I remember the first Navy SEAL I ever met. He was the husband of my next-door neighbor, and we lived on Coronado Island next to the naval amphibious training base. The guy wasn’t big. He wasn’t bulging with muscle. In fact, if my friend hadn’t told me what he did, I’d never have guessed. It’s surprising, that most SEALs don’t look or act like the Hollywood version of them. Make no mistake, these guys are intense. They’re tough. They’re a breed apart. While stationed in San Diego, my husband worked with a squadron that flew SEAL platoons where they needed to go, and he’s still friends with several of them today.
When I told him about my idea for Loving a Warrior, a romance that takes place during BUD/S training, he couldn’t help but scoff and tell me that the last thing these guys are thinking about is love, or even sex. Well, that was a challenge if I’ve ever heard one! I dove into my research. The result is as true-to-life as I could possibly make it, and the training is a character in and of itself. It has to be. There’s zero softness about BUD/S, and the men who come out the other side of it are absolutely forged by fire.
I had a blast writing Matt and Shane’s story, and I hope it shows!
Thanks so much, My Fiction Nook, for hosting me today!
Length: 77,300 words approx.
Publisher: Carina Press
BUD/S: six months of the most intense training there is. It’s survival of the toughest, and Matt Knytych is determined to come out the other side a navy SEAL.
Distraction is life or death. And just the sight of former marine Shane Hovland is enough to shake Matt’s concentration.
Shane came to BUD/S training ready to prove himself—again. Semper Fi is forever, but he needs a new start. Not this dangerous heat with a man he barely knows.
Everything they’ve ever wanted is riding on a thin, punishing line. And they’ll have to fight for more than just each other if they want to make it through intact.
After all, the only easy day was yesterday.
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There is just something about stories about SEALs being laid low by love that just checks all the right boxes with me. Big, though alpha males discovering that while sex is great, love is even better. Gimme a little angst and tension and I'm probably going to be a happy camper.
Matt Knytych has always wanted to be a SEAL. He's self assured, focused, and driven. He's got no time for distractions, no time for hookups, and certainly no time for love -- especially with a classmate. Though he definitely has the skills needed to be a SEAL, he's still young and has a lot to learn about teamwork and brotherhood. The usual male bonding activities of partying, drinking and hooking up are not Matt's thing, so he has some trouble relating to the other guys at first. But one thing SEAL training will teach you is how to find other ways to bond. A shared challenge and the adage of no one gets left behind help him find his way.
Shane Hovland is a little older. He's familiar with military life, having been in the Marines and he was born to be a leader. Shane is chasing ghosts by becoming a SEAL, but he's also looking for a place to belong. One thing I loved about Shane was his ability to see the fun side of life. Unlike Matt, Shane wasn't always so serious. Maybe that's a side effect of having seen war, because he knows that life is precious and needs to be lived. Shane isn't without issues of his own. He does have some abandonment issues and he's not as driven. He's amazing, though, and definitely someone I'd want on my team. Whatever SEAL team he ends up being on, Shane is going to be the glue that holds them all together.
Melanie Hansen's Loving a Warrior hit most of the right notes for me. There was a slow burn, which I generally like, but this one felt a bit frustrating for me. There was a bit too much almost sex followed by 'no we should wait' for my tastes. If women could get blue balls I would have had them waiting for these guys to get it on already.
After they do, though? I was there. So there. No stupid melodrama, no picking fights, no martyr bullshit. Just two men not wanting to fall in love but not having much of a choice.
There is also a lot of SEAL training and jargon here. A lot. For the most part, I found it added to the story and helped give a sense of the hell these guys are put through. It gave the guys dimension and realness that a less detailed description might not have.
Shane and Matt have a long road to travel and don't magically ride off into the sunset together. These men are -- or will be -- SEALs. They're warriors and they've got a job to do. But, the ending was a solid HFN and it looks like there will be a follow up next spring! Happy day!
All in all, I enjoyed Loving a Warrior and am looking forward to more.
** A free copy of this book was provided by the tour organizer in exchange for an honest review. **
About the author:
Melanie Hansen doesn’t get nearly enough sleep. She loves all things coffee-related, including collecting mugs from every place she’s visited. After spending eighteen years as a military spouse, Melanie definitely considers herself a moving expert. She has lived and worked all over the country, and hopes to bring these rich and varied life experiences to the love stories she gets up in the wee hours to write. On her off-time, you can find Melanie watching baseball, reading or spending time with her husband and two teenage sons.
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