Mackey.