by Mary Lynn Baxter

February 2003
ISBN: 1-55166-686-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Mira Books
Mass Market Paperback

Jessica Kincaid, Mayor of Dallas, finds herself stalked and threatened by some unknown person(s). The fiercely independent Jessica reluctantly decides to hire a bodyguard from a security firm. This problematic situation couldn’t have come at a worse time for Jessica – she’s currently highly unpopular with the police department for having fired the police chief and suspended two very popular officers, she’s facing a lot of opposition and is under a great deal of pressure on account of some land annexation issues, an opposing council member is out to crucify her, and on top of it all, re-election is coming up. And then Brant Harding comes sweeping into her life and home as her bodyguard.

This former Secret Service agent is exceedingly competent and as bull-headed and stubborn as Jessica herself, and pretty soon these two strong-minded individuals lock horns over every single issue. Also simmering between them is an instant and explosive sexual attraction that only adds to the mounting tension between them. However, Brant has an agenda of his own for returning to the bodyguard job, a career that he’d been made to give up after taking bullets meant for the First Lady. His seventeen-year-old son, with whom he’s never had any kind of relationship at all, lives in Dallas with his mother and stepfather, and Brant wants nothing more in the world than to start a relationship with him. Throwing roadblocks at every conciliatory attempt of his is Brant’s very bitter ex-wife who hates him for his very existence. In the meantime, the threat to Jessica’s life intensifies. Will Brant be able to save her?

Author Mary Lynn Baxter has crafted a suspenseful plot in His Touch. The plot is a good one, calling for lots of tension and suspense. For most of the book, Jessica and Brant are locked in a conflict of boundaries, with sexual currents seething just below the surface. This raises the temperature of the book, but contributes little to the story development. Since too many pages are devoted to this, it begins to feel banal after a while. The mystery is good and there are plenty of viable suspects. Also, the escalating danger is palpable and heightens the thrill factor. However when all is revealed, it turns out to be a damp squib, which is all the more disappointing because of the suspenseful build-up. The most interesting part of the story, however, isn’t the romance developing between the main protagonists, but rather the slowly mending relationship between father and son. This is very emotional and sincere and Ms. Baxter has thoughtfully detailed this gradual process. The characters are well developed and interesting. There was a lot of potential here, both in the story as well as the characters, but which the author has left untapped for some unknown reason.

Reviewed in February 2003 by Rashmi.

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