Once Upon A Romance

Once Upon A Romance's Review Of...
Operation L.O.V.E. an Anthology


Cover art: Operation L.O.V.E. Reviewer: Robyn Roberts
Title: Operation L.O.V.E.
Author: Tara Nina, Anne Elizabeth, DC DeVane, Lindsay Downs, C.H. Admirand
Publisher: Highland Press
ISBN-13: 978-0-9823615-0-4
Re-release Date: April 2009
Genre/Sub-genre: Contemporary Romance
Year/Setting: Present Day
Overall Rating: 4.0
Sexual Content Rating: Subtle
Language (Profanity/Slang) Rating: None
Violent Content Rating: None
Publisher's Website: www.highlandpress.org

About the anthology: Each of the five branches of service has a story in this anthology. Operation: L.O.V.E. stands for Locate, Observe, Vector and Encounter. It’s a fantastic premise and really honors our service men and service women. A great story for any time of the year and a portion of the royalties goes to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. A great book supporting a great cause.

Mission: Devil Dog by Tara Nina (Marines Story)
Jack Stone is one of the best snipers in the Marines. When he’s put on an assignment to play war games against another group, he ends up face to face with the one person he thought he’d never see again—Riley. The girl who just said "No" to his marriage proposal and walked out of his life forever. With a fairly bad ‘reunion’ moment, will these star-crossed lovers ever find the path to true love?

Mission: Devil Dog was one of my favorite stories in the anthology. Tara Nina puts in a lot of moments where I said, "I didn’t see that coming." It kept me rapt in the moment of the story. I don’t want to spoil any of the plot twists, but I was in despair figuring these two might remain star-crossed forever. Jack and Riley’s story pits a woman who has turned weakness into strength against a rock solid man.

Funny Bone by Anne Elizabeth (Navy Story)
Chuck Swenson is a Navy SEAL who is engaged to the most wonderful and funny woman, Cheryl. He knows Cheryl is trying to get over her marriage phobia and he’s let her go without picking a wedding date. But when he’s suddenly ordered to ship out, he pressures her for a commitment and tries to get her to marry him before he leaves on assignment. Cheryl keeps up the witty banter, but her heart is breaking trying to decide if she’s ever going to be able to make a true commitment or if she’ll walk away from her true love.

This story was a little scattered in the storyline. I didn’t find it to be easy to follow as it jumped thoughts so often. Once I was able to see how the author jumped, it was a lot easier to follow. It’s a heartwarming story that speaks to each of us. Ultimately, can we face our fears or will our deepest fears rule our lives forever?

B & B Bivouac by DC DeVane (Air Force Story)
David Grantham is stuck at SERE training without a place to stay. He gets the last—the very last—empty room in town at the Romantic Rooster B & B. Now he’s in the one guestroom that hasn’t been renovated and his room in pink. As in girly, frilly, lace and ribbons, no room for testosterone pink. If the guys find out about which room he’s in, he knows he’ll spend the rest of his career living this one down. So perhaps he’s a little surly to the owner, Susan, after seeing his digs. Once he sees the hurt in her eyes, he’s a goner. He goes out of his way to make it up to her. Too bad she’s not looking for a relationship. She’s known flyboys all her life and won’t let this overly cocky fly-boy steal her heart…or will she? And after David is warned to not go sniffing anywhere near Susan at the risk of losing his career, he’ll make sure that her laughter, cooking skills and body he wants to explore remain totally off limits…or will he?

B & B Bivouac is another one of my favorites from this anthology. It just went together so well and for a short story, it gave enough that I felt the story was complete. I didn’t feel rushed in reading it and I loved David & Susan from the first page to the last. Having grown up with a former Air Force Captain as my father, I have lived through the experience of an Air Force Officer finding everything that could go wrong is going wrong. I had to hide my laughter when it happened to my dad, but when it happened to David in this story, I laughed until I cried. It’s truly a story sprinkled with all the realities of life.

Angel from Above by Lindsay Downs (Army Story)
Cristal Johnson is a woman with a mission. Driven by her internal desire, she’s become a top medevac pilot. When she lands in Iraq and is sent on a rescue mission, little does she know that her heart may be what needs rescuing. The commander of the group, Paul Stevens has a magnetic pull that Cristal’s never felt before. She’s determined she’ll never give up flying. Her past boyfriends couldn’t handle that choice so she’s kept herself aloof from all men. When Paul starts trying to explore their mutual attraction, can he let her be the woman she is? Or is he going to be just like the rest of the men she’s dated who want her to give up flying?

This was my favorite story out of the whole anthology. Cristal is a strong woman who comes from a two very strong, military parents. However, her parents know how to laugh and have a good time. They taught Cristal to have a sense of humor and it really makes the reading fun. Putting Cristal and Paul in the middle of Iraq adds such a large piece of reality and truth to the story that it makes the ups and downs and fire fights all the more real. Lindsay Downs has done a terrific job showing some of the realities of war—both good and bad. With vivid storytelling, he has created a story we can all relate to.

So Others Might Live by C.H. Admirand (Coast Guard Story)
Bronwyn Griffith is out to capture a real life sea adventure to use in writing her book. Too bad she had to ‘borrow’ her cousin’s boat without his permission to get to sea. And who would believe the weatherman was right for a change? Now she’s on a boat that’s barely staying upright and sporting a few injuries. So when James Purcell shows up on her ship and announces he’s there to rescue her, he seems stunned that she doesn’t want to be rescued. Too bad she didn’t realize what a force a Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer can be. He’s not going to take no for an answer and makes sure she’s rescued and treated for her injuries. When he runs into her again after his shift sleeping in the ER waiting room, he feels like a bulldozer has hit him. Is it just a rescuer/rescued person psychosis attracting them to each other—or could it be the real deal?

This story is a fantastic concept. I loved the rescue swimmers and I learned more about the Coast Guard than I’ve ever known before. I loved the concept, but found the execution to be lacking in a few places. I found the story to feel jumpy and a little disconnected. It was like it was supposed to be more fleshed out, but too much got edited out. I think this story would have been better if it had been longer to give the segues more time to flow from one to the next. It was still a very enjoyable read and I am glad I read it. I just think a longer version would have fulfilled my expectations with this storyline.


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