GS vs. STA: Military Heroes

This “Good Shit vs Shit to Avoid” request comes from Joanne, who is hunting for books to read this winter:

I am looking for suggestions for lovely romance or wonderfully
trashy romance involving a soldier/soldier of fortune, tough guy
in uniform, or one beside a crumpled uniform on the floor. A happily ever
after would be nice. In fact, I require it from my fictional men.


After an incredibly stressful month and searching in vane, I implore you,
please help. The wine is breathing, the phone is turned off (finally) and I
am heroless. It's sad really.

Since Joanne isn't specific about time period, historical, contemporary or even paranormal/UF recommendations are more than welcome. Which books do you recommend that feature soldier/military heroes? This will be one hell of a list, given the scope, to please try to limit your recommendations to your top 2 or 3 favorite books. 

And if there's a military or soldier hero romance you don't recommend, feel free to talk about it, but please try to explain why it didn't work for you. 

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Lisa J says:

    I really enjoyed Magnus by Jambrea Jo Jones.  The heroine is an undercover agent who is put into place in a Marine unit and purposely screws up.  The hero is the commander of the group and he is disgusted and fascinated by her.

  2. 2
    R.Savage says:

    I can’t quite get enough of them for some reason, but Maya Banks’ KGI novel series has more hunka hunka former military men gone private army force than a person knows what to do with. I honestly don’t know how Mama Kelly survived all her sons….

  3. 3
    Carin says:

    Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series is a favorite of mine.  It starts with The Unsung Hero.

  4. 4
    Nadine says:

    An old one, set in the Civil War:  “Love and War” by Patricia Hagan.  Kitty is a Southerner, with the skills of a field doctor, Travis is a Union soldier.  I think this was the first historical romance I ever read, so it made a big impression on me at the time.

  5. 5
    Kim in Hawaii says:

    My favorite man in uniform (except hubby) is Pamela Clare’s BREAKING POINT.  Former SEAL turned DEA is “rescued” by a newspaper reporter imprisoned in the same hell hole by the drug cartel.  Their escape across the Mexican desert and the adjusting to real life is thrilling, passionate, and satisfying.

  6. 6
    JG says:

    _Shattered Rainbows_ by Mary Jo Putney is a Regency between a former military man who was one of many soldiers nursed by an officer’s wife who is now widowed. They meet again in a convoluted plot that requires them to pretend to be married for her to get an inheritance and involves a man hunt on an isolated island and an Evil Villain. Deeper than it sounds, dealing with post-traumatic stress and the after effects of a bad marriage.

  7. 7

    Definitely Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series!

  8. 8
    kkw says:

    Suzanne Brockmann.

    Also a big fan of Heyer’s, and she’s got some great military and ex-military heroes, but probably insufficiently trashy.  I don’t know if the Maya Banks series would be my favorite overall, but hers might be my top pick for trashy (in the best possible way).

    As usual, I’ve forgotten the books I didn’t like.

  9. 9
    RJ says:

    I second the Suz Brockmann rec.  She has three differnt sets of military romance books.  The first is her SEAL Team Ten books which are category (Silhouette, I think).  These are really good, and starts with Prince Joe.  Next is the first 6 of her Troubleshooters books.  These take place in the SEAL teams but also have a WWII romance subplot, and as Carin said, the first one is The Unsung Hero.  The last ten books in the Troubleshooters series, starting with Flashpoint, involve the SEALS but also involve the private security company that Tom (the hero from The Unsung Hero and the CO of SEAL Team Sixteen) sets up after leaving the teams and these do not have the WWII subplot.  What I really like about the TS is how there are multiple POV characters.  This creates multiple book story archs and adds much demension to the stories.  This builds the relationships up over time instead of just in each book.  However, each book is its own story and can be read independently. 

    The Suz Brockmann website has lots of info about each book and samples.  http://www.suzannebrockmann.co…

  10. 10
    Yulie29 says:

    The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons.

    And Shattered Rainbows is good, too, and of course Brockmann’s books.

  11. 11
    Maggie says:

    STA:  Lora Leigh.  The first few of the Seal series aren’t so horrible if you’re ok with super-Alpha heroes and kinda TSTL heroines.  The “series” if you can call it that is really two series, but with tons of overlapping characters.  So, the Tempting Seals books, which is the earlier of the two, aren’t half bad and very, very sexytimes.  The Elite Ops books, on the other hand, are so crazysauce it borders on the absurd.  The stories make no sense, the editing is so horrible, and the aforementioned sexytimes are downright creepy.

    You have been warned.

  12. 12
    leeleerc says:

    Tara Janzen’s Steele Street series, starting with “Crazy Hot.”  The Special Defense Force has hot men, hot cars, and great writing.  Lots of fun sexytimes too.

  13. 13
    Booklight says:

    I second the Troubleshooter series (starting with The Unsung Hero) by Suzanne Brockmann. The first 8 books of this series are among my favorite romances of all time, and I re-read them occasionally.

    For historical military men, I highly recommend Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas. This is the 5th book the the Hathaway series but can be read as a stand alone (although I recommend all of them). The h/h fall in love at the beginning of the book through letters (crazy, beautiful letters) and then must fall in love again after he returns home with PTSD.

  14. 14
    cleo says:

    Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas – it’s the last of the Hathaway series, but it’s pretty stand alone.  And it’s one of my all time favorites.  The hero is a soldier in the Crimean War – the heroine answers a letter he writes to her flighty friend (pretending to be said friend, of course).  They end up corresponding – he writes about the horrors of war and they fall in love.  When he returns, as a decorated war hero, he’s very different from the shallow good time guy he was when he left.  This is a lovely, intense book – she helps him with his (undiagnosed of course) ptsd and the relationship b/w them is both hot and sweet.  I tend to read more for the heroines than the heroes but I love this hero.

    Mary Margaret Daughtridge’s SEALed with a Promise and SEALed with a Kiss – these are both great for a quick escape with believable, relate-able characters and hot heroes.  There are two more in the series that I haven’t read yet.  I love both of them, even though they have some plot things that I found silly – ie the first one takes place over a week and they end up engaged.  They are not romantic suspense – the heroes are both active duty SEALs but most of the story arcs are about the developing relationship between the h/h.

  15. 15
    jcscot says:

    I second the Love in the Afternoon rec and I also add Mary Balogh’s Slightly Married (Simply Love and A Summer to Remember, also by Balogh, have ex-military heroes).  Another Putney historical romance with a soldier hero is The Bargain.

    I can’t think of any to avoid although there are loads of military-type tropes that make me grind my teeth – I am somewhat of a connoisseur of military heroes as I am married to my very own man in uniform. :D

    The original HABO request mentioning crumpled uniforms on the floor didn’t make me swoon, it just made me think of all the bloody laundry soldiers generate!

  16. 16
    delia says:

    I recommend Carla Kelly’s regencies.  Some are available in ebook through Harlequin.  her older Signet Regencies you can find at the library or (some outrageous priced) on Amazon.  Her books are normally set outside of London and usually feature “regular” heroes as opposed to members of the aristocracy.  These books aren’t spicy but the love story is very satsifying.
    Harlequin:
    Coming Home for Christmas (1812 California/Crimean War/1870s American West setting; it’s tree short stories)
    The Admiral’s Penniless Bride
    Marrying the Captain (my absolute favorite!/Plymouth setting)
    The Surgeon’s Lady
    Marrying the Royal Marine

    Older Regencies:
    The Wedding Journey (Spain/Portugal setting)
    With This Ring

    I also recommend Pamela Clare’s MacKinnon’s Ranger’s series set during the French and Indian War (The Seven Years War to the rest of the world). Surrender and Untamed are out now.

    STA: Any mercenary/soldier of fortune books by Diana Palmer.  They are full of cliches and unbelievable plots….then again if you’re the mood for WTFery, this might be for you.

  17. 17
    Jill Sorenson says:

    I’ve enjoyed recent books by Maya Banks and Stephanie Tyler. No Place to Run and Hard to Hold were the titles (I think).

  18. 18
    Dancing_Angel says:

    Rachel Lee’s “An Officer and a Gentleman” is really nice, with the added twist that the H/h are BOTH in uniform (if you can overlook a command officer dating a subordinate).  In general, her earlier novels are very good – Serious Risks involves an FBI agent, and my personal favorite, Defying Gravity features an ex-Vietnam Vet.

  19. 19
    Elli says:

    Earlier Brockmann; the PC in her later books is laid on with a very heavy hand.

    Much better written books – those by Lois McMaster Bujold, whether fantasy or SF – they usually have a military hero and a strong romantic element.

  20. 20
    Melinda says:

    Anne Calhoun’s Under His Hand is one of the few Harlequin Spice Briefs I adored—it’s extremely hot and intense, and altogether wonderful.

  21. 21
    Emily says:

    How about Miss Wonderful by Loretta Chase? A returned military hero who is still showing signs of injury and emotional distress. First in the series. It has a more serious approach. Also the Unknown Ajax by Georgette Heyer or The Toll Gate by Georgette Heyer. (The Toll Gate is one of my favorites.)  Both are stand alone books.
    for something really really silly try Julia Quinn’s Ten Things I Love About You. Its really fun and enjoyable. It is also the third book, but I read it first.
    Persuasion by Jane Austen Captain Wentworth is a Naval officer. I have read this book more times than any other Austen. It’s hands down my favorite.
    I will try to think of some more books.

  22. 22
    Mikaela Lind says:

    I agree with most of the recommendations, but I am surprised that no one have recommended Because of You by Jessica Scott. 

    Or maybe I just missed it.

  23. 23
    Bclotildes says:

    Cherry Adair’s got some good military guys…with a dash of psi as well.

  24. 24
    Katy L says:

    Don’t forget Linda Howard’s Mackenzie family: Mackenzie’s Mountain, Mackenzie’s Mission, etc. Silhouette’s from the late 80’s/early 90’s with military and ex-military heroes. I can’t vouch for military accuracy, but they’re good stories.

  25. 25
    henofthewoods says:

    Suzanne Enoch “England’s Perfect Hero” – another PTSD in the past. The hero was captured and a POW, there are some characters who think he is less because he didn’t fight his way out. One of my favorites of her novels because it balances fun and actual serious thought.

  26. 26
    Linda says:

    Anything by Elizabeth Ashtree.  She has several books with military heroes and heroines, all with contemporary themes.

  27. 27
    Donna says:

    Oh, let me second the WTF glory that is Tara Janzen’s Steele Street series. Hot, hot, hot. And I’m going to give a plug to “SEAL of My Dreams” a collection of stories featuring, you guessed it, SEALs. Coincidently one of them is by Tara Janzen. The profits go to a good cause, medical research for veterans. They’re all pretty short, not overly sexy, some are better than others – cause that’s how it goes in short story collections – and there are A LOT of them.

  28. 28
    Linda C says:

    I’m reading Marliss Melton’s seal team 12 series at the moment. There are 7 books in the series.

  29. 29
    Raine says:

    I am also reading “SEAL of my Dreams” and really like it. Usually, I find such short stories unsatisfying, but with my crazy busy life right now, I like being able to read a story in a few chapters and be done and not keep saying “oh just one more chapter” and the next thing I know it is 4am and my alarm is about to go off. And as a bonus it is totally introducing me to new authors to try and the money for military medical research is nice.

    I also LOVE LOVE LOVE Tara Janzen’s Steele Street books and Cherry Adair’s T-FLAC books. They are re-reads that I go back to atleast once a year.

  30. 30
    Mustanglady2222 says:

    I immediately thought about the TFLAC guys when I saw the post on Facebook.

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