After being publicly shamed on Angie’s blog for not completing the April TBR challenge, I was bound and determined to avoid any further embarrassment by getting May done early. So, I figured, military-theme, I’d read a Suzanne Brockmann. I have several of hers on my TBR shelves. But as I was skimming through the alphabet, a title jumped out at me, and, snickering, I pulled it off the shelf. Upon discovering the hero was in the Marines, the book became my May pick.

Title: Last Virgin in California (you see why I couldn’t pass this title up?!?) Silhouette Desire

Author: Maureen Child

Year published: October 2001

Why did you get this book? It’s been so long since I bought it—since I bought it new—but I’m guessing someone must have recommended it to me? Also, right after 9-11, I bought a lot of books with military, police and firemen heroes—although at the time it was too hard for me to read them.

Do you like the cover?
Not especially. For one, it’s a category cover. Very few category covers are original or eye-catching. Then, the cover itself is amusing—although I don’t think it’s meant to be. The cover features a blonde standing at the side of a bed, her hand held by the man lying on the bed (although we can only see him from his waist down). Sad thing is, the man’s crotch looks deflated. Yes, deflated. His knees are defined, hanging over the edge of the bed, then , I guess he’s supposed to be sinking into the bed or something because there’s no definition to the groin area. Might as well just be a pair of pants thrown over the bed. If this is supposed to be a pre-hopping-into-bed moment, I’d like to think the heroes naughty parts wouldn’t be deflated. Definitely not my idea of a sexy Marine.

Did you enjoy the book? The book was just what I expect from a category romance. Predictable plot, simple romance, fast-paced read. Our heroine, Lilah Forrest, is a New-Agey type from San Francisco—she wears crystals, long flowing skirts, is described as “flighty”. Lilah is visiting her father—a Marine Colonel—for a month at his San Diego base, and tired of his matchmaking ways, she’s told him she’s engaged—although her “fiancé” is actually her very gay artist friend (never actually seen “onstage” during the book—he’s just the fake fiancé excuse). Her father, being a Marine colonel who doesn’t listen to anyone, assigns one of his drill instructor Sergeant’s Kevin Rogan (hero alert!) to essentially “baby-sit” his daughter when she’s on base. Of course the sparks fly, although Kevin has trust issues because he was hurt in the past by a treacherous woman who married him just to get into the United States. Lilah has no interest in being with a Marine—but she can’t help falling for Kevin. As the titles announces, Lilah’s a virgin, and the truth about her fake fiancé comes out when she has sex with Kevin.

My major problem with this book was that her pretend engagement didn’t keep the hero from taking the heroine to his bed. He feels a little guilt that she’s engaged and he’s sleeping with her, but not enough to stop it. In my opinion, if trust is a major issue with him, why would he sleep with an affianced woman? But, no, that’s not what makes him walk away from her. After they’ve slept together she admits to him that her engagement was a farce, that she was pretending so her father would stop with the matchmaking. That’s when Kevin pushes her away. Because she LIED. *rolls eyes* If she hadn’t lied, and she’d really been engaged, he would have been okay with her sleeping around on her fiancé? Kevin didn’t see that as a trust issue?

Of course, both come to realize that they love each other and they get their HEA.

Was the author new to you and would you read something by this author again? I’ve read Maureen Child before under her Kathleen Kane pseudonym. I’d read her again. She’s a fast and fairly entertaining read.

Are you keeping it or passing it on? I’m passing it on.

Sasha Knight

Editor, Samhain Publishing

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