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Tuesday, December 30, 2008:
"Hero Under Cover" by Suzanne Brockmann - review (1994)

When Pete Taylor first offered his services as a bodyguard, Annie Morgan wanted nothing to do with him. She was sure that the death threats against her weren't serious. While the Native American mask she was working on was valuable, it wasn't worth killing for.

One murder attempt later, Annie was glad to have Pete around. She owed him her life. Suddenly she was beginning to believe in heroes—and dreams. But Pete wasn't a fantasy—he was real, and at the moment he was the only person she could allow herself to trust, no matter who he was.
This is the oldest book I've read by Suzanne Brockmann, and it doesn't quite have her signature personality all over it like some of her other re-releases from the 90's. But it's still a good story, one I almost overlooked, thinking I'd read it already. But when I read the back cover blurb, I was thrilled to realize I hadn't. Another hidden gem.
Dr. Annie Morrow (not Morgan as the blurb mentions) has been detained by the FBI and the CIA, who both think she's responsible for some deadly bombings following her visits to acquire ancient arifacts, and she's pissed off. Finally they release her, but she knows this is not the end of it. This is the second time she's been stopped at the airport, and as long as she continues to seek out artifacts from around the world, and as long as the FBI thinks she's guilty, this won't be the last time she has to go through this.
Then Annie begins to receive death threats due to a particular piece she's received, and things get even more complicated. One of her clients, concerned for her safety and that of the artifact he wants that's currently in her possession, arranges for her to have additional protection in the form of a very good-looking and sexy bodyguard by the name of Pete Taylor.
Annie finds the need for this bodyguard, no matter how gorgeous, to be totally unnecessary, and doesn't take him seriously, which frustrates the hell out of him while at the same time earning his admiration. Not only is Dr. Annie beautiful and gutsy, she's smart and very capable of doing things on her own, and he hasn't wanted a woman this badly in a long, long time. But Pete has a job to do, and that doesn't include sleeping with Annie, no matter how much he might want to. Plus, he's keeping a big secret from her, one guaranteed, that once she finds out about it, she won't ever forgive him. Yet Pete's falling hard and fast, and pretty soon the line between right and wrong is so blurred. He doesn't know if he can live without her...
My thoughts:
What a wonderful story, and one I'm glad I discovered. Though it doesn't showcase Suz's "voice" as strongly as her more recent books, it's still one I'd add the list, especially if you're already a fan of her work.
I loved how down-to-earth Annie was, and despite her attraction to Pete, not one who trusted him easily just because he said so. Of course she was a little stubborn and prone to not listen to him at times, but once she realized how serious the threats against her were, she started to follow to his directions. Because what he did all day was follow her and watch her while she worked, eventually they both began to open up and really talk about themselves.
It was really sweet to watch Pete fall for Annie. Here was a good-looking guy used to women throwing themselves at him, and it's begun to get cold, boring. Annie is not quite so welcoming, despite being attracted to him, and he finds her a refreshing change. He hates that he's keeping something significant from her, but he also knows once she finds out, she'll hate him, and he's not ready for that. But he's not sure he can keep his hands off of her any longer, despite his best intentions. Annie has worked her way into his heart, and the only thing that matters is keeping her safe.

Eventually things hit the fan and Annie learns of Pete's secret in the worst possible way, and it's heartbreaking to watch these two, who are so obviously in love, hurting over each other. Pete knows she'll never forgive him, and though it was his own damn fault, I felt bad for him because of it. He'd tried to keep his distance and not hurt her anymore than was necessary, but his feelings were too strong, and Annie was a force to be reckoned with.

Never fear, as to be expected, Pete and Annie get their HEA, and I closed the book with a happy sigh. It was a quick read, and an enjoyable one. Harlequin Suspense. Even though it's a bit outdated, what with talk of cassette tapes, the overall story holds its own, and that's what really matters. So I strongly recommend this to any Brockmann fan, and also to those who love a good love story with suspense thrown in for good measure. Suz does it again.

Rating: ****1/2 out of *****

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  1. How funny, I just finished this story and am writing my review on it. I thought it was a cute story, but you're right, it was missing a bit of SB's usual voice that I'm used to reading in her books but I still enjoyed the book.

  2. Haven't read a Brockmann yet that I didn't like! :) Great review, thanks Stacy!

  3. I just read this story was well. I liked it too. the characters were fun to watch.

  4. Stacy - Its been a long time since I read this book. At the time I really enjoyed it - but since then Brockmann has really stepped up her game.

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