What it’s about: (from Goodreads) “She thought she’d sworn off military men for good…”
Sam Kercher is every inch a wickedly hot Marine. Tall. Sexy. Lethal. When his best friends call in a favor, Sam is forced to face an entirely new line of duty-playing nanny for their newly divorced sister and her squirming seven-month-old twin boys. If Sam can dissemble an M16 in his sleep, diaper duty should be a cakewalk…right?
Unfortunately, Operation Nanny isn’t quitethat simple. Sheridan has sworn off overbearing military men, so Sam must protect her from her dirtbag ex without revealing just how much he has in common with her brothers. Or that he’s been ordered not to touch her. Ever. Problem is, Sheri’s one hell of a gorgeous woman, and Sam wants her bad. Protect the girl. Care for the babies. Hide his identity. And keep his hands off. But even the most disciplined Marine has weaknesses…and Sheridan is one Sam might not be able to resist.
What worked for me (and what didn’t): One of this author’s books was a DA Daily Deal a couple weeks ago and someone mentioned in the comments that Tawna Fenske writes funny. I was in the mood for funny so I dug this one out of Mt. TBR. (I also bought the daily deal book. Are you surprised?)
The set up is over the top. Sheridan’s brothers are uber alpha males who know what’s best and are very VERY protective of their little sister. When “Lieutenant Limpdick” aka, Sheri’s husband cheats on her with a stripper from Arkansas when their twin boys were barely a month old, Sheri kicks his ass to the kerb. The divorce is now final but Limpdick is making noises about a reconciliation. MacArthur “Mac” Patton (Sheri’s eldest brother) wants to keep the douchebag away from his sister and make sure those babies (now seven months old) are safe too. Sheri is just about to start a new job and needs a nanny. The ex-husband has two weeks before he’s due to leave Hawaii for another posting. Mac asks his friend, Sam Kercher, to take the job as “manny” for two weeks, while Mac lines up an actual nanny. He’s to keep the douchebag away from Sheri and look after the babies and Mac’s little sister, all the while hiding that he’s a Marine. And, he’s got to keep his hands off Sheri. (Like that’s ever gonna happen).
Sam said. “You’re aware that this is insane, right? I don’t know how to cook or change diapers or get baby vomit out of cashmere.”
“It’s Hawaii. No cashmere needed, and baby vomit blends nicely into floral-patterned shirts.”
Sam met Sheri once when he was in college. The occasion is seared into his memory and he has had a bit of a crush ever since. Meeting Sheri again, she is everything he could want in a woman and he quickly bonds with the little guys. Sam comes from a large family and babies don’t faze him. Sure, he has to look at some YouTube videos about how to change a nappy (diaper for US folk) but he’s a fast learner.
After bath time, he set the boys on a blanket on his floor and demonstrated a series of low-crawl drills and military push-ups.
“You want your hands shoulder-width apart like this for the push-up,” he said to Jackson, maneuvering the baby into position. Jackson giggled and grabbed hold of Sam’s finger with a surprisingly fierce grip.
“Excellent.” He saluted both boys. “Starting position—hut! I’ll call cadence. Ready? One, two, three.”
Jeffrey rolled over and attempted to stick his own foot in his mouth. Jackson screeched and crawled two feet before flopping on his belly and smacking his hand in a puddle of his own drool.
Sam smiled. “I had a buddy in the Marines who used to do that after a night of bar crawling. Not the sort of crawling you should be doing, incidentally.”
Jackson gave him a drooly grin and farted.
“Atta boy,” Sam said, and patted him on the back. “Probably good we’re hiding out in here if we’re doing guy stuff like that. If you want to scratch yourself inappropriately, now’s the time.”
Sheri feels overwhelmed by motherhood and berates herself constantly for not being a “normal mother”. I remember well that feeling and I only had one child. She has two and it’s not a wonder she’s overwhelmed. Those aspects provided some of the humour of the book but also helped to ground an otherwise unrealistic plot with authenticity.
Some stereotypes are overturned in the book and some are worked hard and ridden into the ground. It’s a mostly light-hearted story and I chose to engage with it that way. I had more than a few laugh out loud moments and it lived up to my expectation of a fast, funny and sexy read.
She wore a pale-gray skirt and a sea-green top made out of some sort of silky material that wrapped around her torso and draped elegantly over her lovely, freckled shoulders.
He opened his mouth to say something intelligent, but all he got out was, “Guh.”
She laughed and padded barefoot into the kitchen, nudging him aside with one hip to check something in a pot on the stovetop. “Thanks, I think. I was just trying on some of the outfits I bought when I went shopping with Kelli the other day. I was thinking about this one for my first day. Does this skirt make my butt look big?”
She stepped back from the stove and did a quick pirouette, giving a self-conscious little laugh as her bare toes squeaked on the tile floor. He opened his mouth to say something, but his
tongue failed him again. “Ung.”
He cleared his throat and stepped back, feeling hot all of a sudden. Must be the oven. “You look—wow. I mean yes. No. That is, uh—your butt. Great. Really. I have to go check my—something.”
He backed into the counter and looked for an escape route, dimly aware that the wall wasn’t the best option. He thought about punching his way through it, but decided to brave the danger and edge past her.
The sex is earthy and fun. I liked how Sheri was a take charge woman and I enjoyed her friendship with vet Kelli (who has a crush on Mac; both feature in the next book in the series Fiancée for Hire).
What else? There are a few more serious moments involving the (again, over the top) denouement with the douchebag ex (he really is a complete dick) and with Sam’s Marine career – he is struggling with an event which occurred when he was deployed and re-evaluating his future.
Sheri is sick of “meddling overbearing military men” and, given her experience with the ex, she especially hates lying. The reader has to be prepared to buy into the set up and forgive Sam for keeping his promise to Mac and lying to Sheri. While the lie is not great, Sam is actually a good guy. He’s kind and funny, honourable and loyal and he adores Sheri right off the bat and doesn’t take long to fall for the babies either.
There is a bit of humour around incompetence with children but the babies are never in danger (well, not serious danger) from Sam’s ignorance. Happily, most of the humour involving Sam and the babies is based on his somewhat unconventional ingenuity. The thing with his Tennessee Titans t-shirt had me laugh-crying.
Marine for Hire isn’t terribly long and the timeframe is super fast – there is a greater than usual suspension of disbelief required to buy into the happy ending given that Sam and Sheri have been together for less than two weeks by the time the book ends, but I enjoyed how he respected her and encouraged her and I liked they way they were together. Sam didn’t have any problem being a father-figure (or actual dad) to babies that weren’t his biologically, he really isn’t fazed by babies and genuinely loves children. Even though it was super quick, I found myself willing to suspend my disbelief enough to buy into it.
Sure the babies are mostly convenient plot points – when it really counts they are remarkably well behave and they sleep really late in the mornings apparently, but the story is cute and fun and well worth my time and money.