The SEAL's Valentine

Harlequin American Romance, #1435 - Operation: Family

Two people sworn off love and marriage meet the exact opposite of what they need…or so they think. Eight-months pregnant and already a mom to a troubled seven yr. old son, newly widowed Brynn has enough to deal with without adding a SEAL into the mix. She’s committed to making a life for her family dependent on the only person she can trust, herself. Tristan is on extended leave from the Navy trying to get mentally focused; his ex-wife has re-married and taken his little boy across the country leaving Tristan to grieve for the loss of his son. Tristan is angry with his ex but also feels that his commitment to his job was responsible for the disintegration of his marriage. Brynn’s ready-made family is a painful reminder of what might have been for Tristan. But he can’t ignore his best friend’s widow no matter how much she tries to reject him; especially when she obviously needs help and a friend. What happens when neither can deny their attraction but duty and past fears beckon Tristan back to action?

If you are looking for a sweet, slow evolving, small town southern romance with likable characters this is the novel for you. Both Brynn and Tristan were broken characters who found their strength in each other and the love of family. I love men in uniform romance novels but I found this romance a bit too drawn out. I understand that both Tristan and Brynn had trust and commitment issues but their first kiss didn’t occur until 72% of the book was through and passion never really flared between them before then. I did enjoy the portrayal of their romance as seen through the constant gossiping of a small town especially Tristan’s mom, Donna, and Brynn’s elderly neighbor, Georgia. I haven’t read any of the Harlequin: Operation Family Romance series previously but I get the feeling these are more mild romances than the Blaze series and I missed the action, suspense and passionate romance I typically find in those.

Additionally, some plot points seemed a bit questionable to me. I know that sometimes we only hear what we want to hear, but Brynn’s reaction to Tristan’s return to duty was just unrealistic to me. Did she really think that just because they had sex that Tristan would suddenly get over his guilt of a failed marriage and doubts of fatherhood? Did she think he would just be able to tell the Navy, “Hey, I fell in love. I’m not coming back because my would-be wife is afraid I’ll get killed.” The final solution is a sensible one; so sensible it should have been thought of way before their harsh parting but I guess Tristan needed that time away to figure out his feelings. Did he really love Brynn and her children or was he just trying to replace what he had lost? I longed for the close-knit SEAL team that is typically depicted in many of the books I read. There’s usually always at least one buddy there to support their teammate but Tristan never reached out to them until the very end and it was only mentioned in passing.

Overall, if you love romances with a slow build and subtle passion, you will probably enjoy A SEAL’s Valentine with its affable characters and small town setting.

Book Blurb for The SEAL's Valentine

Is He SEAL Enough For The Job? 

The moment off-duty navy SEAL Tristan Bartoni meets feisty yet vulnerable Brynn Langtoine, he's a goner. He sure didn't have plans to be attracted to a recently widowed pregnant woman who is already mother to a troubled, grieving young son. Nope, the struggling SEAL came home to Ruin Bayou, Louisiana, to finally deal with his haunting past decisions-not to start a new relationship. 

Brynn has enough problems without her hormones going crazy whenever Tristan is near. Her son, Cayden, constantly lashes out at her. Her baby will be fatherless. So...what does Tristan think he's doing, making her life even more topsy-turvy than it already is? 

But when it comes to putting her heart on the line who could be more trustworthy than a Navy SEAL?

Night Owl Reviews Jan, 2014 3.00