Format Read: eGalley
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: October 21, 2014
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Blurb from goodreads:
Subject: Navy SEAL Lieutenant Phillip Banks
Mission: Resist one saucy redhead's attempts to de-Scrooge him and seduce him!
Silversmith Frankie Silvera has lost her creative mojo. And she knows how to get it back—by getting her sexy on with a certain hot sailor. Just the thought of Phillip's hard, Navy-trained body against her, and everything goes molten. He's the "inspiration" Frankie needs for the holidays!
Navy SEAL Phillip Banks is the prince of protocol. But after his last mission went horribly off-course, all of that control has dissipated. Now he's at the mercy of one very determined female who is pulling out all the stops on Operation Christmas—including red-hot lingerie and the promise of oh-so-wicked delights But does giving in mean giving up everything he's worked for?
I have several of Weber's SEAL books on my Kindle that I haven't read yet but when I saw this for review, especially the cover (drool) I thought "Why not?" Eh, turns out I should have asked "Why?" I really didn't like the heroine and the writing was adequate, nothing wonderful.
Frankie's grandmother is the housekeeper for the wealthy Banks family. Frankie had free run of the house growing up and has had a crush on the son, Phillip, for years. Recently she's become friendly with his sister Lara and she attends Lara's wedding. The groom is another SEAL, so Phillip is there as brother to the bride and teammate of the groom. Phillip and Lara aren't close, they've had little contact with each other as adults and partying isn't his idea of a good time. He's hating every minute of the reception, counting down the seconds until he can leave.
Frankie, whom he doesn't recognize, approaches hm at the party but pretends to be a stranger, and they hook up. Here's where I really started to have trouble with the story. First, the whole false pretenses thing. On the one hand, Frankie's nervous about having her dream come true and scared that if he knows who she is, he'll walk away. She worries that he will be a snob and not want to have sex with the housekeeper's granddaughter. She hardly knows him so I can sort of buy into it. But even later when they meet again she's embarrassed to admit who she is. Second, despite having a mega-crush on him for years, she knows nothing about him (as evidenced by my first objection) and all she cares about is how handsome he is. That's it. That's as far as her crush goes. Which is sort of normal for a teenager though even as a teen I tried to learn all I could about my crushes. One was not only cute but cool (in my teen opinion) and played drums in a band. Whereas Frankie, now an adult, doesn't even seem to know that much about Phillip. And then, for reasons that Weber never says, she doesn't show us or tell us, we're just supposed to accept it, Frankie has the delusion that having sex with Phillip will break the creative block she's been suffering from for several months. This delusion continues almost until the end of the book. I kept waiting for some glimpse into why Frankie believed this, how did he turn into her fantasized savior? Nada, nothing, not a clue. When one night of mind-blowing sex doesn't cure her block, she decides that they need to do it again. The delusion lives on. Eventually she starts to see Phillip as a human being and begins to understand him but she can't stop obsessing over her belief that sex with him will somehow break her creative streak. He'll be her inspiration though he never was before.
I really wanted to reach through my Kindle screen and strangle her. Late, way late, in the book a friend of Frankie's loses her temper and reads Frankie the riot act about her creative block (though not about the delusion) and I wanted to stand up and cheer. I could have kissed Shayla. She was also far more interesting than Frankie was.
Now Phillip. He took some warming up but whereas I loathed Frankie, I did end up liking Phillip. He's flawed too but far more believably and he grows during the story. He deserves a hell of a lot better than Frankie but, oh well.
Phillip is a career Navy man, and someone usually in tight control of his emotions. Usually. But recently, a mission went wrong and now his life is changing. He was tortured on that mission and while he's physically recovered, he's finding that emotionally, he's a mess. He gets bouts of anger that he has to learn how to manage. Additionally, his career as a SEAL has taken a hit and it's going in a direction that he doesn't want. Much of his growth has to do with making peace with this new career path and opening up emotionally. His parents, now dead, were cold and closed off. To be accepted by them he followed that path but he's starting to realize that's no way to live. Also, he's not a snob, despite Frankie's fears and he was much too quick to forgive her. In my not so humble opinion.
Maybe I've been spoiled by reading Jessica Scott, who writes fantastic contemporary military romances and is herself in the military, but Weber was too vague for my liking on the details of SEAL life and why Phillip's career went south. The whole military aspect felt unreal and unbelievable; it was window dressing, nothing more.
Oh, and Christmas? Irrelevant to the story. This could have been set at any time during the year.
So, we have an obnoxious, whiny, immature, shallow heroine; a kind, admirable, loyal hero; and a story that's meh. I won't be in a rush to read the other titles by Weber that I own. They're now at the bottom of the TBR pile.