The Admiral's Bride
by Suzanne Brockmann, contemporary (1999)
Silhouette Intimate Moments, $4.25, ISBN 0-373-07962-1

Well, the hero may be in his fifties and she her late twenties, but no, I don't find that icky. To each his or her own, I say. If she wants an older man, go for it, gal. If he likes younger women, by all mean do so. But after rereading this book again, I still think the relationship isn't one that is on equal footing between Zoe Lange and Admiral Jake Robinson. I still think she's having a case of hero worship for him. And that sort of hinders my enjoyment of an otherwise excellent book.

Former Navy SEAL and now Admiral Jake Robinson, a man so noble and virtuous and superhuman in his goody-woodiness that he gives Superman a run for his red bikini briefs and cape, finds himself sharing personal space with the daughter of the man whose life he saved in 'Nam. A terrorist group which has seen too many David Koresh home-made videos has broken into a secret military base and stolen six canisters of Triple X (no, these are not porno tapes, they are the most lethal poisonous gas thingies ever, silly). They pose as spouses to infiltrate the terrorist/cult group, and in the process find their hormones going overdrive for each other.

It's a new thing for Jake, this rather strange attraction to a woman old enough to be his daughter. But his attraction is so well-done, his gradual love for her so realistically portrayed that no, I don't find Jake a cradle-snatcher. Besides, Jake is so noble and good that he has my profound respect and admiration. The opening prologue is one of the best ever, and this man has my vote the day he runs for World Class President. The author has a knack of portraying superheroes that somehow manage to have one foot anchored firmly on the ground, and I love these guys for their larger-than-life no-nonsense moral code and insecurities and strength and heck, they are good in bed too. Simply divine.

But Zoe... now she's the one I have problems with. She looks at Jake as if he is the Thunder God and Viagra King all at once, so much that I'm surprised stars don't shoot out from her awe-struck eyes. She has read books on Jake's exploits and even has sexual fantasies about him when she was 13 (talk about precocious, when I was 13 I wanted to be Marco Polo). She is willing to lay down on the floor and let Jake walk all over her, I bet she even believe he can walk on water. It's a case of severe idol-worship. Now, I sort of become convinced at one point that maybe she does love him - after she realized that she feels more than physical attraction for him - but soon after, she does and says things that makes me think Goo goo eyes all over again.

But the action sequences are superb. Really, I am thrilled to the core and at the edge of seat by the grand finale. This SIM has all the ingredients of an action-packed romantic blockbuster complete with explosives and helicopters and superheroes, and yes, Zoe can kick-ass in her right too! Simply superb.

It's only too bad that the romance isn't as top notch as the action. Oh well.

Rating: 69

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