Avon Impulse, $3.99, ISBN 978-0-06-274985-7
Romantic Suspense, 2017
The Negotiator is a short story that takes place after The Enforcer, and I am only reading it now because this thin little thing literally slipped through the pile of unread books until now. It features Garrett McGrath, who is the Bathos McButthole that kept ruining any emotional scene in the previous story with his pointless, unnecessary “witty” one-liners at the most inopportune moments. Okay, it’s unfair to single him out – every action hero in this series all act like Bathos McButthole until he gets his own story, upon which he then tones down the rear end orifice yammering and ramps up the Broody McScowly act, because even the author knows that it is hard to take a romance hero seriously when he acts like a teenage girl who learned all her social cues from repeated watching of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes.
So, Garrett here is still snarky, but not Manic Pixie Girl snarky, got it. He’s a man now. When he rips off his pants, I won’t roll up my eyes and instead drool and swoon in one go. Got it!
We have another heroine with a dead relative. Lauren Gallagher – not the author! – had a useless husband who was said to be dead about two or three years ago until he shows up again at the opening of this story. She claims that she is an independent woman who doesn’t need help from any man, but technically, Garrett isn’t any man, just a Bathos McButthole like all his action hero buddies, so she’s not lying. As you can guess, this is another story which has the hero stick closely to the heroine, so close that she can feel that thing, and ooh… ooh… ooh.
Because this is a short story and the author needs to get this one done so that the check comes in on time for her to have a really special Christmas, the sex happens quickly, and then these two talk about their feels, their insecurities, their relationships with everyone else that has longer books (subliminal message: BUY THOSE FREAKING BOOKS TOO!), and then they decide that they are in love, and it’s the end. I supposed I can say something more if I can bring myself to care about this pointless throwaway of a story.
Oh, right. This is supposed to be a romantic suspense, that’s right. So we just pull some guy out of the background and say, “Aha! That’s the killer!”
Now they’re done. Now I’m done.