Monday, May 18, 2015

Seducing the Marine - Kate Hoffmann (HB #827 - Jan 2015)

Series: Uniformly Hot (Book 50)

Subject: Marine Will MacIntyre
Current Status: Medical leave

One day a year Will MacIntyre lets himself remember the woman who left him after he enlisted. But seven years later, on the anniversary of that fateful day, Will is defusing a bomb in Afghanistan -- and it explodes.

Dr. Oliva Eklund can barely find the boy she loved inside the hard, chiseled body of the man Will is now -- a Marine who knows just how to tempt her, just how to seduce her. Olivia is well aware that Will plans to return to his unit after he recovers, but she can't resist trying to heal him. Even if it means sending him back into a war zone. And breaking them apart forever.

Good reunion story. Will and Olivia had been high school sweethearts that continued into college. But partway through, Will decided to drop out of school and join the Marines. Olivia was heartbroken - she had had the future all planned out. She couldn't see any way for their dreams to be compatible, so she broke things off with him. 

Will had always intended a career in the service and was heartbroken that Olivia couldn't support his dreams. Ever since then he has kept his emotions bottled up, knowing that they could be a deadly distraction on the job. This proves true on the seventh anniversary of their breakup when a moment of inattention has him setting off an IED. Once he's out of the hospital he's sent to his hometown for further recovery from his injuries. Will isn't handling it very well. He has nightmares, is uncomfortable in crowds or social situations, and is worried that he won't recover enough to go back to his unit. He's also worried about running into Olivia.

Olivia went on to become a doctor and has come home to practice. She has big dreams that she has started to make come true. Olivia has always regretted the way that she broke up with Will. As she got older she realized that she had been selfish and immature, both in her plans and her actions. and would like a chance to talk to Will and apologize.

Their first meeting doesn't go too well, as Will basically looks at her and runs away. The second doesn't go much better, except that Will gives in to the urge to kiss Olivia. It becomes obvious to both of them that, while their relationship may have ended long ago, something is still there. Neither thinks that there's any chance of a lasting relationship between them, but the attraction between them is hard to resist. 

The relationship that developed between them was interesting. Both insisted to themselves that they could pursue a physical relationship without getting the heart involved, that at the end each of them can continue with their lives as they were before. However, things don't work out that way and the emotions do get involved. Will realizes he had never stopped loving Olivia, but with everything he's going through he's not sure he can trust what he's feeling. There are times when he thinks getting out of the Marines is the way to go, thereby enabling him to have a future with Olivia. But just the thought of leaving the life he knows for one with so many unknown variables scares him. Olivia comes to realize that she had never stopped loving Will either, but leaving the life she has, and all the things she had planned for it is something she doesn't think she can do.

I felt for Will with everything he was going through. If he doesn't fully recover from his injuries and has to leave the Marines, he doesn't know what he will do. He doesn't feel like he fits into this world any longer. He investigates some options but it's hard for him to embrace the unknown. The only thing that really calms his fears is being with Olivia. Meanwhile, I will admit to some frustration with Olivia. She feels she's learned from past mistakes, and regrets not supporting Will's dreams back then. But when he spends some time working with the local recruiters, she goes off on him for continuing his plans to go back to his unit. It seemed like she still didn't really understand who he is and what drives him. I was glad to see how they both finally faced their fears and realized that with some compromise they could have it all.

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