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Thursday, October 7, 2010

One Tough Marine by Paula Graves

One Tough Marine by Paula Graves
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (216 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Poppy

Threatened by masked men making an impossible demand of her, Abby Chandler runs to Luke Cooper for help. She knows it's been three years since he vanished after their blazing one-night stand…and that she might be forced to reveal the secret that he's her little boy's father.

Abby has no idea that the former marine has also been keeping a painful secret—that his disappearance was the only way to keep her alive. Luke knows Abby came to him for protection, but earning her trust isn't going to be easy. Nor will keeping his hands off her. But admitting their once-forbidden attraction still exists could be risky. And deadly.

I was riveted from the first paragraph of this book... and the heart-pounding excitement never really stopped.

Finally, a story about the mysterious Luke Cooper. We’ve heard his name, but haven’t met him – he went into the Marines and then never came home... it’s been a decade since he’s seen his family and I know that I, as a reader, was going a little crazy wondering why. Now I know.

We’re brutally thrust into a mystery from the start: masked men have trashed our heroine, Abby’s apartment and accosted her, demanding to know where her three-years dead husband hid some item. She has no clue what they’re talking about, but when they threaten her toddler, she knows she has to do something. They give her a short time to locate what they want, so she packs herself and her baby up and runs to the only person she trusts, but the last person she wants to see: Luke Cooper.

Abby’s a great character: smart, loving, determined. She’s a mama grizzly prepared to protect her cub any way she can. She has a rough background, parents dead, a cheating husband also dead, and a young child to raise. She and Luke were the best of friends until the one night shortly after her husband’s death when they gave into their passions... and Luke left her without a word, but left her with something else. Abby ended up pregnant. She hasn’t seen or talked to Luke since that night, but knows he will help her.

If you looked up “hero” in the dictionary, there would be a picture of Luke Cooper next to it. He’s an incredible man, and a perfect match for Abby. Still, he’ll sacrifice anything, even his own happiness and future, in order to keep her safe.

The danger following Abby slams smack into some bad guys who are after him, and as Luke, Abby and their son make their way across county, all the while trying to figure out what it is that the first set of bad guys want, there’s peril at every turn. Just about the time I felt they could stop and take a breath, something else happened. No time to rest, no one to trust – everyone they turned to for help was also imperiled, and it began to look as though things were hopeless.

I flew through this book, desperate to find out how they’d make it out in one piece. The speed of the plot kept me breathless, and I didn’t want to set this book down. There were a few little blips (including one at the end involving a decision with their son) that made me scratch my head – would a smart person have made that decision? – but then, I’m on the outside looking in with knowledge that they don’t have. So, really, it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story.

The Cooper Justice series just keeps getting better. Like a good romantic suspense story? You’ll be well served picking up One Tough Marine and every other book in the series that precedes it. Kudos to the author – she’s just consistently good.