Tuesday, June 4, 2013

They May Be Really Bad Boys, but Baby, They're Really Good Men . . . New Series by Melissa Schroeder

He's visiting a military buddy in a medical rehab facility, a man who is in the throes of a lot of pain, right at that point in the rehab process where it would be so easy to just forget about ever getting well.  It's just too painful!  Enter a hardnosed, bratty, brash, and bossy physical therapist whose indomitable spirit is packed into the most attractive "package" that Leonardo Santini has ever seen.  And so begins the saga of these two unlikely lovers, both of whom have seen the worst and the best of the military life and neither of whom are really in the market for anything permanent in their lives that has to do with love and romance.

Author Melissa Schroeder has become known in the literary romance fiction genre as one who brings the various aspects of military experience into her sizzling romances.  As a military "brat" she is well equipped to flavor her stories with the realities of being a member of a branch of the armed services, the challenges to personal relationship, the hurt and destruction that seems to characterize many stillborn relationships that go "south" because of distance and long absences.  This four-piece series of novellas has brought the Santini family to readers, four brothers who are all serving in one of the military branches, and all four still single.  They all love their folks, they are deeply committed as brothers to one another and share that deep allegiance to country, but none have taken the time or perhaps have not been willing to open themselves up to the challenges of being in a love relationship that will be tested strenuously by absence and distance.

These are not the first of Schroeder's work that I have read and reviewed.  She is one of those authors whose work almost automatically ends up on my reader--when I see her name I just buy it.  Without fail the reader will heat up noticably, and all her stuff is full of zing and sizzle and romance that keeps the reader riveted to each page.  No matter how long her pieces, they are never long enough.  Her characters are people who are strong and independent individuals, experiencing life with all its warts and bunions, dealing with hurts that are common to us all, but trying to find a way to keep balance in their lives.  She writes about unapologetic alpha males, many of whom are living within a version of the BDSM lifestyle, who are not reluctant to make a case for being in charge in the bedroom, but who treat women with respect that is often "over the top."  I find these men to be interesting in that they are not afraid of being who they are, willing to allow a woman to be who she is, but who have a very definite sense of how it's going to be between them and their lovers/partners.  That's just who they are.  Perhaps it's Schroeder's own upbringing among authoritarian types where she witnessed the best and the worst that comes when men are given that kind of authority over others.  I know that the six years that hubby was in the Army certainly taught me the difference.

Each of these novellas stands alone yet the reader can get a bit of continuation in the lives of the brothers featured in previous stories as the series moves along.  I found book one to be very intense and book two to be somewhat less so.  But looking back on them, I think the intensity level has as much to do with the characters' own personality, their style of relating to others.  Leonardo and Gianni are more outgoing than Marco who even within the family framework was the "quiet" brother.  Gianni is the youngest and his sense of self, though just as developed, is still more of a work-in-progress kind of thing.  It shows up as such in the way he woos his lady.  The final novella,  Vincente, in now available and I have only just downloaded it.  Vince is the oldest brother and sort of the "last man standing" among the four.  Yet his love interest has been long in coming to him so his story has been the last to be told.

Lastly, the covers on these books are definitely drool-worthy.  I know we all recognize the usual poses on many of the romance novels we read, but these are very attention getting and what female reader wouldn't just like to sit and gaze, eh?  There may be snow on the mountain top but there is still fire deep down inside, or so I have been told.

Don't hesitate to invest in these novellas.  I don't think I would have bought them if it hadn't been for the fact that I just happen to really like this author.  But in the end, I'm glad to have read them and I wanted to share them with you.

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