I love stories where the men are comfortable with themselves that they can be the romantic caring alpha man. Leonardo fits that bill!
Leo Santini joined the army after living a life as a military brat, but under the marine arm. He had a dream early on to be a medic and figured the army was front and center in the action that needed medical help. So he ditched college and dug in. We don't see him in his job during the course of this book unfortunately.
The story opens with Leo visiting a friend in he hospital who was injured during battle and comes face to face with a hardheaded physical therapist. He is put off by her attitude, but totally attracted to her that he overlooks her hard edges.
Maryanne Johnson I used to taking care of everyone and never allows anyone close enough to take care of her. Her mother passed away while she was young and growing up with a marine for a father wasn't easy going, let alone all the brothers who also became marines. But one constant was her grandmother, who eventually moved in with them to help raise Maryanne.
With hard edges keeping her protected, she tries to put distance between Leo and herself, which Leo won't allow. His kisses, patience, and sheer romantic side that sees past all her insecurities, is grinding down her resistance.
The story is short, but the timeframe passes in weeks. So while we don't see everything that happens to them, we do get time for these two to grow closer. I didn't feel rushed into a relationship, which I appreciated.
Here is the biggest part I loved about this story: Leo! He comes across as strong, trust worthy, alpha, hardworking, and fun. Yes, fun. He is romantic when needed, but also he sees past the barriers Maryanne puts up all over the place. Taking the time to learn about her, he knows he is in love early one, but can't tell her or she will freak out. I just adored him and want to meet the rest of these men.
We meet Momma Santini, and all I will say is you don't mess with Momma's boys!
Full of Italian heritage, wild hot sex, a salute to restaurants Melissa misses, and a visit to the zoo, I can't wait for the next installment in this series!!!