Combat Barbie (Always a Marine, Book 11)
By Chrissy Dionne
Aug 26, 2013 - 6:05:18 PM

Mary Phillips never regretted turning her back on the beauty industry and pursuing a career in the Marines.  In fact she loved finally slipping free of her mother’s grasp along with all the tiaras, makeup, fancy clothing and demands of being a beauty queen.  It’s been a rewarding experience – even if her fellow Marines did refer to her as Combat Barbie for several years.  She’s avoided home as long as she could but now, on leave, has returned to California for the requisite visit with her parents.  Attending her high school class reunion was never in her plans – but then neither was reconnecting with Kyle, and discovering the young man she used to know has become quite a catch.

Kyle Stewart has fond memories of Mary.  He’d had a huge crush on her all through high school but never managed to muster the nerve to actually ask her out – besides as the class nerd, he didn’t think he had a chance.  Their chance encounter at a local coffee shop allows them to reconnect as friends – and before she’s even out of sight, he’s called her cell phone to ask her out that evening.  Kyle used his talents for inventing and created and sold an extremely lucrative company, but he’s actually in awe of Mary’s achievements. 


Mary and Kyle were actually good friends in high school – he was the only one she could truly be herself with so it’s only fitting that they find each other again ten years later.  At first it’s just a friendly situation with a little harmless flirting but it soon transgresses into a romance and even a visit to the class reunion – which Kyle considers the ‘prom night’ they didn’t have way back when – complete with a limo and corsage.  Everything is perfect but underneath their carefree evening is a lurking worry for Kyle.  How will he say goodbye when it comes time for Mary to head out again?  Mary’s answer, “You don’t have to let me go, you just have to be here when I come home.”


COMBAT BARBIE is a title that just jumped out and grabbed my attention because we don’t normally associate beauty queens with the military. I expected this story to provide a little insight into her life and maybe even some humor but I hadn’t anticipated the full dynamics that Heather Long can squeeze into less than fifty-five pages.  Kyle and Mary are memorable characters just because they are so down to earth and enjoy simple things – including green chile chili fries.  They just feel real and the little jabs they trade back and forth are much what I would expect from people who are comfortable in their own skin.  Still there is the harsh reality of combat situations and the fears that go along with watching a loved one leave and Ms. Long does a wonderful job conveying those feelings in her writing.


COMBAT BARBIE is the eleventh title in Ms. Long’s ALWAYS A MARINE series – so be sure to drop by her website to check out all the titles available.  Also, there’s mention of Mary’s fellow Marine Jazz and her experience with an IED.  You can read all about her in the below titles:





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