Her Secret Weapon
You’d think that a mini-series involving government agents, and sporting a title The Year of Loving Dangerously would have lots of action, wouldn’t you? This series so far has been mostly “action lite,” and most of the action in this latest title, Her Secret Weapon, happens off-stage. This book is a – you know they had do do one – secret baby story.
Callie Severin is the daughter of an American father and English mother. She lives in London and has recently broken with her two-timing fiance. Callie’s cousin Enid tells her she needs a bit of pub crawling to mend her broken heart, and at one pub, Callie loses Enid, but finds Burke Lonigan.
Burke is half drunk and obviously emotionally distraught. Callie has a tender heart and in her own fragile emotional state, she reaches out to Burke and they share a night of passion. Nine months later, she gives birth to a boy she names Seamus.
Callie knows a few things about Burke Lonigan; he is the President of Lonigan’s Imports and is a prominent fixture in the London business and social scene. Rumors have it that his vast wealth is not all the product of his successful company – some say he deals in illegal arms. Actually, Burke is a longtime operative for the agency SPEAR and is on the verge of clinching a deal with the terrorist Simon – who is out to bring down SPEAR and its head, Jonah. Callie has gotten a job with the company as Burke’s personal assistant and the more she is around him, the more unsure of him she is. Burke is charming and hard-working, his employees all respect him, and he a wonderful boss. But he has a well deserved reputation as a rake and she has noticed little things about him that make her uneasy.
When Callie arrives at Burke’s office for a meeting, she comes face-to-face with Simon. Simon makes threats against her, and Burke pretends that Callie is his fiancee. To protect Callie’s life and throw Simon off her trail, they go through with a marriage that she intends will be in name only, but things don’t quite work out that way, not after Burke first sets eyes on little Seamus.
Callie is very much a Beverly Barton heroine, warm and full of love to give. She is wary of Burke’s sinister reputation, and when he asks her to trust him, her whole self tells her “yes, trust him,” but her common-sense and sense of caution tell her to hold back and adopt a wait and see attitude. During the course of the story, Callie is often torn emotionally. She feels guilt over not letting Burke know about his son, yet she does not want her child in touch with a man who might be an arms dealer. Still, she can’t help falling in love with the emotionally torn man she comforted two years ago.
Burke is an older hero (42) and has been a SPEAR agent for many years. He’s tired of the intrigue and of womanizing as well. He yearns for home, family, and love, and he’s haunted by the memory of a woman who comforted him two years ago. Burke grew on me as a character. Normally, the aging playboy is a character I don’t like at all, but Barton gave Burke enough background to make me understand him. While I can’t say that like Callie, I too fell in love with Burke, I did empathize with him.
A note about the cover. In the words of the song by Meatloaf – Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad. The man on the cover looks older and has black hair just like Burke. The woman is a curvy redhead, just like Callie. But Seamus is 14 months old and is described in the book as having thick, curly black hair. The baby on the cover is much younger and has wispy brown baby hair.
Since it seems the secret baby plot is not going away, I guess we have to learn to live with it. Her Secret Weapon is a perfectly adequate secret baby story with lots of angst, likable characters, an adorable baby and it moves the plot of the mini-series back to the United States. It seems Simon is planning to get involved with gangs in Los Angeles. Now that looks interesting and maybe we’ll see some action. The next book in the series is Hero At Large – stay tuned.