by Paris Wynters
Release Date: June 25, 2020
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Book #1 in the Navy SEALs of Little Creek series
Number of Pages: 322
Source: Tule Publishing ARC
Contemporary Romance/Military M/F
Read 6/21/20 to 6/23/20
Taya Maverick has just volunteered to marry a random Navy SEAL as part of the military’s new spouse-matching program. What other choice does she have? Her former best friend killed her father and torched her house. Taya’s determined to start over, but to be safe she has to disappear. The program is the perfect opportunity, complete with refuge and a built-in bodyguard. Her Navy SEAL husband can keep her safe, right?
After one spectacularly disastrous marriage, Jim Stephens nixes round two. But his commanding officer never accepts no for an order. While an injury may have sidelined him temporarily, Jim still needs to salvage his career after a mistake in combat puts him in leadership’s cross-hairs. Being the first in the pilot program guarantees him his rank and eventual active duty clearance…as long as he can last the trial year.
The I dos are barely uttered before Jim and Taya realize they’ve each miscalculated. Their sizzling chemistry might lead to bed, but neither is prepared to open their heart. And then Taya’s past comes knocking…
Looking at this author’s website, I’m under the impression she doesn’t have a lot of published works. This story didn’t read like a story by in inexperienced author, but it did have some issues. While I didn’t expect her to have so few books out there, I knew her library was not yet too deep. I think I’ll enjoy experiencing her growth as she publishes more stories.
There is no denying the chemistry in this story. Jim and Taya are a great match. While on the outside it seems they are opposites, they actually have a lot in common. It takes quite a while for them to let any cracks show in the huge walls they both have erected, and even after those cracks are formed the walls don’t tumble down for a while. The more they open up to each other, the more they realize they are compatible and the more they want to stay together. If only they’d talk to each other about their actual feelings.
I’ll admit that I wasn’t so sure about the concept of the spouse-matching program. Honestly, even once it’s explained at the beginning of this book, I don’t buy it at all. Yet there was still something about the story that drew me in and kept me reading. I know I can be extra picky when it comes to military books due to being a Navy wife and Army mom, so I often have to suspend my disbelief. I’m glad I did so here and I allowed myself to enjoy the story. While the premise of how these two end up married is hard for me to go along with, the story isn’t actually about the program so it’s easy to push aside in my brain.
Both Taya and Jim are keeping secrets from one another. They don’t know each other so I can’t say that I blame them at first. But the secret keeping went on longer than necessary. The reader knows there’s eventually going to be a confrontation with Taya’s past, and it takes way to long to get to that point. It’s not so much that I had a problem with them not sharing all, but I felt that there were connections that the reader was missing out on. I got the gist of what happened between Jim and his friend Lux, and we’re told the bare bones of Taya’s best friend betraying her and the whole step-mother thing is just random, it’s all just quite hazy for too long and some of it is never fully rounded out.
There are some continuity issues that bothered me, but as usual I know I’m nit-picky about that stuff. So I also realize a lot of other readers may not even notice them. And none of these issues are things that effect the storyline so it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things anyway.
I enjoyed getting to know Jim’s teammates and I’m hoping they all find their HEAs as this series progresses. Even with the troubles this story had at times, it still kept me turning the pages and wanting more.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**