1-800-Hero is the first of five books, by five different authors,
dealing with S. (amantha) J. Slade's bodyguard agency in San Francisco. In
case any of you decide to try the agency's phone number, let me assure you
that 1-800-555-HERO, is not a working number. I know from firsthand experience.
JoAnn Ross has written an outstanding book about a subject she knows well:
the romance publishing industry and romance conventions. Anyone who has
attended romance conventions or has knowledge of the publishing industry
will recognize familiar events. The cover hunks strutting their stuff, the
costume parties, the networking; it's all here and lots more. We've been
given a witty, insightful and wickedly humorous look at some behind-the-scenes glimpses of the publishing industry.
Romance author Grace Fairchild has just received her fourth threatening
note. She's in San Francisco for a romance convention and decides she
needs a bodyguard. Sure, she can come up with a list of suspects who don't
like her, but she's having a hard time believing that any of them would
want to kill her. There's her ex-husband Robert the rat who was the
do-nothing half of the writing team of Roberta Grace, their pseudonym.
With Grace writing on her own and ready to legally claim the name of
Roberta Grace, would Robert kill her to retain the pseudonym? And then
there's Robert's new wife, Grace's ex-agent. And then there's . . ..
If the phone had rung ten minutes later, Lucas Kincaid would have been an
ex- bodyguard on his way to Alaska aboard his sixty-foot ketch. S.J. Slade
is able to get Lucas to agree to one last assignment. She explains
Gracie's situation and offers Lucas a generous deal; meet the author and if
he still wants to leave, S.J. will find a replacement – somehow. (Smart
women know how to use guilt effectively. S.J. is inspirational to watch.)
Lucas walks into the conference hotel and is immediately mistaken for a
cover model. Yep, he's gorgeous. Spotting Grace in the bar, he has to get
her attention away from her laptop. "As their eyes met, then momentarily
held, Lucas imagined the roar of distant surf and felt himself drowning.
And the crazy thing about it was that he didn't even care." On the
spot, Lucas falls for Grace. Bingo, I was a goner. My heart melts for the
hero who knows instantly that the heroine is his missing half. Usually his
biggest obstacle is the heroine herself, but the super heroes always win.
Lately it seems that romantic suspense books give more emphasis to the
suspense, but Hero in no way slights the romance aspect. Everything
revolves around Lucas and Gracie. There's a mystery developing in the
background, but it never overshadows our main characters, characters who
frequently diffuse the tension with humor.
Lucas is the star of the show, a complex hero who looks at life like the
cockeyed optimist, never letting his past interfere with his future.
Being an ex-SEAL, he's seen tragedy and horror. Yet his humor and
confidence are always evident. His wicked sense of humor not only keeps
Gracie from fixating on her situation, but it had me chuckling out loud.
He and Gracie are judging a cover model contest. Discovering that some of
the contestants have been entered by their mothers, he "tried to picture
his mother sending in a near naked photograph of him and decided it would
be easier to believe she's been beamed aboard the mother ship by
Sometimes a hero is so perfect that he overshadows the heroine. Grace is
an ideal match for Lucas. She's savvy enough not to let her womanizing
ex-husband diminish her self- esteem. She's a little awed by Lucas, but
she's not afraid to take the happiness he's offering. (She fantasizes about
losing twenty pounds in a minute, but don't we all.) No, she doesn't take
him up on his almost-immediate marriage proposal, but she does recognize
how unique he is. She's as charmed as I was by his wickedly funny sense of
Hero just pushed all the right buttons for me. Lucas sees Grace and knows
that she is his other half. He wants Grace, and he lets nothing deter him.
I can think of no better accolade for a hero. Two reasons stand out among
many in my decision to award five hearts to Hero. One is our hero
who, regardless of the odds and challenges, never gives up on his quest to
enrapture the heroine. The second reason is the dialog, which is
laugh-aloud funny. The bottom line is simple: I love this story.
Near the end of Hero, Lucas confesses that his grandmother will be
bringing all of Gracie's books to the wedding. She wants them autographed.
"She called them keepers, by the way." So is 1-800-Hero.