I was blown away by a recent review of my newest book, Love in the Line of Fire. It was so impressive I felt the need to share it here.
Agent Jonah Pratt heads the Secret Service team guarding the President’s husband. When a routine day turns into a dangerous assassination attempt, the stranger who dives into the melee and takes down the assassin complicates the situation, sparking Jonah’s anger.
Just back from multiple tours of duty in Iraq, Benji hides the fact that he brought the war home with him and that it continues to haunt him. His actions in stopping the would-be assassin are more instinct than strategy. And his first conversation with a furious Jonah doesn’t end well.
Losing a member of his team turns Jonah’s world upside down. And if Benji seems to know exactly what Jonah is experiencing, it’s because he went through the same thing in combat. Jonah’s work consumes him, leaving little room in his life for anything else, and Benji focuses on his studies, working to keep his nightmares at bay. But when they get together, Jonah and Benji recognize a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for love and happiness—one worth fighting for.
When I realized that ‘Love in the Line of Fire” is, in essence, a sequel for ‘The President’s Husband’, I was over the moon. Yes, it’s not a direct continuation that stars the same characters, but Gray and David appear numerous times, the style of writing is very similar, and the quality of Jonah and Benji’s story is just as high as Gray and David’s. Some of the difficulties Jonah and Benji have to deal with, both individually and as a couple, are very similar: the pressure and stress in Jonah’s job are high, Benji has his studies to focus on. But other problems are very different: both men have to deal with the loss of men under their command and while it is a fresh issue for Jonah and in the past for Benji, the nightmares are similar enough for them to be able to support each other. The result is a beautiful love story that I found very rewarding.
Jonah, as head of the Secret Service team guarding David, the president’s husband, does much of his work in the background. Being front and center is not easy for him, and losing a man to the assassin out to kill David hits Jonah hard. But the mystery around the guy who manages to take down the assassin before more damage can be done is what really piques Jonah’s interest. At first this is mostly professional – where did Benji come from, how did he act so quickly, and how did he know what to do to expertly immobilize the shooter. Jonah is more than a little angry about the fact that this stranger is so good at what is supposed to be Jonah’s job, and Jonah is not very nice to him at first. But as more details emerge about Benji his respect grows and so does his curiosity.
Benji, after multiple tours of duty in Iraq, is ready for a quieter life. He figures he is a student now and peace will follow, despite the nightmares that still plague him. But when he sees the assassin gun for the president’s husband, he goes into autopilot and does what is needed to prevent something worse from happening. And the flak he catches from Jonah, plus the fact he appears on the news and is considered a hero run contrary to what he wants. The real shock comes when Jonah appears at his door – to apologize. Not something Benji had thought possible.
That initial discussion is the beginning of a friendship that slowly evolves into more. Neither man has much time on his hands, but Jonah’s focus on his job, on always being available, and his fear that if he lets up for so much as a second, his charge will be killed, comes close to destroying what they are building. Benji’s nightmares are not easy to deal with, but always coming second in a relationship is almost worse. Just like ‘The President’s Husband’, this novel left me breathless. Jonah and Benji are complex characters under stress, and theirs is an utterly realistic story that had me biting my nails and fearing, more than once, that the happy ending I wanted them to have was not going to materialize.
If you like character-driven stories about men who face current stress and dealing with their pasts, if a new relationship facing the pressures of everyday life – and more – is your thing, and if you’re looking for a read that is a psychological study of outstanding quality and depth, as well as a thriller, then you will probably like this novel as much as I do. It is one of the books for me that I won’t forget in a very long time.