FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Entangled Publishing (via NetGalley).
Publisher: Entangled Bliss on January 11, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (Adult)
After the combat death of her Marine husband, grief counselor Maddie Westerfield has thrown herself into helping other families—leaving no time for dating. Which is just fine with Maddie since falling in love again, especially with another man in uniform, is out of the question. No matter how gorgeous he is. Plus, she’s busy looking after her eight-year-old nephew for her deployed sister.
For the last eight years, Lieutenant David Sterling has lived with the guilt of losing one of his soldiers in an ambush in Afghanistan. So when the opportunity presents itself, he jumps at the chance to help the beautiful widow coach her nephew’s football team. But keeping things strictly professional between them is harder than he expected. And even though he knows a relationship with Maddie will only lead to heartbreak, he can't help falling for her.
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
Coach Maddie and the Marine by Blaire Edens
Thanks to the military, Maddie’s got her hands full, and the last thing she needs is a man in uniform distracting her. Since her husband died in combat, she’s devoted herself to helping other families handle grief, all while keeping an eye on her nephew while her sister is deployed overseas. But apparently she isn’t keeping a close enough eye on him, since he wanders off, only to return with a handsome military man that Maddie certainly doesn’t want to be attracted to. Except she can’t help herself…
But… I picked up this book looking for something cute and sweet and fun — and that’s exactly what I got. In fact, up until the end, I would have sworn it was the perfect sweet romance novel (and by sweet, I do not mean fade-to-black before getting anywhere near a bedroom). But once everything came together, there was a bit of a saccharine overload, and I found myself skimming through the last several pages.
Judging Covers: The cover shown with the review on our website is the one that attracted me to the book in the first place. I’m not even sure why; it just looked like something to read that would make me happy. Unfortunately, they seem to have come up with a new cover in which this lovely couple is washed out with an oddly placed flare as they stand in an unnaturally jaundiced field. The previous background looked like summer in the park, whereas the new one looks like… I don’t know… Like maybe they’re standing in a field of bright yellow Peeps. It’s just weird and doesn’t work for me.
The Verdict: I was looking for a sweet romance, and Coach Maddie and the Marine delivered.
Straying from the single mom formula that many similar books in this genre follow, Maddie isn’t a mother left on her own after losing her husband to war. Instead, she has it a little bit worse, still aching from the loss of the happily ever after she was promised, while trying to raise her nephew and praying that her sister doesn’t meet the same fate her husband did. And she’s really bit the doting aunt you’d hope for at that age. When her nephew Andrew’s football team is left without a coach, Maddie finds herself volunteering for the role, even though she knows almost nothing about the game. It’s soon clear to everyone that she can’t do it alone, and that’s where David steps in.
A military man and former football player, David agrees to help Maddie coach the team, doing what he can to mentor Andrew while he’s at it. Their attraction quickly heats up, though Maddie is determined not to get involved with anyone related to the armed forces, and David seems to respect that. However, neither one of them can really hide what they’re feeling, and before long, they find themselves treading into a relationship that’s haunted on both sides. Maddie lives in fear of losing another love to combat, while David is overcome by guilt in knowing Maddie’s husband was killed on his watch.
There were a few times in the story when the angst was just a bit too much, and I really wanted to punch David when he all but disappeared from Maddie’s life at the worst possible moment. Fortunately, Maddie was of the same mind, and she made him work pretty hard to win back her trust, only giving in when she couldn’t stand it anymore. As simple as their story was, Maddie was developed as a strong character, and David had more depth than just some alpha male saving the widow. All in all, Coach Maddie and the Marine was a sweet, often fun story of regaining hope after everything seems lost, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone with a soft spot for men in uniform.
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