There's nothing like fleeing Miami to ruin a girl's day.
Stella Leon's bartending gig was going fine until gorgeous ex-Marine Beau Junger decked her mob-connected boss, spirited her out of the city, and claimed that Stella's half-sister -- the one with the perfect life -- sent him. Now Stella has no choice but to go along for the ride . . . and seduce Beau's military-issue socks off . . .
The Marine Corps was Beau's escape from his old man's legacy of naval heroism and serial philandering, but no amount of training could prepare him for the day he looked in the mirror and saw his father staring back. The answer: swear off meaningless sex. Oh, and find a way to make Stella Leon quit being so damn hot . . .
Really fun book. Stella's life is going just fine until her half-sister tries to contact her. The man that she sent, Beau Junger, came to her rescue when her boss tried to hit on her. Unfortunately, the man has mob ties and wants revenge on both Stella and Beau. All Beau had wanted was to get Stella to visit her sister in Texas, and now he's stuck on a road trip with her.
Their initial contact wasn't so great for either one of them. Stella thought Beau was rude and controlling and he found her simply annoying. One thing they both had in common was a really strong attraction to each other.
I loved Stella. She's rough around the edges and doesn't have much of a filter on her mouth. Her father had never wanted anything to do with her and her mother, which left her feeling pretty worthless. She had always been aware that she had a sister, and was envious of her successes and that she had the love of their father. Her own mother wasn't the warmest of people and Stella had been pretty self-sufficient from an early age. One thing she's always prided herself on was having the self-control to save the last step of her virginity for the man she will love. It doesn't take too long before she starts to reconsider that plan, because as much of a pain that Beau is, she finds him irresistible.
Beau was quite a character himself. He and his twin brother had been raised by their father with the expectation that they would follow in his footsteps and become SEALs. Everything was on track until Beau discovered that his dad was also incapable of being faithful to his mother. This made Beau so mad that he turned around and joined the Marines instead. After a successful career as a sniper, he got out and started his own security business. He also enjoyed his time playing the field with women, until the day he realized he was more like his old man than he wanted to be. So he decided to give up meaningless sex and look for a woman to settle down with, not an easy goal when he's on the road so much. Beau had thought his mission to Miami would be a piece of cake. Find Stella, tell her about her sister, put her on a plane and move on. Rescuing her from her mob boss was unexpected. The red-hot attraction he felt for her was even more so. He can't figure out how someone so annoying can get under his skin the way she has.
I really enjoyed their interactions. Stella doesn't just sit back and do what the big guy tells her to do, she makes sure that she lets her opinion be known. She also doesn't resist just for the sake of resisting. She's smart enough to know when she needs help. She doesn't like to show her vulnerabilities and it was fun seeing her try to tough things out sometimes. Beau prides himself on his control, but there's something about Stella that just makes him lose it. He knows his attraction to her is messing with his plans to stay away from meaningless sex, and he keeps trying to find ways to unload her, but nothing works. He's got just a little too much gentleman in him to abandon her. I loved seeing him cave in time after time. He doesn't realize just how his feelings for her are changing until it's nearly too late.
I also enjoyed the family dynamics. Stella and her sister had been raised very differently, but ended up having far more in common than they expected. Stella's nerves were understandable. I loved seeing how the two of them connected pretty quickly once they realized their preconceptions were all wrong. Beau and his brother Blake were quite a pair. They really took their brotherly competitiveness and Marine vs. SEAL rivalry to a whole new level. The skeet shooting scene was terrific, especially when Stella got into the act. I really liked the fact that, in spite of the competitiveness, Beau really was concerned about Blake and did something about it.
I'm looking forward to reading Blake's story and going back to read Vince's.