Marine Under the Mistletoe

The Non-Commissioned Baby

As Kathleen Kane:


A Pocketful of Paradise

Still Close to Heaven

Simply Magic

This Time for Keeps

Wish Upon a Cowboy

The Last Santini Virgin
by Maureen Child
(Silh. Desire #1312, $3.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-76312-3
I was in the mood for a quick, uncomplicated read when I picked up The Last Santini Virgin. It was the perfect choice. This fast paced, often humorous story is easily read in one sitting.

The plot is simple. Gina Santini meets Nick Paretti in ballroom dance class. Spending three nights a week in the handsome Marine’s arms is making it increasingly difficult to ignore her growing attraction. But Gina has made a promise that makes it impossible for her to ever enter into a serious relationship.

Nick is also reluctantly smitten. The more time he spends with Gina, the more he’s drawn to the outspoken beauty. But an unhappy marriage taught Nick that while a woman may claim to love a middle class Marine, what she really wants is access to his family’s money. Nick might not be much of a catch, but the Paretti Computer Corporation (and its millions) certainly is.

When the inevitable happens and Gina and Nick sleep together, Nick is astonished to discover Gina is a virgin. Now he’s certain she’s after marriage. But Gina steadfastly maintains she will never marry, she merely wanted experience.

This infuriates Nick, especially when he realizes he never wants her to share her new found “experience” with anyone other than him. It’s up to Nick to help Gina keep the promise she made and still be able to create a life together.

Although the snappy dialogue and laugh out loud humor kept me turning the pages, there were several things that bothered me about The Last Santini Virgin - the character of Gina being the most troublesome. While described as feisty, she comes across as abrasive. Nick refers to her as “Princess” repeatedly throughout the book, and the moniker fits. I can easily visualize Gina pouting and stamping her little foot if things don’t go precisely as planned. Poor Nick will have his hands full with this one.

Also, the promise that Gina made that keeps her from ever having a serious relationship didn’t make sense. This promise is the pivotal conflict in the plot, and it simply was not believable. While Nick’s familiar conflict of being desired because of his family’s wealth has been done countless times before, his concerns were handled in a way that made them appear realistic.

The Last Santini Virgin is the latest installment in author Maureen Child’s Bachelor Battalion series. If you’ve been following the series, you may enjoy this more than I. Next month, Gina’s older sister Angela has a romance of her own in The Next Santini Bride. A single mom who’s had a tough time of it, I suspect Angela will make a more sympathetic heroine and I look forward to her story.

--Karen Lynch

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