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REVIEW: Ex Marks the Spot by Merline Lovelace

Dear Mrs Lovelace,

ex.gifI’ve read and heard on numerous occasions that there is at least a 50% divorce rate for Special Forces marriages. Which is why I’ve always looked at these SEAL, Green Beret, Delta force, Whatever romances with a degree of skepticism. And when an author tries to get a whole squad married off, well I just don’t buy it anymore. Thank you for showing the reality of a marriage partner who is gone for weeks and months on end.

Forced to leave her beloved military life behind at the ripe old age of thirty-seven, USAF Colonel Andrea (Andi) Armstrong comes to the Florida panhandle for a fresh start. Little did she know–"at least until that auspicious knock on her next-door neighbor’s door–"that there were some things about her old life she wasn’t quite finished with yet.

And evidently, if the expression on his love-struck face was any indication, her ex-husband, Colonel Dave Armstrong–"aka said next-door neighbor–"wasn’t quite finished with her yet either. Hmm. Who was it who said the best is yet to come? Maybe there was something to that after all– .

Your twenty three year career in the Air Force has always shown in your books and this one is no exception. We get to see both the good and the bad, the stresses and joys, the dedication and the toll that serving in the military takes on private lives. And you present it with a quiet affirmation that explains why people keep doing it without the trumpet blowing or overly “hooh-ah’ing” that lots of authors fill their Special Ops books with.

Andi Armstrong was on track to make an even higher rank than Colonel when the bloodborn infection she caught in Iraq sideswiped her onto the inactive list. But someone as active as Andi has been for years doesn’t just suddenly settle down to lazy days of beach lounging. Filled with a need to fill up her day, she decides to open a bookstore and through that you show us the organizational skills and tremendous drive that got her to the rank she held. Together with the snapshots of a typical work day for her ex-husband, also a Colonel Armstrong, we see what came between their marriage and why they joined the 50% divorce rate.

Yet the love they still have for each other makes me believe in the final HEA you manage for them. I was really watching that and wondering how you’d pull it off. If you’d just stuck them back together and told me to believe they were deliriously happy, I’d have said screw that. For me to believe it, some changes had to be made and I think you pulled them off with finesse. You also show that while lots of us bookies might dream of owning a bookstore, the hardworking reality is that we’re probably better off keeping our day jobs. ;) B for this one.


Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.


  1. Teddy Pig
    Apr 20, 2007 @ 12:27:55

    twenty three year Air Force career?!?!?!

    Good lord!

    Now that’s a lifer dawg! You go “fly girl”!

    Ah now I gotta get this one too.

  2. Jane
    Apr 20, 2007 @ 13:36:06

    I love the sound of this book. Will have to check it out.

  3. Marcie Clark
    Apr 20, 2007 @ 14:07:58

    I’d like to hear more about this blood borne infection!

  4. Rosie
    Apr 20, 2007 @ 15:48:40

    I’ve read Ms. Lovelace before just because of her career in the AF. I’m a military brat and much of my life growing up was adjusted around my Dad’s career and schedule. My Mom was a very strong woman, very strong. I’ve often commented I don’t think I could do what she did. I’ll be looking for this one too.

  5. Jayne
    Apr 20, 2007 @ 18:27:21

    Rosie, the heroine is also a military brat and says similar things about her own family. Lovelace includes some minor military characters in the story who show aspects of military life.

  6. Jayne
    Apr 20, 2007 @ 18:29:53

    Teddy, the heroine and hero are both military “lifers.” And the heroine chomps at the bit to get back to it. At first…until her new life post AF opens up.

  7. Jayne
    Apr 20, 2007 @ 18:34:35

    Marcie, the infection is something she picks up when she’s slightly wounded in Iraq. The bacteria enters her bloodstream through the shrapnel cut and percolates until it gets to her heart where it takes up residence. 6 months later when she’s back Stateside and in a high stress post with the JCS, it kicks in. Now she’s taking a “cocktail” of antibiotics as she puts it, and has been put in the inactive list until it can hopefully be gotten under control.

  8. Danielle
    Apr 20, 2007 @ 18:51:33

    I have to get this book….this book sounds so good.

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