After sharing a passionate kiss over a decade ago, Hannah McCord fell in love with Kane, but he didn't seem that interested at the time. She was already in a relationship with his brother anyway, and eventually they married. She loved her husband and was content in her marriage, even though she felt it lacked that passionate spark she'd felt with Kane. She never really forgot their connection, but for the last eight years, she has believed him dead. Now for the past year, Hannah has truly been alone. While he was working an undercover drug bust, her husband was brutally gunned down right in front of her eyes. Unable to deal with city life anymore, Hannah moved back home to her grandparent's farm, where she's trying to find the solitude to piece her life back together. Little does she know that a sinister force is lurking, waiting for revenge. As the sole eyewitness, Hannah is the only person who can put the drug lord who was responsible for her husband's murder behind bars, and he'll do anything to make sure she doesn't testify.
Kane McCord hated having to make his family believe he was dead, but at the time, he was working deep undercover with the DEA. He's never forgotten that kiss with Hannah, but he knew that in his line of work, he'd never be a suitable match for a gentle soul like her. Now when he hears that Hannah's life is in danger from the man who killed his brother, Kane has no choice but to resurface to keep her safe. Although initially shocked to see him alive, Hannah quickly adjusts to him being around, and soon Kane finds himself longing to be more than Hannah's bodyguard. But just as they are beginning to embrace their growing love for one another, the enemy strikes. Will Kane be able to save Hannah before their adversary takes her from him just like his brother?
For a shorter Harlequin-length book, I found Hannah's Hero to be a pretty entertaining romantic suspense. I usually enjoy bodyguard stories and this one had that as well as a prior connection between the hero and heroine which is another favorite theme of mine. I'll stop short of calling it a reunion romance though, because while they have loved each other from afar and did share a passionate kiss years ago, they never had an actual relationship. Instead Hannah was a girlfriend to Kane's brother and eventually became his wife of ten years, while Kane went deep undercover as a DEA agent. The agency had even gone so far as to fake his death, so when he turns up in Hannah's basement, trying to protect her from the drug lord who has her in his crosshairs, she's stunned to say the least. She is the only eyewitness to her husband's murder and therefore the only person who can put him in prison, so Kane has made it his life's mission to protect her until she can testify in court. I'm really not sure why the few ratings this book has on GoodReads are pretty mediocre. While it wasn't perhaps the most meticulously plotted romantic suspense I've ever read and it did have a few small issues that might not hold up to a truly critical eye, I did, nonetheless, find it enjoyable and pretty well-written overall.
After her husband was gunned down in front of her eyes, Hannah felt a need to get away from the big city, so she returned to her grandparent's rural farm. She lives a quiet life, enjoying her independence, unaware that her husband's murderer is out to get her, until the brother-in-law she thought was dead turns up in her basement. She fell in love with Kane almost from the moment she met him over a decade earlier, but she was already involved with his brother Seth. She ended up marrying Seth, and while she did love him, she always felt their relationship lacked the fiery passion she'd felt with Kane. Not to mention, she felt like Seth largely kept her in the dark about his work. Now that Kane is back in her life, she wants to try to rekindle that spark, but doesn't even know if he feels the same way about her. Probably partly because of when this book was written (the early 1990's), Hannah takes on a more traditional female role of cook and housekeeper to the men in her life, which includes her best friend and local sheriff, Eli. She's also a schoolteacher who loves kids. Being in law enforcement, her husband did teach her how to use a gun, which is a skill she appreciates when she thinks someone may be prowling around her property and when it becomes clear that her life is in danger. Early on though, Hannah does have a few moments of stubbornness that border on being TSTL. I could understand her wanting to be independent, but at the same time, I felt like someone who had witnessed her own husband's brutal murder at the hands of the man who was now after her, would have a greater sense of self-preservation. Luckily it doesn't last long before she finally starts listening to Kane better, although she does still have a few issues with taking direct orders without questioning him. However, I was mostly able to forgive her for that, because I would have wanted to know what was going on too. In the end, I thought she proved to be a strong and brave heroine.
Kane fell for Hannah all those years ago. As a deep cover DEA agent, he had tried to eradicate any vulnerability within himself, but she spoke to that part of him he no longer wanted to acknowledge. He knew he couldn't be what she needed at the time, but on some level, he envied his brother for making her his wife. Kane hated that he had to allow his family to believe he was dead, but when he discovered that his sister-in-law's life was in danger, he defied his superiors, determined to do whatever it took to keep her safe. Even though Hannah is no longer a married woman, he feels somewhat guilty about wanting his brother's wife. He's resolved to simply protecting her until she can testify, but he can't help being drawn to her again. Kane is the type of alpha male I can appreciate. He has a tough, no-nonsense exterior and an almost single-minded focus on the job at hand, but he doesn't try too hard to fight the feelings Hannah's arouses in him. By the time his mission is completed, he realizes he's tired of living the lonely life of an agent and is ready to settle down, and doing that with Hannah sounds like a very inviting prospect.
Sometimes, romantic suspense novels can be top-heavy one way or the other, but I thought that Hannah's Hero had a nice balance between the romance and suspense. At first, the villain is merely toying with Hannah in an attempt to frighten her out of testifying. During this part of the story, the suspense is a little more low-key, giving Hannah and Kane time to solidify their relationship. It isn't until the bad guys sneak into Hannah's house to leave a calling card right under their noses that Kane insists on taking her to a DEA safe house. At that point, the suspense begins to ramp up with some "cloak and dagger" action, but Kane and Hannah's romance still simmers as he plays the part of the jealous lover when one of his fellow agents starts flirting with her. The climax was pretty intense too with some life or death moments. Overall, Hannah's Hero was a nice, easy read that kept me pretty well engaged throughout. This was my first book by Denise Richards, and one that I'd call a very agreeable reading experience. While it appears that she only has a few published books, I'd definitely be open to reading her others.
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