Reader’s Edyn

I always felt like I could do something more than just read. Finally, I have found both a creative outlet and a chance to do something meaningful with my reading. This blog was created in appreciation of and tribute to all of the authors who have brought me joy through their books. These reviews are my way of giving back to authors and providing recognition for the hard work that each one completes every day!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Review: Her Marine by Heather Long

       Title: Her Marine
                  Always A Marine, Book 5
       Author: Heather Long
       Release Date: June 30, 2012
       Publisher: Decadent Publishing; 1 Night Stand
       Category: Contemporary Romance
       Type: Kindle
       Ms. Long’s Website

Shannon Fabray is a sculpture artist and her love of the pure masculine body is demonstrated in every work of aesthetic art she creates. But her passion for the body doesn't extend into her personal life after a hellish experience in college left her with nowhere to turn but her work. After several criticisms about the lack of passion in her sculptures, Shannon is determined to face her fears and take desire by the balls. A one-night stand should do the trick.

2nd Lt. Brody Essex is an active duty Marine with one goal: come home, get rested, go back. Brody isn’t interested in a date arranged through Madame Eve’s 1Night Stand service like the rest of his friends from the Corps have had, but he doesn’t hesitate to fill in for a Brother who can’t go on his own.

The last thing either Shannon or Brody expect is a wondrous, soul deep connection, but is the spark of lust enough to bring the two loners in from the cold?

Shannon folded her arms across her chest as they stepped outside the club. The October air carried the promise of chill, but warmth from the day still drifted up from the cement. The smell of car exhaust mingled with scents of ivy, a hint of beer and from upwind, the rich, roasting aroma of beef from the steakhouse a block away. Brody spoke to the valet and came back with his keys. He wanted access to his car in case the club closed before he returned. He walked with such an easy, loping confidence. His posture never varied and his shoulders never slumped.
He really was a beautiful man.
And she was completely out of her mind. He lifted his brows at her. “Oh.” Another blush rushed to her cheeks. She’d forgotten he didn’t know which way, and she pointed east up the block. “It’s this way.”
He hooked his thumbs into his jean pockets and cocked an elbow toward her.
Uncrossing her arms, she slid her hand carefully into the nook created. He tugged her a fraction closer, sandwiching her hand into the warm of his body.
“Are you for real?” When she’d signed up for the one-night stand, she’d read all the literature, forced herself through the online interviews and questionnaires with the idea that it would all be worth it, if she could just get back on that horse again, take control of her reactions, and her body.
“Last time I checked. Want to pinch me and find out?”
“No.” She shook her head, laughing at herself. “If I am imagining all of this, I don’t want to wake up.” The words sang with more truth than she could have believed. A surreptitious glance at her watch told her it had been less than two hours since she’d walked up to Brody in the club, since she translated that first song and been transported by the sweeping emotions in the words to this warm bubble that now included the Marine.
Sitting in the booth, she’d forgotten how tall he was. He stood more than a head taller than her, the perfect height to rest her head on his shoulder. It helped that he shortened his stride to accommodate hers and once again she was grateful not to be teetering on high heels.
“If you were imagining all this, what would you change?”
“Hmm…I’d be taller, prettier and a heck of a lot more confident.” The words rolled off her tongue without a second thought, but they trembled with honesty.
An honesty that was easier with Brody than any person she’d ever met. “Do you believe in reincarnation?”
He didn’t answer immediately. At the corner, he leaned away to hit the button and waited for the walk signal before answering. “I don’t not believe in it, but I can’t say I’ve really thought about it that much, either. Why?”
She twisted to walk sideways, wanting to see his face, but her hand stayed firm in his arm. The casual contact was almost overwhelming in its intimacy. “Because I’ve known you for less than two hours and you’re easy to talk to. I never thought anyone in the military would be easy to talk to, so damn easy to look at, or that I would invite him back to my studio.”
Amusement crinkled the corners of his eyes. “And you’ve known a lot of us ‘military’ types?”
“A couple. Army mostly.”
“Oh. Them. That explains it. You just needed to meet a Marine, ma’am.”    

Dialogue Highlight:
For the next two hours she drew him, moving him to a new position about every third or fourth drawing. She concentrated on his face and his posture.
When she asked him to take off the jacket, he’d lifted both eyebrows.
“Is that an order?”
A delicious shiver of pleasure uncurled in her belly at the challenge. Her mouth dried and she flicked her tongue over her lips, desperate to moisten them.
“Yes?” The question mark punctuating the word didn’t sound as confident.
“Then make it one.”
A second finger of heat stroked through her. Biting down on her lip, she glanced at the profile on the paper. It was probably the best she’d done in years, and she still hadn’t quite captured the pure masculine beauty standing in front of her.
“Take the jacket off.” She swallowed the please.
“Yes, sir.” The words reflected humor that didn’t crease his lips reminding her that she’d told him not to smile earlier.
And he hadn’t.
He stripped off the jacket. The white cotton stretched hard against thick biceps as he hung it neatly off the back of a chair just a foot away. He took his position again.
Did she dare?
“Take the shirt off, too.” Her voice squeaked at the end, all the oxygen rushing out.
The barest hint of amusement curled the corners of his lips, but relaxed immediately and he nodded. Approval gleamed in his eyes as he stared right at her, his fingers loosening the buttons down his glorious chest. He tugged the shirt out of his pants and peeled it off, folding it like the jacket before setting it down.
The smooth bronze expanse of his wonderfully broad chest captivated her.
Sinewy muscle stretched tightly under the bare skin and tapered down to his packed abdomen. Every gesture elicited a ripple of muscle.
Heat flushed her skin, but his nipples were erect and stiff against his broad chest. Exhaling a slow breath, she flipped the page of the sketchbook and didn’t take her eyes off him as she began to work.
Broad chest.
Broad shoulders.
His shoulders bunched despite his relaxed stance.
The corrugated ripple of his abdomen was in sharp definition and contrast of his lean hips. But his jeans were in the way and she was already flipping to the next page, concentrating on sketching those abdominals, trying to split her attention between the page and his body. Flipping to a new sheet, she unlocked her legs and edged up onto her knees, sliding forward to get a better look. The overhead lights enhanced the taut plane, emphasizing each abdominal as a part of the whole.
Capturing the contours was the most difficult, but also the most provocative. Without thinking, she stretched out her hand to trace the line of his abdominal to the faint curl of hair visible above the cut of his jeans. Her fingertips burned at the contact and she jerked her head up to find his heavy-lidded gaze watching her.
Somehow she’d closed the entire distance between them and touched him. Did that go beyond what he’d offered her? “How shy are you?”
“How shy do you want me to be?” His words sent a tremor of excitement racing through her.
“Not at all.” She lifted hopeful brows.
“Then I’m not shy at all.”

Most of you know by now how much I adore the 1 Night Stand series from Decadent Publishing. And I really do. I mean how can you not enjoy a series with so many talented contributing authors and wonderful books to read? Well, Heather Long just added another great read to the 1 Night Stand repertoire. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and the unconventional slant it took in dealing with a harsh reality.
Brody is a Marine and is on leave for a bit before returning to Afghanistan. But before leave is over, his friends have a plan to carry out. Under the guise that one of their buddies is having a bad PTSD day, Brody is quickly substituted into a date arranged by 1 Night Stand. Of course he has no idea that he was the planned date the whole time. But he “takes one for the team” as it were and honors the pack he made with the boys to participate in one of these blind dates. There is not much to tell about him except that he is a man of honor, respects women, and has no intention of leaving active duty anytime soon. And of course, he has a body that is drool-worthy.
Shannon is a bit of a different case. She is a sculptor and despite the magnificence of her work, she is constantly criticized for lacking emotional components in her art. Wanting to get past a traumatic event from her past, she signs up for a 1 Night Stand hoping that she will be able to break free of the bonds that have held her for far too long. And just maybe her work will take on the emotional depth it has heretofore been deficient in. She wants to have a relationship, but her mistrust of men makes it too hard to take that first step. She needs a guy that can give her the power back, but also be able to catch her if she falls. A difficult combination, but if anyone can find Mr. Right, Madame Eve will do it.
I have to say that I really enjoyed this story. Ms. Long broke outside of the box and put a bit of a different spin on the details of Shannon’s trauma. While she still suffers the after effects, she also feels guilt at her lack of memory and the details of what actually happened. Not that experiencing something like that would be any less traumatic no matter the specifics, but she definitely suffers the after effects and their symptoms present familiar to Brody’s training in PTSD. Because of his compassion and honor, Brody is able to recognize exactly what Shannon needs to overcome. And because of those same traits, he assesses the situation and gives her exactly what she needs to take the power back. *le swoon* Hot Marine, delish bod, and a personal savior to boot? Sign me up!
My only complaint, through no one’s fault but my own is that I did not realize that this book was not only part of the 1 Night Stand series, but also book 5 in the ALWAYS A MARINE series by Ms. Long. You can bet I will be reading the whole series to be sure. Well, I guess I have one other complaint and that would be that more than one intimate occurrence would have been awesome. Brody had some pretty vivid ideas about what he would like to do with Shannon, but only once did we get to experience their connection. And yet, somehow, the way Ms. Long wrote it, it still worked. So you see both of my complaints could be argued as not really complaint at all. Helpful, that. I know.
Those of you who enjoy a strong male lead that can show a tender side, paired with a female lead who is determined to overcome will definitely enjoy this story! Of course it helps that there is a Marine! I mean seriously, do you really need anything else besides a Marine to want to read this story? I think not. While I do not feel that anything lacked because I started this series with book 5, previous characters in the series were mentioned and I would have liked to know more about them and their stories prior. If you are a reader who HAS to read in order, definitely do so. If it doesn’t matter to you, then picking up anywhere in the series won’t hurt you either. Ms. Long is definitely in my future read pile. At around 40 pages, why not add her to your list too? Did I mention that there are Marines? *grins*
 (eBook copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.)


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