Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-61923-078-1
Romantic Suspense, 2016
Trevor Grant is a bearded, nerdy-looking guy who has a PA, Jae Randall. She is, to his estimation, someone who wears frumpy clothes because she seems unaware of how hot she can be. But when he spots her at his desk, fiddling with who knows what, he fires her.
Wait, there is more to this. As you can guess, both are pretty hot once they clean up and dress good. But he’s also someone under the Witness Protection Program, while she’s actually a secret agent trained to do really special FBI stuff. When his cover is blown, guess who is assigned to help him get to safety.
Jae’s Assignment is interesting, to me, because often in romantic suspense, we have the man doing all the heavy-lifting and he is at the forefront of the whole story, while the woman is usually in a more clerical or data-analytical role. Here, however, Jae seems the one doing the rear end-busting and all.
However, things start off on a rocky path. Despite being assigned to protect him, Jae can’t seem to make it a habit to formally introduce herself to him, acting instead like some hot chick coming on to him in a club and making him wonder whether she’s friend or foe. His people also can’t make it a habit to tell him whom his new protector is, aside from telling him that the agent is called “JR”, so yes, lots of unnecessary nonsense happens to start the show. You can argue that maybe all this is for the sake of conflict, but I’d say these things only make everyone involved from the FBI look like a twit. Jae gets shot, so Trevor ends up being the one who has to take charge of things while she just acts woozy when she’s not unconscious.
Fortunately, things soon get back on track, when Jae gets better and… well, things get better as a result. Jae is take-charge in a smart, fun way, and I love that she has a refreshingly sane and relatable social and family life outside of her job. Trevor is a bit of a dudebro in distress here, but the author pulls this off without making Trevor a baggage, a twit, or an annoyance. He is just a nice guy who is out of his depths, and I like him.
The rest of the plot, however, takes some adjusting to. Like many romantic suspense stories in the market, this one often uses camp and over the top action as a means to bring on the excitement, and things can get a little too cartoon-like at times. Especially with those villains, who are over the top bitter and evil on top of being hilariously transparent and incompetent.
Still, I’ve had fun with Jae’s Assignment. There is ample humor, fun heroine sass and feistiness, and the hero is a great complement to the heroine’s personality. I’m not sure whether I buy the romance, since things happen very quickly and half the time these two are under duress, but getting there is a good ride and I find myself grinning after I’ve read the epilogue. So yes, this one isn’t sophisticated or believable in the suspense part, but it’s all good as I’ve had a ball of a time reading this one.
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