Master Chief Rusty Kuzinsky has thrown his heart and his savings into preparing a warrior's retreat. Never Forget is a special place for SEALs to find solace and to heal after grueling operations like those he endured his entire career. Just as his first guests are due to arrive, a military war dog suffering from PTSD lands in Rusty's lap, requiring attention he simply can't spare. NCIS Special Agent Maya Schultz has her hands full raising a teenage son while investigating crimes taking place within the military. When Rusty offers her son a summer job caring for his new dog, practical Maya can't tell what's more dangerous - the crazy dog or her attraction to a man who witnessed her husband's death 10 years ago...and claims to see him, still. But when danger threatens Maya's remaining family, Rusty's special gift and his unhinged dog become her only defense against a suspect who'll do anything to avoid going to prison. With time running out and life or death at stake, Maya has to choose whether to follow her head as she has always done or to trust her heart this time.
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I love stories with military/K-9 dogs and this was a good one. My only complaint is the narrator was terrible at women's & kids' voices. Curtis sounded like a whiney brat throughout & his mom wasn't much better. I would expect a woman who works in a male dominant career to have a little more backbone.
5 stars This is the first book by Marliss Melton that I have read or listened to and I was very impressed. I am rather picky about military-themed contemporary romances, but this one had everything that I could ask for: romance, lovable characters, and some suspense. Although this is Book 5 in the Echo Platoon series, this book can be read out of order just fine. The author has some great vocabulary skills. Marliss Melton has a knack for using interesting words that convey the meaning well. The male narrator's voice was gorgeous: warm, velvety tones with excellent enunciation and pacing. Armen Taylor was quite good at portraying both male and female voices. He could even convincingly sound like a whiney teenager. I really liked all of the characters. Rusty, a newly retired Navy SEAL, is a very good guy, very respectful, no temper, organized, and is adorably focused on his new charity. He just started a retreat for Navy SEALs to decompress after coming back from war. Rusty even likes to cook and decorate his farm house. That is so sexy. Rusty has the most wonderful personality! He is a dream guy and a perfect book boyfriend, in my opinion. I really like how both primary characters are around 40-years-old. Rusty has had some hard times with friends and family dying in the past, but he is doing well. Maya's husband had been a Navy SEAL and who died 10 years ago. She has been raising her 14-year-old son Curtis alone. Rusty catches her eye and she begins to think she can give dating a try for the first time since she was married. Maya's son Curtis slightly annoyed me at first, but I quickly warmed up to him when he acquired a work ethic and and developed more respect for his elders. The chapters from his third person point of view showed that Curtis had a good heart. Drako, a retired Navy SEAL dog that Rusty adopted, has some PTSD, so there are some touchy times with him, but I love him. Drako was a good dog at heart and he really shows that. I like that there was not too much gritty realistic modern-day danger. I am NOT a fan of the serious TV crime dramas, and I do not like contemporary romance novels with many pages devoted to evil modern criminals, drug smuggling, kidnapping, etc. Thankfully, this novella kept that kind of thing to a minimum. Even though Maya is a JAG military investigator, not much is mentioned of her daily work activities. The slow, careful romance with Rusty takes center stage, along with her son's growing bond with the dog Drako. There are some shady characters who are up to no good and pose a danger for Maya and Curtis, which leads to some action/thriller scenes. I was quite pleased with the quality of the suspense scenes in the last third of the book. This audiobook is really satisfying overall. I think it was a perfect length, and I like the third person past perspective that alternates among Rusty, Maya, Curtis, and one minor character. There was one lightly steamy love scene. I like how Maya and Rusty's romance developed slowly so that the payoff and their happy ever after was even sweeter. The author gave me a free copy of the audiobook, and I voluntarily wrote this honest review.