Midway Between You and Me

SEAL it With a Kiss

Sign, SEAL, Deliver

The Marine's Baby
by Rogenna Brewer
(Harl. Super. #1478, $5.50, PG)† ISBN 0-373-71478-5
Rogenna Brewer has a history of writing about the military and her knowledge and research about the Iraq war was realistic and very engaging. She states in her author's note that her storyline is based on a reality most of us donít have to think about - what to do if you are a young man facing war and have left no heirs. While I enjoyed this story, it is provides a reality check that is not all together comfortable. In addition, I struggled with the hero's and the heroine's likeability.

Caitlin Calhoun was only a bride for three brief months before her husband was shipped out to Iraq. Now she is a widow-bride living in California, far from her Maryland home, and all her friends are wives of service men. They are uncomfortable around her since she reminds them of what could happen. On the day she is moving from her military base home, she gets a letter from CryoBank that her late husband Luke's sperm is being stored and decisions need to be made. She decides to get impregnated as a way to honor Luke and keep something of him with her.

Across the world in Iraq, other men are getting similar letters. One of them is Master Sergeant Luke "Lucky" Calhoun - a man with the same name as Caitlin's Luke. They share a father but have different mothers. Lucky is the oldest, with Luke being born during the nasty divorce. His father, Luke Senior, married his secretary, who promptly named her son Luke Jr. too. This created a major rift in the family and the two sons were not only virtually estranged, animosity was high. While the two Juniors often had mix-ups, what happens next is really the only one that mattered. Lucky, who was the real sperm door, replied to his letter asking them to destroy his sperm. But CryoBank made an error and notified Caitlin.

It is now two months later and Caitlin is thrilled to discover she is pregnant. Her high lasts just a short time because she was notified that they used the wrong sperm. She is carrying her brother-in-law's baby; a man she didn't even know existed.

When Lucky and Cait meet, they discover an attraction. It is here that I struggled most with the story and keeps me from giving a higher recommendation. Yes, Lucky looks a little like Luke and is a good guy. Yes, they are sharing a child and it is understandable how Lucky would feel this is "his" son and would resent keeping the secret. But what is less than believable is that Cait would fall in love again so soon, despite her husband's death.

The story follows their journey. The journey is realistically portrayed. They don't just fall into bed, or even acknowledge their feelings. However, the premise is a struggle and tough to get past. There is the side story of Lucky's relationship with his family, including his father and other brothers. This is one mixed up Calhoun family with Lucky's mom being married to his uncle, while his father is on wife number three.

Cait is young and her naivete is not always appealing. Lucky is hardened and while a good guy at heart, is battle toughened and life toughened. His interactions with his father seemed a little unrealistic.

The Marine's Baby is a love story that is full of realism about the war, about relationships that have been impacted because of one man's death and of brothers who have to find each other after years of disengagement. For me, the hero and heroine were just not my cup of tea.

--Shirley Lyons

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