When he was fourteen, Samuel Larson was kidnapped, then rescued by a four-person Marine Recon team. That team saved his life in more ways than one and now, ten years later, Sam wants to thank them, but finding them is another story. He knows one was killed overseas some time ago and Sam has recently learned of the death of another. With the help of his best friend and his friend’s boyfriend’s military connections, Sam tracks down the last known address of the girlfriend of one of the recon team members. So he takes a sabbatical from his job as a park ranger and travels across the country to say thanks. He never intended on stepping into a political conspiracy theorist’s wet dream.
Former Marine Recon team leader Mackenzie Jackson took the warning from Wade to heart when he told Mac it was time to pack up and go dark. Then days later Wade was dead. Thinking only to say goodbye to his brother, Mac attends the funeral, albeit covertly, with Eric “Spider” Schiller, the only other remaining member of his team. A decision is made. They are being hunted—by whom, they don’t know—but they’re sure it has to do with their last op and the proof they carry of the fail that it was. In order to stay alive, Mac disappears to his cabin in the woods, resigned to the fact that he will probably never see his best friend again.
When Sam tracks Eric’s girlfriend down, he finds himself in the middle of events that only happen in political thrillers—spies, guns, and secrets. After Eric gets shot, he gives Sam a flash drive and coordinates to find Mac. Finding Mac proves not as simple as it should be, but once he finds the paranoid former Marine, Sam expects to hand over the flash drive, say thanks, and leave. But Mac practically kidnaps him spouting off about “them” and how “they” know who Sam is now and how he’s in danger.
Now that Mac is the only member of his team left standing it’s up to him to stop whoever is determined to take out their team and keep their dirty secret. But first he has to find that person and to do that he needs Sam’s help. Sam, the boy with the sad eyes Mac saved so long ago is not a boy anymore and even in the middle of danger, he can’t ignore his attraction to the man. Running for their lives, Mac is determined to keep Sam safe no matter what, but doing so may not prove to be so easy.
Last Marine Standing is the second book in R.J. Scott’s Heroes series and can be read as a standalone.
Yessir (and ma’am), I loved this story. It’s almost the gay romance version of a John Grisham, complete with action, intrigue, and conspiracy theories aplenty. From the beginning, this story is sweet and exciting. I was enraptured from scene one, which is perfect, to the very end.
So what I loved about this book. I want to really tell you I love everything and that you should read the book just because I said so, but I do realize you need reasons as much as I would. Here you go.
- Conspiracy theories. Yes, not really real life but amazingly exciting political drama. The paranoia and intrigue that surround Mac and Spider and their last mission is intense throughout the majority of this book. It’s so good. And yes, I get that for some people it can be overly dramatic, because do things like that really happen—who knows—but for me it was perfect. The drama, tension, and mystery were enough to keep me absolutely captivated.
- Romance. Yes, romance. That’s what we’re here for to begin with, right? Well, here’s the thing I love about this one. It doesn’t start out as a romance. In fact, when Sam and Mac finally stand face to face after ten years apart, all Sam wants to do is hand over the flash drive, say thanks, and walk away. Just as suddenly as he tries to leave, Sam finds himself the virtual prisoner of someone he thinks to be crazy. So the schoolboy crush he carries around for a decade is crushed, but only for a little bit. Sam and Mac butting heads is what makes their relationship so wonderful. Their personal and emotional conflict is entertaining and almost cute in the midst of the danger hunting them.
- Hot, steamy end of the world sex. Okay, maybe not end of the world, but for Sam, who is mostly a sedate guy to practically demand Mac fuck him just in case they don’t survive. Yes, it’s damn hot. And it only gets better because these guys find something real in the midst of stress and danger. They find each other and what they didn’t even know they were looking for.
- Action. The build in this story is only complete with plenty of action scenes. No, I’m not any sort of adrenaline junkie, but I do like the heart pounding, thrill seeking tension of a good action scene. And the fact that Scott comes up can complete an action scene so damn perfectly… well, I am delighted with this entire story.
- Storytelling. Have you guys read R.J. Scott? If so, you know what a wonderful storyteller she is. I seriously lose myself in her books. This one is no different. In the midst of a wonderful romance and thrilling mystery is this fabulous storytelling in which Scott grabbed me by the heartstrings in scene one and tugged me right along on Sam’s and then Mac’s journeys. And before I knew it, it was two in the morning and I couldn’t find it in me to regret the lost sleep one bit.
Okay, so I have but one quibble and it’s fairly small, which is why it barely affects my rating. The ending—I didn’t it coming—but it was a little easy. Not that I figured it out, because I did not, but when the conclusion of the mystery comes into play, I had almost a “Really? Hmm…” reaction to it. I mean, I get it, but like I said, almost too easy and neat.
But overall, this book is it. I loved the first book and was happy to see Aiden and Victor in this story, but to have Sam’s story and such a perfect happy ending for him just added to my love of the series. I can hardly wait to see what Scott has lined up next. I highly recommend Last Marine Standing by R.J. Scott.