A Marine Affair
Release Date: June 3, 2013
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Always a Marine #13, Novella
Genre: Military Romance, M/M
Book Source: Publisher
Commander Rick McConnell and Colonel Elijah Masters have been secret lovers for years. They nurtured their very private relationship with planned vacations and leaves, always meeting somewhere different—always escaping off the grid. It worked for them—career officers with a desire to serve their country and a passion for each other. The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell provides them with the tremendous opportunity to come out to their friends and loved ones—Rick wants to seize the day, but Eli isn’t so certain. His hesitation leads to a fight, an ultimatum, and a breakup. Rather than confront their issues, Eli takes a foreign assignment.
A year’s separation changes both of them. The last person Eli expects to see when he steps off the plane is Rick, but the physician wants another chance with the only man he’s ever loved and he has a plan. Will bitterness, recriminations, and loss keep them apart or can these two officers rediscover the faith and loyalty that bound them for so long?
As dedicated Marines who’ve never hesitated to put their duty to their country above all else, Commander Rick McConnell and Colonel Eli Masters accepted the need to keep their love a secret for years. But, when DADT was finally repealed, and it was safe for them to live openly, Rick wanted to tell the world. Unfortunately, Eli wasn’t ready to come out, despite the changing times, and in a moment of need and doubt their relationship ended. But, one year apart isn’t enough to undo ten years of loving each other, and now that Eli is home again, Rick isn’t willing to let him go without a fight.
I have a fondness for military fiction as well as m/m romance, so A Marine Affair was enjoyable on both fronts. Eli and Rick are interesting, strong characters, and Ms. Long imbues them with an unexpected amount of depth, given the short length of the story. Both are Marines, one serving stateside as a surgeon, one taking dangerous assignments overseas. But, they each respect the path the other has chosen, nurturing their relationship as best they can over the course of a decade during secret rendezvous and stolen moments while on leave.
The root of the trouble between Rick and Eli isn’t revealed right away, but instead through a flashback a little further into the story, creating an immediate need to stick with these men to find out what really happened. Surprisingly, Eli’s refusal to live his life “out and proud” is rooted in a secret he’s kept hidden from Rick, one that has nothing to do with their lives as Marines. It is a reminder that “complicated” is a universal label, and that sharing a life with someone means that some secrets, regardless of how closely guarded they are, can no longer yours to bear alone.
One of my favorite things about A Marine Affair is that, while the sexually explicit scenes between Eli and Rick are definitely worthy of an enthusiastic response, they don’t overwhelm the story itself. Each one has a specific purpose and is very well written, and illustrates the vastly different stages the relationship has gone through as the story progresses.
Overall, A Marine Affair is simply a wonderful story. The characters are complex enough to seem real, while avoiding the feeling that the author’s intent is being handed over in intentionally digestible parcels. The narrative isn’t preachy, just sincere. A Marine Affair is easy and sweet, and, for such a quick read, Rick and Eli’s story mattered to me. It was a pleasure from start to finish and I’d love to read more of it’s kind.
Loved it – enthusiastically recommend (A)
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