Her Summer with the Marine (Donovan Brothers)
Author: Susan Meier
Date of Publication: March 10, 2014
Their competition has never been so irresistible
The last person Ellie McDermott wanted to run into after returning to her hometown is Finn Donovan, her high school nemesis and the guy she crossed the line from enemies to lovers with one night years ago. Now ex-military, tattooed, and still sexy as hell, Finn is a complication Ellie doesn’t need—she needs to concentrate on saving her family business.
Finn’s entire life, Ellie was there, going head-to-head with him in every class, bee, and test. So it’s no surprise she’d show up just as he was about to take over her father’s struggling business. It is a surprise, though, that his attraction to her is even more explosive than it had been. Acting on their attraction is one thing, but Finn has to turn a profit to save his own family, and nothing—not even love—will get in his way.
This was a very sweet romance. The non-stop competition between Elli and Finn that has lasted their entire lives remains as heated as ever when Ellie comes back to town to help save the funeral home business her father owns (even though she has no personal desire to own a funeral home herself) when he falls sick. Finn has opened a competing funeral home and when it’s a small town, there clearly isn’t going to be enough business in town for both to succeed.
Both main characters had incredibly strong reasons to survive and see their business thrive in their town. I loved the competitiveness that led to several interesting ad campaigns. Ellie of course initially has the edge there because she’s in ad marketing to begin with (and her marketing job includes marketing for Tidy Whitez…adult diapers).
I found her larger story, with watching her dad go downhill in the final stages of Alzheimer’s to be heart-rending, especially at the very end just before the resolution of both the funeral home conflict and the Ellie/Finn romance issue. Having watched my mom with a similar illness, Ms. Meier’s characterization of Ellie’s dad just about broke my heart with the memories of my mom’s struggle with dimension and the very end when you have to make those end-of-life decisions for your loved ones.
Finn’s family was no less interesting, with his bully of a father and the mother he and his brothers have finally intervened to help save from an abusive marriage. His final play to gain Ellie’s love was very sweet and if I were the type to love over-the-top gestures of love and adoration from my spouse, I wish my husband would do something like what Finn does the next time we’re having difficulties resolving an issue between us.
So, I give this a whole-hearted 5-star review. Thanks for a fabulous book, Ms. Meier.
(apparently my star problem hasn’t resolved itself)
Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.