Combat Barbie by Heather Long

BARBIE

Combat Barbie by Heather Long
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (44 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Aster

The high school beauty queen…

The face of baby food, the darling of surfing commercials, and the exotic stunner who walked away with the Miss California title at eighteen, Mary Phillips has heard “you’re so beautiful” from childhood on. Tired of being her mother’s personal Barbie, she traded in her tiara and a lucrative modeling contract for combat boots and life as a Marine. She’s lost good friends and seen more walking wounded than she cares to admit, but this Marine wouldn’t trade her assignment for all the Manolo Blahniks in the world. What does it matter she has no one waiting at home?

The class nerd…

Kyle Stewart heard every variation as he went through school: nerd, geek, four-eyes, weirdo—and he rolled with it. He could count on one hand the number of girls who ever deigned to talk to him about something other than tutoring. But as the only self-made millionaire from his graduating class, he has the last laugh.

A high school reunion…

Despite the invitation, Mary didn’t plan to attend the ten-year reunion. The last thing she wanted to hear was—”you could have been so much, what happened?” But running into Kyle at the local coffee shop reminds her that not everyone judges by appearance. Kyle once swore to rub his former tormentors noses in his success, but when the reunion rolls around, he’s reluctant to go. Seeing Mary again encourages him to confront his one lingering regret, and the millionaire dares to reach for happiness.

Can Combat Barbie and her nerd overcome the past to love another day?

Second chances are a wonderful gift.

Mary “Stormer” Phillips is a beauty queen turned Marine grunt home on leave. Staying with her parents, whom she missed terribly while deployed, she’s beginning to feel smothered after a short time of close contact. While on a run, she stops for a cup of coffee and by chance ends up face to face with an old friend.

Kyle Stewart was the typical nerd in high school, but this nerd has made good. Now a successful software designer, Kyle has found a confidence sorely lacking in his early days. When he recognizes Mary in the coffee shop, he takes action to make up for things he regrets not doing in the past.

These two were as cute as can be. Mary was down to earth and very kind, and Kyle was warm yet sure. It was hard not to root for these two to make it. At several points in the story I found myself saying, “Aw…”

The only thing keeping this from a perfect 5 out of 5 was I just wanted a little more. Being part of a series, it’s likely we’ll see a glimpse of these characters in a future tale, but there were unanswered questions I wish I knew the answer to. Mary had gotten her new orders, but the envelope was never opened – I was assuming we’d find out by the end what those orders were. And while the end was happy, it seemed to end abruptly. I wanted just a little more resolution.

That said, the love story was awesome and the sex was hot. These are two people who are perfect for each other. They probably always were, but their life experiences brought them to a place where they know appreciate who the other person is much more than they otherwise would.

I recommend all the “Always a Marine” stories, and this installment is a must!

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