cover image Once Burned

Once Burned

L.A. Witt. Riptide, $17.99 trade paper (289p) ISBN 978-1-62649-749-8

Witt’s powerful sixth Anchor Point contemporary romance (after Rank and File) tackles a surprisingly deep topic: the shameful truth of what can happen to noncitizen American combat veterans. After a divorce and a Navy promotion to captain, Mark Thomas reports to Naval Air Station Adams in Oregon, ready to take on a new command—and almost immediately meets the hottest guy he’s ever seen, the bartender at local gay bar High-&-Tight. Seven years after being shot and wounded in Afghanistan and then discharged from the navy for being disabled by his injuries, Diego Ramírez wants nothing to do with the military. His green card expired after his dismissal, leaving him no option but to work under the table at the local gay bar. Readers will share Diego’s rage over a combat veteran being thoroughly screwed over by the U.S. military because he happened to be born in another country. While sending a strong political message (including with the announced donation of a portion of royalties to a charity that helps deported veterans), Witt doesn’t stint on characterization (especially Mark’s gentle handling of Diego’s PTSD) or red-hot love scenes, making this a memorable tour de force. (Apr.)