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Luke Dexter only agreed to sign up for the 1Night Stand service as a show of solidarity with the men of his unit. As the founder of Mike’s Place he fully understands the difficulties soldiers face when they try to integrate back into ‘normal’ society. His ‘date’ is supposed to be wearing green silk and waiting for him at the Sybarite Club bar but when he spots her he realizes she’s not a stranger at all – she’s his high school sweetheart, the one he left behind when he joined the Marines following 9/11.
Rebecca Rainier has built a successful business organizing intimate events for those who need to celebrate special moments in their lives however they see fit. She just hadn’t counted on her silent business partner, Delilah, being so eccentric and arranging a ‘date’ for her with the 1Night Stand dating service. According to Delilah, no life outside of work would have a detrimental effect on her career so Rebecca agreed to go along with the date. She hadn’t expected to see her high school boyfriend Luke or have to deal with the long dormant feelings of abandonment she’s harbored since he left without any concern for her feelings.
Luke understands that he hurt Rebecca when he left her to join the Marines but he didn’t feel like he had any other choice. The September 11th attacks resulted in the deaths of his mother and sister and he needed to be a part of the retaliation against Bin Laden. Now eleven years later they’re forced to confront each other and Luke knows that this situation will be trickier than tip-toeing through a mine-field. When he mentions his rehabilitation center, Mike’s Place, Rebecca’s interest is captured but not in the way he’d hoped. Her company, Intimate Introductions, has been hired to host the opening gala but she opts to have her assistant take care of the onsite coordination so that Luke wouldn’t have to see her. That’s the very last thing he wants. Luke made a mistake leaving Rebecca behind once, he won’t do so again – and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to prove to her that while he doesn’t regret the time he served in the military, he does feel bad about the way he abandoned her.
ONCE HER MAN, ALWAYS HER MAN is the first story in Heather Long’s thrilling ALWAYS A MARINE series. I read some of the later books first and really wondered about how Mike’s Place came to be so reading Luke’s explanation about how the rehabilitation began just made this whole series so much more special than I originally believed. Ms. Long does an amazing job making it easier for the reader to relate to soldiers and the difficulties they face. With this particular story we also get insight into Luke’s life before the military and why he felt that he needed to enlist – as well as the inspiration behind Mike’s Place. This is truly an inspiring story with an abandoned love intermingled with Luke’s struggle for normalcy.
Be sure to pick up copies of the other titles in the ALWAYS A MARINE series:
RETREAT HELL, SHE JUST GOT HERE
TELL IT TO THE MARINE
PROUD TO SERVE HER
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