This is a book I first read as a loaner from the fabulous
In this particular case, the hero happens to be a Treasury agent who’s out on a stakeout with his partner, who gives him quite a bit of good-natured ribbing about the fact that he’s got on a swanky suit and is carrying around a paperback in his pocket because his favorite author is having a signing he wants to attend. And by “favorite author”, I mean “hot writer babe he totally is in love with, despite the fact that she’s married”. But OHNOEZ! The agents discover their boss is the bad guy they’re trying to identify–and the boss promptly shoots them both, leaving the hapless partner to die in our hero’s arms, and our hero to stumble off in a frantic haze, because he’s been shot in the head and is all angsty that his partner just got killed and his boss is a bastard and stuff.
Raise your hand if you’re surprised that we have a jump cut over to the aforementioned signing, wherein our heroine is valiantly attempting to carry on the latest episode in her long-running game of Pretend She Actually Has a Husband Because It Helps Her Sell Books. Boy, is she surprised when a wounded stranger wanders into the bookstore, comes right up to her, calls her “Katherine”, and smooches her in front of her adoring fans and shell-shocked cousin! ;) ‘Cause it just so happens that our Treasury agent has the exact same name as her alleged “husband”, and he’s gone and decided he is in fact her Sam MacDonald.
You can probably figure out where the plot’s going to go from there, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Most of it has to do with Katherine and her loyal cousin frantically trying to figure out what to do with a Treasury agent who’s clearly off his rocker, and by “off his rocker”, I mean “Katherine secretly finds him totally romantic and wishes he really was her husband.” But the bad-guy boss of course resurfaces at the end, and, well, you can probably figure out what happens from there, too.
And in a lot of ways the flavor of the novel is archaic even for the year it came out, i.e., 1991; the fact that our hero could use the phrase “not worth a plugged nickel” without apparent irony made me wonder if he’d somehow gotten knocked back into 1935 or something when he got shot in the head. Yet, I didn’t particularly care; it added a sort of innocent charm to the whole thing, and made me glad to revisit it as my first read for 2010. If it were available in ebook form, I’d totally be buying it. Three stars.