Chasing Daylight is the third book in Carey Heywood’s Carolina Days series and can be read as a stand alone book.
Mitch is a disabled veteran suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) which is so bad, he has a therapy dog named Zeus to help him get through the worst of it. Mitch meets McKenzie when Zeus falls ill and needs emergency veterinarian care. Mitch feels a pull to McKenzie – the first person he’s felt any kind of connection with since his injury. McKenzie is facing her own demons and isn’t ready to jump back into a relationship. Fate has other ideas and Mitch and McKenzie are thrown together, despite their own reservations and intentions.
Sounds kind of formulaic, right? What makes Chasing Daylight different from other romance books is Mitch’s struggle with PTSD. Carey states in her note to the reader at the beginning of the book where she got the idea for Mitch and Zeus. She made Mitch an Airman because her own sister served in Iraq in the Air Force. This story was very personal for me. I am a 20 year Air Force veteran and am still on active duty. I spent 19 months in Iraq over two deployments and 12 months in Afghanistan over two deployments. I experienced similar situations as Mitch – I didn’t lose any limbs, but I lost several close friends.
Carey’s gift as a writer is her ability to give depth to her characters. To make them real people with real problems. She nailed what PTSD is like – the anxiety, the anger, the sleeplessness, the inability to form and maintain close relationships… Even if Mitch is fictional, he is many of my friends and fellow veterans.
Add to all that, Carey is able to tell a wonderful love story based on real emotions and struggles. It would be easy to see Chasing Daylight as another formulaic romance novel, but it isn’t. It’s a great story with great characters.