First off, I wanted to like this book more than I wound up doing. The idea of the story was good. SEALS are different than regular humans, almost supermen in a way. However, they are also very self centered, focused, and self-involved. For very good and understandable reasons, of course. I always love a story where they are put forward in a good light, with understanding of who and what they are and how important it is that they aren’t people to be ‘changed’ but rather to be accepted. Not that they are prefect, by a long shot, but certainly necessary to the world as it is today.
I will admit that part of me completely understood Jax. He came from a background of wealth, but also of neglect, and lost his only friend young, a friend whose family had been there for him when no one else was. However, for most of the book, I would have been just as happy to hit him over the head with a brick. And still would be happy to do so in a way.
Jax went into a marriage for the most shallow of reasons – a leggy, shallow female who appealed to his sex drive but whom he had absolutely no sense of connection to other than what happened in the bedroom. And, as with lust, that faded even more quickly than any sort of connection. Within a year the wife has had a child and left him, only to pass away within four years, leaving their son with his grandmother. In some cases, being with a grandmother is the perfect solution, and as Jax really doesn’t care to be a parent anyway, well, heck, that works, right? Only his Commander’s insistence sends Jax to North Carolina to spend time with a boy he apparently doesn’t want or need in his life. His only point to spending time with his son is to get there, get the kid out of his life, and get on with being a SEAL.
Of course, in true ‘romance novel’ style, he comes to learn that he really does want the boy in his life, but NOT if it interferes with his SEAL life. So, he fully intends to send the boy back to his grandmother, and, this is where he really ticks me off – even though he knows full well that the grandmother is a drunk who is cruel to the boy at every opportunity. That doesn’t matter as much to him as getting back to his “real” life. Bzzz! Can we all say ‘self-centred jerk”?
Yes, it all works out in the end, and if it weren’t for Tyler, the son, and the fact that I really liked Pickett as much as I did, well. Let’s just say the book would be rolling around in the 1-star galaxy. Pickett, the female lead, is soft and warmhearted, but also strong and in control of her own life, even though she has allowed her family to convince her she is not up to the ‘quality’ of their particularly stylish family. I got her, and liked and admired her. Tyler came to the story withdrawn and in incredible pain, with a dead mother, a vituperate grandmother, and a father who looks at him as just another soldier, expected to snap to and behave as any other soldier under his command while they were together. And of course, as he only planned to spend the required 30-days with his son, he couldn’t wait to get it over with so he could get back to SEAL life and forget his responsibilities as a parent. It was deeply painful to watch their interactions during the first half of the book, even when Pickett, the child and family counselor, was doing her level best to show him what a complete and total screw up he was as a parent… gently, of course.
There were a lot of other things that bothered me about the book, technical issues that I doubt anyone would notice but me. “Tyler’s old DOD 1332.30” . . . hum…. The 1332.30 is “for the administrative separation of commissioned officers of the Regular Army, Regular Navy, Regular Air Force, or Regular Marine Corps for substandard performance of duty, an act or acts of misconduct, moral or professional dereliction, in the interest of national security, and for the discharge of regular commissioned officers with less than 5 years active commissioned service in certain circumstances.” Hummmm again. So, his Commander had his “old 1332.30” on his desk? A 1332.30 was already previously filed, but Jax is now command personnel, even thought he was previously kicked out of the military for dereliction of some sort? Well, he was certainly derelict in his duties as a father, but that is neither here nor there. It drives me round the bend when authors try to be all knowledgeable about what they are writing about – and even though they quote their “sources” they screw up so badly.
Additionally, I am always disappointed when authors don’t take advantage of beta readers and editors in order to ascertain that their books are error free. Though not as bad as some of the books I have recently read (or, should I say, tried to read) the book needs a good cleaning up of missing and misused words and spelling. Disappointing.
Overall, the Jax character was a bit too much on the selfish side, even for a SEAL, to not irritate me beyond any ability to come to like him in the end. Actually, I would have liked the book better without the Jax character in it. Of course, it wouldn’t have been a romance per-se so would lose a large part of it’s audience, but if the author had made it a story of Pickett taking in a parentless child and the development of the two of them as a family, I think this could have easily been at least four, if not five, stars.