Guarding Mr. Fine
Guarding Mr Fine is the third in HelenKay Dimon’s Tough Love romantic suspense series and unlike the first two can be read as a stand-alone title. Several characters from the first two books do make cameo appearances, but that doesn’t really affect this novel.
Seth Lang is a modern alpha male who works for a black ops organisation called SAD. Following a tough mission, he is given a ‘babysitting’ job in Munich, Germany as bodyguard to the new US Consul General. Seth is none too pleased about this, as he prefers action and feels this kind of work is too easy and boring for a man of his skills.
Whilst he is in Berlin kicking his heels before the job starts, Seth hooks up with a very attractive stranger at a bar. They have sex in a back room and then head off in different directions. In Munich, Seth discovers his assignment is, of course, the guy he had sex with the night before, Consul General Mr. Rick Fine.
Rick is a well-written character; handsome, intelligent with an unpleasant backstory, which he tells Seth in small chunks as they get to know each other. He is also a little more than just the new Consul General.
I like the character of Rick although the decision to make him seem more sensitive or weaker than Seth jarred with me. They are two alpha males with different lives, childhoods experiences and so on; why does one always have to be presented as weaker in some way? Seth does have a childhood story to tell, but it isn’t fleshed out very much and it is only when he is showing his feelings for Rick that I liked him at all. Otherwise he is a tough guy with scars and guns.
The previous Consul committed suicide, but there might be something else going on at the consulate and the CIA are secretly involved. There is a plot regarding bad guys, arms smuggling and violence, but the romance holds sway. The romantic bantering scenes between Seth and Rick are enjoyable and the sex scenes are very steamy.
There is a formula we have seen in many books; the main characters are in danger and there are injuries, hospital scenes and worried warnings to keep away from the rough stuff from one lover, which are promptly ignored by the other. I did guess very early on who the big bad guy was, but there are some good red herrings along the way.
This author’s writing is definitely above average, but much of the plot exposition is through dialogue rather than narrative description and scene setting. This tends to be less satisfying for the reader. That said, Guarding Mr Fine is enjoyable and merits its B rating.