SEALed with a Promise by Mary Margaret Daughtridge
SEALed with a Promise (2009) is the first, and likely last, book I've read by Mary Margaret Daughtridge.
Navy SEAL Caleb "Do Lord" Delaude is handsome, charming, and willing to do anything to get revenge on the man he believes is his father. Raised without a father and then losing his mother at the age of sixteen, due to not having insurance or money for the healthcare she needed, he has plenty of reasons to hate.
Plain, intelligent professor Emmie Caddington is dealing with her own abandonment issues after being left in her grandmother's care by her missionary parents. She's also the perfect "in" for Caleb with his father's crowd. And, yes, he truly thinks providing her with some physical fun and serving as her escort is a fair exchange for using her. Ugh.
Of course, Emmie isn't really plain; she's a duckling in need of swan conversion. And Caleb, well, he just needs the love of a good woman--maybe. Or will he let vengeance not only take him away from Emmie, but also cause him to hurt an innocent person who is very important to him?
The story runs a little long and slow for my taste, and I almost didn't care what happened with Emmie and Caleb by the time I neared the end.
I didn't really feel any heat in the (very) few sex scenes. The chemistry came more from the characters' individual thoughts than the sex or the conversation.
That being said, I did like the fact that the characters struggled to grow and change, overcoming their own personal issues before truly becoming a couple. While not exactly romantic, positive change is always nice to see from characters.
My overall personal rating of SEALed with a Promise is a C+.