Navy Rules
by Geri Krotow
(Harl. Super #1786, $5.50, PG) ISBN 978-0373-71786-6
Category tales are abundant now with service men returning from the wars and dealing with their stress while trying to pick up the pieces of their lives. Geri Krotow, who is an ex-Navy wife according to her bio, has done a good job handling a difficult subject.

Commander Max Ford has been a pilot for a lot of years with no injuries, only to earn his Purple Heart on land when he saved a large group from a woman suicide bomber. He suffered injuries from shrapnel and PTSD from his nightmares about what could have happened. He returns to Whidbey Island Naval Air Station to recuperate and serve out his term until his retirement.

Winnie Armstrong is a Navy widow of Max’s best friend Tom. Max was there helping her through the months after the accident, six years ago, that killed her husband. Max is the godfather for her daughter Krista, now 13. And he is the father of her youngest daughter , two year old Maeve. She is the result of a one night stand they had when their friendship turned to more. Neither knew how to handle the shift in their relationship, so they withdrew from each other. When Winnie found out she was pregnant, Max was about to be deployed and she feared he would lose his concentration. After that, it was easy to make more excuses to keep the truth from him. Now Max is back and Winnie knows she has to share the news.

The story follows formula and yet, has a fresh feel to it due to the details that the author brings and the unique situation they find themselves in. Krista is thrilled to have contact with her “Uncle Max” and of course, Max is thrilled to know he has a daughter and can also be a father figure to his best friend’s daughter. Winnie has the most difficult time with the whole issue and at times, she was frustrating in her inability to let go of the past. There were even times, when she and Max seemed very mismatched, causing the reader to wonder who really had PTSD. Max was a good guy, but he did give up a tad too easily for full comfort.

Despite the misgivings, this story did hold my interest and had just enough tender and romantic moments to keep the reader engaged in the story and rooting for their HEA. While not a light hearted reading experience, Navy Rules is satisfactory for a summer book.

--Shirley Lyons

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