Heartthrob, by Suzanne Brockmann

>> Thursday, April 21, 2005

Heartthrob (extras), was one of two single titles written by Suzanne Brockmann before she started writing her SEAL books.

Once voted the "Sexiest Man Alive," Jericho Beaumont had dominated the box office before his fall from grace. Now poised for a comeback, he wants the role of Laramie bad enough to sign an outrageous contract with movie producer Kate O'Laughlin -- one that gives her the authority to supervise Jericho's every move, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

The last thing Kate wants to do is baby-sit her leading man, and Jericho Beaumont may be more than she can handle. A player in every sense of the word, he is an actor of incredible talent -- and a man with a darkly haunted past. Despite her better judgement, Kate's attraction flares into explosive passion, and she is falling fast. But is she being charmed by the real Jericho -- or the superstar who dazzles the world?
After reading Hot Target, with it's movie-making setting, I just had to go back and reread the other Brockmann set in that same world, one that I enjoyed the first time I read it and enjoyed just as much this time. A B+.

The whole movie thing was really entertaining to read, but what made this book were the great characters. I really liked both Jed and Kate. Jed is pure dream guy. He's what could be a typical tortured hero, bad childhood and all, but he breaks out from the generic character mold. His life went down the drain after becoming a huge movie star... alcohol, drugs, you name it. When the book starts, however, he is out of all that and trying to rebuild his career, but he still has a few things he's not over yet, and this makes for compelling reading.

Jed is to-die-for, but Kate is an interesting character in her own right. What's funny is that she's one of those characters which tend to irritate me to no end: the drop-dead gorgeous woman who is conflicted about her beauty. The difference is that Kate really has reason to be conflicted, because some of what happened to her has to have been traumatic. I liked that her response to this wasn't to try to hide herself (baggy clothes, glasses, etc... typical romance novel beauty trying to look ugly), but to use her looks to her own advantage and to manipulate those men jerkish enough to assume that because she has big boobs, she has no brains.

Jed and Kate's relationship starts out adversarial, as Kate doesn't trust Jed not to slide back into addiction, which would screw up her movie completely. So what she does is set up a situation in which she has a lot of power over him, which ended up being an intriguing and provocative set-up which helped build up some veeery thick sexual tension (the LSD scene... phew!!). I also liked that these two became friends as well as lovers, which always bodes well for a believable HEA.

This being a Brockmann book, there was (of course!) a strong secondary romance, and it was a wonderfully sweet one between two teenage actors. I liked it almost as much as I liked the one between David and Mallory in The Unsung Hero.

The only reason this isn't an A read is that near the end, I thought the conflict in the main romance lost a bit of focus. There was even a moment when I wasn't particularly sure of what the problem was, exactly, so the book lost some steam there. It was really near the end, though, and the final scenes were lovely, which made up for this flaw.

I think I've said this every time I post about a Brockmann book: I wish she'd forget her SEALs and went back to writing straight romance. I do love her latest books, but it's not because of the military angle, but despite it.


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