Dear Ms. Monroe:
Is it too corny to say that this book delivered for me? I’m not a huge fan of the Navy SEAL books anymore because I think that there are so many of them and I worried about the machismo level of the hero but nothing about the book was very expected. That was a good thing.
Hailey Sutherland and her sister have taken over the family business, a San Diego institution that was once the place for social events like showers and parties and small receptions. Hailey was not as excited about the revitalization of the family business as was her sister for although she had been engaged three times, she doesn’t really know much about party planning. Because she was engaged three times, had her heart broken three times, she really isn’t in the mood to celebrate others’ newfound love.
When a SEAL team exercise plays out in front of a shower party and the women are drawn to the beach like George Clooney to brunette cocktail waitresses, Hailey recognizes that the Sutherland’s position on the beach could present some unique marketing opportunities for The Sutherland.
Lt. Commander Nate Peterson is stateside helping to train a new set of SEALs due to an injury that has left him unable to perform his duties. He resents being sidelined and stuck training newbies but realizes that in another year or two one of these newbies might be fighting along side of him. I liked that Nate was both a bit peeved but also realistic.
Part of the setup, where Hailey is playing a shower game which requires her to kiss the first man she sees, was a bit irritating. Would Nate Peterson, SEAL hardcore, really stop and kiss some chick during a training exercise? I wasn’t sure but one off note in the book didn’t slow me down. Part of the scene, the part after the kissing, did a great job at rendering how tough the SEALs were. One of the trainees was hit in the head and lost consciousness. Peterson dragged him to the shore and allowed him to recover. The shore was right in front of the Sutherlands. The SEAL trainee recovers and then goes back into the ocean to finish out the training exercise because, as Nate points out to a shocked Hailey (and a concerned reader), the trainee would have to endure much worse in battle.
Hailey’s plan to use the SEAL training exercises as a way to draw in more business is a concern to Nate. He comes to ask her to rethink her plans because the attention and boisterousness of the crowd interferes with the training. In other books, this would become an issue of contention between the two but both recognize and value the other person’s position. Nate recognizes that Hailey needs the business and is willing to listen to an alternative plan. Hailey accepts Nate’s explanation that the training is being compromised and offers up a different solution.
This is not to say that the book is conflictless, but the conflicts weren’t based on disrespecting the other person. The conflict was based on Nate wanting nothing more than an affair and Hailey having sworn off men. She falls in love too easily. Nate begins to court Hailey. There’s no other word for it and I really thought this part of the book was charming.
Nate and Hailey have a deep physical attraction toward each other, but they do not fall in bed immediately. Maybe some would say that means that their passion just wasn’t strong enough but for me, this detail helped me buy into Nate and Hailey’s happy ever after. Nate would be going back into service once he was fully healed which would mean long separations for the two of them. Their ability to forego immediate gratification made me believe the two would be able to survive Nate’s obligation (and desire) to be part of the SEAL teams. Hailey clearly could survive without Nate by her side.
I also appreciated the secondary romance between a young bride to bride to be. The arc of Nate and Hailey’s romance was somewhat echoed in that of the secondary characters. B