REVIEW:  The Only One Who Knows by L.A. Witt and Cat Grant

REVIEW: The Only One Who Knows by L.A. Witt and...

OnlyOneWhoKnows-The72sm

Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid.
When Navy SEAL training pushed Lieutenant Josh Walker to his limit, Chief David Flint’s stern heart-to-heart—more like boot-to-ass—helped Josh realize his potential. When the holidays found them alone together and sharing a mutual attraction, they couldn’t help breaking a few regulations. And nearly breaking some furniture in the process.
Years after their short-lived fling, Senior Chief Flint returns to SEAL duty and finds himself under the command of the man he’s never been able to forget: Lieutenant Commander Walker. And Josh hasn’t forgotten David, either. Rules be damned, they can’t keep their hands off each other.
Despite their discretion, another SEAL catches on and threatens to expose their relationship, forcing Josh to bend to a blackmailer’s demands to avoid strife within the team just before a dangerous mission. David is the last man he can confide in…and the first to pick up on Josh’s tightly screwed-down stress.
When a life-or-death decision calls Josh’s leadership into question, coming clean could cost him what he values most. His coveted trident…and the man he loves.
WARNING: Contains a pair of Navy SEALs who don’t like playing by the rules, scorching-hot sex between two Alphas who like to be in charge, cursing as only Navy men can curse, lots of camouflage and badassery in the wilds of North Korea, and enough emotion to sink a battleship.

Dear L.A. Witt and Cat Grant,

One day I will understand why so many men in m/m romances (yes, in your book as well) want each other *from the moment they laid their eyes upon each other*. I cannot say that this book has the worst case of Insta!Lust , far from it, since both men did not act on it for some time and I only learn about that fact (that they wanted each other almost right away) when they actually got together. I am not sure why the story would have been worse if they would grew to appreciate each other over the course of training – as tough SEAL instructor and no less tough SEAL trainee (they did, but I am talking about without adding instantly wanting each other to such appreciation), but I can only discuss the story which is written and despite this scenario it really was an enjoyable book overall.

As the blurb tells you Josh Walker and David Flint met when David was an instructor during Josh’s SEAL training. The training details seemed very believable and well researched (and so do the later SEAL life and deployment missions) – from my brief look at SEAL website and Wikipedia anyway, but more importantly I really liked the connection between the men. I did not need them to get in bed, I saw how much David cared for all his trainees including Josh, but I thought that chemistry between him and Josh was really powerful. But when they do get in bed yes, the sex was scorching hot in my opinion.

Three years pass and David and Josh meet again, only now Josh is his commander and David is back for the last years of his career to resume his active duty as a SEAL. Apparently the attraction between them is alive and well and after attempting to ignore it, they decided- well – not to. Despite disregarding all kinds of rules, I actually thought that both men more or less behaved as adults. They made a conscious decision to be discreet but they also seemed completely aware of the risks, so I cut them both some slack in that regard.

But of course in romances if one tries to be discreet, well we know that it usually does not work, and as the blurb tells us another SEAL finds out and starts blackmailing Josh. Now, despite this sounding silly and the guy being an ass, I actually thought that in that particular situation at least his demands made sense. He was not evil (although of course what he was doing was not a good thing), he just was self-serving and wanted something very specific for himself. I actually liked this plot twist very much, because that led to deeper examination of Josh as a team leader, as a SEAL, as a human being. I enjoyed reading about both his doubts and the things he was not uncertain about at all, especially when he was deciding that he was making best decisions for the SEALS in one particular case and then I as a reader was wondering whether he would be forced to reevaluate that in the near future.

The mission was an exciting one to read about – I enjoy action movies a lot and some of it read as scenes from the best of them. I also like to read about bravery and military men helping each other and trying to make sure that everybody makes it home alive even though they know that there is a good chance not everybody will.

Interestingly, even though indeed questions arise about Josh’s leadership during and after the mission, I thought that those were the least troublesome questions Josh should have been asking himself. I questioned him before the mission much more and I will not say why because it will be spoilerish.

I thought the romance kept developing in a very mature, very adult direction even at the end of the story – like both men struggling with the directions where their lives and careers would go from now on. There is a sequel out in March and I hope that it will delve even deeper in that direction.

Grade: B-/B

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