Review of HEARTBREAK HERO by Frances Housden
Silhouette Intimate Moments #1241, August 2003
When the badguys kill his partner, Global Drug operative Kel Jellic vows to get his revenge--and to stop the mule who threatens to bring the designer drug kiss-and-tell. From his dying partner, Kel had learned the name of the mule--N. Two Feathers McKay. What he didn't expect was a beautiful woman of mixed Native American, Maori, and Scottish ancestery.
Ngaire Two Feathers McKay has lived under a curse--and the only way to lift it and to survive her upcoming thirtieth birthday is to return the sacred stone carving to New Zealand where it belongs. When she wins a trip to the islands as a prize from a quizz show, it seems like fate. But others are after the carving and all of her Hapkido skills seem barely enough to keep her alive. The only good thing is that she meets this sexy guy--Kel. Although the rest of the world may be out to get her, she senses that she can trust Kel. Can't she?
Author Frances Housden pours her heart into the sexual attraction between Kel and Ngaire and has fun with the action scenes. The New Zealand setting comes alive as the characters survive a tour bus ride through the two islands. The hint of a paranormal element (from the stone carving) is handled nicely as well. I found the drug sub-plot to be unconvincing, however. Kel soon realizes that Ngaire cannot be carrying the drug and decides that she must be carrying the formula. But why would international drug dealers use a mule to carry a formula? Why not simply send it via e-mail? Even if Ngaire is carrying the formula, stopping her would do little to stop international drugs. Another mule (or another e-mail) could soon be delivered. Finally, Ngaire's room is searched. Although the stone carving was in the safe, why wouldn't the Global Drug team have discovered the formula if there is one? For me, at least, the entire drug scenario weakens the story. American fans will also get a kick out of Ngaire's speech patterns. Although she is supposed to be from San Francisco, Ngaire talks more like someone from Britain (like author Housden). Not a problem, just an occasional smile of recognition.
From a romance standpoint, however, Housden's writing is strong with a wounded hero, a spunky and fighting heroine, a few family entanglements (from earlier stories), and enough sexual tension to light a fire.
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