Thursday, January 22, 2015


The Navy SEAL's Christmas Bride by Cora Seton

Publisher: One Acre Press (12/16/2014)
Series: Heroes of Chance Creek, book 2.5
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: NetGalley, as part of the SEALs OF WINTER set
Buy It || Amazon | BN || Goodreads

My Rating: ★1/2

It’s Christmas time at Crescent Hall, but don’t expect expect peace, harmony and goodwill among men. When Mason Hall and his wife, Regan, invite their friends to stay for the holidays, sparks fly in an epic battle of the sexes, military style! 

Navy SEAL Dan Hemmins goes head to head with soldier Sarah Metlin to prove once and for all that woman can’t possibly qualify for an elite branch of the military, but when Sarah proves she’s not just one of the most qualified warriors he’s ever met, she’s also one of the smartest and sexiest, too, he’ll do whatever it takes to get close to her, even if he has to challenge her to another contest…or three…or five! 

The Navy SEAL’s Christmas Bride is a Heroes of Chance Creek novella, and has also been featured in the SEALs of Winter box set. 

{ series } .

THE NAVY SEAL'S E-MAIL ORDER BRIDE || amazon | bn | goodreads
THE MARINE'S E-MAIL ORDER BRIDE || amazon | bn | goodreads
THE AIRMAN'S E-MAIL ORDER BRIDE || expected release March 2015

{ review } .

I have to admit --

I wanted to get my hands on the SEALS OF WINTER set just for this book. Granted, after I finished this book I went on to read a few other books and learned that the set also had some novellas for other series I was reading so it was a win-win all the way around.

Cora has a knack for writing these quick romance books and not making them seem too unrealistic. Mason's story (which I will eventually need to 'back-blog' so I can share with you my full opinion), THE NAVY SEAL'S E-MAIL ORDER BRIDE was an exception, I think. Mason and Regan talked for a while via e-mail before Regan surprised him by meeting him at the airport. They had a bit of a rapport before actually meeting.

Austin and Ella's romance was quick, but really cute.

And then there's this book...

Dan, nor Sarah, are Halls, but they're coming to Crescent Hall for Christmas. Dan and Mason are buds, never having served on the same Teams but having run into one another and becoming friends over time. Having nowhere to spend the holiday, Dan accepts Mason's invite and goes to spend Christmas with his friend and the rest of the Halls. Additionally, he wants to put up a training facility and is looking for someone to partner with, and who better than another retired SEAL?

Sarah, also a soldier, is a long-time friend of Regan's. She comes from a family of soldiers and has a bit of a chip on her soldier -- she hates the she's a "mere soldier". She feels that as a female soldier, she's judged and not given a change to prove her worth. She's certain that men -- those in her family and those she's worked along -- would have a better opinion of her if she'd be allowed into Special Forces.

Sarah's chip gets to be a bit annoying. Heck, it starts a bit annoying:
...she dreaded having it flung in her face this Christmas by the Hall brothers, too. How many times did she have to fight the same battle?
She doesn't even know these men and she's already putting a negative label on them. When she's introduced to Dan, she sticks the same negative label on him.
They were all good looking in their own way, but the one who caught her eye wasn’t moving to greet Regan.
He was staring straight at her.
His upright bearing betrayed his military background. His wide shoulders, powerful legs and chiseled good looks would have made him at home on a male pinup calendar, but his watchful gaze told her everything she needed to know. This was the SEAL Regan had told her about. Dan Hemmins.
And he was by far the handsomest man she’d ever met.
Sarah told herself her sudden tension came from the knowledge he’d be just as stuck-up and full of himself as her brothers were, but it had little to do with his attitude and everything to do with a vision that flickered through her mind— his hands on her bare skin, his mouth taking possession of hers—
Hell, where had that come from? Sarah shook off the thought and stepped forward to meet Regan’s family, shaken by the direction her libido had taken her. Even if it had been some time since she’d gone out with a man, she wasn’t attracted to SEALs. She wasn’t attracted to men in the military, period. And this longing to find a man to share her life with that had been haunting her lately? That was just a ridiculous holdover from the fairy tales she’d read when she was a child. She didn’t need a man and she didn’t want one, either. She was fine on her own.
She moved to shake hands with Mason when Regan introduced him. Mason was as upright as Dan was, with a friendly smile, blue eyes and hair barely longer than Navy regulations would have dictated.
“Glad to meet you,” he said.
He introduced her to each brother in turn, then to two couples who had come for the holidays, and lastly he turned to the man who’d been staring at her ever since she got out of the truck. “This is another guest of ours this Christmas— Dan Hemmins. Dan just left the SEALs, like me. He’s thinking of starting an extreme training camp to put civilians through their paces, right Dan?”
Dan shook her hand, and held it a second longer than necessary. A glint in his eyes told her he liked what he saw when he looked her over. “That’s right. Nice to meet you, Sarah.”
She nodded, disconcerted by his frank appreciation. She was used to being surrounded by men in prime fighting condition, but Dan was something special. Suddenly she was conscious of the fact she’d just spent most of a day on planes and in airports. Her hair was mussed, her clothes were wrinkled and she was sure what little makeup she wore was smudged. She wished she’d spent more time on her appearance, but there wasn’t anything she could do about that now.
Dan went on. “The idea is to give people a taste of Navy SEAL training.” He grinned. “Watered down to their level, of course.”
His final sentence hit her like a splash of cold water. Military men had directed that same kind of condescension at her all too many times. “Of course,” she said, then hoped Mason and Regan missed her sarcasm. This was a holiday party. She didn’t want to make waves, but from that one comment alone she could tell Dan was just like her brothers— so sure he was better than everyone else. “
Regan told me you’ll be looking for a new job soon, too?” he said.
Sarah nodded, following Regan inside. “I’m thinking about leaving the Army. I’ll put my paperwork in after Christmas, unless I change my mind.”
“Army, huh?” He gave her a sidelong look. “No wonder you want to quit.”
She bristled at the comment, even though she knew his teasing was reflexive. Rivalry was always alive and well between the branches of the military. He probably thought he was flirting with her, but she wasn’t going there. “I notice you high-tailed it out of the Navy, SEALman. Probably got sick of being embarrassed all the time.” She hoped he realized now she could give as well as she could take. She wasn’t going to fall for him just because he had credentials. She slid a glance in his direction. Although he was awfully good-looking.
 She doesn't even give the guy a chance...

When (my favorite reoccurring) obstacle course comes into play, it's all done from there. Sarah and Dan start a war of who's-better-than-who: Sarah does it to prove herself, and Dan... well, he wants Sarah to admit she wants him because he's not used to being ignored (not that he wants to like Sarah -- he doesn't date within the military).

Their conversation during the snow-shoe race was a turning point in their 'relationship' I think. Sarah goes all bitch-mode on him, but Dan hears beneath her words and hears what she isn't saying.

Even though this was the quickest romance in the HEROES set, I really enjoyed it. I hope to see more of these two in AIRMAN'S come late Spring!

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