This is a new to me author and I chose this story because the blurb had one thing – marines – and I was an absolute goner. Then the cherry on top was when I found out that this is book 1 in a series. I was just tickled pink to start at the beginning. After serving overseas, Braylon Wexler has returned home as a criminal investigator for the Marines. Braylon’s also from a relatively wealthy family and was raised by his grand parents; it’s their home he returns to. Sandella Summers is the caretaker for Braylon’s uncle, Royce, who has Down’s syndrome. I enjoy a good story and the premise of this was good.
There’s so much about this story that I wanted to like, but I didn’t like any of it. Once I started reading I couldn’t believe the juvenile quality of the dialogue, but I kept reading because I truly hoped it was an editing issue and that the story itself would not only improve but I hoped for improvement in the quality of the dialogue. Neither happened. I so wanted to stop reading but it was like a train wreck, I couldn’t not look.
The plot felt under developed, the characters felt under developed, and the scenes felt choppy – like I said I wanted to blame the editing, but in the end it was the writing style that I couldn’t appreciate.
Back to Braylon, I’m sure the intent was that he should be an alpha male, but that didn’t work. He came across as a complete douche. Within the first chapter, it’s these kind of lines that made my bull-crap-meter go off. Braylon’s just met Sandella while she’s taking care of his uncle.
‘A naughty vision of him thrashing his tongue with hers entered his mind. He grinned. I can’t wait to sample your pie, he thought, thinking the sweet pie between her legs was probably just as sweet as the pie she baked.”
Nothing about that is cute, sexy or romantic and it certainly didn’t endear Braylon to me. But the lines kept getting hokier. Even his interactions with his co-workers were contrived. I’m not even going to go there because I had to skim a few of those paragraphs.
I have no idea what Sandella even saw in Braylon. And there was so much about her that didn’t add up. She’s a college student living at home with her wheelchair bound father and a teenaged brother. Her mother was killed many years prior by someone who the family is convinced is a marine. Therefore, the father hates all marines – that doesn’t even make sense. But I digress. So while Sandella’s going to school, she’s baking pies on the side to sell to local businesses. She also has time to be a full-time caretaker to Braylon’s uncle and cook meals for her brother and father. All this without any signs of tiredness.
Things heat up very quickly between these two. Soon after sleeping together (those scenes had me shaking my head), Braylon knows about Sandella’s desire to open a shop to sell her pies, he goes online – does research on the type of business and put together a business plan for her – all within 2 hours. WHAT?! I’m being nitpicky here but that’s not even close to being believable. Then my thoughts ran along these lines – Sandella wants to go into business for herself and hasn’t done any of the research or work to make it happen from paper to reality. I’m not even sure where the capital was coming from. But Braylon comes along and all of a sudden things happen? No ma’am, that absolutely doesn’t make sense.
Then the whole thing about her dating a marine when her father hates them so rang false and didn’t stand the test of time. There’s nothing about this story that I thought was good.
Happy Reading folks!
*ARC provided by publisher for review
Click to purchase: Amazon
Marrying the Marine: The Brides of Hilton Head Island
Sabrina Sims McAfee
Release Date: March 31, 2014