Everybody’s Hero by Tracy Kelleher
(Harl. Tempt. #908, $4.25, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-69108-4
This Harlequin Temptation is a fun, sexy romp that will bring a smile to your face. Everybody’s Hero is one of the better category romances I have read this year.

Claire Marsden made a name for herself as a news photographer, taking after her famous father. Ready for less intensity, she is now back in New York working for FOCUS magazine. Her next assignment: hockey player Jason Doyle.

Jason is new to New York and bears the burden of the hopes of the fans for a championship. He reluctantly agrees to the publicity. He is the epitome of a good sports hero - he sponsors a foundation for cancer research, he is open to fan interaction, he is gorgeous and lives for the moment.

Claire’s friend, Trish, is writing the story and she is in need of an escort for a weekend wedding of her ex-husband. Claire, Trish and David were inseparable in school and for some reason, David wants them all at his wedding. Claire has agreed to be the photographer and that leaves Trish alone. Her plan is to find someone to pose as her fiancé to show David he has been replaced.

Claire gets the brilliant idea that Jason would be the perfect person. This is before she knows him. Now that the wheels are set in motion and he has agreed, she is having second thoughts…she wants him for herself.

What follows is a cute romance that shows two people slowly falling for each other (even though all this happens in a two week period) and denying it all the way. The sexual tension builds nicely and the love scenes are hot. Both Claire and Jason have vulnerabilities and strengths. It is the strengths the author focuses on and that makes all the difference in the world.

Jason is a star, but he is first a person. His humanity shines through and I was totally able to relate to him as a friend and lover for Claire. Claire is famous in her own way, but is portrayed with just the right mix of independence and vulnerability. Trish as well as Jason’s agent, Vernon, provide humor and a good counterpoint to our main couple.

My only issue with the story is the lack of substance of a storyline. The book is completely character driven with little substance to the actions. With a little more, the book would have easily been in the Keeper category. However, unless I just want to revisit the characters, there is really nothing to make me come back.

Everybody’s Hero is worth your time though, and is a great way to spend an afternoon.

--Shirley Lyons

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