Shannon Fabray is an artist. A sculptor, to be exact, but her work lacks passion and all the counseling in the world isn’t helping her get past her emotional blocks. She’s hoping that a date through 1Night Stand will solve the problem but what she doesn’t expect is a man like Brody who sees through her discomfort and feeling of helplessness and willing to do whatever he has to in order to help her heal.
Shannon’s nervousness and preference to not be touched are huge indicators that she’s not comfortable with this date but Brody quickly puts her at ease with his blunt honesty and reassurances that nothing will happen that she doesn’t want to happen. Eventually he manages to get her to open up, by promising to break the legs of the man who hurt her – and Brody’s certain that there’s a man involved. Shannon feels ridiculous confessing her hang ups and fears to Brody but he’s been trained to recognize the signs of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and he has an idea of a way to cure her but it’s going to be a test of his willpower because he has to let her have complete control of the evening as well as letting her command him while he poses for her. And maybe if he’s very lucky, she’ll recognize her inner passion and he’ll be lucky enough to be on the receiving end.
HER MARINE is probably one of the sweetest, most thought provoking stories in the ALWAYS A MARINE series. Shannon’s fears and hang ups are heartbreaking but Brody’s so matter of fact and honest in how he deals with her that it helps her get past her own reservations and keeps her from backing out of the date. He’s secure enough in his masculinity that he’s unafraid of baring his body while she sketches him and then gives into her own deep-seated desires. I love that Heather Long applies a term normally reserved for military personnel to a civilian and has a Marine help her recover from something all the counseling she’s gone through hasn’t been able to fix.
Heather Long’s respect for the military men and women in uniform shines through the pages of her stories and there’s a lot of great insight into the sort of trials and tribulations soldiers go through when they return to the United States. This series is powerful and highly memorable – and in general a pure delight to read with characters who will charm their ways into your heart.
Be sure to experience the full impact of the ALWAYS A MARINE series. Here are all the titles (so far) in order:
ONCE HER MAN, ALWAYS HER MAN
RETREAT HELL! SHE JUST GOT HERE
TELL IT TO THE MARINE
PROUD TO SERVE HER
(and we can only hope there are more stories to come)