Monday, February 8, 2021

I Love You...Still (Once a Marine #1), by Liz Palika

Liz Palika, January 2021

Dee and Eric have been friends since childhood, and the friendship turned romantic while they were in college. But Eric's father didn't approve. He wanted Eric to have a career in finance, and thought Dee wasn't good enough for his son, and would just distract him from the career goals his father had chosen for him.

Eric has no money of his own, and no work experience because his father has always opposed him getting any job at all because it would distract him from his studies. When his father tells Eric he's being withdrawn from the California school he and Dee both attend, and transferring to a school in Colorado, he feels he has no choice but to comply. He tries to maintain contact with Dee, but she's so hurt by what has happened that she won't respond to any of his attempts.

In Colorado, he quietly, without telling his father till far too late to change it, pursues aerospace and engineering studies rather than business and finance.

Back in California, Dee is too devastated by what's happened to continue college, and quits to join the Marines. Ten years later, they're both back in their old home town.

When they meet again, they're both shocked, and have a lot to learn about each other's lives in the interim. Eric has had a successful career, at NASA and since leaving to  found his own company, but has never forgotten Dee, and never found someone who could compete with her. Dee spent six years in the Marines, including time in Afghanistan--where a IED exploding under her truck ended her career. Returning home, she's started a successful logistics company, and volunteers in a group for other medically retired Marines like herself. Another old friend of theirs, West, had also joined the Marines, and is also, quite recently, medically retired. For a meeting of the medically retired Marines group, Marine attendees are asked to bring a civilian buddy, and West asks Eric. That's how Eric and Dee reconnect, and being to, slowly, somewhat painfully, get acquainted with each other, and find out if they have a relationship left to rebuild.

They are both, in their different ways, damaged people, and in their different ways, strong, loving, compassionate people, The growth of their new relationship is moving and satisfying.

There are also, it should be noted, explicit but not overdone sexytimes.

Eric, Dee, and their friends are very much worth getting to know. Recommended.

I bought this book.

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