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Navy Rules Mass Market Paperback – June 5, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
Book 1 of 5 in the Whidbey Island Series

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About the Author

Geri Krotow left her hometown of Buffalo New York to serve her country via the US Naval Academy. After nine years of active duty, Geri left her Naval career to pursue writing. Geri enjoys creating love stories that stand the test of time, and with settings that she has personally experienced. She's lived it, now she writes it!

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Winnie Perrin Armstrong stared at her computer screen while she stroked her dog's belly with her foot. Sam, a medium-size shepherd mix, lay under the desk in her bedroom while she indulged in her morning luxury of reading the news before the girls woke up.

The only light in the room came from the glow of the screen. Winnie read the national news highlights, then switched to the local news. She kept an eye on the time—the girls would wake up in the next ten minutes or so.

Former Whidbey Commanding Officer Gives Back to Community

The headline didn't surprise her. But the accompanying photo and its caption, Commander Max Ford Plans to Coach Youth Soccer, made her sit up straight and grasp her desk.

Commander Max Ford, USN, brought his EA-6B Prowler Squadron back from war. He saved dozens of the sailors from a suicide bomber attack just weeks before the squadron was due to depart from Afghanistan. Ford returned to Whidbey last month after a lengthy stint of rehabilitation at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He has signed up to coach community youth soccer. With so many of our children's parents deployed, the soccer teams are in need of dedicated coaches. Ford leads the way for returning vets to fill the gap and help our young soccer players.

Good thing she planned to tell Max about Maeve—the result of their night together after the Air Show two summers ago…

Winnie looked back at the article and bit her lip. It didn't mention Max's wounds, no doubt out of respect for his privacy. She knew about his injuries because she and Sam were going to pay Max a visit today.

You should've done it ages ago.

Sam wagged his long, silky tail and she caught a glimpse of the blond fur beneath the black. It matched the fur that grew horizontally out of his pointed ears and in swirls on his belly.

"Good boy, Sam. You've got a big day ahead of you." The first Monday in March. Time to finally come clean with Max. And after she met with him, she'd have to talk to her parents.

So he was going to coach community soccer. Was that going to be another complication? What if he coached Krista's team?

Sam licked her hand as if he wanted her to know he understood. Of course he didn't; he was a dog and while his gifts of compassion and companionship were priceless, he wasn't the human partner Winnie had once had.


She let a happy memory of them walking on the sand in Penn Cove wrap around her heart. It'd been more than five years since he died and she still missed him more than she'd ever told her family. Because they lived so close, less than an hour away in Anacortes, they saw her and the girls regularly. They saw how bereft she still was, yet they never pressed her about finding a new man. Even after Maeve was born last year. Winnie loved them for that.

"Mom!" Krista barged into her room, all arms and legs at thirteen. "Maeve's up and you forgot to dry my jeans again."

"I'll get her. Throw them in the dryer. They'll be done in time for the bus." Winnie got up and headed for the baby's room.

Krista let out a long-suffering sigh as she followed her into the hallway.

"Yes, I did, but, Mom, you've got to remember to dry things right away or they'll be wrinkled."

"Good morning, sunshine." Winnie ignored Krista's adolescent rant and took in every second of Maeve's tiny-toothed grin. The eighteen-month-old clung to the side of her crib and looked up at Winnie as though she were seeing a deity.

"Hi, baby sis." Even Krista was under Maeve's spell, talking to the baby while Winnie changed the soggy diaper.

Winnie put on Maeve's pants, picked up the baby and turned to Krista. "Let's go get breakfast before you start in on me about the laundry, okay?"

This was like the beginning of any other day in the Armstrong household. Except that today Maeve's father was going to find out he had a daughter.

Winnie was going to tell him.

No more excuses.

"Sorry, Mom." Krista was immediately apologetic and her sincerity made Winnie want to pull her close and squeeze hard. Krista had been through so much, not the least of which was accepting that her mother was having a baby two years ago. A baby by a man Winnie had told her "once meant a lot to our family, but can't be with us right now."

"I know you are, honey."

A few moments later, as Winnie prepared Maeve's breakfast, Krista suddenly asked, "Mom, are you ever going to tell me who Maeve's father is?"

Winnie dropped the knife she was using to spread peanut butter on a whole-wheat English muffin. It splattered peanut butter all over her slipper.

"Whoops! Thank goodness the baby's in her high chair!" Her voice was high and brittle as she struggled with an honest answer for Krista.


"I heard you, Krista. As a matter of fact, Maeve's dad is back in town. And I plan to tell him about her soon. I'll fill you in after I do, okay? I can't thank you enough for being such a loving sister to Maeve through all of this, Krista."

Krista shrugged as she ate her toasted muffin.

"It's okay, Mom. You've had a hard time."

Winnie sighed. They'd both had hard times when Tom died. But that was more than five years ago. And then the unexpected pregnancy—by a man with whom she'd shared an unexpected attraction. That was something she could beat herself up about, but what was the point? She had a beautiful baby daughter and Krista had a baby sister. They were a family.

Still, living by her motto of being open with her children, unlike the way her mother had been with her, was growing more difficult as Krista matured. She'd already been wise beyond her years, but the addition of Maeve to their family had catapulted Krista from preteen to teenage older sister.

"Honey, life isn't all hard times. We've had more than our share, I admit, but there are people with problems so much bigger than ours. You do understand that, don't you?"

"Not many kids I know lost their dad in a Navy plane crash, Mom."

"No, but trust me, there are a lot of kids your age who have lost a parent to war."

"I know that, Mom." Krista drank down the rest of her milk. "I can't miss the bus and I still need to get my jeans on."

Winnie smiled. "You mean, you don't want to go to school wearing your airplane pajamas?"

Krista flashed her a grin before she disappeared into the laundry room. She was open with Winnie about her lifelong love of airplanes and flying, but at her sensitive middle-school age, she wasn't so quick to share all her dreams with her friends.

"Give me a hug."

A few minutes later, Krista allowed Winnie to kiss the top of her head before she bent down to pick up her overstuffed backpack.

"Bye, bye!" She wiggled her fingers at Maeve, who was in the step-down living room in full view of the kitchen, playing with her soft blocks. Sam sat near her, as if babysitting.

"Ba ba, sisseee!" Maeve was just like Krista had been at the same age. A busy chatterbox.

The front door closed behind Krista and Winnie looked at Maeve, who'd decided to return to the kitchen.

"Let's get you moving, too, girlfriend. Mommy's got a lot of work to do today."

The refrain of "My Girl" came from her cell phone and she smiled when saw her sister's ID.

"Hey, Robyn."

"Hey, wait a minute, Winn. Brendan, put the hammer down right now!" Robyn said in her stern "Mommy" voice. Ten years older than Winnie, Robyn and her husband had undergone in vitro fertilization, which had produced the two-year-old who ruled his parents' lives.

"How did he get the hammer?"

"Doug and Brendan made a birdhouse yesterday and the tools are still on the workbench." Robyn's voice reflected impatience—at Winnie's constant nagging to be more mindful of safety or at Brendan's morning antics, Winnie couldn't be sure.

"So how did he get into the garage?" Winnie loved her sister but they raised their kids very differently. Winnie had been an organized parent from the start; it had seemed like a prerequisite for a Navy wife. Not to mention her sanity, which relied on tidiness. Even as a child Winnie liked to have all her toys and books organized.

Not Robyn.

"He's figured out how to open the doors."

"ouch. Time for some sliding bolts, up high." Robyn sighed.

"Yeah, I think I'm headed to Home Depot with the little guy today. What are you up to?"

"The usual. I don't have any orders going out until next week," she said, referring to her fiber orders. Sales would pick up over the next several weeks, as retailers were beginning to order for the following season. She'd started the business from scratch four years ago when she'd discovered, by accident, that there were a number of private farms on the island that raised fiber-producing animals, including sheep, alpaca and llamas.

Winnie's lifelong love of knitting had led her to the few knitting and crochet groups in the area, where she met the farm-owners and listened to their wistful dreams of being able to market their own fiber. Winnie had dreamed with them until Tom's death—and the realization that she needed a means to provide for her and Krista. The insurance they'd received was more than generous, but Winnie never looked at it as anything other than a means to pay for Krista's future education.

Winnie had founded Whidbey Fibers with only three sheep farmers. Today she had almost two dozen clients not just on Whidbey but on a few of the outlying islands like San Juan and Orcas, too. Her fibers included merino, alpaca, llama and angora.

Robyn chuckled.

"You always say you don't have a lot going on, Winn, but you've got tons to do every day or...


Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin (June 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373717865
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373717866
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,579,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Geri is a native Western New Yorker who left home to sail the seven seas. A U.S. Naval Academy graduate, she's lived in Italy, Belgium and Russia. She uses her experiences past and present to craft contemporary romance and romantic suspense.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
After being injured in the Middle East, Commander Max Ford comes home to the naval base on Whidbey Island. Although falling in love is not part of his plan, when he's reunited with Winnie Armstrong, the widow of his closest friend (and the woman with whom he shared a night of passion before his deployment), he realizes that the more things change, the more they stay the same. He's loved Winnie for years, and he loves her still.

For Winnie, Max's return means a shake-up of her carefully ordered life. And more than that, it means confronting a secret that she's kept from everyone for the past two years: that her baby girl, Maeve, is actually Max's daughter. What will her parents think, not to mention her older daughter? And what about Max? Will he be able to forgive her for keeping this secret?

The story of Max and Winnie is more than just a romance between two people. It's the love story of an entire family: one that grows and coalesces, finding joy and comfort in the wake of tragedy. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with these characters, and I'm looking forward to Geri Krotow's next book!
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4 1/2 stars.

"Navy Rules" by Geri Krotow explores the relationship between injured veteran Commander Max Ford and the widow of his closest friend who handles the therapy dog that is supposed to aid Max in recovering from his PTSD. Winnie Armstrong has made a life for herself and her children but has never revealed name of the father of her youngest daughter, a love child who was conceived two years prior. She is determined to never fall in love again with a man who thrives on danger, particularly not a tall sexy pilot who just happens to be the unwitting parent of her younger daughter.

This was a poignant and sweet military romance that reminds us of the many sacrifices made by those who serve in the military and those who love them. A wonderful light read that is filled with countless details which provide realism penned with a nice flair by someone who knows what it is to serve her country. Naturally, Sam the dog is a nice addition to the story but the two delightful daughters who have been raised by a strong mom are a great part of this heartwarming story.

© Night Owl Reviews

I received a copy of this delightful read at a recent conference.
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From the gorgeous setting of Whidbey Island to the wonderful characters, NAVY RULES drew me in from page one and had me hooked to the last line. I'm not in the military but I loved reading all the details of life in and around a naval base. And even though my life is so different from Winnie's, the main character, her story, actions, and decisions were totally relatable. After only a chapter or two, I felt like she was a friend, I totally empathized with her--agonizing over her tough decisions and celebrating her small victories. She is such a wonderful mother and I spent most of the book hoping she and Max would rekindle their romance. And, yes, I even cried with/for her toward the end. (Sorry, that's all I'll say--no spoilers here).

This super accessible, page-turner is a must-read. It is great for a summer trip or a winter weekend at home. Sounds too like this is part of a series, and I can't wait to read more about Whidbey Island--and hopefully about Winnie too!

Thank you, Geri Krotow!
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Winnie had carefully planned how she'd tell Max the news about baby Maeve. Unfortunately, she didn't follow her own script.

Navy Rules is a romance with a naval aviation backdrop. Winnie Armstrong feels she has finally regrouped after her husband's death. Five years after his fatal attempted landing aboard an aircraft carrier, she heads successful knitting and yarn concern and balances single parenting her two daughters. Then Commander Max Ford returns to Whidby Island. Winnie's late husband, Tom, was the father of their oldest daughter, Krista. Max, however, is the father of eighteen month Maeve, something Winnie never told him. Complicate this with Max's recovery from shrapnel wounds and PTSD from a tour in Afghanistan, add in Winnie's therapy dog, Sam, and watch the old chemistry between Winnie and Max try to break through both their respective hurts.

Geri Krotow's novel neatly handles the romantic tension between Winnie and Max. Both her main and supporting characters are sympathetic and their reactions to Max's reappearance understandable. Krotow blends in the service aspects of the story well, never overloading the reader with too many acronyms or arcane references. The title itself refers to the core of Winnie and Max' dilemma, that Navy buddies don't steal each other's sweethearts, while they are still alive. But afterwards, that is another matter. All in all, Navy Rules is a satisfying and easy read.
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I like this book cause it made me feel happy tears
liked when max found out that he has a daughter that he did not know about
how good he felt being around his two girls
how he got to know his baby daughter and being there for the other daughter
what made me happy was when max baby daughter called him daddy
and how winnie fell in love with max the father of his baby daughter
the best how they all became a family at the end
if anyone who is a single mother and has a daughter who the father does not know
then this is the book for you . You will enjoy it and hope this will bring you
and the father together as a family
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