A Marine’s Conflict by Jax Meyer and Elle Armstrong is the fourth book in her A Marine’s Heart series. While this has overlapping events from A Marine’s Discovery, Meyer allows the story to stand on its own. In it, she shows us that when you’re doing your best to follow the rules, love enters your life and makes you want to break all of them.
Margaret “Mags” Newsome has given her life to the Marine Corps, even though it’s been hard having to hide her true self under the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy. She hasn’t been able to have any meaningful, loving relationships in a long time, but she has learned to adapt. One-night-stands and a strict set of rules allow her to protect her military career and fulfill her desires. Until an innocent jog down the streets of Miramar puts a smart, beautiful blonde in her path.
Elaine ‘Lane’ Chapman moved to the US from England only to be dumped by her girlfriend soon after her arrival. Now she teaches mathematics at San Diego State and has built a life in the southern California sun, leaving passion to the women in the romance novels she tries to hide. When a tall, handsome marine walks in, her smooth talking and toned body speak to parts of Lane she thought were nonexistent.
What was supposed to be a one-time hookup threatens to turn into something more, something meaningful. Lane is aware of Mags’ rules and abides by them, but soon they must decide if they’re willing to risk more than just the military’s wrath if discovered.
Will Mags and Lane be able to build a lasting relationship? Or will the pressures of DADT threaten everything they have to gain?
Mags appears emotionally distant, and that can be attributed to her time in the Marine Corps. Honestly, though, she’s simply very cautious in who she meets as a possible bed partner because she serves under DADT. Underneath it all, she’s caring, generous, and protective of her friends, family, and recruits. She must maintain a fragile balance between her marine personae and her true self every time she goes out her front door because she cannot risk losing her career over a woman. At least, not just for any woman
Lane is similar to Mags in she’s very protective of her feelings, but her reasons are different. She’s ended a long term relationship after following a woman across the ocean, so romance is the last thing on her mind. Which is a real shame because she’s intelligent, beautiful, and utterly charming. She’s drawn to Mags physically, so she doesn’t see much happening outside of carnal satisfaction. Soon, though her heart starts believing love is possible, and it isn’t long before both women realize that great risk does offer great reward, if they’re willing to go for it.
The Writing Style
I have read a few stories set in the period of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but I feel this one is special because we’re given two contrasting perspectives. By having Mags be a marine and Lane be a civilian, the authors show that the dangers may not be as apparent to one as they are to the other. Through this, she is able to illustrate that love must be strong, yet it must also be patient, in order to overcome all the obstacles that are both visible and invisible to achieve the happily ever after.
Pros And My Favourite Parts
I really liked the build of Mags and Lane’s relationship. They had great chemistry from the beginning, so the transition from a purely physical relationship into a more emotional one was seamless and had me invested until the end.
Cons And Heads Up
I felt it dragged in certain areas. The main actions that pushed the story along were great, but there were some scenes that, while fun to read, weren’t as strong and could’ve been gathered up for a short story collection to be released later that showcased their lives in between the main events and after they get their HEA.
This is a great third installment in the series. Mags and Lane are both strong, independent women who project what a great love entails. They learn together, grow together, fight for each other, and in the end, love each other unconditionally. The message of love enduring against all odds is very poignant, and I can’t think of two better women to show that than the ones Meyer gave us in this story.
TLDR (too long didn’t read)
Rules are important to have, so you know how to break them when the right kind of love happens.
Excerpt from A Marine’s Conflict by Jax Meyer and Elle Armstrong
“Are you actually into…Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering, or is it to distract onlookers from your romance novel?” Mags handed her the paperback with a hint of a smile on her lips. The woman placed it on top of the textbook and pulled both to her chest, almost crushing the reading glasses she must have hung off the top of her blouse while Mags was strategizing.
“As a matter of fact, not only am I into it, as you so imprecisely put it, I teach the subject.”
“Seriously? That’s intriguing.”
“You think so?” The woman’s question was laced with sarcasm.
“I do. Beautiful women are a dime a dozen in California, but beautiful and smart? You’ve got my attention.” The woman’s cheeks turned a deeper red. “So why hide the romance novel? Afraid people won’t take you seriously? Or are you in the closet?” Mags watched her steadily, awaiting an answer to her purposely forward question, designed to root out at least one red flag early.
“Well, I guess I could tell you but then…”
A non-answer. Not as easy to read as Mags first thought. “You’d have to kill me, huh?”
“That is correct.” The woman smiled and relaxed her shoulders.
“I doubt a math teacher has the skills to take me out. Are you a spy? With that accent, you’d have to be MI-6, right?” When the woman looked away, slouching, Mags worried she’d made a mistake. “Or I could be completely wrong. Where are you from?”
“No, you’re not wrong. I’m from London; Notting Hill to be exact.” The woman remained unexpectedly cautious.
“Ooh, like the movie? I’d love to go there, though I doubt I’d be as lucky as Hugh Grant and run into a beautiful actress in a bookstore.”
“Well, I lived there nearly all my life and it never happened to me. I mean, I never met anyone in a bookstore that I was interested in.”
“Until now?” Mags held the woman’s gaze, charging the air between them. The woman didn’t need to respond; her answer was written in her dark blue eyes. She did, however, need a name. “I’m Mags, by the way.”
“Oh, right. Elaine.”
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A Marine Awakening
A Marine Discovery
A Marine’s Conflict
Bits and Bobs
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