A MelanieM Review: Last Marine Standing (Heroes #2) by R.J. Scott

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

When the people you trusted turn on you, when you are the last one standing, should you take your secrets to the grave? Or make the murderers pay?

Last Marine Standing coverJapan 2004.   Marine Recon Mackenzie ‘Mac’ Jackson and his team are sent in to rescue two kidnapped children of a Congressman.  It was a horrifying mission that was to have a lasting impact  on Mac and  Samuel Larson , one of two siblings held captive.  Now ten years later, both men are dramatically different, changed forever in ways neither could have anticipated.

Mac Jackson is now a former Marine having been discharged on a disability.  His former team has been deactivated, with one dead from a mission gone wrong. Mac is in hiding, from himself and the world around him.  Until it appears that someone high up in the government is targeting the remaining members of his team.

Samuel Larson is now a park ranger, a surefire way to remove himself from his father’s world and influence.  But Sam has never forgotten the man who saved him and saw  him through the worst time of his young life.  When his best friend Aiden and his Marine lover, Viktor, finally look to have their HEA, Sam realizes that he needs to find the man who means so much to him and tell him so. But Sam never expects a simple journey to say thank you to turn into a mission of danger and deceit.  Once more its up to Mac to keep not only Sam safe and alive, but himself as well.  As the bullets fly, Mac’s inner barriers fall.  Now only if they can survive to see if they can have their own HEA.

When I got my first glimpse of RJ Scott’s Samuel Larson in A Reason to Stay (Heroes #1), he was a character that left little impression upon me.  Aiden’s best friend and all around good guy, Sam came off as bland.  Kind, a friend with benefits sort of to Aiden, Sam felt more like a “filler” character than one necessary for the story.  But RJ Scott had plans for Sam, ones that included an horrific event from his past that would help explain the man we met in the first Heroes book.

Without revealing too much detail, Sam and his sister were kidnapped by terrorists overseas, a horrific event made all the more heinous by Sam’s treatment by his captors.  The first part of Last Marine Standing takes place in Japan, the year 2004.  Mac’s Recon team is about to rescue  Sam and his 14 year old sister.  RJ Scott makes the reader feel every moment of this heart-stopping and heartbreaking event.  Using spare prose and tightly woven scenes of action, the mission jumps to life as does the aftermath as it falls so differently upon the rescued teens.  Trust me when I say these pages have staying power.   So much so that its easy to understand Sam and the man he has become when the narrative picks up ten years later in August 2014.

The contrast between the adolescent Sam and the mature Sam sees a young man who needs to put certain parts of his past behind him. That includes finally telling the men who saved him, one Marine in particular, thank you.  Far from the bland, undisturbed surface individual we saw in Heroes #1, this Sam has a large, complicated inner life.  It makes him likable, accessible, and vulnerable.

The man he is searching for is far more wounded, complex and haunted than Sam could ever expect.  Former Marine Recon Mackenzie ‘Mac’ Jackson is a man on the run.  A secret mission cost Mac everything. The wounds he incurred disabled him, releasing him from the Marines, a life he loved. It also cost Mac his fellow Marines, friends who were also his family.  Now secret messages from his former team members are warning him that his life is about to change once more.  Skillfully,  Scott leads us through the complexities of Mac’s past, his memories and feelings, to the uncertainties and mystery that is Mac’s present.  Mac’s honorable Marine is someone the reader connects with immediately.   And the ten years that pass only add to his attraction and strength of personality.

The strong past connection between Sam and Mac is necessary to believe in the pull and depth of their feelings for each other.  Add to that the suspense and action that gives each scene a charged atmosphere of danger and uncertainty, then the heat of their attraction to each other needs no explanation. I loved their burgeoning romance and their need for each other is hot, hot, hot!

I thought the first book in the Heroes series was wonderful, but Last Marine Standing has taken its place as my favorite.  I loved these characters,   the other Marines and the surrounding people and places that make this so memorable.  You could read this as a stand alone but it adds so much to read the stories in the order they were written.  There is another Heroes book on the horizon, Deacon’s Law (Heroes #3) out in January 2015, which sees a return to the Sanctuary universe (ok, its one we never ever truly leave or want to). I can’t wait to see what angst,  action, and, of course, romance  R.J. Scott has in store for us there.

While we are waiting, pick up Last Marine Standing, an action filled, heart stopping tale of love and suspense.   I think you will love it as much as I do.  I highly recommend it and the first story in the Heroes series.  Happy Reading!

Cover artist Meredith Russell does her usual terrific job of capturing the characters and bits of storyline.

Sales Link:   Love Lane Books   All Romance (ARe)  amazon Last Marine Standing

Book Details:

ebook, 211 pages
Published October 8th 2014 by Love Lane Books (first published October 6th 2014)
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://rjscottauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/SEALHeroes2.html
seriesHeroes #2

Heroes Series in the order they were written:

A Reason To Stay (Heroes #1)
Last Marine Standing (Heroes #2)
Deacon’s Law (Heroes, #3) to be released January 2015 from Love Lane Books

A Reason To Stay Heroes 1 coverLast Marine Standing coverDeacon's Law Heroes 3 cover

In Our Author Spotlight: RJ Scott and her latest release, Last Marine Standing (guest blog & contest)

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spotlight on booksLast Marine Standing cover

In Our Author Spotlight:

 RJ Scott on Heroes,

Schedules and the

Last Marine Standing!

 RJ Scott is here today to talk about her latest book, Last Marine Standing.  She brought along an excerpt to read and a contest to enter! Now for a closer look at Last Marine Standing…

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The second in my Heroes series, Last Marine Standing, was released yesterday. I think this is about my 68th book (think of the celebration for book 69!). I sayLast Marine Standing cover I think this is book 68, because there have been some shenanigans in the past with publishers, and I’ve also pulled a couple of my stories. Anyway I digress.

Yesterday my book came out, tomorrow I fly to GRL (or the day after depending when this is posted!). I had someone say to me the other day that they thought I didn’t get nervous when I have a new book out, because hey, I’m on book 68 (is). Someone else mentioned that at last year’s GRL I looked confident, if at times quiet. I should imagine the quiet times were when I had wine and a quiet corner, ROFL.

I can address all of this. Every single release I get nervous about. Every one. I worry people will hate, I worry people will laugh, I worry that I should have given up a long time ago. Will the book sell? Will it get into the 100 Gay on Amazon, will it go top 50, top 10. And even if it gets there will it stay there? So yeah, worrier = RJ Scott.

Then GRL. I can quite happily ‘do’ confident. I can stand up in front of people, although I can’t be held responsible for what comes out of my mouth. I can make jokes (at Amber’s expense), I can laugh, I can talk coherently for a while. Doesn’t mean that inside I’m not bricking it (English term = terrified). So yeah, terrified = RJ Scott.

But, I wouldn’t swap these experiences where I am dragged out of my comfort zone. I love being a writer and all that this entails.

I’ll love meeting every one of you at GRL, even if I am crap at putting names to faces, and I’ll love to talk.

By the time you read this I’ll be over my release day nerves. I’ll be in my happy place with wine and packing and excitement. Just the one day mind you, then I’ll be inconsolably nervous about GRL… it never stops.

How do you relax when you get stressed? Are you like me with a glass of wine?

Last Marine Standing

Book two in the Heroes series. Book 1 – A Reason To Stay

For all buy links when they become available click here:

http://rjscottauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/SEALHeroes2.html

Author Bio

RJ Scott has been writing since age six, when she was made to stay in at lunchtime for an infraction involving cookies. She was told to write a story and two sides of paper about a trapped princess later, a lover of writing was born.

As an avid reader herself, she can be found reading anything from thrillers to sci-fi to horror. However, her first real true love will always be the world of romance where she takes cowboys, bodyguards, firemen and billionaires (to name a few) and writes dramatic and romantic stories of love and passion between these men.

With over sixty titles to her name and counting, she is the author of the award winning book, The Christmas Throwaway. She is also known for the Texas series charting the lives of Riley and Jack, and the Sanctuary series following the work of the Sanctuary Foundation and the people it protects.

Her goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

Author Contacts:

 

Last Marine Standing

Last Marine Standing Blurb:

Last Marine Standing cover

 

When the people you trusted turn on you, when you are the last one standing, should you take your secrets to the grave? Or make the murderers pay?

Former Marine Recon, Mackenzie ‘Mac’ Jackson has secrets. The things he did for his country, the things he saw, must never be spoken about. Until that is, his team is targeted.

A shift in political alliances means one particular mission undertaken by Mac and his Fire Team needs to be wiped from the history books. Starting with the team itself.

Forest Ranger, Samuel Larson III wants to find the Marines who saved his life. He just wants to say thank you. What he can’t know is that he’s walking into a firestorm of betrayal and murder.

When Samuel arrives at Mac’s place he throws Mac’s plans for hiding out of the window. Abruptly Mac has to protect a man that threatens his heart, only this time he can’t be sure he will succeed in keeping Sam alive.

When the people you trusted turn on you, when you are the last one standing, should you take your secrets to the grave? Or make the murderers pay?

 

 Last Marine Standing Excerpt

Bear put his hand on his hip and sashayed a little, which looked ridiculous.

Mac shoved him. “I will kill you.”

Bear squared his shoulders and smirked. “You could try.”

Mac weighed the pros and cons. Bear certainly lived up to his nickname—broad, strong, straining the damn fatigues—but Mac knew his teammate’s weaknesses. He estimated he could take him in about five minutes, but he’d probably get a few broken bones in the process. He relaxed his stance, ready to go toe to toe with Bear, but Spider put a hand between the two men.

“The kid’s crying,” Spider pointed out helpfully.

Mac shot his friend a shocked look. Did Spider really think the best thing for the poor kid in the bed was to have some idiot go in and tell him everything would be okay? “That doesn’t mean he needs one of us to talk to him,” he asserted.

Bear crossed his arms over his impossibly broad chest. “You saw what they did, heard what he said. One of us should say something. Threaten to go kill someone or something.”

“We already killed everyone who hurt him,” Spider said evenly. “No one left to shoot.”

 

Word count: TBC but around 54,0000
Cover Art: Meredith Russell
Editor: Erika Orrick
Copyright: RJ Scott

Book two in the Heroes series.

A Reason To Stay Heroes 1 coverLast Marine Standing coverBook 1 – A Reason To Stay

 OUT NOW  For all buy links click here:
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