Reluctant Hero by Debra Webb & Regan Black

reluctant hero

Title: Reluctant Hero

Authors: Debra Webb and Regan Black

Mills & Boon imprint: Intrigue

Year of publication: 2017

The heroine: Producer Rebecca Wallace

The hero: Former Army soldier/security expert Parker Lawton

The blurb: For security expert Parker Lawton, the anonymous threat is explosive. Return the gold stolen during his intelligence unit’s last mission – or they’ll each be hunted down. And when one of his men is killed just before meeting investigative reporter Rebecca Wallace, he must take her under his protection. But her persistence in getting the real story is even more dangerous – and irresistible.

For a dashing war hero, Parker is the most guilty-acting innocent man Becca has ever seen. But as her instincts and Parker’s skills home in on the truth, trusting the desire simmering between them could be their only chance – or the last move they’ll ever make.

Standalone or series: Part of the Gray Box series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: I hate to say this, but… I really didn’t enjoy this book. So, someone is threatening the six men of an elite unit who supposedly stole gold in Iraq (they didn’t). Parker is one of the six men, and a list of their names is sent to Becca’s station. His man killed on his way to talk to someone wasn’t going to see Becca, because she’s not a reporter but a producer of a successful news show known for getting their facts straight before showing any reports. With one of his team dead and the next on the list seriously injured, it’s understandable that Parker is grieving and desperate to find out who is threatening them before someone else is hurt.

Parker rescues Becca from being kidnapped from some gala they’re both at, but what happens next is what ruined the book for me… he holds her against her will. He takes her to his place and locks her in a safe room he has because he wants her source. She doesn’t know who’s holding her (although she suspects it’s Parker from the get go). She has no idea of how long she’s there because there’s no window or clock, and he’s confiscated her laptop and phone. She doesn’t know if she’s going to be attacked or killed, and at one stage suspects the latter. She’s terrified. He knows all this because he’s watching her. He breaks into her apartment and packs a case for her, so she knows he’s been in her place. He’s answering her work emails, pretending to be her, so nobody will suspect something is wrong (he’s using a family emergency as a cover story).

He continues to tell himself that he can’t keep her hostage, and yet he does. He knows she can help him, but convinces himself she’s safer locked in a small room with no clue as to what’s going on. While it’s true that she is safe there, she doesn’t know that. She doesn’t know what her captor wants or what he’s going to do, although she has her suspicions. Yet pretty much as soon as he lets her out of the room, she stays glued to his side. In fact, while she’s in the room, he ties her hands together and holds them, and she feels… desire. Uh, what? Even if she felt the slightest bit of attraction to him (they’d met several times previously), surely being held hostage by this guy, regardless of his motives, would have been enough to dampen her ardour. Apparently not.

So they’re now both trying to outrun an assassin and work out who’s trying to frame the soldiers. They get there in the end, but she ends up spending a week in hospital. He whisks her away after she’s released and proposes. So they’ve known each other less than a week and spent one night together, but he’s proposing.

I also noticed an error: Parker’s friend Sam interrupts them trying to get it on the first time and tells them to come upstairs, and they immediately go down to the lab… where everyone’s waiting for them. Not upstairs, as they were instructed!

I love the cover, but it doesn’t depict the characters of the book. Parker is described as having short hair and Becca is a redhead. Nope, not a winner for me, sadly.