What can I say about Veterans? It's been several days since I've finished the Special Forces series, and the emotional turmoil has finally settled into a rhythmic roil. We have seen the beginnings of Vadim and Dan in Soldiers, and witnessed their change throughout Mercenaries. At this point, we are under no delusions that both our MCs have irreversibly changed from the first book, and are not the same men.
However, Dan and Vadim aren't through yet. While war can devastate even the best of men, peace can cut as deep as any knife on the battlefield. Both characters are trying to navigate their lives in the absence of that volatile world.
To be honest, I felt Veterans was longer than it really needed to be. There were many scenes that I felt didn't need to be addressed at all, or could have been summarized. It was distracting enough to introduce so many secondary characters throughout Mercenaries, but we get even more new characters added to the batch. After a while, it really distracted from Vadim and Dan, which was all I really cared for. Not only that, but I felt like every male character that our MCs meet are closeted gay men whose problems were solved by sharing sex. That, and the fact that Dan was playing cupid for all these lost gay souls (which was even joked about in the book by Vadim).
The good? Well...when the story didn't seem to drag into the lives of secondary characters or playing matchmaker with such characters, the story really SHINED. These were the conflicts between Dan and Vadim, such as the replacement knee surgery and Dan's depression, the three month long therapy for Vadim, Kisa's reunion, etc. . During these moments, I cried because the journey for these men was never easy. These are men that deserve love, but could never seem to obtain or acknowledge it. And when all is said and done? Even though these guys have changed from the men in Soldiers (whom I loved), I still hold them dear in my heart and wish them nothing less of a HEA.
Despite how I felt about every book following Soldiers, I am glad that I continued on. Would I say SF was one of my favorite series? No. But in terms of relationships, Dan and Vadim would definitely be one of my favorite couples of all time.