Friday, January 18, 2013

Review: Once a Marine by Cat Grant

Once a Marine by Cat Grant
Published October 30th 2011 by Riptide Publishing (first published October 27th 2011)
About the book

Discharged under Don t Ask Don t Tell, former Marine major Cole Hammond is struggling to find a new identity. But PTSD casts a pall on everything, and his hard-nosed, homophobic father can t even bear to look him in the eye. To top it all off, he 's pretty sure he 's flunking out of law school.

Marc Sullivan is a kind, sensitive romance author-slash-waiter with a thing for men in uniform. Cole 's not wearing his anymore, but there 's no mistaking the warrior Marc meets in the diner one rainy afternoon. Cole 's sexy smile and Carolina drawl prove irresistible, but Marc 's played this game before, and he always loses. Once a Marine, always a Marine, and if there 's one thing Marc knows about such men, it 's that they all leave him in the end. It doesn’t t help that Cole 's practically closeted in public, or that he refuses to seek treatment for his PTSD.

But like any good Marine, Cole 's willing to fight for what matters. And like the characters in Marc 's stories, he 's certain that if they try just hard enough, together they can find their own happily ever after.

My Thoughts
Let’s skip all my hubbub and get right to Cole Hammond—shall we?  The beautiful, hot, sexy, gentle souled man that will star in my highlight reel of sexy daydreams for a loooong time! :)

“But when Cole started to yank his t-shirt over his head, I grabbed hold of his wrists to stop him. Not so fast, marine.  I’ve been fantasizing about that gorgeous bod of yours for the past week and a half.  The least you can do is stand there and let me unwrap it.”

Yes, yes please!  Unwrap this--Blond, broad, blue-eyes, 6’3 drop dead gorgeous ex-Marine with lush lips that smile, seduce, suc…oh-so much more all topped off with a “slow-as-honey” Carolina drawl and a big, sweet, thumping heart that shows with every move, look, and touch. 

After a 12-year service as a Marine, Cole is forced into civilian life to start over in school and love.  A new life without the structure, duty, and career he worked, fought, and strived for his whole life.  But can he start over, change, and leave his old life behind?  My biggest Cole surprise was his sweetness.  Cole’s manners, fierce loyalty, trust, willingness to change, and share his heart were inspiring and heartwarming.  What can I say—the man had me drooling and “awwing” as soon as he walked on the page!

Marc, on the other hand, I had to warm up to.  We had some eye rolling moments here and there, but not enough to derail my love for this story.  He just made way too many references to past boyfriends for my taste—Rob did that too, or you remind me of my ex, or…Ugh!  I understand pain of the heart, but the way he brought it up, constantly comparing Cole to any and all Marines in his life got on my nerves.  Not all men are alike and not all Marines are alike.  Now back to the love….

 The magic of this story was the pure, simple moments of life and love captured between Marc and Cole as they moved around their new relationship with all its highs & lows, bumps, and joys.  They reminded me how special the warm everyday moments in life can be—sharing a meal, dropping by work just to say “Hi”, or even the quiet, soothing sounds of the man you love moving in the next room.  Just the sound of him being there stirs your heart and makes you smile. 

Both of these men are battling their pasts and pains of the mind and heart.  Cole has been suffering in silence with PTSD—not able or willing to seek help yet.  For the record, this is where Marc really shined for me.  Marc urges and supports Cole through it all.  But Marc is also suffering with scars of lost loves that left him guarded and hesitant to trust and love again.  Always in fear of being left behind.  Can Marc and Cole help each other heal and forge a life together?

With honest, straight forward words and actions, Ms. Grant gets right to the heart of the matter with love and warmth.  I adored being a part of Marc and Cole’s life for a bit.  The simplicity of sharing time over a cup of coffee, celebrating accomplishments, and urging more of each other in life and love touched my heart.  Once a Marine captures true, pure, intimate emotion in such a quiet powerful voice.

I look forward to hearing more of Cat Grant’s beautiful voice.
4 Suns

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