Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Once a Marine

Rate this book
Separated from service under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, former Marine major Cole Hammond is trying to reinvent himself, but twelve years in the corps – and near-crippling PTSD – makes reintegration into civilian life hard. Add in poor law school grades and his homophobic ex-Marine father’s rejection, and Cole’s nearly at the end of his rope.

That is, until he meets Marc Sullivan, waiter by day, romance writer by night. Marc’s always had a thing for guys in uniform, so when Cole walks into the diner one rainy afternoon, his sweet, sexy smile and Carolina drawl pull Marc in like a magnet. But Marc’s been down this road with hot Marines before, and it always leads to heartbreak.

With Marc’s help, Cole seeks therapy for his PTSD, and a happy life together no longer seems impossible. But if they can’t conquer their fears – Cole’s fear of coming out, Marc’s fear of being abandoned – love might not be enough to save them.

214 pages, ebook

First published October 27, 2011

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Cat Grant

42 books449 followers
If you're looking for epic sci-fi, fantasy, or historicals, that's not me. Contemporary all the way, baby!

However, if you're looking for down to earth, complicated characters dealing with real-world problems (and the occasional comfort read!), I might just fit the bill. :)

My Books:

Courtland Chronicles (m/m & m/m/f)
By Chance
Strictly Business
The Arrangement

Allegro Vivace (m/m)
Sonata Appassionata (m/m)

Icon Men (all m/m)
The First Real Thing (2012 EPIC Award Winner - Erotica)
Appearing Nightly
A Fool for You

Habanera (Originally titled Entangled Trio - 2012 EPIC Award Finalist - Erotica) (m/m/f)

Once a Marine (m/m)

Power Play (with Rachel Haimowitz) (m/m BDSM)
Power Play: Resistance
Power Play: Awakening

Irresistible Attraction (all m/m)
Flawless (2014 EPIC Award Finalist - Short Fiction)


The Only One Who Knows (with LA Witt) - January 2014

The Only One Who Matters (with LA Witt) - March 2014

Black Dog (Bannon's Gym #1) - April 2014

Takedown (Bannon's Gym #2) - July 2014

Guarded (with LA Witt) (work in progress)

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
119 (11%)
4 stars
427 (42%)
3 stars
379 (38%)
2 stars
58 (5%)
1 star
12 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 161 reviews
Profile Image for GK.
191 reviews38 followers
April 2, 2014
Five Stars - no hesitation.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Once a Marine was so good!
Cole and Marc are perfect together, their relationship was so believable.
Cole's southern hospitality, charm, and accent, really just won me over.
The fact that he was a marine, just made me fall even more for him.
Yes, okay, I am a total tag chaser.
But not really.

"Men! Can't live with 'em - and if you shoot 'em, you have to find a place to bury the bodies. Too much goddamn trouble either way."

*For a second I thought he was going to lean in and kiss me, but instead he scooped up my hand, brushed his lips across my palm and folded my fingers over it. "Hold on to that for me, okay?"*

Seriously, this book was SO good. Characters, development, plot. All simply amazing.

As usual, I wouldn't of complained if there was an epilogue explaining things such as:
Profile Image for Laura.
1,375 reviews207 followers
December 21, 2012

Let’s skip all my hubbub and get right to Cole Hammond—shall we? The beautiful, hot, sexy, gentle souled man that will star in my highlight reel of sexy daydreams for a loooong time! :)

“But when Cole started to yank his t-shirt over his head, I grabbed hold of his wrists to stop him. Not so fast, marine. I’ve been fantasizing about that gorgeous bod of yours for the past week and a half. The least you can do is stand there and let me unwrap it.”

Yes, yes please! Unwrap this--Blond, broad, blue-eyes, 6’3 drop dead gorgeous ex-Marine with lush lips that smile, seduce, suc…oh-so much more all topped off with a “slow-as-honey” Carolina drawl and a big, sweet, thumping heart that shows with every move, look, and touch.

After a 12 year service as a Marine, Cole is forced into civilian life to start over in school and love. A new life without the structure, duty, and career he worked, fought, and strived for his whole life. But can he start over, change, and leave his old life behind? My biggest Cole surprise was his sweetness. Cole’s manners, fierce loyalty, trust, willingness to change, and share his heart was inspiring and heartwarming. What can I say—the man had me drooling and “awwing” as soon as he walked on the page!

Marc, on the other hand, I had to warm up to. We had some eye rolling moments here and there, but not enough to derail my love for this story. He just made way too many references to past boyfriends for my taste—Rob did that too, or you remind me of my ex, or…Ugh! I understand pain of the heart, but the way he brought it up, constantly comparing Cole to any and all Marines in his life got on my nerves. Not all men are alike and not all Marines are alike. Now back to the love….

The magic of this story was the pure, simple moments of life and love captured between Marc and Cole as they moved around their new relationship with all its highs & lows, bumps, and joys. They reminded me how special the warm everyday moments in life can be—sharing a meal, dropping by work just to say “Hi”, or even the quiet, soothing sounds of the man you love moving in the next room. Just the sound of him being there stirs your heart and makes you smile.

Both of these men are battling their pasts and pains of the mind and heart. Cole has been suffering in silence with PTSD—not able or willing to seek help yet. For the record, this is where Marc really shined for me. Marc urges and supports Cole through it all. But Marc is also suffering with scars of lost loves that left him guarded and hesitant to trust and love again. Always in fear of being left behind. Can Marc and Cole help each other heal and forge a life together?

With honest, straight forward words and actions, Ms. Grant gets right to the heart of the matter with love and warmth. I adored being a part of Marc and Cole’s life for a bit. The simplicity of sharing time over a cup of coffee, celebrating accomplishments, and urging more of each other in life and love touched my heart. Once a Marine captures true, pure, intimate emotion in such a quiet powerful voice.

I look forward to hearing more of Cat Grant’s beautiful voice.

Profile Image for Chris.
2,862 reviews204 followers
October 5, 2011
Very good m/m romance about a waiter who's always been really attracted to Marines, although it's never turned out well for him. But when an extremely handsome guy (obviously a Marine) sits in his section, he's drawn to the guy despite himself. There's more to both of them than what meets the eye - will either of them be able to overcome their previous bad experiences to find love this time?
July 22, 2016
This story felt a little anti-climatic for me, because Cole, who's discharged from the Marines under DADT (he told), and Marc, a writer waiting tables to make ends meet, get together very early on and the rest of the book follows their struggles (Cole's family drama, Marc trying to make it as a writer, Cole struggling in law school and dealing with PTSD, etc.). There was no sexual tension, because the MCs sleep together early on, and move in together a month (i.e., a couple chapters) later.

I liked both Cole and Marc, but I found some of their behavior immature. Marc was a bit of a queen, a little cranky about his time commitments, and somewhat selfish. Cole was a good guy (Marines are hot. Southern gay Marines are HOTTER), but his behavior toward the end, when he flew home to see his parents, was just beyond the pale. I'm glad he came to his senses, but the ending felt rushed, with a lot of loose ends dangling.

There really wasn't a lot of angst here, which I liked. What little there was felt true to life. Cole's PTSD wasn't brushed aside, and I think the daily small annoyances of a relationship were portrayed realistically. Even though there were several sex scenes, they weren't particularly descriptive, and the shifting POVs (from first-person for Marc to third-person for Cole) were also a little jarring. I was excited when I found out this was set in Berkeley, because that's my alma mater, but was a little disappointed that the place didn't come alive more. There was a mention of Peet's Coffee, and that's about it.
Profile Image for Awilk -never sleeps- .
1,033 reviews6 followers
April 27, 2013
This was a sweet story, but parts of it didn't really grab me, but there was nothing that I really disliked either. I liked both Cole and Marc, but I really don't think there was anything about either of these characters that grabbed my heartstrings.
There was a few dramas from the outside for this couple, but most of the drama for Marc was internal. For someone of his age, I found it strange how he hadn't learnt not to judge people as much as he did. Just because Cole was a Marine, I felt it unfair of him to keep expecting Cole to be like his past Marine boyfriends.
I really feel for service men who come home from war suffering with PTSD. Although Cole was suffering with this, the author didn't really spend much time showing just how debilitating this can be.
All in all, I did enjoy this, and found that I just flew through it, but I am afraid that it isn't a story that is going to stick with me.
Profile Image for Darien.
847 reviews327 followers
January 14, 2012
More of my reviews and ramblings at PANTS OFF REVIEWS

I really enjoyed this book, which came as a surprise because I had read some reviews that made the characters out to be horrible people. Maybe I read a different book but I really liked both Cole and Marc. They were just too freaking sweet for words.

Marc is an M/M romance writer (oh yeh) and waiter at a diner. He is just living a simple life making ends meet. Until in walks Mr sex on legs. Looking all edible and shite, Marc almost drops the tray of dishes he’s carrying because the mystery man is just that hot. Warning bells are going off all Marc’s senses are saying Marine and he hasn’t had the best of luck in love with them, they always end up leaving him. What’s a man to do when all that Marine swagger 'Oorah' makes him weak in the knees.

Cole Hammond has just been released from the Marines under DADT (Don’t Ask Don’t Tell). Being a Marine was his everything but its been hell hiding who he is. So he’s now a civilian in law school, and for the first time living as a free man. After serving years in the marines, Cole has to deal with the after effects. The PTSD, the nightmares and all the anxiety that comes with it. He feels that in time he will be able to get over it, all he needs is his meds and all will be well (so he thinks).

Things between the guys start of on a rocky road, when Cole pulls a douche move. What a douche move it was! They do come together again but Marc is wary of Cole’s behaviour, but the chemistry is strong and he can’t deny it. Their budding relationship is sweet and though Marc sometimes annoyed me, he was perfect for Cole. I could understand Cole’s nervous behaviour, he was living as a gay man for the first time in years and thats no walk in the park. I found his character believable and made the story that much more interesting. Things do not remain all lovey dovey, when family issues pulls Cole from the relationship. Marc has to come to terms with his feeling and decide what he’s willing to sacrifice to make things work. Cole has to deal with his father prejudices, and the reality that his mother might be ill.

I only had one small issue with the story, and it is how Marc constantly compares Cole to his previous lovers. I understood it in the beginning, then after awhile it became tiresome and a little rude. I am surprised Cole wasn’t bothered by it, because I sure as hell was. Otherwise a stellar job by Cat Grant, really enjoyed Marc and Cole and look forward to other books by the author.

Profile Image for Heller.
974 reviews119 followers
October 19, 2012

I enjoy books with the military PTSD theme. This was an interesting and readable book but in the end it didn't really work for me.

One of the main things:

I felt a bit too on the edge with Marc's character. It just seemed like throughout the story he was waiting for Cole to screw up and for things to go ass over end. There was a strange tension there for me that affected my enjoyment of the book. I never could settle in because I was waiting for it as well.

In the end they just didn't feel like a couple that was going to work.

I wanted to like this book more than I did but I couldn't connect to either the characters or the storyline.

Profile Image for MsMiz (Tina).
881 reviews110 followers
November 1, 2011

So, I liked this book even though it may seem like my rating does not reflect that. We have a character who is struggling being a law student after being discharged for being a gay Marine and serving 5 tours. Then we have a character who is a writer working in a dinner who has always had male relationships with Marines that do not end well. This book was full of insecurities and real life issues with PTSD. When you get to know these two, you will find that this book feels very honest what you would typically expect from two men with their backgrounds.

There were NOT aliens, shifters, huge plot crescendo - the problems they faced in their relationship are what one would expect would really happen. THis is real life........

What lowered my rating for this book was the POV switch that drove me batty. One 1st person and the other one 3rd. Not my cup of tea!
Profile Image for Snowtulip.
1,076 reviews
October 29, 2011

A sweet story that had some really good pacing until the end. I liked how this story just unfolded and brought you into the relationship that was developing between Marc and Cole. The reader became a part of the ups and downs associated with a new relationship. I appreciated the family component of the story and was excited to see Cole's family become a part of the story. I think that this component became rushed and if the story was just a little longer, this could have been paced a little better. I did really like the dynamic between Marc and Cole and would love to see more of them.
Profile Image for Jayhjay.
157 reviews15 followers
November 26, 2011
This review was originally posted on my blog Joyfully Jay.

Marc Sullivan is working in a diner, making ends meet as his romance writing career takes off. One day he almost drops a load of plates when tall, muscular, and gorgeous Cole Hammond walks in. Everything about Cole turns Marc on, right down to the high and tight hair cut. But having grown up in San Diego and dated (and hooked up with) many a Marine, Marc is wary about starting up something with yet another military man when so many of his experiences have ended badly. After an early physical encounter reaffirms all of Marc's worst fears, he is wary of getting further involved with Cole.

Cole has been part of the Marines since he was 18, and after five tours of duty it is in his blood. However, he has recently been the victim of the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy after being outed by a disgruntled fellow soldier. Cole decided to stop hiding his sexuality and admitted to being gay when questioned. Although he is glad to finally be able to stop hiding, he feels a great emotional loss at giving up the military life. He is also struggling with the aftermath of his experiences, suffering from anxiety, nightmares, and panic attacks.

Things get off to a bit of a rocky start with the men as Cole jumps in and pulls back, still getting used to life out of the closet. And Marc is wary after being left by previous military boyfriends and is carefully protecting his heart against further abandonment. But eventually the men find their way together, building a relationship and settling in together. Marc is a great calming influence on Cole, having dated other men with PTSD. He is patient and supportive as Cole struggles with the aftermath of his military experiences and encourages (and pushes) Cole to get counseling and to take his medication to better deal with his problems.

Things are going well with the men when Cole suddenly must face some family problems at home. Seeing his father again is difficult since the man is former Marine and still angry to find out that Cole is both gay and that he ruined his career by coming out. Cole and Marc struggle with their first separation and figuring out how to continue with their relationship. Marc must deal with his anxiety about abandonment and decide whether he can put faith in their relationship and trust that Cole will not leave him. And Cole must deal with his father and being outside the bubble of support that Marc had provided back in California.

I really enjoyed this story and found the guys quite likeable. I appreciated the timeliness of the topic since the DADT repeal recently kicked in here in the states and I haven't read many stories that deal with this issue so directly. I enjoyed the nurturing side of Marc and the way he helped Cole feel safe and protected and didn't just dismiss him as a guy with a lot of baggage. I found their relationship both hot and loving and really liked watching it develop.

I did have a few problems with the story however. My biggest issue was the shifting point of view. The story alternates between Cole and Marc's views, which isn't that unusual for a romance novel. But the problem I had is that the sections switched between first person and third person depending on whose POV we are getting. Marc speaks in first person and Cole is told in third person, which changes the way all the names and pronouns are used. I found myself getting confused each time Cole's POV started up, having to stop and reorient myself before moving on. I can't remember reading another book that used this convention and while there may have been a good literary reason for doing it, I found it very confusing as a reader.

I had a few other small issues. I felt that Cole's shyness about being out in public was a big deal early on but seemed to go away rather quickly without a lot of explanation as to why he suddenly becomes more comfortable. I also think the conflict and resolution at the end could have been better fleshed out. There seemed to be a lot of back and forth and changing minds and then suddenly everything is ok again. They eventually reached a good resolution but I wasn't completely clear how they got there. However, I do like that we see how both characters are willing to ultimately put effort into resolving their problems and making the relationship work.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it. It is the first of Grant's books I have read and I will certainly be seeking out more of her work. Once a Marine is a sweet romantic story that tackles some difficult issues with characters I really enjoyed.
Profile Image for Beatrice.
48 reviews
November 3, 2011
I'm really conflicted with what to rate this book. This lies somewhere between three stars and four stars, but I chose four because the author did really well with some aspects of the book, particularly the conflicts and challenges the two characters faced.

The characterizations were good, with well-rounded and believably flawed characters; both main characters acted like men with their mannerisms and dialogue. The small misunderstandings were easily cleared up with communication, and I definitely liked how they were resolved pretty quickly. I know that it isn't as clean in real life, but it still felt realistic to me. One thing that really worked well was how the author used the conflicts to their full potential without ever creating an extreme load of angst. This wasn't a really a dramatic read that had me in tears, but the conflicts were real and the resulting consequences and reactions were even more so. A lot of the problems and challenges they faced were very much internal and character-centric, and that made the development and progression of their relationship really believable. Not all couples have to face a bomb threat while discovering their love for each other, and this one was a clean break from that.

I didn't mind the switches in point-of-view that much, but I expected that they would happen in a certain pattern so when it suddenly switched from a first person view to a third person view (and vice versa) within a chapter, it threw me off a bit and had me stopping for a moment because I had to figure out whose point-of-view I was reading. This is a small niggle, but I just find it odd that one point-of-view was in first person and the other was in third person. I wish the author would've stuck to just one narrative style. Nevertheless, I appreciate being able to read both Marc's and Cole's thoughts.

All in all, a really enjoyable read for me. The niggles were there, of course, but the book has its strong suits. Recommended for those who like contemporary romance and wouldn't mind the distracting changes in narratives.
Profile Image for Emanuela ~plastic duck~.
805 reviews115 followers
January 16, 2012
I was debating between a 3.5* and a 4* rating, but I decided to round it up because the strength of this book is probably the missing of the "wow factor".

Cole and Marc are ordinary people with their own aspirations and insecurities. At the beginning I didn't really like Marc, because his tag-chasing seemed a bit childish and paired with his writing career I had the impression he was living in his own world. Page after page I was able to see that he was instead pretty grounded and also that he was trying to achieve his goals with discipline. I immediately sympathized with Cole and his daily struggles. I liked to see how everything was difficult for him at the beginning, but how Marc's help made him focus on his studying first and on his therapy later.

The story didn't have the big drama, even if Cole had to deal with a lot, since he missed his years in the Marines, he had PTSD syndrome and his father couldn't accept his sexuality, but the ups and downs of his relationship with Marc felt real. It was also interesting that Marc, who is a writer and therefore he's probably more used to expressing his emotions, was also the more rational of the two of them. Or maybe it's not strange at all. I also appreciated that, while the interaction between Cole and Marc was sweet and romantic, there were no big declarations of love or never-ending expressions of feelings. The concern Marc and Cole showed to each other was more than enough to show the depth of their feelings. I also think Cole was really starving for love, and I confess for a while I wondered if he wasn't falling for the first guy who was available. By the end I was convinced he was very lucky instead.

Even if I am a sucker for angst and drama, I liked the light hand the author used to tell us the story of her characters. It was my first book by Cat Grant, won't be the last.
Profile Image for Lara.
443 reviews
November 2, 2011
I have mixed feelings about this one. The characters were interesting and likeable. The plot, about a Marine with a dishonorable discharge due to DADT who is also suffering from PTSD and a writer who has had one too many bad experiences with marines, was enjoyable enough. There was enough drama and angst to keep the story interesting. But something in the writing and flow of the story just didn't work for me on all levels. I'm not sure what it was. It just didn't WOW me, and I didn't fall in love with it. Though I liked the characters, I found myself not really sure I cared what happened to them by the end of it all. I guess it just left me a little disappointed. Which stinks, because I really looked forward to reading this one and I thought I was gonna like it much more.
Profile Image for Cory .
727 reviews87 followers
December 31, 2014
I give this a solid three stars. It was a good read for me and it kept my interest. Sometimes I felt like Marc and Cole weren't on the same page within their relationship, but that kept it interesting.

Thanks for the recommendation G! Thanks to Sandi and Mish for reading with me! :)
Profile Image for Sadonna.
2,572 reviews40 followers
December 19, 2011
3.75 rounded up to 4. I've read a few other Cat Grant stories, and I've liked all of them.

This one is about Cole, a former Marine who has been discharged under that stupid DADT. He's now a law student at Boalt (man his LSAT must have been KICK ASS). He's having a difficult time adjusting to all things civilian - especially after 5 tours in Iraq and the dealing with PTSD on top of it. He meets Marc at a diner where he has dinner one night. Marc returns his phone that he's left at the diner and things kind of take off from there. There are a number of starts and stops. They are obviously attracted to each other, but Cole is having a hard time being "out" since he spent 12 years hiding his true nature in the military. Marc has a hard time being with someone who can't be open. Cole does not want to deal with the PTSD - thinks it'll "get better on its own" and Marc has been through this with other Marines (turns out he has a thing for them having grown up near Camp Pendleton). Marc and Cole definitely have ups and down in their relationship - and it's not all because of Cole's control issues and military baggage. Marc keeps waiting to get dumped and has a hard time believing that they will last. Finally things come to a head with a separation that makes both men have to face up to what it is they really want and what will make them truly happy.

I liked that Cole was very romantic in his feelings/treatment of Marc. Marc was so compassionate with Cole and trying to help him face his fears and his PTSD. What really came across in the story was that they really did love each other and were good for each other.

I've got at least 5 more Cat Grant books in queue of my TRB pile. Unfortunately that pile is at about 2000 right now, so I need to get to it!
Profile Image for Ami.
5,815 reviews499 followers
November 1, 2011
3.5 stars

This book should put a WARNING of 1st and 3rd POV switches. Everything from Marc's POV is 1st person and those from Cole's is 3rd POV. While I have experience with this style and after a while, I am used to it, but there are times that the switching comes WITHIN a chapter (even if there's a section break) and that throws me off a bit.

In addition, I'm also not sure about how they are seem to move forward a bit too fast, one month and then moving in together (or is that just me), then some of the moving forward process is only written with word pointers, like they have been living together for a week, or that Cole has been away for few weeks. Also, the solution of the issue (Marc's "I need my space and I cannot commit completely" or even Cole's "I don't need to see expert for my PTSD"), including the ending (regarding the problem with Cole's mother) seems a bit too rushed

Having said all that, I think the characters are really engaging. I love Ms. Grant's take on the effect of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" on Cole, including his PTSD. I also love Marc's progress of being there for Cole (who is a prick the first time), including how he deals with his worries of getting his heart broken again by a Marine. I even enjoy reading about their fights because it makes their relationship real ...
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Amara.
108 reviews10 followers
November 30, 2011
4.5 stars

I’ve read a couple of Cat Grant’s books now, and I’ve enjoyed every one, this one was no exception. I found it well written, the characters fully developed and engaging, and the story well paced. It was light enough for a nice weekend read, without being fluffy and had just enough angst without being overdone. It was all a good balance for me.

The writing was a bit different in this one as the POV switches between a first person with Marc, and a third person with Cole. I rather liked it. I’m not a big fan of books done in first person POV, I usually struggle to get into the other characters in the book. This worked for me, giving me a break from the first person and allowing me to fully engage with both characters.

I liked both Marc and Cole in this, although, being a Marine lover, Cole won me over pretty quick. He was portrayed very accurate to some of the Marines I’ve known throughout my life, and with the stories of PSTD they’ve shared with me, I’d say Cat nailed it. I enjoyed watching these two, both flawed in their own way, struggle to find their HEA.

Bottom line: Recommended

Profile Image for Mickie.
20 reviews2 followers
October 31, 2011
I really enjoyed this Book once I started reading it I could not put it down. It was My first Cat Grant book but It won't be my last.

What I liked.

1. From the First scene with Marc and Cole in the diner I was hooked.
2. The dialog was seemed like things that real people would say.
3. I really enjoyed how the writer switched the Point of view between Cole and Marc it allowed Me to see what each was feeling as the story and relationship progressed.
4. The relationship came across as very real the ups and downs were driven by real life issues. It had enough conflict to be a great read without becoming to Soapy.
5. The Love scenes were Smoking.

What I didn't like.

My only complaint is that The Book was too short.

I will be reading it again.
Profile Image for Becky Condit.
2,377 reviews69 followers
October 25, 2011
3 1/2 stars

There was one small detail about this book that surprised and confused me. The POV switches back and forth between third person and first person, and sometimes that caused me to have to stop reading and figure out why the POV just changed and who the pronouns were now referring to. It wasn’t a show stopper but it was distracting.
This is a good book that is a very up-to-date look at the lifetime results of a policy that is still front page news. Ms. Grant did her homework, not only about the Marines but also about the DADT policy and even the locales that are key to portions of the book. I enjoyed Once a Marine and look forward to reading more by this entertaining author.
Profile Image for Mandy*reads obsessively* .
2,203 reviews326 followers
January 8, 2012
Enjoyable story of a ex-marine Cole, who was kicked out because of DADT and writer (moonlighting as a waiter) Marc.
It was a rocky start, both with some baggage from past relationships on Marc's part and PTSD and coming to terms with family issues and changes in careers for Cole.
It was nothing new or groundbreaking but simply a nice story about the progression of a love between two really nice guys! I thoroughly enjoyed watching it enfold.
Profile Image for Reggie.
172 reviews
October 6, 2012
A well-written relationship story with two likable and realistic MC's. It is a refreshing change from too good to be true- over the top- cartoonish characters. It is the story of an evolving relationship and the decision points that make a partnership. Well done and very enjoyable!
Profile Image for Christy.
3,732 reviews105 followers
August 28, 2016
Since I have family members proudly serving in the Marine Corps, I have no problem admitting that I wanted to read this story because it involved an ex Marine with PTSD having served during DADT. Luckily for me, there was a lot more to this story and to the character of Cole than just him being an ex-Marine. Plus, Cat Grant is an author I enjoy so it was certainly no hardship to jump into reading this.

Marc is a waiter in a diner and a writer the rest of the time he's not slinging hash. He has a horrible habit of being attracted to big, strong military guys who are, almost always, in the closet and they just use him for sex. Marc grew up by Camp Pendleton and his only two serious boyfriends were closeted Marines. It looked like that was going to be the case with Cole when they met, but first impressions can definitely change. Marc writes romance and has been doing fairly well in the last three years, each book garnering more and more sales. Granted, it's not quite enough yet to quit his waiter job, but it beats working in an office, and writing, at least, justifies his master's degree.

Cole did five tours in Iraq and Fajullah. He graduated from the Academy. He's from the South where honor can still mean something. When he was finally honest with himself and the Corps, he was discharged for being gay. When he told his father, his father informed him that he was ashamed to call him his son, that the sight of Cole made him sick, and he was a disgrace to the Corps. Cole's mom would just like everything to go back to the way it was. Nice, huh? Cole suffers from PTSD, including nightmares and insomnia, a little gift for the service he performed. Twelve years of giving everything he had to his country and when he wouldn't lie anymore, it was all down the drain. So, now he's going to law school and not enjoying a moment of it. He feels like he'll never make it through with all the reading and studying and being the oldest in his classes.

It was very interesting to watch this relationship develop. I had expected Cole to be the one hanging back and wary. Instead, it was Marc. Cole was still getting used to the fact that he could be out and not have to worry about someone telling on him, and, of course, he had no idea how to have a relationship, but overall Cole was invested in Marc and the possibility of them long term. Marc, however, had a very hard time thinking that this time, maybe, the guy would stay with him. Having been hurt so badly in the past, Marc is afraid to give his heart and have it broken again, and he's afraid to trust.

This was a fabulous story and I greatly enjoyed it. It was so much more than just closeted ex-military guy and liberal writer/waiter guy fall in love and get a happy ever after. Cole and Marc got their happy ending, but it came with a lot of hard work on both their parts, and the willingness to jump without a net into the scary world of committed relationships. I empathized, completely, with both men's viewpoints and was thrilled to see them get to where they needed to be. Thank you, Cat, for a beautiful love story.
702 reviews6 followers
October 26, 2011
3.5 stars.

Cat Grant’s Once a Marine needs to be broken down into two parts for this review: What Worked and What Didn’t Work.

First up, What Worked: the characterizations. As with her previous books, Ms. Grant’s characters are realistic, flawed and fully developed. I especially was drawn to former Marine Cole Hammond and his back-story. (He served five tours in Iraq and was discharged for violating DADT and was now suffering from PSTD.) Cole was a character, even if you’ve never served in the military, a reader could identify with. His struggles resonated with me long after I put the book down. Secondly, I enjoyed the progression of his relationship with Marc and how the two men fall in love. Their relationship is the core of the story and made sense. I liked how the ups-and-downs of living with another person are explored and the hard times are not glossed over.

Now we get to What Didn’t Work (for me): the POV switches. Marc’s POV was first person. I thought this connected the reader to Marc and his inner thoughts well, but when paired with a third person POV from Cole, the book then became disjointed when reading. Plus the ratio of first person to third person wasn’t equal and kept throwing me out of the story. I was not sure why the drastic change of POVs was used in this novel, because it distracted me as a reader just when the drama was unfolding.

Another thing that that didn’t work was the climax of the story. I don’t want to give away too much, but the resolution was too easily achieved. Up until that point I liked the realism in the book, but the ending felt rushed, not keeping in tone with the rest of the novel.

So, as you can see from my review, I have mixed feelings about Once a Marine. On one hand, I enjoyed the book; but on the other, there were issues that kept the book from being a truly great read.

Dark Divas Reviews
Profile Image for Vanessa theJeepDiva.
1,258 reviews127 followers
September 29, 2012
I loved everything about Once a Marine! Marc and Cole have such a beautiful, sweet, and complex love story. I also enjoyed the way the book was written. It was something new for me and I honestly could not have imagined reading it any differently. Marc’s point of view is written in first point of view. Cole is written third person point of view. I could not have handled Cole and first person point of view. The author does the character and point of view swaps in a way that never left me confused as to who was in control of the pages.

Cole spent twelve years as a Marine. He did five tours in battle ridden places. He has come back to deal with PTSD and discharged under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell alone. His father has shunned him and he has moved all the way across the country from everyone he has ever known. His night terrors are getting worse, he refuses to get help, law school is kicking his butt, and he’s all alone.

Marc knows he is a tag chaser. He has always been drawn to the masculinity that Marine men have an abundance of. Marc has been burned in the past by this type of man, but Cole draws him in with a sweet smile and sexy southern drawl. Marc soon finds out that Cole is a complicated mix of sweet, sexy, and downright stubborn. Life lessons have taught Marc that this is something that he needs to take slow.

I loved Cole and Marc’s relationship, especially in the beginning. This is really Cole’s first relationship with another man. He’s had flings, hook-ups, and one night stands, but he wants something much different with Marc. Cole is like a kid in a candy store with Marc. He wants it all and he wants it all right now. Marc wants Cole to talk to someone about the PTSD. Marc cares for Cole and he wants to see him happy, he wants him to get the help that his needs.
Profile Image for Elyxyz Elyxyz.
Author 5 books42 followers
November 7, 2016
Devo confessare che, come Marc, ho anch’io un debole per i militari e le divise. E non lo si può certo biasimare se sbava dietro a Cole, anche se la loro prima interazione è pessima e la loro storia è tutta in salita, perché entrambi hanno un ingombrante e doloroso bagaglio che si trascinano appresso, sebbene per motivi diversi.
Ci vogliono un secondo tentativo e la realizzazione che, insieme, potrebbero riuscire ad aiutarsi vicendevolmente, sostenendosi, offrendosi amore e conforto mentre ognuno combatte i propri demoni, con coraggio, per raggiungere la serenità.
La storia affronta varie tematiche, come l’omofobia, il coming out, il rapporto con la famiglia e molto altro. Lo fa con realismo e i sentimenti dei personaggi sono molto veri, l’ingiustizia che traspare è, purtroppo, alquanto verosimile, come uno spaccato di vita vissuta.
La storia d’amore di Cole e Marc è dolcissima e hot, romantica al punto giusto, senza risultare troppo zuccherosa.
Stilisticamente il libro è piacevole, con un buon ritmo. Mi ha lasciata un po’ perplessa la scelta di rendere la narrazione di Marc in prima persona alternata a quella di Cole in terza, ma il risultato finale è comunque quello di un ottimo romanzo, coinvolgente e bellissimo.
Decisamente consigliato.
Profile Image for Crys Harris.
270 reviews
August 20, 2016
This was a quick and enjoyable read. The characters were alright and the tension made all the sex more palatable. (Who'd have thought I would get borderline tired of reading about sex?)

I have some quibbles. The story was too condensed. The ending felt rushed. Marc was rather a hypocrite and his turnabout was sudden and not well described. The POV switching felt abrupt.

Finally, there is NO PACIFIC SUNRISE. I was thoroughly snatched from the story when Marc took Cole to the beach to watch... the sunrise?! WTH? The sun rises in the east and sets in the west Cat Grant.
Profile Image for Nic.
Author 35 books347 followers
January 24, 2023
I liked this book but didn't love it. I can't even put a finger on what was missing. It was a nice, steady story and the characters were likable. I think I was waiting for some huge climax that never came. Yes, there were some family dramas and the potential of ending the relationship but overall it felt a bit anti-climatic.

The to and fro between first and third person was ok but I was very aware of it each time it happened. The first person gave an opportunity to see into the thoughts of Marc but noting the change was slightly distracting.

Profile Image for Kaje Harper.
Author 75 books2,514 followers
June 18, 2012
This is a good straightforward story about Cole, a Marine who was discharged under DADT and is trying to readapt to civilian life, and Marc, a twice-burned waiter/writer who falls for him. The characters are believable and well-rounded, the writing is clean and moves quickly. I read this in one sitting. There are some crises due to Cole's PTSD and the pressures of family, but nothing particularly angsty or traumatic. The relationship builds quickly and the guys are a good fit.
Profile Image for Catherine.
1,573 reviews232 followers
September 10, 2016
*** 3.5 Stars ***

The plot of this book about an ex-Marine and a waiter/writer was a little messy and meandered a bit, but did so in the same way that life is a little bit messy and meanders a bit (adding a sense of realism through some pretty wishy-washy decision-making). I found it thoroughly enjoyable.

Plus, a southern gentleman who is also an ex-Marine!? Yup. That had my lady parts standing at attention. ;)
Profile Image for YullSanna.
Author 0 books29 followers
January 5, 2017
Когда я начитаю перечитывать абзац/страницу в попытке понять, откуда взялся тот или иной вывод или рассуждение - это всегда дурной знак. Поведение и реакции героев хаотичные, характеры слишком схожи на мой вкус и чрезмерно положительные. Я бы дочитала, наверное, если бы герой после первого секса, отдышавшись, не стал бить себя в грудь, как Кинг Конг... Знаете, этот образ прям ведро холодной воды на голову.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 161 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.