Rating: 5 stars out of 5
BUD/S: six months of the most intense training there is. It’s survival of the toughest, and Matt Knytych is determined to come out the other side a navy SEAL.
Distraction is life or death. And just the sight of former marine Shane Hovland is enough to shake Matt’s concentration.
Shane came to BUD/S training ready to prove himself—again. Semper Fi is forever, but he needs a new start. Not this dangerous heat with a man he barely knows.
Everything they’ve ever wanted is riding on a thin, punishing line. And they’ll have to fight for more than just each other if they want to make it through intact.
After all, the only easy day was yesterday.
Melanie Hansen’s ability to bring us inside this intense world of SEAL training and the brotherhood that forms between the men that make it through this grueling six months is remarkable. As she has done before, the people she creates come alive for us, laid out in all their frailties, brutalities, complexities, and, the inner drive and grit that keeps them from cracking under the enormous pressures and pains BUD/S puts them through to see them out as SEALs with their Tridents at the end of the story.
And in between, we are given a journey of determination, questioning, growth, and romance between two very different men. Matt Knytych and Shane Hovland. One (my favorite) Matt is the most complex perhaps of the two, certainly the most focused on his goal of getting his Trident, being a SEAl like his uncle, his idol and mentor. Matt is that one creation that has such power as a character that it’s almost impossible to turn your attention away from him to any other character or element. He’s blinding in his ability to draw your eye to him and his life, leaving all others to wander along the edges. It’s funny really, because Matt’s not the “gorgeous” one here. He’s not the tall one, overly good looking one etc. But for sheer determination, grit, and, power on the page, nothing is comparable to him. Matt burns with a narrative incendiary intensity. His is not the easy road you might think it will be.
Shane Hovland is the gorgeous one and, ironically, the lesser of the two men in strength of characterization but only because Matt shines so brightly and with such great strength. Shane is the former Marine taking BUD/S for the 2nd time, the reason for which I’ll leave to the story. His back story is every bit as interesting as Matt’s but again but it comes across as lacking…something. Unfair I know. And totally realistic as is this entire story.
Hansen pulls us through the training, their lives, the questioning about the costs of pursuing a romance….everything and we believe in them in every way.
She also makes us feel for those that don’t make it. How is that possible? It’s only fiction, yet I felt the anguish and their pain just as deep. And the pride for those that receive their Tridents.
It ends as it should, a HFN. And where it should. A powerful story of love of country and of two men for each other.
Melanie Hansen has quickly become a Must Read Author for me and Loving A Warrior is an excellent example why. I highly recommend it and can’t wait for the next story in the series to arrive.
Cover art is perfect for the men and the story. I only wish I knew who to credit it to.
Kindle Edition, 276 pages
Published November 26th 2018 by Carina Press
Edition Language English
Series Loving a Warrior #1