Title: One Marine, Hero
Author: EM Lynley
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 254 Pages
At a Glance: A good blend of a roller coaster romance and intriguing mystery that kept me guessing until the end.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: He’s a hero to everyone but himself.
Marine helicopter pilot Captain Jake Woodley struggles after receiving the Medal of Honor for a mission where he didn’t bring every man back alive. Being called a hero and having his photo plastered across the news makes him hate himself more. He despises his cushy job flying with the Marine One squadron, carrying the president and other officials, when he’d rather risk something, even death. He gets his wish when he’s ordered to fly a series of classified trips.
Matt “Beau” Beaumont has been relegated to covering the fashion beat after getting downsized from a hard-news position. But an unexpected invitation to a White House dinner might be the boost his career needs. Offering a hot marine an after-dinner blowjob wasn’t on Beau’s agenda, but when Jake takes him up on the proposition, some phenomenal casual sex soon blossoms into a relationship both of them crave.
When Beau’s extracurricular research uncovers defense department funding anomalies, he soon discovers the trouble goes higher than he imagined. Just as events start to make sense, the investigation puts Beau and Jake in deadly danger. It takes a daring play by Jake—risking everything he loves—to uncover the truth.
Review: One Marine, Hero is a romance with strong mystery elements that are a nice change of pace to the usual contemporary fare. Beau is the fashion reporter for a second-tier newspaper in DC. His hard-news job at the Post has been downsized, and he’s frankly happy to still have a newspaper job—even though it’s certainly not the one he trained for nor aspired to. Jake is a Marine pilot on the Marine One squadron, a reward for his years of service and recognition for his Medal of Honor. On the surface things look great for Jake, but in his head, he is an absolute mess. He suffers from debilitating survivor’s guilt, which he self-medicates with alcohol. Due to a mix-up, Beau ends up at a White House event where he meets and then propositions Jake. They leave together and while things go really well between them, there is that awkward morning after scenario that leaves them both rather unhappy and dissatisfied.
They do, however, make contact again, and it seems that both men feel there might be something more to this than just a great one-night stand. They begin seeing each other regularly, but Beau feels like there is something off about Jake. He’s never been to Jake’s home, which makes him suspicious that there must be something that Jake isn’t telling him—like he has a wife/boyfriend/husband or some other secret that he doesn’t want Beau to know. Meanwhile, Jake has had some issues with his drinking interfering with his work in the past, but since he’s been seeing Beau, he’s been able to withstand the temptation to overindulge and self-medicate.
Once Beau does get to Jake’s place, things don’t really go terribly well. Jake is tense and he lashes out at Beau in a way that makes Beau question what he’s doing in this relationship. As is almost always the case, the jig is up and Jake confesses to Beau about his failures—as a Marine and as a man. He’s really surprised by Beau’s reaction.
While Beau and Jake are getting closer, there are a number of strange coincidences that revolve around some VIPs that Jake is ferrying about the country. At some point they cease to be coincidences, and Beau begins to get suspicious. He is a trained journalist after all, and he can’t help but try to figure out what is going on. But he’s not the only one with suspicions, and Jake is wondering what’s happening as well, and tries to change his assignment. All hell breaks loose and there are setups, close calls and a daring end-run that keep things moving at a fast and furious pace until the surprise ending.
I’ve read a number of EM Lynley’s books, and I’ve not been disappointed. I really enjoyed the mystery elements of this book and the all of the intrigue. The characters were engaging and I liked that they were kind of opposites in many ways, but provided balance and strength for each other. There was a nice build to the romance, as well as some realistic setbacks that many relationships go through too. In addition, there were also some excellent secondary characters—especially Laney, Beau’s BFF from the paper, and the Marine One squadron teammates of Jake’s, and Jake’s neighbors Jenna and Toby. This one is definitely a good bet, especially for fans of military romances and mysteries. Enjoy!
You can buy One Marine, Hero here: