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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Review: At Your Command

At Your Command
by Julie Miller

U.S. Marine Zachariah Clark spent his last furlough between the sheets with voluptuous socialite Becky Owens – a steamy week he never wanted to end. So he proposed. They secretly said their “I do’s” and Zachariah shipped out on an eighteen-month tour.

Stateside again – nursing serious war wounds – Zach begins a tough new mission: getting to know his bride. In the bedroom things are perfect, but outside; Zach has plenty to learn about Becky, a steely divorce attorney who’s as fierce a warrior in her own way as he is. The question is: who’s giving the orders now?

Okay, confession time. I need to get something off of my chest… I didn’t pick this book up because of the back blurb. I didn’t pick it up because of author recognition, even. I must confess, I picked this book up because of the cover. No, really, I’m serious. Look at it… whew! Is it hot in here? Now that that’s out of the way, I read and finished this book because it was fantastic. I loved it! It completely lived up to its cover. This book started out as a guilty pleasure for me… a fun creative break. Now, I have to rave about it.

How do you make a marriage work, when you haven’t seen each other for eighteen months? How do you get to know the person who is now a major part of your life when they have been wounded in more than physical ways? These are just two of the questions inherent in this story that catch your attention and make you want sit back and find the answers. When I finally sat down to read this book I was pulled right into the hearts and minds of the Hero and Heroine. Zachariah and Becky were completely entertaining and I wanted to know all I could about them.

Zachariah Clark is a seemingly-larger-than-life wounded hero who takes his responsibilities and commitments, both to his country and his family, very seriously. He is an engaging, stubborn, sexy as all get out male that felt so real to me. I felt like he could walk right off the page and I would know him anywhere. The feelings he has for Becky are a bit unnerving for a tough Marine to acknowledge, but he does an admirable job of realizing that he needs this one woman in his life, and that he will need to do what it takes to protect her and convince her that she needs him in her life just as much.

Becky Owens is a tough, perceptive, spirited, spunky perfect fit for our bull-headed Marine. She refuses to be pushed around, and when they butt heads, the sparks just fly. I found it quite entertaining to see how she could wrap such a strong-willed man around her little finger as if it were nothing. The truly great part was that she was just as surprised as he was when it happened.

When these two resolute people realize that they simply need to have each other in their lives, it was a great moment. I really loved that they both understood that it would take more than passion in the bedroom to make their marriage work, and set out to try and resolve what needed to be done. Sometimes they seemed to be at cross-purposes, but they were truly working toward the same goal… proving to the other that they truly did love them and need them in their life. What better love story?

Another major bonus to this story was the cast of supporting characters. I just loved Becky’s way-too-perceptive mother, and gruff-overprotective father who only want the best for their daughter. Zach’s Marine buddies, whether gruff and shy or hugely flirtatious, were such great additions, I hope I get to see their stories soon. It’s always such a joy to read a book that makes me want to see all the characters again, and get the dirt on some of the lesser players.

In closing, I have to say, for a book that started out as a purely impulsive buy based on the cover, this turned out to be one of my favorite reads. I look forward to more of Julie Miller’s offerings and will be haunting my UBS looking for her backlist (of which I understand there is considerable number). She has a great grasp of the life of being part of a military man’s life and I greatly enjoyed her wit and sensitivity. A great book if you can get your hands on it.

Reviewed by Viscaria