Marine Under the Mistletoe offers a heroine with an unusual
occupation, but other than that, the rest of the plot is standard, and the
hero skirts the edges of jerkdom. This one didn't work for me.
Marine Sergeant Davis Garvey pulls into Santini's Garage to get his beloved
Mustang fixed. All the guys at Camp Pendleton have raved about the great
service at Santini's, so he's stunned when the mechanic turns out to be
Marie Santini, daughter of the late owner. At first, Davis is skeptical. A
woman mechanic? But hey, she seems to know her stuff, so Davis
reluctantly agrees to let her work on his car. And she's pretty, too.
Make that very pretty.
Marie Santini is used to the overly macho attitude of the Marines at the
base. Normally she doesn't let it get to her, but this Garvey fellow seems
to be looking her over in a way she's not used to. Men don't pay attention
to Marie. They ogle her sisters, Gina and Angela, but they don't ask Marie
out to lunch or hang around and look at her admiringly. She's plain old
Marie. What's this guy up to?
Marie, of course, is gorgeous but doesn't know it. Apparently all the
Marines on the base are blind, too, because when Davis asks Marie out, we
find out that she doesn't date -- nobody is interested in her. She has her
sisters, her nephew, and her widowed mother. The Santinis are a tight
family. That's better than a date any day. Davis, for his part, feels
lust for Marie but doesn't want to like her. No, a fast, hot affair
is more his style.
Davis had to be one of the more irritating heroes I've come across
recently. He's the typical "lousy childhood, can't love anyone" type of
guy who doesn't need a woman as much as he needs a good smack in the head
to bring him to his senses. He wants to get to know Marie, but mainly to
get in her bed. Marie isn't much better. Here's a guy who gives every
indication of being interested in her, and time and time again she falls
into the "what could he see in me, nobody could be interested in me" trap.
Her sisters are irritating, too. "Marie, do something with yourself.
Marie, fix yourself up, for heaven's sake." Only Mama Santini seems to
have any sense.
After the initial setup, everything in this book is so utterly predictable
that it's like reading on autopilot. Even Davis' and Marie's sexual
encounter has a completely foreseeable conclusion. And the hint that Gina,
the younger sister, may be in line for her own romance didn't evoke the
slightest degree of interest. She's such a spoiled princess that it's a
story I'd go out of my way to avoid. Too bad widowed Mama Santini can't
find a nice guy over at Camp Pendleton.