HQN, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-373-79000-5
Romantic Suspense, 2017
Margo Connelly was one of the jurors that found the big, bad crime Murphy Erickson guilty, and that man proclaimed the moment the verdict was dropped that the jurors would all die, along with the judge and everyone else in that courtroom – one every 72 hours for as long as he is behind bars. Since then, four of them have died, and Margot’s very wealthy uncle hires the very exclusive Summers Security Firm to protect her on top of that offered by the police and the FBI. Of course, the FBI and the police are practically useless, compared to our hero Lamar “Striker” Jennings… wait, now that I think about it, I don’t remember seeing the police and the FBI at all. Maybe they are all hidden in the shadow cast by Striker’s hundred-feet tall erection.
Oh, and the takeaway message here is that: if you have a crime boss at your tail, and you don’t have the money to hire exclusive bodyguard services, best order your coffin now.
Do you think Margo will be grateful? No! She is an independent woman who likes to pretend that she doesn’t have a big fat bank account left by her dead parents to fall back on, and as a modern woman, she will not be bossed around by any man. She doesn’t care whether he knows it or not, she will leave the house when her client’s ordered dress ends up having the wrong kind of thread. She will do whatever she wants, so there! I may respect her in this if she takes measures to protect herself, such as get herself a weapon or something, but no, she just wants to do whatever she wants and nobody can treat her like a baby, so there, pout, pout!
And, not to be crude, but really. once she gets boinked by Striker, her insistence on not being treated like a coddled kid just because some villains want her dead – hello, current year; feminism – educate yourself, cis-male pigs – immediately gives way to her wondering when she’d get her next boink, whether she can really give herself completely to this hot man, whether she loves him, whether… whether… whether…
Not once in the whole scheme of things does she care about villains trying to kill her or take any measures to protect herself. It is Striker who has to do everything to ensure that she is safe, and most of the time she’s giving him a hard time for doing his job.
Therefore, it is hard to believe that the suspense in this story is real, not when the heroine acts like people being already dead and her being next is a mild inconvenience akin to a rainy day when she wants to go rolling naked on the highway in the middle of traffic. I don’t know whether she’s genuinely insane or in denial, but the end result is that Margo just comes off as pure 100% dumb dumb.
Striker is the usual action hero – apparently infallible and overpowered – but the author spends so much time here on her characters boinking and indulging in banal mutual lusting or physical beauty appreciation that I find it easy to forget that this is supposed to be a romantic suspense. Not that I am heartbroken about this – there are two more clones just like him that will star in their own books next, and I can only hope their designated love mattresses will behave in a more believable manner than Margo here.
Forged in Desire is broken at a very fundamental level. Unless you are a die-hard fan who insist on having every one of the author’s seventy billion title in existence, it may be a good idea to spend that $7.99 on another similarly formulaic bodyguard romance that nonetheless will have a heroine with more believable behavior and emotions.