Series: The Donnigans #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on November 1st 2016
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The Marine Corps was everything Landon Donnigan ever wanted in life...until a bullet sent him home with a medical discharge. Teaching a self-defense class at the gym is old-hat for a marine, but when he meets sexy Ava Rosenthal, his combat skills are useless for protecting his heart.
Ava can take care of herself and likes quiet, bookish men-not muscular warriors who think women need to be coddled. But Landon is more than he seems, and when they come together, the results are explosive.
There were many times when I wondered if ‘A Sure Thing’ was an accidental porn movie set that I’d wandered into, where interactions and background information are meant as somewhat insignificant introductions to long and drawn-out sex scenes (with men and women who go on and on covered in all kinds of body fluids) which are the clear highlights of the whole show. With some humour and a HEA (as abrupt as it is), it might just make it out of San Fernando and into the mainstream.
Marie Harte certainly excels at getting a pairing down and dirty from the start, but that was for me, the book’s biggest weakness as well. The meandering plot lacked a clear direction and it was often when I wondered if it was simply too long to sustain, as the winding introductions of secondary characters felt like a set-up gig for the rest of the series to come.
As a result, I was bored limp with the story’s laser focus on sex and sexual attraction: it seems to be the sole currency of the story, dominating family conversations, dates and even comes to define Ava and Landon, which is primarily the reason I couldn’t buy into this pairing at all, especially not when the ability to give orgasms seems to be the best way of proving oneself a credible romantic partner.
Character-wise, I thought Landon smug, smarmy and a complete, controlling moron with Ava the saving grace of the story when she seems to be the only one who doesn’t come too easily for Landon when the rest of the many women do. With her, he’s suddenly coming with no end, permanently erect and a dominant alpha intent on claiming through multiple rounds of sex. The independent Ava, while giving as good as she gets, tolerates that behaviour, then finally submits to it because it well, grows on her.
The long and short of it is, I struggled hard to find depth in this this relationship that seemed more based on lust than love. With Landon’s siblings following the same character-mould that hints at what we might expect in the coming books, I’d do more than tread with caution.