It was the cover that drew me. There was this luscious, hunky, shirtless guy leaning into kiss a smooth, sultry woman in satin, against a silk backdrop. Something about the look on his face — tender, rough, aching, wounded — had me reaching for the book. And the title…all I could think was I wanted to know more. It was Labor Day 1998 when I sat down with Kylie Brant’s seventh book from Intimate Moments, 'Undercover Lover'.
Having been working to sell my first book for three years, reading for pleasure had become virtually impossible. I was too busy analyzing, editing and critiquing. But once I started 'Undercover Lover' I didn’t leave my chair until I turned the last page (I had yet to become a mother at that point!) And once I did turn the last page, the very next thing I did was write Kylie Brant a gushy letter (quaint, I know, but email hadn’tquite taken over yet).
Now, sitting here with the book once again in my hands, that warm, excited, satisfied feeling comes back to me. You know the one…the one that has you eager to cozy up to your significant other. But now I’m asking myself why. Why did 'Undercover Lover' sweep me away? Why did 'Undercover Lover' make me forget about craft and entice me to lose myself in a few hours of sheer pleasure?
For me, for 'Undercover Lover', it was the hero, John Sullivan. He was—and is—everything I crave in a romance hero. He’s sexy and dangerous, rough around the edges but heartbreakingly sensitive. Gruff but romantic, tortured but still. Somehow, noble. Brave, of course, but terrified of the one thing he wants most—the one thing he doesn’t think he can ever let himself have: the love of his best friend, Ellie Bennet.
That was different. Friends. The hero and heroine were…friends. They didn’t start the story fighting or arguing, there was no great big misunderstanding…not until later, anyway. Ellie and Sully are friends. Confidantes. He’s standing by her in the wake of her painful, humiliating divorce. And in return, he’s asking for nothing. Even as he longs for everything. As does she. Because beneath all those platonic veneers simmers a desire that frightens both of them. But especially Sully. Because Sully is a man leading a double life. He’s living a lie, keeping a dangerous secret, trying so damned hard to do the right thing, even as it rips at him.
But even as he tries to keep his life as an undercover narcotics cop separate from his friendship with Ellie, those two worlds are about to collide. And when they do, when the secrets spill out and the lies give way to cold, hard truths, the fallout is heartbreaking. But riveting. Because when all else falls away, the desire is still there, the near violent emotion between man and woman—the only bridge between before and after. Ah…..
What a wonderful read. Without doubt, 'Undercover Lover' captured my imagination, the fantasy literally swept me away. And the hero, Sully—my goodness. The only thing I wanted to do more than hug that man, was to—Well ....
That’s why we love romance, yes?
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