Desert Isle Keeper
I’m just crazy about Harry – Harry O’Dell, that is, the hero of Suzanne Brockmann’s latest blockbuster. He’s a foul-mouthed, rough-edged, rumpled FBI agent from Brooklyn, out to save a dead man’s former trophy wife from the mob. Before you start reading this book, make sure dinner’s cooked and the dishes are done. You won’t want to be interrupted for anything.
Beautiful Allesandra Lamont is slowly coming to grips with the trouble she’s in. First, her husband dumped her, then she discovered he’d been on the verge of bankruptcy; now she finds out that he stole a million dollars from mob boss Michael Trotta and was killed because of it. And if she doesn’t return the cash, she’s going to join Griffin in the great hereafter. The only problem is, she has no idea what Griffin did with the money.
Harry O’Dell will do anything to get Trotta, who was behind the deaths of Harry’s ex-wife and oldest son Kevin. He’s had to put his other two kids in hiding with a family friend halfway across the continent, in Colorado. One look at Allie Lamont, and Harry realizes two things: he can use her to get Trotta, and, of more immediate importance, she’s way out of his league, so any notion he might have about getting involved with her is out of the question.
Allie stumbles across the stolen money and turns it over to Trotta, thinking her woes are over now. But when her house blows up, Allie reluctantly accepts the FBI’s offer of dubious sanctuary in the Witness Protection Program. With no better idea, Harry convinces her to shed her glamour-girl image and drive across country with him, so she can start a new life in Hardy, the small town where his kids are living.
Talk about opposites attracting – from the minute he lays eyes on her, Harry knows he wants Allie in the worst possible way, and he makes no bones about letting her know it. Initially repulsed by his unkempt, almost slovenly appearance and his sewer of a mouth (think Mel Gibson’s character in Lethal Weapon), the fastidious Allie finds that underneath the surface is one of the truly walking wounded. In spite of her better instincts, she probes and pokes, finally uncovering the deep sorrow and guilt that have been Harry’s constant companions since his family was shattered by tragedy. How can she handle all the chaos in her own life, taking on a new identity, learning to support herself for the first time in her life, on top of dragging a kicking and screaming Harry back into the land of the emotionally living?
There are a number of other threads in the story, but Brockmann manages them all with enviable dexterity. Harry’s surviving son Shaun carries so much pain in him that your heart will break for the thirteen-year-old. He feels guilty that it was Kevin, their father’s favorite, who died instead of him. Harry’s partner George, divorced from the only woman he ever loved, is perilously close to jeopardizing the whole operation to catch Trotta by getting involved with a sweet but dangerously naive stripper who bears an uncanny resemblance to his ex-wife. While these are engrossing subplots, however, the main focus remains on the evolving relationship between Allie and Harry, and the tension that sizzles whenever they’re together.
The language in Bodyguard is very rough (I told you Harry’s got a potty mouth) and the level of violence is higher than normal for a romance. There are fistfights, shootings, and car chases, a house blows up, and the climax is a desperate scramble through the Colorado backcountry. But the love story is there in the forefront every minute, and if I’ve read the signs right, Brockmann’s laid the groundwork for a sequel.
If this were a movie, it would be a chick flick masquerading as an action picture, and we ladies wouldn’t ruin the guys’ enjoyment of it by divulging the real theme, just as we’ve never told them that Terminator is really a love story. While it’s clear the characters in this book will have to struggle to get to their well-deserved HEA, I’m sure watching them along the way will be as much a treat for you as it was for me.