Cartoon covers are almost de riguer for contemporary romances, and My Hero, Marianna Jameson’s debut novel, has a particularly nice one. The story is pretty good as well, and I enjoyed it, with a few quibbles.
Miranda Lane is a romance writer known for her sweet tales of small town southern life featuring kind and sensitive beta heroes. When her sales begin to drop, her new editor demands some changes. Move the action up north, have a cop as a hero and make him an alpha! Due to her upbringing, Miranda is not all that fond of cops, nor does she like alpha males, but she’s a professional, so she goes to Stamford, Connecticut to visit her old college roommate Paxton, and imbibe some local color.
The local police chief refuses to let Miranda interview one of the members of his force, but Miranda has already met Detective Chas Cassidy. He’s a friend of Paxton’s, and Miranda also knows him since she has beat him at a game of paintball (southern women can shoot). They begin to talk, and he is attracted to the beautiful but distant Miranda. Chas reads some of her books, and agrees to help her with her new book. They begin an affair, but Miranda has issues from her past, and Chas is not without issues himself.
My Hero is very much a character-driven romance with a bit of external conflict. The external plot, dealing with computer hacking in the firm that belongs to Chas’ family, forces him to examine his motives for being a cop. Chas’ mother’s family is very wealthy and and they want him to become the chief of security for their firm. Chas idolized his policeman father, who was killed when Chas was only six. For years, Chas has insisted he only wants to follow in his policeman father’s footsteps. But as the story unfolds, he is forced to examine himself. Does he really want to be a cop? Or is he just rebelling?
When Miranda is forced to write outside her comfort zone, she too begins some self-examination. Miranda is wary of alpha males, due to her rigid upbringing by a strict father. As the story unfolds, we find she really doesn’t know them very well, and her first efforts to write an alpha male character are hilarious. She has him practically grunting like an ape, and taking off his shirt at every opportunity (his hairy chest gets hot). As she becomes closer to Chas, she sees what a real alpha male is like and that toughness does not equal cruel.
The sex scenes in this book are the best kind. They really illuminate the characters. Miranda’s experience is very limited, and she really does not like sex at all. Chas is surprised by her actions, which consist of limited foreplay, a quickie, and then a mad dash for the bathroom. As they become closer, we can see why she feels that way, and when she “lets him drive”, she can see that sex can be wonderful, not just something to get through.
The only real problem I had with this book is that the subplots, especially the one involving Paxton and her husband, just sort of sat there. They really weren’t well integrated into the story. But it really is a minor problem and didn’t bother me all that much.
If you like character driven contemporary romances, and like ones where the heroine is a writer, I’m sure you will enjoy My Hero. There are hints that there’s a sequel involving Chas’ brother Jack, a cocky charmer. If she writes it, I’ll read it.