Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 1-59998-861-5
Contemporary Romance, 2008
Annmarie McKenna’s Court Appointed is part of the special multi-author gay romance series called Serving Love. This means every story features at least one fellow who is doing some kind of civic duty, paid or voluntary, to the public. In this case, one of the fellows is a judge.
Jackson Benedict is one of the youngest federal judges in America. Needless to say, he’s not exactly open with other people when it comes to his sexual orientation because you don’t get that high up a post, not at this time, while being openly gay. When he makes an enemy out of Dominic Savanti, the golden boy of the local mob, and he starts receiving tokens of love in his mailbox that may or may not be related to the case he is handling, it is up to Trey London, the bodyguard hired specially to protect Jackson, to make sure that Jackson doesn’t end up in a coffin.
This one has some typical shortcomings of a short story, such as a romance that feels rushed and superficial characterization that relies heavily on the reader’s familiarity with clichés to fill in some gaps that the author can’t manage to do given the length constraint she has to work with. But despite all that, this one remains a readable, if not so believable, read. The writing is clean and painless to read. But, I have some grave misgivings about how Jackson and Trey are more preoccupied with having sex rather than making sure that the bad guys aren’t doing the heavy breathing down their necks. I also personally find Jackson a bit of a wet blanket when it comes to his personality. I know he’s burned out, but he’s so morose. But then again, Trey doesn’t come off much deeper than some decent cardboard character who exists just to play the bodyguard and the stud for His Honor here.
Well, as I’ve said, this one is readable, just not too believable.