A decorated U.S. Marine reservist, LAPD officer Mike Valenzuela was badly wounded in the line of duty, but has found hope and healing in Virgin River. When he agrees to become the town’s first cop, he does so knowing it’s time he settled down. Twice divorced and the lover of too many women, he secretly longs for the kind of commitment and happiness his marine buddies have found—a woman who can tie up his heart forever.
He finds that woman in Brie Sheridan, a Sacramento prosecutor who understands his drive to protect and serve. Virgin River becomes a safe haven for Brie after nearly losing her life at the hands of a crazed criminal. Though tough and courageous, she’s got some fears she can’t escape—but now she has someone who will show her just what it means to trust again. Mike will do anything to help Brie free herself from painful memories. Passionate, strong and gentle, he vows to give back to her what she’s so selflessly given him—her heart, and with it, a new beginning.
This book may contain explicit intimate scenes, so if you are not 18+ then I probably wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers.
Mike, one of Jack’s marine buddies – previously appeared in the first two books – decided to convalesce in Virgin River instead of being around his big, loud Mexican family after he was shot while on duty of the LAPD. Mike is your ultimatum Latin lover, caramel colored skin, dark hair and eyes, plus he is bilingual and can play the guitar. He is a lover of women and is twice divorced, but he longs for the kind of love his fellow marine buddies has.
“What’s going on, man?” he asked. “I have to get that house finished.” “Mel getting impatient?” “No. Mel’s got another one cooking.” “Oh?” “She’s pregnant again, Preach.” “Oh! Wow, that’s great, man!” he said, sticking out his hand. “Thanks. But just so you’re warned, she’s not too thrilled yet. Watch your step.” “Oh? Why not?” “David’s still a baby, and she feels like she just finished being pregnant. Plus she’s moody, she’s exhausted, she’s puking and she thinks I did it to her on purpose.” “Ohhh,” he said. “Okay. But you? You okay?” “Hey.” He grinned. “I’m great. I’d have five more. But I wouldn’t live to tell about it.” “This ever make you feel… You know. Old?” “Oh hell, no. Every time I get her pregnant, I feel about ten years younger. And if you tell her I said that, we’re both gonna die.” “Okay then, we go easy with Mel. But hey. Good for you, man.”
Not much time had passed when he opened his eyes to find her standing over him. “Umm,” she said nervously. “Can you…? This is awkward. I’m still very squeamish about a man even seeing me on the treadmill, but could you share the bed, in your clothes, and manage not to do anything? I mean, even in your sleep?” “I’m okay right here, Brie. Don’t worry about me.” “I’m not worried about… I just thought, that couch isn’t big enough. And there’s a bed in the loft, but I just don’t want you way up there. And I… Could you lie beside me on the bed without—” “I’m not going to try anything with you, Brie. I know you can’t handle that.” “I don’t think I can sleep unless you’re…closer,” she said very softly. “Aw, honey…” “Then come on,” she said, turning back to the bedroom. He didn’t move for a moment, thinking. It didn’t take long. He wanted to be next to her, but he didn’t have to be. But if she needed him, he was there. He stood and got rid of his belt because of the big buckle, but everything else stayed on. And he went to the bedroom. She was curled up under the covers, her back facing out, leaving him room. So he lay down on the bed on top of the covers, giving her that security. “Okay?” he asked. “Okay,” she murmured. It wasn’t a big bed, just a double, and it was impossible to keep a lot of space between them. He curved around her back, spooning her, his face against her hair, his wrist resting over her hip. “Okay?” he asked. “Okay,” she murmured. He nestled in, his cheek against the fragrant silkiness of all that loose hair, his body wrapped around hers, though separated by layers of clothes and quilts, and it was a long, long time before he found sleep. By her even breathing, Mike knew she rested comfortably and that made him feel good. When he woke in the morning, she had turned in her sleep and lay in the crook of his arm, snuggled up close to him, her lips parted slightly, her breath soft and warm against his cheek. And he thought, Oh damn, she’s right—this is going to just break the hell out of my heart.
Brie, Jack’s baby sister – also mentioned in the previous books – returns to Virgin River after she’s attacked and raped. Mike met Brie in Shelter Mountain, which they formed a connection with one another, comes to her aid, trying to help her cope with her frightening ordeal. He shows her how to trust, live, and love again throughout the book by the tenderness and gentleness he shows her.
“He speaks to me in Spanish, in low, sexy Spanish, and then he lies about what he’s said, thinking I don’t know.” “What does he say?” Jeannie asked her. “He’ll say something like, ‘I want to hold you and make love to you,’ and pretends he has said he would like to kiss me.” “Do you think you can have this in your life again? Intimacy of that kind? Are you ready for that?” “I’m very nervous, but I long for it,” she said. “I want him.” “You trust him enough?” “When I’m with him, I feel completely safe. Nurtured. Protected. He doesn’t hurry me—he’s very kind. Very cautious. He’s the only kind of man I could deal with right now, and he knows that.” She shivered and said in a low breath, “But there’s a fire in him. I can feel it.”
He pulled her to him and she leaned into him, resting her head on his chest, her arms around his waist. He held her like that, both of them quiet for a long time, just enjoying the closeness. He stroked her back and dropped soft kisses onto her damp hair, feeling more alive than he had in such a long, long time. It filled him with pride that she didn’t tense or tremble while he held her. She had slowly become accustomed to his touch, his embrace, and knew that she was safe and loved in his arms. Even if nothing more ever came, he felt he had already won the prize.
I don’t know about everyone, but I am a sucker for the Latin lover types, but I just loved Mike. He was SO swoon worthy that he makes you sigh with bliss as you read the dialogue between him and Brie. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVED the moments when he’d talk to her in Spanish, thinking she didn’t understand – but she secretly does – and he translates to her differently because he doesn’t want her to know what he’s truly saying. And what he’s really saying… SIGH WORTHY. That man sure can say some sweet words in Spanish. I also liked how he’s strum around on his guitar and wear his black concho hat.
“Is there anything between us?” “Oh, I think there’s much.” “Tell me…” “Well, I am determined to do anything I can to be there for you, and you are determined to break my heart. That heart-breaking business, it’s very serious.” She laughed at him. She felt his head drop forward to her shoulder and nuzzle her hair. A hand on her upper left arm gently squeezed and he said, “Brie… Tu creas un fuego en mi corazón.” Brie, you create a fire in my heart. She straightened a bit, but didn’t pull away. “What did you say?” she whispered. “You are lovely. You touch my heart,” he answered, pulling her back against him again. He slipped an arm around her waist gently, tenderly, cautiously holding her against him, very careful that she not feel confined. “Tu debes sentir estas manos amorosas así a ti.” You should feel loving hands on you. Her heart beat a little faster and she knew that it was not fear she felt. She wanted to say, “Deja a que sean sus manos.” Let them be your hands. But she wasn’t ready. Instead, she said, “Your language is beautiful.” “Te tengo en mis brazos,” he said. I will hold you in my arms. “Tell me what you said,” she urged him. “Nothing, really. Just an endearment. It is a very romantic language.” She could tell him now she spoke his language fluently, that she knew he lied. But she didn’t want to break the spell he had created in thinking she couldn’t understand him. He spoke his heart while he thought she was innocent of his desires. “Say something to me—something heartfelt,” she said, not turning around. He touched the hair at her temple, threading his fingers into it. “Te querido más te de lo tu hubieras.” I have wanted you for longer than you know. She let her eyes close. “What did you say?” she asked in a whisper. “You deserve all happiness,” he said—he lied. A small smile floated across her face. She was on to him. “No te merezco.” I don’t deserve you. “Te quiero en mi vida.” I want you in my life. “I think you seduce women with your language.” “When you are with me, you should know that I care about you as much as I care about any of my sisters. Or my mother, who is queen of the world.” She laughed a little. “I’m not sure that was entirely flattering.” “I want you to believe you are completely safe and protected when you’re with me. I promise you, you have nothing to fear from me. Not ever.” “I think you’re manipulating me.” “Do you, now?” he asked, humor in his voice. “You’re luring me into a false sense of security, trying to trick me so I forget my plan to break your heart a hundred times.” He laughed, stroking that long mane of hair that floated down her back. “I know you’re a very determined woman, and if breaking my heart is your goal, you won’t rest until it’s done.” “I’m going to make mincemeat out of you,” she said. “I have no doubt.”
“Would you take a chance on me? Let me make promises that I swear by the Virgin I can keep?” She laughed at him. “Do you really want to get the Virgin involved in this?” “Before the babies come, mija,” he said. “Because there will be babies.” “There is that talk about the water in Virgin River….” He covered her lips in a steaming kiss, pulling her hard against him. “It’s not about the water with us, mi amor,” he said. “If we disappeared for a while, would we be missed?” “Yes,” she answered, laughing. “When I woke up in the hospital, I thought to myself, why did I make it? When I was discharged and struggling for every step, unable to lift a glass from the cupboard, my constant thought was that I had misspent my life—carousing, living in the moment, acting carelessly. What every man wants, what my friends had found—that one woman they would give up everything for—had eluded me completely. And when you came along…angry over your divorce and determined never to give a man, especially a man like me, a chance, I knew I’d been cast into hell for sure, because I was feeling that for you.” He gave her a kiss. “How did this happen? I know I don’t deserve this.” “It started with a promise to break your heart,” she said. “Somehow I got distracted.” “Will you marry me, Brie? I want you to be my wife. I want to be your husband, your partner for life. Can you trust me with that?” “Sí, Miguel. I trust you with everything.”
As it is known, you get frequent updates about previous characters, which I loved the bit about Preacher and Paige. It was hilarious when they were trying to have a baby but they were having trouble. To some people, you’d think that isn’t funny as many couples struggle with that, so let me tell you it’s not what you think. You’ll have to read it to find out what I’m talking about.
“So—you make that baby today?” someone yelled at Preacher. “I believe I did,” he said, sticking his chest out. Paige brought a big platter of wings out to the bar and said, “John, shut up.” “Well, I believe I did. Don’t you?” She looked up at him, shook her head in disgust and said, “You certainly did your best,” and turned to walk back into the kitchen.
“We’ve been sitting on a little news. We’re having a baby.” “Well, damn!” Paul said. He looked at Preacher and grinned. “You finally came through on ovulation day, huh, buddy?” He puffed up a little. “I did at that,” he said, throwing his chest out.
“God, it’s weird, seeing Preach act like the little husband,” Stephens said. “Little husband?” “You know what I’m saying. All Paige has to do is lift her pinkie finger and he’s on his knees.” “How are your eyes, man? She can lift that little finger my way and I’d get on my knees,” Joe said. “The little husband might pound you into sand,” Jack said. “I meant if she weren’t married. You old farts are starting to act real whipped.” “That’s because we are,” Jack said. “And it’s good. It’s very, very good.” Preacher came back, lifted his cigar and took a pull. “I’m not hunting tomorrow,” he said. “I’m going to have to stay here.” “Why?” “It’s ovulation day,” he said with a straight face. “It’s what?” three men asked in unison. “It’s frickin’ ovulation day, jag-off. We’re trying to make a baby and if I miss ovulation day, who knows how long I’ll have to wait. I don’t feel like waiting. I’ve been waiting.” His explanation was met with completely nonplussed silence—no one at the table knew about this quest, including Jack. And after a moment of stunned silence, laughter erupted that was so loud and wild, the men were nearly falling off their chairs. When the group got a little under control, Preacher asked, “Is there something funny about ovulation day? Because I don’t think it’s funny.” “Nah, it’s not funny, Preach,” Joe said. “It’s cute, that’s what it is.” “But really, Preach, you should hunt and leave me home—I’d probably make a better-looking baby than you, anyway,” Zeke said. “You’ve made enough frickin’ babies, jag-off,” Preacher said. “Your wife sent you up here to hunt so she can catch a break. Whose deal is it anyway?”
Even though I really liked Jack and Preacher, I felt like I LOVED Mike 10x more. He was just awesome and 100% perfect to me.