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Sunday, July 03, 2011

Bad To the Bone

A recent Twitter discussion reminded me of another favorite book: Debra Dixon's Bad to the Bone. It came out from Loveswept in 1996 and is my favorite series romance story of all time. The thing that made it so awesome to me is the risks the author took.

To briefly summarize the story: The heroine is a retired assassin. She worked through an intermediary for the CIA and this man protected her when she wanted to quit. Now the man has disappeared and his daughter calls the heroine to ask for help. The girl also called the police. The hero used to work for the Houston Police Department, but he burned out and he's now working in the small town where the missing man lives with his daughter. The hero is assigned to investigate. Do I need to mention that the h/h clash swords immediately? The heroine is all about protecting the man's daughter, the hero has his sixth sense telling him that something more is going on than he's being told.

There are so many things to love about this book. The first thing, before I even read it, was the heroine was an assassin. That's not normal series romance trope, not even today, but especially not in 1996. The execution of this story is awesome! The dialogue sizzles, the sexual tension is just short of a boil from the instant the h/h meet, neither character is a pushover, and the action was there, too. Y'all know how much I love action with my romance.

The growth arcs of the h/h are spot on, too. These two wounded characters gradually open up to each other, learn about each other, and reach a place where the reader can believe the happy ending. I can't even say enough how much I love this book.

Normally, I really don't care about autographs. It's just not my bag. But I stalked Deb Dixon at two Romance Writers of America conferences before I finally got her to sign my copy when she did a workshop for my local chapter. I'm not sure I entirely made sense as I gushed all over her, but this book is my favorite series romance book of all time and it ranks right up there with my favorite books of all time.

There might be a few places in the story where it was necessary to suspend my disbelief, but I honestly didn't care and was willing to go there without hesitation. That's how tremendous this book is.

I have a copy on my keeper/reread shelf--the highest honor possible. I also pick up it whenever I spot it at a used book store. I bet I have four or five copies now, but I want to be able to loan it out to friends and my autographed copy is not leaving my house. :-)