Melissa reviews Loving a Warrior by Melanie Hansen Published November 26th 2018 by Carina Press 276 pages.
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.
A complimentary copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this: I loved Point of Contact and was excited to keep reading books by Melanie Hanse. 😀
Full disclosure, I read Point of Contact several months ago and loved it (5 stars) and was expecting a similar feeling story with Loving a Warrior. I did not get that and so this review will be hard.
Yes, I did absolutely enjoying reading about Shane and Matt, but for me, the intense feelings were missing. I don’t know why but I wasn’t emotionally invested in these two. Partly I think it could be because the story focuses 100% on their time training to make it thru SEAL training. There are a few glimpses of them outside of that, but their romance was stilted because they didn’t want to be distracted during the grueling weeks and months of training. They do redeem themselves because when they finally do get together it’s loving and sweet and tender. Sure they are training to be SEALs but they are also caring men who despite the bad timing, are falling in love.
What I loved about this story is the attention to detail Melanie Hansen brought to the SEAL training. I know as much about what it takes to go thru that training as the general population watching movies. If any of what MH says about the training and organization is true, she did a lot of research and this really drew me into the story. I felt like I was suffering right along with Matt and Shane, and OMG, I hate being cold so what they went thru was doubly bad for me. 🙂 The physical and mental endurance these guys have to have to push past what their body is telling them it can do is amazing. Matt has fear of the water and really struggles with that part of the training/weeding out process. Shane is suffering from muscle spasms and his running speed/endurance is lagging as a result. They each prop the other up so when they feel down and as if they are going to be kicked out of the program, they find a way to encourage the other and move beyond that struggle to the next. Shane tells Matt that all you should think about is your 3 foot diameter – don’t think about the miles you have to run, or the yards you have to swim, think about what is in your immediate area and control and take it one foot at a time until eventually you make it to the end.
Each are fighting their own demons and their pasts do creep up on them and manage to distract them. I loved how when one was weak or down, the other was right there. It was more than obvious they were going to find a way to be together even if they were on opposite sides of the world. As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t feel connected to these two and one reason is because the story focused on their training, and that leads to reason #2. I don’t get to see them just living. Every second of every day is about their training and mission. There is no, “oh hey go pick up some milk and bread,” or “shoot, the cable bill is late,” or any of the other thousands of things couples do in life. And as a result I don’t know what their life together is going to be like. How will they really handle being apart during missions, how will they handle being together and telling their teammates (which they both agreed to keep their relationship on the DL) they are in a relationship? Do they want kids, do they want to do anything else with their life when their time with the SEALs is over? I don’t know if there will be another book about Matt and Shane, or even a short story catch up. The epilogue was nice and deals with their life after they make it in the SEALs, but we don’t SEE them together. There is on page telling that they don’t see each other often and they will leave kind of notes behind. It would have been nice to see them finally together and able to relax without all that outside pressure. The good news is I can visualize it perfectly and see them finding their rhythm and making it work. 😉
She grew up with an Air Force dad, and ended up marrying a Navy man. After living and working all over the country, she hopes to bring these rich and varied life experiences to her stories about people finding love amidst real-life struggles.
Melanie left the stressful world of the courtroom behind and now enjoys a rewarding career transcribing for a deaf student. She currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.
How to contact Melanie Hansen