Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Over The Line by Cindy Gerard
When Anne blogged this ARC up at Let’s Gab…, she commented on Gerard’s lengthy build up to the first sex scene. She didn’t feel that the suspense overshadowed the romance. She just couldn’t take much more foreplay. Having read OTL, I now understand.
For me however, Gerard’s careful construction of the mystery captured my undivided attention. So completely, that I almost forgot about the HEA for the hero and heroine. I mean, I KNEW they needed to come together at some point—if the HEA were to be credible—but I was so involved in trying to figure out the real villian’s identity, that I didn’t have time for sex. Gerard put her characters in the same “WTF is going on?” state of mind and even they put off the sex they knew was coming.
It all worked together beautifully, bringing hero, heroine and reader to the edge of the page and keeping them there. The pace of action, the quick and numerous turns all contributed to Gerard’s extended foreplay, heightening reader anticipation. In OTL, Gerard achieves a balance and pace—pleasing to the reader—that I have not seen before.
Gerard did something else I love. She put the hero’s masculinity in question—giving him a face she likens to Opie and a heroine reaction both surprising and embarrassing. Let’s just say there was no swooning. Laughter? Yes. Swooning? No. Given that he is to be her bodyguard, this less than overwhelming picture of him is daring on Gerard’s part. She goes on to create a sexy, but flawed character—emotionally uncertain, inexperienced in private security, etc. His quiet competence—growing throughout the story—ends up casting a much larger—undoubtedly alpha—presence than any stereotypical tall, dark and dangerous description could have. Some grade A characterization.
Gerard’s heroine, a rock star in need of a bodyguard, also defies stereotype. Instead of hiding a simple, down-home girl underneath the flash, Gerard embodies her with a sharp business instinct and easily makes the distinction between the girl’s business and her personality. Brockmann fans will recall the over-the-top persona Cosmo’s love interest (Jane) sported in Hot Target. Outwardly, Jane presented herself one way, while hiding her true self from all but one or two individuals. Gerard does not take this tack. Instead, she makes the rock star stuff business and gives her heroine enough good sense to stand as who she is—without embarrassment.
Over The Line is an excellent addition to Gerard’s Bodyguard series. Having stumbled on this author—picking up my first book by her on an impulse buy with zero knowledge of her work—I am thrilled beyond words at finding a new auto-buy author. Love that.