Oh, no. I’m far more egalitarian than that. The mound of flesh and cells, the glorious, pulsing-with-life collection of tissues and blood vessels that really gets my senses all aflutter is a bit more pedestrian, perhaps a little more hard workin’ a lot more of the time and – truth be told – not hardly as sexy.
Yes friends, even though it can be described as ‘roped with a big vein,” the unisex organ of which I speak is one that -- when my brother coughed up one of his to save my life – became my forever fave…the kidney.
In my uniquely self-absorbed way, I assume whenever an author writes about organ transplantation in a romance – I know, gets me hot, too – she’s doing it just for me. So imagine my state of unbridled euphoria when I read Catherine Mann’s awesome new novel, “Defender,” based on the highpoints of my very own transplant story:
Musician heroine one year post-transplantation takes part in sexy, hi-profile performing gig? Check! Heroine’s feeling a little squeamish about whether men might be able to relate to her “issues” even though the transplant gives new life and excellent health? Check!
Super-gorgeous jet jock rescues fair maiden and new organ from shark-infested waters, catches a glimpse of her all curvy and wet in her pageant-type gown and decides he can overcome his PTSD, save the day with her help and show her he’s strong enough to be the man of a woman who’s ‘been to the mountain’ and lives life with a new perspective? Che -- um, well, my guy still refuses to wear the “Top Gun Role Play” gear I bought ‘im, but he’s got the last part in spades to this day…
OK, so maybe Mann doesn’t know I exist – and “Defender” isn’t a tribute to chicks who go to the Miss America Pageant a year after renal transplants. But “Defender” most definitely is the gripping, timely and slow-burn sexy start to her Black Ops romantic suspense series that’s gonna take over that place on your bookshelf reserved for Shamelessly All-American Heroes and The Women They Live (and would die) For.
Test Pilot Jimmy Gage is a guy focused on a mission: Find and save a fellow Black Ops team member who’s been kidnapped and most likely won’t survive being tortured. Gage’s life’s a little more simple when he’s got a task that keeps his mind off the people he’s let down and couldn’t save – and the time he spent being tortured behind ridiculously hard-to-define enemy lines.
Smack dab in the middle of inching closer to finding his team member, Gage and crew are sidetracked plucking out of the Mediterranean a bunch of USO entertainers whose ship’s been blown apart – one of whom is an irritating blonde sweetheart Gage tries to convince himself is nothing but an armful of sequins and hairspray.
Symphony conductor/USO singer Chloe Nelson would rather larger-than-life, intimidating and arousing flyboy Jimmy Gage think her an airhead than pay attention to their attraction. If he gets close, she fears he’ll be like the other men who run when they figure out she’s got the focus and intensity of spirit that comes from surviving debilitating illness and earning a new lease on life – yet with no guarantees.
Yet Gage and Chloe are survivors, drawn to one another despite their demonstrated fear of few things in life except emotional connection. They tenuously explore a relationship against a backdrop war and of danger fomented by a sadistic rogue extortionist/murdress. Soon, Chloe becomes as embroiled in the sitch as Gage and the Black Ops team and both she and Gage learn whether their desire to help “save the day” is as much about doing right by their country, as it is about finally doing right by their hearts.
Catherine Mann’s Black Ops series is sharp and engaging and is just gonna get hotter. Like your favorite “Band of Brothers” (BOB) series, Mann’s created well-and-truly drawn guy’s guys who seem to think and thankfully communicate like men while getting cold cocked emotionally when the right woman comes along. And Mann keeps the love story tension high w/out sacrificing the suspense plot, a gift to the romance reader “all about the love.”
Competing at the Miss America Pageant -- I remember thinking, “I just may have a shot at this thing. Unless that gorgeous Miss Mississippi has a damn heart transplant.” Luckily, the big prize I won was reaching millions of folks on the Miss A broadcast, telling them how important it is to consider organ donation and talking to one’s family about it.
So, please, head to http://www.donatelife.net/ and check out the deets on organ donation. Then do yourself a favor in the here and now –
Buy the book.
What do you love about Band of Brother (BOB) series? What are your fave Catherine Mann books -- (Mann has long written for Hquin Silhouette and is a RITA winner)? And, what's your favorite body organ and why?
Check out “Hot Shot,” Mann's May Black Ops novel. He knew her when she was young. ‘nuff said.
***Zack Knight visits along w/ his BFF, Eve, Monday for the "Under Fire" Drop Day Partay! Prizes!