Monday, June 15, 2015

Suzanne Brockmann -- Everyday, Average Jones

Suzanne Brockmann -- Everyday, Average Jones

Rated: ♥ ♥ ♥ . ♥   {3.90}
Action: ♠♠♠.♠ / Emotion: ♣♣♣.♣ / Romance: ♥♥♥.♥ / Sensuous: ♦.♦ / Suspense: ♠♠.♠
Action: 3.2 / Emotion: 3.5 / Romance: 3.2 / Sensuous: 1.3 / Suspense: 2.7  //  Laughter: 2 / Giggle: 0  //  Tears: 1 / Teary: 0

  1998 Romantic Times Best Silhouette Intimate Moments Nominee
  1998 Romantic Times Gold Medal Review
  1998 Romantic Times WISH Award for Lieutenant Harlan "Cowboy" Jones
  1998 Rising Star Award for Best Long Contemporary of the Year
  1998 RITA Finalist, Long Contemporary Category
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Setting:       unnamed Middle Eastern Country   {Chapters One and Two}
                     Appleton, Massachusetts   {Main Setting}
                     Virginia   {where Alpha Squad was stationed}
Era:             Present Day {1998}
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Having read Everyday, Average Jones eight years ago {July 13, 2007}, re-reading it brought to mind why this was not a favorite book in The Tall, Dark and Dangerous Series.   While this book showcased Suzanne Brockmann's {1} excellent storytelling skills, {2} her ability to write superb, interesting, fun dialogue, and {3} creating intriguing, well-written characters, this story just seemed to drag at times.   Although Brockmann had plenty of entertaining side story events running through the plot, the fact that the heroine, Melody Evans, was constantly rejecting the hero, U.S. Navy SEAL Lieutenant Harlan "Cowboy" Jones, Jr., got old and tiresome.

Brockmann opened the book in just the manner that works.   She gives readers (particularly those who love a good Romantic Suspense novel) exactly what they're looking for in a book.   First, we're given a dose of exciting action and suspense as SEAL Team Ten finds themselves tasked with rescuing three Americans from a terrorist-overthrown embassy somewhere in the Middle East.   Second, we're given a brief glimpse of the camaraderie that exists between the SEALs as they perform the extraction.   Third, the charming, muscled, handsome, skilled hero is introduced in all his 'saving the heroine' glory.   Fourth, the quick-thinking (disguised herself as a man), intelligent (compared to her fellow hostages), brave (facing her demise by writing a final letter to her sister), and stalwart (doesn't complain on the two-day trek through a war-torn country) heroine is revealed.   And, fourth, to top it off in a nice neat package, the hero and heroine are mutually attracted to each other . . . thus, we can expect to see some steamy romance somewhere in their future.

Brockmann starts out by creating a heroine that truly seems worthy of the adventurous, fun-loving SEAL that rescued her.   Look at the really well-written scene featuring the beginning of the understanding that developed between Cowboy and Melody as they had to deal with the stupidity of Melody's two fellow hostages, Kurt Matthews and Christopher Sterling, who were against being rescued from the unnamed terrorist group that was holding them hostage in the embassy of the unnamed country.   (Brockmann is usually much better at creating make-believe names for countries and terrorist organizations than she exhibited in this book.)

It is obvious to Cowboy, the Alpha Squad, and readers that during the intense, exciting, dangerous two-day exit from the unnamed country, that Melody had developed a psychological tie and trust in Cowboy.   By the time they made it to safety, the die was cast.   Cowboy had kissed the beautiful hostage that he'd saved and planned to meet her at her hotel after his debriefings.   Thus, it was that Cowboy and Melody then spent six days and nights together, rarely leaving their hotel room -- apparently having tons of hot, insatiable sex.

But that hot, steamy romance that explodes between Cowboy and Melody occurs off the pages of the book, somewhere in the white space at the end of Chapter Two and the beginning of Chapter Three, which happens to be seven months later.   The sensuality in the book was revealed through Cowboy's and Melody's memories about the heat and desire that flared between them during those six days they spent together.   Brockmann did a great job of giving readers that degree of sensuality required in a romance book through those remembrances . . . because the one actual on-page love scene was very understated and, literally, in the dark.

When the Alpha Squad is shipped to Virginia for a training mission, Cowboy decides to take a weekend off to pop over to Appleton, Massachusetts to visit Melody, the woman he hadn't been able to forget.   To his shock and amazement, Melody was seven months pregnant with his baby.

All About Romance featured an article written by Brockmann, entitled The Company that Sells You Series Romance, in which she discussed the fact that 'unwed mothers' and 'secret baby' books sell better than any other troupe in the Harlequin/Silhouette industry.   Maybe this works for the majority of "series" romance readers, but this unplanned pregnancy thing just does not rock my world.   What is romantic about forcing a man to marry you because he knocked you up?   Authors are always having to create scenarios that explain how the unplanned pregnancy came about.   In this case, it was especially difficult to swallow the reason for the accidental pregnancy when Melody and Cowboy joined the Mile High Club.   In just about every romance book on the market, the hero is constantly pulling a condom out of his wallet.   Why, then, in this case, were Cowboy's condom's stored in his suitcase?   Surely, this is the only time that Cowboy, who is revealed to be a ladies man, just happened to forget to stock his wallet with a condom or two because the story line needed for Melody to turn up pregnant.   Oh well, on with the story.

Brockmann did an excellent job of realistically portraying the conflicted feelings that Cowboy began experiencing after learning that their little trip into the bathroom of the 747 resulted in Melody's pregnancy.   While Cowboy was definitely still attracted to Melody, the thought of settling down with one woman for the rest of his life scared him.   Nevertheless, Cowboy planned to do the right thing and marry the mother of his child.
His relief was edged with something else.   Something sharp and pointed.   Something an awful lot like fear.   Yeah, he could take his time and make her see that marrying him was the only option.   But then where would he be?
Saddled with a wife and a baby.   Shackled with a ball and chain.   Tied down, tied up, out of circulation, out of the action.   A husband and a father.   Two roles he'd never thought he would ever be ready to play.   (Cowboy, page 136)
Melody was not oblivious to the fear that Jones was experiencing at facing impending marriage and fatherhood.   She didn't pull any punches when she addressed the issue either.
Melody saw it then.   Jones made an effort to smile as she looked up at him, but he couldn't hide the fact that he was thoroughly unnerved.   She was having his baby, and as long as he was with her, there was no way he was going to forget that.   She could see from his eyes how disconcerted he was, how unsettled he felt.   (Melody, page 124-125)

". . . don't try to pretend that the thought of marrying me doesn't scare you to death -- I know it does."
He went for the truth.   Why not?   He had nothing to lose.   "You're right," he said.   "It does frighten me.   But I've done frightening things before and come out a better man because of them."   (Cowboy and Melody, page 184)
So the reason that the story seemed to drag is that his book is all about how Cowboy camps out, literally, in Melody's back yard to try and convince her that she needs to marry him.   Melody, however, believes she can out-stubborn and outlast Cowboy because, quite honestly, she wants to marry an ordinary, 'everyday, average' guy.   And Cowboy doesn't have an ordinary, average bone in his hot, muscled body.   Melody told Cowboy that he needed to get lost, that he didn't have to worry about the baby, that she had everything figured out.   This book is the story of how Cowboy spends day after day trying to sway Melody to his way of thinking while, at the same time, Melody does everything in her power to hide from Cowboy so he can't tempt her.

It was clear as day that Melody was lying to herself about her feelings for Cowboy.   It is just not believable that a small town girl (like Melody was so diligently portrayed) has six days and nights of phenomenal sex with a hot, skilled SEAL like Cowboy, and is able to turn off her emotional connection to that man.   Particularly, since it was clear that Melody had already developed an emotional tie to Cowboy during the rescue operation.   The fact that Melody had tender feelings for Cowboy was just as obvious to readers as it was to Brittany, who pulled Cowboy aside at one point in the story to prompt him not to give up on his 'courtship' of Melody.
"She's been depressed and unhappy ever since she came back from Paris," Brittany told him.   "And she may believe with all of her heart that marrying you won't make her any happier, but I've got to tell you, today in the hospital, I watched her when she looked at you.   And for the first time in more than half a year, she actually seemed alive again.   Don't let her chase you away, Lieutenant."   (Brittany, page 98)
For some reason, the degree of romance in this book was lacking.   Yes, Brockmann was trying to unravel the layers that made up the personalities of Cowboy and Melody by letting them slowly get to know one another.   But Melody's staunch stance on not getting married, and her tendency to hide from Cowboy resulted in feelings of dislike rather than generating those romantic feelings upon which one is supposed to build a relationship.   It also seemed unfair that Cowboy had to do all the work in trying to build the relationship.   We all know that it takes two people, giving one hundred and fifty percent, to make a relationship work.   Melody gave nothing!

Brockmann follows the same pattern in Everyday, Average Jones that she established in the first three books of this series ({1} Prince Joe, {2} Forever Blue, {3} Frisco's Kid) of under-developing the personality and background story of the heroine.   All we know is that Melody is a slim, beautiful, small-town girl, who just wants to live a quiet, ordinary life.   But Brockmann does not delve into Melody's psyche to reveal to readers why this strong-willed, courageous young woman is so determined to pursue a boring lifestyle.   One can't help but assume that Melody must have had some sense of adventure in her make-up because, after all, she did apply for a job as an Administrative Assistant to a foreign embassy.   (And look where that landed her!)

More time was spent on the character development of Cowboy.   Again, because this is a shorter Harlequin "series" book, Brockmann was not able to create the depth to Cowboy's personality that she usually cultivates in her full-length, main stream novels.   Nevertheless, Brockmann peeled away the layers to reveal the man that Cowboy had became, stressing that he was, above all, a SEAL and that a SEAL never quits.   (In an aside, Brockmann never revealed Cowboy's age and because he was the newest member of the Alpha Squad, for some reason he "felt" too young to be the hero of his own book.   Especially, a hero who finds himself unexpectedly facing marriage and fatherhood.)

One thing that was particularly enjoyable in this book was that the members of the Alpha Squad spent more time on the pages of Everyday, Average Jones than in the previous three books of the series.   Brockmann was able to shine as she wrote truly entertaining, male camaraderie dialogue that flowed over the pages as the team gathered in Virginia in a Quonset Hut to prepare for a training exercise with FinCOM Agents.   Only two members of Alpha Squad were developed beyond their basic introduction.   The rest of the squad, basically, just showed up in the story to paint a picture of how this squad worked together.   The undeveloped Alpha Squad members were: {1} Bobby [Taylor], {2} Lieutenant [Carter] "Blue" McCoy, {3} [Luke] Lucky O'Donlon, and {4} Wesley "Wes" [Skelly].   Also, the former member of the squad, Alan "Frisco" Francisco, was mentioned as being included in the training session even though, sadly, he never actually appeared in the book.

Senior Chief Daryl "Harvard" "H." Becker and the newly promoted Commanding Officer, Captain Joe "Cat" Catalanotto were given more of a presence in this book.   Brockmann does a great job of giving readers a brief glimpse into the life of the hero we came to love in Prince Joe as Joe Cat is shown to be an intuitive leader, who is happily married to Veronica and has a new son named Frankie.

Harvard gets quite a bit of page time as he was thrown into the perimeter of Cowboy's and Melody's world, first as Cowboy's partner when the team split up in the unnamed country during the initial rescue operation, and second as Cowboy's go-to man to help him get time off to pursue Melody.   Harvard also showed up in Appleton to aid Cowboy in his search for a missing boy.   The scene beside the quarry when Harvard spouts his 'I'm not listening to this private conversation' spiel when Cowboy and Melody were talking was priceless.   This brief glimpse into the personality of this intelligent, supportive SEAL prompts readers to want to pick up the next book in the series, Harvard's Education.

Again, as is typical of Brockmann, she includes three fascinating secondary characters that grabbed the spotlight when they appeared on the pages of the book.   The first memorable supporting member of the cast was Brittany "Britt" Evans, Melody's sister, who was minimally developed but generated great interest.   You couldn't help but cheer for Brittany when she helped Cowboy in his pursuit of Melody.   Brittany progressed from a negative naysayer into a remarkably caring woman by the time the book ended.   (It is nice to know that Brockmann is going to tell Brittany's story in the last book of the series, Night Watch.)

The most fascinating and heart-winning supporting character was twelve year old Andrew "Andy" Marshall.   Andy was in the foster care system and was currently living with Melody's and Brittany's neighbors, Vince and Kirsty Romanella.   Melody saw beneath the tough, 'nothing can hurt me' façade to the kind, gentle boy underneath and was constantly trying to mother the stand-offish kid.   The scene between Melody and Andy sitting together, talking about being the center of the small town gossip mill, included an especially poignant event.
"He's kicking," she told Andy.   "Give me your hand -- you've got to feel this."
Andy gave her a skeptical look.
"Come on," she urged him.   "It feels so cool."
He wiped the palm of his hand on his grubby shorts before holding it out to her.   She held it down on the bulge close to her belly button just as the baby did what felt like a complete somersault.   (Melody and Andy, page 68)
Andy's personality was brought further into the light as he began to spend time with Cowboy and Cowboy began practicing his 'tough love' parenting skills on this parent-less boy.   Another memorable scene was when Cowboy decided to teach Andy a lesson about underage drinking.

Andy found himself involved in constant fights with an older boy named Alex Parks.   Alex stayed in the shadows of this book, yet he ended up being one of the loose threads left hanging when the book ended.   Brockmann set up a sequence of events involving Andy and Alex that had to do with fingerprints found in a vandalized house that she failed to clear up.   Not the fingerprints in the house, but rather why was Alex targeting Andy and did Alex ever receive his comeuppance.

And finally, Brockmann revealed her talent at character development when she created two minor secondary characters, Estelle Warner and Peggy Rogers, who showed up for one or two brief scenes to show readers what kind of busybodies Melody had to deal with in her small town.   Look at Brockmann's skill when it came to describing Estelle.
The elderly woman behind the counter at the local inn could have been a SEAL team's point man.   Cowboy could tell that she missed nothing with her shrewd, sweeping gaze.   She quickly took in his naval uniform, his perfectly shined shoes, the pile of medals that decorated his chest.   No doubt she was memorizing the color of his eyes and hair and taking a mental picture of his face -- probably for reference later when she watched Top Cops or another of those reality-based TV shows just to make sure the uniform wasn't an elaborate disguise when, in fact, he was wanted for heinous crimes in seven different states.   (Cowboy, page 93-94)
Brockmann's skill at writing excellent, purely entertaining dialogue was showcased when Peggy arrived at the scene and she and Estelle began talking about Cowboy's actions as if he weren't there.
It was odd -- the way they talked about him as if he weren't there, even as they stood staring directly at him.   (Cowboy, page 94)
Brittany burst upon the scene to interrupt Estelle's and Peggy's discussion of Cowboy (and Cowboy's amazement at the skill with which Estelle and Peggy could monitor events and conversations) to reveal how Melody dealt with the Appleton rumor mill.
". . . my little sister crashed one of Estelle Warner's Ladies' Club meetings.   The Ladies' Club is really just a cover name for Gossipers Anonymous.   . . ."
"At first I thought Melody was there to give me support, but when Hazel Parks opened the floor for new topics of discussion, Mel stood up.   She cleared her throat and said, 'I would like you all to know that I have no intention of getting married, but I am, however, two months pregnant.'"   (Brittany, page 97)
As Cowboy spent time with Melody, trying to show her that he deserved to have a place in his child's life (by being married to the child's mother) he began to describe his time with the SEALs.   Brockmann did not reveal quite as many details or define as many terms about the SEALs and their training as she did in the previous books of the series.   Nevertheless, there was enough information to let readers know that SEALs were considered the best of the best.   (And to re-emphasize to Melody that Cowboy was anything but ordinary.)

Brockmann failed to deliver that strong, tear-inducing emotional connection between readers and characters that she usually brings to her stories.   For instance, look at the scene between Cowboy and Melody at the quarry after Cowboy and Harvard returned from their well-written deep dive.   Brockmann was doing that thing that authors utilize upon occasion (and she has herself done successfully) where the reader is lead to believe that a member of the cast has died, which results in tears.   Only this time, something was wrong, not a single tear was shed because Brockmann just wasn't convincing in her mislead this time.

Some Little Things:

[While Everyday, Average Jones was not the best book on the block, ({1} story-wise and {2} heroine-wise), I still gave it high marks (3.90 stars) because of Brockmann's writing style and because Suzanne Brockmann is a favorite author, therefore, it was impossible not to want to fudge the number upward.]

A brief mention about the cover of these books.   For some reason, Harlequin/Silhouette was seriously off track when it came to creating appealing covers for The Tall, Dark and Dangerous Series of books.   The background and the couples found on the front of {1} Prince Joe and {2} Forever Blue were, quite bluntly, fake looking and unattractive.   The picture on the front of Frisco's Kid was marginally better.   Thankfully, the front of Everyday, Average Jones was the first cover to feature a more realistic looking and attractive couple.   (Despite Brockmann's words in the article mentioned above that Harlequin had put a pregnant woman on the cover of this book, the placement of the book title and author made it impossible to tell that the heroine was pregnant.)   The one thing the cover designers do did well was to create an attractive manner in which they featured two graphic boxes encasing the book title and the author's name.   This arrangement tied this series of books together nicely and made the book title and the author's name stand out in bold detail.

What did Melody call Jones during those six days of hot sex?   All though the book, it seems Melody has a difficult time calling Cowboy anything but Jones . . . and she really wants to call him Harlan.

How did Cowboy just happen to have a set of workout weights somewhere in the proximity of Melody's back yard so they could be part of his daily physical training activities?   Do SEALs have a set of workout weights conveniently nearby to take with them during their leaves?

A lot of detail was given about Cowboy's relationship with his father, Admiral Harlan Jones, Sr.   But nothing was said about the relationship he had with his unnamed mother.   Again, this is tied to the fact that Cowboy was not as well-developed a character as Brockmann usually dishes out.

In closing, Everyday, Average Jones, is not the most enjoyable book in The Tall, Dark and Dangerous Series.   Sure, Brockmann delivered when it came to giving readers a well-written story with great dialogue and characters, but the unexpected baby troupe just didn't seem to work.   Brockmann presented readers with: {1} a slightly under-developed hero, Harlan "Cowboy" Jones, who was the typical, adventurous, charming, muscled, hunky, handsome, 'never say quit' SEAL; {2} Melody Evans, a frustrating, almost totally unlikeable heroine; {3} a presentation of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad in action; {4} a few exciting action scenes; {5} a minimal degree of suspense; {6} the lack of a strong emotional connection between reader and the protagonists, even though there were tearful and laugh out loud moments; {7} the romance building between Cowboy and Melody was lackluster because of the prolonged rejections; {8} a different degree of sensuality was presented as most of the love scenes were delivered as memories; {9} the story was enriched by the appearance of well-written, intriguing secondary characters; namely, {a} Brittany "Britt" Evans, {b} Andrew "Andy" Marshall, {c} Estelle Warner, and {d} Peggy Rogers; and {10} the appearance of the members of Alpha Squad in all their male camaraderie-type interactions: {a} Captain Joe "Cat" Catalanotto; {b} Lieutenant [Carter] "Blue" McCoy; {c} Senior Chief Daryl "Harvard" Becker; {d} [Luke] Lucky O'Donlon; {e} Wesley "Wes" [Skelly]; and {f} Bobby [Taylor].   The only reason this book remains on my 'To Be Re-Read' List is because it is part of Suzanne Brockmann's Tall, Dark and Dangerous Series . . . and the series is re-readable.
--Vonda M. Reid (Sunday, June 14, 2015 : 8:49 p.m.)     [373]

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Reviews Found On Good Reads That Describe Certain Aspects of This Book That I Missed

Cute little romance novel.   Leaves you wondering though . . . Do Navy SEALS take their dress whites Everywhere with them?   "Gee, I'm going to an unnamed country to rescue hostages, better take my dress whites!" or "Going to go see a girl I had relations with and want to get lucky, better take dress whites!"   (I figure there must be a top secret government laundry bag in there somewhere to keep those uniforms white and unwrinkled!)
--Genny Moore (May 30, 2013)   (★★★☆☆)

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You know when you read a book and there is just that something about it that just doesn't work, but you can't exactly put into words what that something is.   Well, with this review, Cherie did a great job of revealing exactly what that something was in this book.

This book was such a disappointment.   It started out great and exciting.   The hero is a Navy SEAL.   The heroine seemed smart and strong, up to the task of being equal partners with a Navy Seal built like a Greek god.   That's how it started . . .

It deteriorated to not only a secret baby plot, but also a paranormal book apparently as Melody (the heroine) was apparently able to read the heroes thoughts, feelings, and true motivations, no matter what he said (yeah, major eye roll).   I didn't mind the secret baby plot device so much, as I've seen it done well in other books before.   However in this book it grew to hair-pulling out, banging your head against the wall, throwing the book across the room proportions.   So let's hash it out. . . .

So Melody is pregnant with Cowboy's baby after he rescues her from the Middle East.   Melody goes to the local gossip meal meeting and announces it to them, but doesn't even bother to give the father a heads up?   Really??   She had built it up in her mind that he wouldn't want the baby.   Wouldn't want her (even though he wanted to have a relationship with her and she broke it off).   She had it built up in her mind that he only wanted to do the right thing by her out of some unmentioned code, and not out of a desire to get to know their child and be in that child's life.   No matter what HE said, she was sure she knew his mind better than him.   I cannot tell you how aggravating that merry-go-round of illogic became.   I honestly didn't mind so much that she didn't want to marry him the minute he showed up.   I would have been annoyed if she had caved so easily, but for her NOT to be willing to come up with some kind of compromise with him really was just selfish (and illegal, father's have parental rights too!)

Really the last straw for me was during a life or death situation mid-way through the book, during which Cowboy ordered Melody to safety, twice!!!   While she just stood there.   Now, ok, I will make room for the possibility that she was frozen by fear although that is not what we saw of her when they were in the Middle East.   So afterwards he yells at her for not doing what she was told, and rightly so, clearly he was afraid for her.   She instead has the nerve to lash out at him for ordering her around!   Really??   He told her to go to safety but he's the bad guy?!   And HE apologizes!!   ugh!!   After that point in the book, I flipped quickly through the rest of the book just to get to see how things would end with Andy (the kid in the book).

I have to say this one wasn't worth the read.   Cowboy was practically a dream come true.   Melody was a complete nightmare.
--Cherie (Oct 14, 2013)   (★★☆☆☆)

Books In The Series: "The Tall, Dark and Dangerous Series" // Members of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad
# Date Title Hero Heroine
01.06-1996Prince JoeLieutenant Joseph "Joe" Paulo "Cat" Catalanotto: CommanderVeronica St. John: Professional Image and Media Consultant
02.10-1996Forever BlueLieutenant Carter "Blue" McCoy: Executive CommanderLucy Tait: Hatboro Creek Police Officer
03.01-1997Frisco's KidLieutenant Alan "Frisco" Francisco: U.S. Navy Retired SEALMia Summerton: Tenth Grade U.S. History Teacher
04.08-1998Everyday, Average JoeLieutenant Harlan "Cowboy" Jones: Alpha Squad SEAL Melody Evans: Administrative Assistant
05.10-1998Harvard's EducationEnsign Daryl "Harvard" Becker: Alpha Squad SEAL P.J. Richards: FInCOM Antiterrorist Team
06.12-1998It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
aka: Hawken's Heart
Lieutenant William R. "Crash" Hawken: Nell Burns: Daisy Owen's Personal Assistant
07.11-1999The Admiral's BrideAdmiral Jake Robinson: Dr. Zoe Lange:
08.01-2000Identity: UnknownMitchell Shaw: Becca Keyes: worked at Lazy Eight Ranch
09.03-2000Get LuckyLieutenant Luke "Lucky" O'Donlon: Alpha Squad SEAL Sydney Jameson: Journalist
10.07-2001Taylor's TemptationChief Bobby Taylor: Alpha Squad SEAL Colleen Mary Skelly: Wes's Sister
11.09-2003Night Watch
aka: Wild Wild Wes
Chief Wes Skelly: Alpha Squad SEAL Brittany Evans: Single Mother

Characters Found In "Everyday, Average Jones"
Character Description
Harlan "Cowboy" Jones [Jr.][Hero] Ensign; member of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad (10) currently O-1 pay level; gifted at interpreting information (11) didn't have a little sister (12) had the greenest eyes Melody had ever seen (14) smile lit his entire face and made his eyes sparkle; soft western drawl (15) over the past few years, he had learned to use his fear to hone his senses, to keep him alert; always gave a 150% or more; had learned to hide his fear (18) looked like a bigger, beefier, much younger version of Kevin Costner; a smile that could melt hearts as well as bolster failing courage (19) relaxed and charming in a war zone (21) made jokes, even at the most serious of times (25) notorious lady killer (26) from Texas (29) father was career Navy, moved around a lot as a child (31) rode the rodeo circuit for a year after high school to irritate his father; entered the SEAL program to tick off his father and to show his father that he could do something better than him (32) one of his specialties was psychology (33) Harvard called him Junior; Joe Cat called him kid (34) he showed up at BUD/S wearing an enormous rodeo ring and a cowboy hat (35) had been a SEAL for 6 years (36) he never shied away from taking out the enemy but he never liked it (38) promoted to Lieutenant (50) was amazing; could do anything, pilot a plane, bandage feet, cut his sandals down to fit Melody; spoke four different languages; knew how to scuba dive and skydive; could move through the center of an enemy compound without being seen; smarter and braver and sexier than any man Melody had ever known (53) exceptionally tall, exceptionally broad-shouldered; sunlight gleamed off sun-streaked brown hair that was pulled back into a ponytail at the nape of his neck (70) soft hair was rich and gleamingly golden brown; freed from its restraint, it would hang wavy and thick around his face, making him look like one of those exotic man who graced the covers of historical romances; five thousand watt smile (79) had 13 medals on his dress whites (88) good-time, pleasure-seeking, no-strings disposition; strong sense of responsibility (92) action and adventure were his middle names (93) he liked things that went fast and spent his money accordingly (111) impossibly polite; seems very sweet; has excellent taste in jewelry; built like a Greek statue (122) looked dangerous, hard, and incredibly, mind-blowingly sexy (123) little plaques of brown and gold loading in the always changing green ocean of his eyes (124) astute when it came to reading Melody's needs (125) sun glistened off his tanned skin, gleamed off his gold-streaked hair; didn't know what it meant to quit (127) patient with Andy (131) doesn't like it when things were out of his control (152) nice hands, strong and capable looking (166) watched Melody closely, paid careful attention, as if what she had told him was the most important piece of news in the universe; being the center of his tight focus of all his intensity was somewhat overwhelming (167) ran away from home often as a kid (204) he was good at what he did; he had the strength and the willpower to keep his word, no matter how hard (220)
Melody "Mel" Evans[Heroine] accepted job of administrative assistant to the American ambassador to a Middle Eastern country; 25-y-o (8) young looking; blue eyes; wavy blond hair that tumbled down her back; a country-fresh slightly shy smile and sweet face that reminded the Alpha Squad of their little sisters (12) could have been the poster model for the All-American girl (13) tall and slender with a body that was trim in some places, soft in others; her face was pretty despite her lack of makeup; had a small nose, a mouth that looked incredibly soft and crystal blue eyes surrounded by thick, dark lashes; clear intelligence shown in those eyes (16) a smart woman who didn't suffer fools; strong; courageous, able to stand up for what she believed in; could play devil's advocate (17) ocean blue eyes (18) extremely nice feet, long and slender (31) slender neck; pretty face (34) baby due just in time for Christmas (47) face shaped delicately; long, graceful neck; gorgeous; make-up highlighted her natural beauty (59) working full time as AA for town attorney (61) baby due December 1 (76) liked to read Historical Romances (79) trail of freckles across her nose and cheeks; her pregnancy had added a lushness to her body, a womanly fullness to breasts and hips that had been almost boyishly slender before; even her face was fuller, less little-girl cute and more grown -woman beautiful (89) liked the hectic busyness of her job (121) beautiful; golden hair cascaded around her shoulders; arms were lightly tanned and slender (154) father died the summer she was sixteen; wasn't close to father (155) without any makeup on, she looked fresh and sweet -- barely old enough to babysit, let alone have a baby of her own; gorgeous lips, full and red even without the help of cosmetics (184) point-blank honesty; gentle kindness; fiercely supported her sister (233)
. . .. . .
Mrs. Beatrice[No Appearance] Appleton librarian (48) wife to Tom Beatrice (49)
Tom Beatrice[Rare Appearances] Mrs. Beatrice's husband (49) caught Andy Marshall outside the liquor store on Summer Street (131) Appleton chief of police (132)
Tommy [Beatrice][No Appearance] Mrs. Beatrice's son (49)
Daryl "H." "Harvard" Becker[Secondary Character] [Book 5 : Harvard's Education] Senior Chief; member of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad; deep voice dry with humor (13) big black man; taller than Cowboy (19) grew up in south shore of Hingham, Massachusetts; his family still lived there except for those who had gone off to college; littlest sister heading out to college in September; attended Harvard; sympathetic brown eyes (36) could debate an issue into minute detail for hours at a time (91) rich bass voice; never missed a thing, no matter how subtle the comment (119) towering over everyone; shaved head gleamed exotically in the sunlight (188) well-muscled body (197)
Brenda[No Appearance] worked at the hospital with Brittany; called in sick with the flu (134)
Frankie [Catalanotto][No Appearance] Joe and Veronica's son; 1-y-o (57)
[Joseph] "Joe" [Paulo] "Cat" Catalanotto[Secondary Character] [Book 1 : Prince Joe] Captain; commander of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad; flat New York accent (10) had a wagonload of experience that Cowboy couldn't compete with; promoted to O-6 pay level; the kind of leader who took note of his team's individual strengths and used each man to his full ability and beyond (11) married (37) dark hair (119) had a way of looking at a man that made you feel as if he could see clear through all the bull and camouflage to the heart and soul that lay beneath (238)
Veronica ["Ronnie" St. John Catalanotto][No Appearance] [Book 1 : Prince Joe] Joe's wife (57)
Abigail Cloutier[One Appearance] taught Lamaze classes; had a waiting list a mile long (211)
Janette Dennison[One Appearance] in Melody's Lamaze class; one of Melody's high school friends; pregnant with her fourth child (215)
Brittany "Britt" Evans[Secondary Character] [Book 11 : Night Watch] Melody's older sister; had always been the adventurous one; nearly nine years older than Melody; patient; kind (8) after nearly 10 years of marriage she had filed for divorce and moved in with Melody (46) a nurse (48) volatile temper (67) her eyes were a different shade of blue from Mel's; her face was sharper, more angular, but it was clear the two women were closely related (76) ever since her divorce , she had been more likely to focus on the negative instead of the positive; when Andy was around she started laughing; musical laughter; she may have complained about Andy but she gave him his own screen name on her computer account and let him use it even while she was doing the evening or night shift at work (163) working long hours at the hospital because of flu running rampant (164) blond hair (212)
[Mr. Evans][No Appearance] Melody's and Brittany's father; he died the summer Melody was 16; wasn't close to daughter; an investment broker; worked 7 days a week, 18 hours a day (155)
[Mrs. Evans __][No Appearance] Melody's mother; had met a very nice, wealthy man; had remarried, packed up our bags and moved to Florida, leaving Mel to take care of the sale of the house (46)
Admiral [Michael] "Mac" Forrest[No Appearance] Joe Cat's admiral pal; asked him to get Frisco assigned to training mission (55)
Hank Forsythe[One Appearance] in Melody's Lamaze class; owner of local gym; Jones was bigger than him (215)
Sandy Forsythe[One Appearance] in Melody's Lamaze class; Hank's wife; pregnant with first child (215)
Isaac Forte[One Appearance] was clerking at Honey Farms when Melody and Jones stopped by to get something to eat; pale, gaunt face; painfully thin, almost skeletal frame, he reminded Melody of a vampire (169) had his problems; since Melody had become a frequent customers, she had come to know him rather well (170)
Alan "Frisco" Francisco[No Appearance] [Book 3 : Frisco's Kid] Lieutenant; one of the top BUD/S training instructors; Joe Cat pulled strings to get him assigned to training mission in Virginia with the Alpha Squad; former member of Alpha Squad who had been pulled off the active duty list with a knee injury more than 5-y-a; Cowboy had been filling in for a missing member of the squad when Frisco had been injured (55) Cowboy had been assigned to Alpha Squad when it was determined his injury was permanent; missed being in action (56)
Harry Glenzen[One Appearance] one of the original Glenzen brothers' great-great-grandson's; at Melody's home when she arrived home from work; hanging plywood to the frame of what used to be Melody's dining room window (46)
Uncle Harold[No Appearance] Cowboy's mother's uncle; sold cars (139)
William [R.] "Crash" Hawk [Hawken][No Appearance] [Book 6 : Hawken's Heart] Cowboy's swim buddy; Melody met him when she was in Paris with Cowboy; was not a member of Alpha Squad, nor SEAL Team Ten; Cowboy hadn't been absolutely certain where the SEAL he'd called his best friend back in BUD/S training was now assigned; except for the accidental meeting it had been years since they'd seen each other, but the ongoing mutual trust and respect between the two men had been obvious (80) doesn't drink because of the lesson his uncle taught him regarding liquor (138)
Joe Hewlitt[No Appearance] worked at the Sunoco gas station in Appleton (131)
Harlan Jones, [Sr][No Appearance] Cowboy's father; career Navy; just made full admiral; stationed in DC (31) had been by-the-book Navy; a perfectionist; harsh; demanding; cold; had run his family the same way he'd commanded his ships, which to both his young son and his wife, left much to be desired; smart; manipulated Cowboy into joining the Navy; wanted Cowboy to go to college after high school and then into the U.S. Navy's officer's program; when he was younger, he had gotten into the BUD/S program and went through the training to become a SEAL; he was one of the 85% who couldn't cut it; he was flushed out of the program, he wasn't tough enough; he appeared to carry around a great big grudge against the SEAL units; crafty; broke down and cried tears of joy and pride the day Cowboy got his Budweiser (32) Cowboy had rarely seen him smile let alone weep; turned out that by joining the SEALs, Cowboy had put himself exactly where he wanted his son to be; he didn't hate the SEAL units, he admired and respected them; he wanted Cowboy to know what it felt like to achieve his potential and to be one of them (33) had been a dismal failure in showing his son he cared; a by-the-book U.S. Navy Admiral; a perfectionist; harsh; demanding; cold; with the exception of Cowboy's joining the SEALs, he was never happy about anything Cowboy ever did (92) after moved to Texas, he was hardly ever home (138)
Tyler JonesCowboy's and Melody's baby boy (251)
Barney Kingman[One Appearance] at Melody's home when she arrived home from work; hanging plywood to the frame of what used to be Melody's dining room window (46)
Andrew "Andy" Marshall[Major Secondary Character] little juvenile delinquent threw a baseball through the dining room window; caused chaos ever since the Romanellas took him in; a great big behavior problem (47) fighting with two boys who had to be at least three years older and a foot and a half taller than he was (64) his knees and elbows were raw, his nose was bleeding pretty steadily; he had a scrape on his cheek underneath his left eye, and his lip was already swollen and split; his brown hair was messy and cluttered with dirt and bits of grass; his T-shirt was bloody and torn; he'd had the wind knocked out of him; tears of pain and humiliation filled his eyes; wouldn't let Melody touch him (65) kid from the big, bad city who blows up lawnmowers; he was James Dean and Marlon Brando rolled into one with this heavy-lidded eyes and curled lip; concealed all of his pain and angry tears behind a 'who cares' façade (66) skinny for a 12-year-old, just a narrow slip of a little boy; his injuries from the fight -- and probably from the battles he had been fighting all of his life -- went far deeper than a split lip, a bloody nose a few scrapes and scratches; although he may have looked like a child, his attitude was pure jaded adolescent (67) crooked front teeth, one of which was endearingly chipped; underneath the tough-guy exterior he was a good kid (68) father was in the Army; the only thing he had of his father's was his watch (103) hanging around with Cowboy as he worked in the yard (131) starved for affection and attention; had a sweet, caring soul deep inside (132) had been spending a great deal of time at the house working or playing with Britt on the computer; after Jones's tough love 'Drinking 101' lesson, he was acting more like a 12-y-o boy than a 23-y-o ex-con (162) a nice kid , despite his bad reputation; had a natural charm and a genuine sense of humor (164)
David Marshall[No Appearance] Andy's biological father; private at Plainfield, New Hampshire Army base; had a rap sheet a mile long, filled with unsavory charges including sexual harassment and use of excessive violence in dealing with civilians (203)
Kurt Matthews[One Appearance] acerbic voice; dripped scorn (8) one of the hostages being held in embassy with Melody (12)
[Carter] "Blue" McCoy[Brief Appearances] [Book 2 : Forever Blue] Lieutenant; member of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad; team's point man; Joe Cat's second in command; south-of-the-Mason-Dixon-line voice (13) shorter than Cowboy; blond hair (24) married (37) XO (161)
Betty McCreedy[No Appearance] worked at the hospital with Brittany; was going to help cover a shift when Brenda and Sharon called in sick (134)
Edie Myerson[No Appearance] worked at the hospital with Brittany; called Brittany to come in when Brenda and Sharon called in sick (134)
[Luke] "Lucky" O'Donlon[Brief Appearances] [Book 9 : Get Lucky] member of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad (14) quick to turn anything and everything into a joke; blond hair (58)
Alex Parks[Brief Appearances] one of the two boys fighting with Andy Marshall in school yard; savagely backhanded Andy before running away from Melody (65) always fighting with Andy; a freshman or sophomore (137)
Hazel Parks[No Appearance] attended the Ladies' Club meeting; opened the floor for new business (97)
Quentin[No Appearance] Brittany's ex-husband (46)
Peggy Rogers[Rare Appearances] behind the counter at the local inn; elderly; short; round; talked about Cowboy as if he weren't there, even as she stood staring directly at him (94) could probably teach the staff at NAVINTEL a thing or two about information gathering (96)
Kirsty Romanella[No Appearance] took in Andy Marshall (47) Melody's next door neighbor (65)
Vince Romanella[No Appearance] took in Andy Marshall (47) Melody's next door neighbor (65) might have looked like the kind of guy who would react with one of his big, beefy fists rather than think things through, but in the three years he and his wife had been foster parents, he'd never raised a hand to a child; would subject Andy to a trip to his bedroom tonight, where he would sit alone, writing a five-page essay on nonviolent alternatives to fighting (70)
Sharon[No Appearance] worked at the hospital with Brittany; called in sick with the flu (134)
Hannah Shelton[No Appearance] informed Peggy that Cowboy had bought a ring at Front Street Jewelers (94)
Ted Shepherd[No Appearance] Melody's boss; town attorney; running for state representative (61) had a thing for Melody (209) average brown eyes (237)
Wesley "Wes" [Skelly][Brief Appearances] [Book 11 : Night Watch] member of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad (14) shortest member of Alpha Squad; Bobby's swim buddy (59)
Christopher "Chris" Sterling[One Appearance] one of the hostages being held in embassy with Melody (12)
Bobby ["Bob" Taylor][Brief Appearances] [Book 10 : Taylor's Temptation] member of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad (11) Wes's swim buddy; built like a restaurant refrigerator (59)
Kevin Thorpe[No Appearance] Andy Marshall gave him ten bucks to buy him a six-pack of beer and cigarettes (131)
Estelle Warner[Brief Appearances] elderly woman behind the counter at the local inn; missed nothing with her shrewd, sweeping gaze, no doubt memorizing the color of his eyes and hair and taking a mental picture of his face, probably for reference later when she watched Top Cops or another of those reality-based TV shows just to make sure the uniform wasn't an elaborate disguise when in fact he was wanted for heinous crimes in seven different states; tall; narrow; stern face (94) dour faced (95) hawklike nose (96) held a ladies club meeting (97)

Locations, Organizations, Terms Found In "Everyday, Average Jones"
Location / Organization Description
Appleton, Massachusetts[Book Setting] where Melody and Brittany grew up; charming New England town (8) West and a little north of Boston (36) a perfect little new England town, complete with eighteenth-century clapboard houses that surrounded a picture-perfect, rectangular-shaped common; the common was covered with thick green grass and crisscrossed with sidewalks; benches and stately trees were scattered here and there; town had a gossip network like you wouldn't believe; had the highest busybody per capita ratio in the entire state (96) fairly conservative community (217)
Audubon Bird Refugewhere Melody's volunteers (106)
Barrow, Alaskawhere Alpha Squad was being sent (119)
Bostonnear Appleton (36)
BUD/Sthe training program for seal wanna-be's (35)
Budweiserthe SEAL pin (33)
Congregational Churchwhere Melody attended Sunday services (100) last year matched Hetterman's Orchards' $500 scholarship (167)
Connecticut Roadthe street on which the convenience store was located (165)
FinCOMagents being sent down from D.C. to learn as much as they could of SEAL Team Ten's successful counterterrorist operations; called Finks (55)
First City Banklast year matched Hetterman's Orchards' $500 scholarship (167)
Fort Worth, TexasCowboy's family moved there when he was 12-y-o (31)
Front Street Jewelerswhere Cowboy bought ring for Melody (94)
Glenzen Brothers Hardwarelast year matched Hetterman's Orchards' $500 scholarship (167)
Hetterman's Orchardssponsored a charity apple picking after church; had always had a problem hiring temporary help to pick the last of the apples; it was a self-service farm and people come out from the city all season long to pick their own apples, but there's always a lot left over; about seven years ago, they made a deal with one of the local Girl Scout troops; if the girls could get 20 people to come out to pick apples for a day, Hetterman's promised to award one of the high school kids a $500 scholarship; the girls outdid themselves, they got 100 people to come and got the job done in about three hours instead of an entire day; and the seven years since, it's become a town tradition (167)
Hingham, Massachusettsthe town in which Harvard grew up (36)
Honey Farmsthe convenience store on Connecticut Road; Melody nicknamed it 'the criminal' because the prices they charged were criminal (165) depressingly bleak little store (169)
Huntington Streetstreet Melody was driving on when saw Andy Marshall fighting in school yard (64)
Ladies' Clubheaded by Estelle Warner; was really just a cover name for Gossipers Anonymous; Melody crashed a meeting to announce her pregnancy (97)
Marchthe month in which Melody found herself a hostage of terrorists (9) {time frame for Chapters One and Two}
Marriottwhere the FinCOM agents were going to be staying during the training (57)
Octoberseven months after the book opened, the start of Chapter Three (46)
Pariswhere Cowboy and Melody spent 3 days together (51)
Plainfield, New Hampshirewhere David Marshall was stationed; wasn't any kind of cushy silver-bullet assignment; men were assigned to Plainfield as a punishment just short of a jail sentence (203)
Route 119 and Hollow Roadwhere Melody had to stop on the way home to throw up (45)
Sarasota, Floridawhere Melody's and Brittany's mother lived with her new husband (47)
SEALstands for Sea, Air and Land; they learn to operate effectively in all those environments; the military equivalent of a triathlon (37) only the strongest, toughest and smartest men get on the SEAL Teams; SEAL training is tough, most guys don't have what it takes and they end up dropping out of the program (102) trained to adapt to any environment and culture (127)
SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squadmembers: {1} Ensign Harlan "Cowboy" Jones; {2} Captain Joe "Cat" Catalanotto, commanding officer (10) {3} Bobby [Taylor] (11) {4} Lieutenant [Carter] "Blue" McCoy; {5} Senior Chief Daryl "Harvard" Becker (13) {6} [Luke] Lucky O'Donlon; {7} Wesley "Wes" [Skelly] (14) an elite seven-member team (56)
Summer Streetthe street on which the liquor store was located (131)
Sycamore Streetwhere new housing development was being built (78)
tangosSEAL slang for terrorists (10)
Virginiawhere Cowboy was going to be stationed for a couple of months (50)
Virginia Beachwhere Cowboy's power boat was docked (111)
Western Barwhere Bobby and Wes went the night before and met a couple of girls (117)
unnamedgroup of terrorists that were holding Melody Evans, Kurt Matthews, and Chris Sterling hostage in the embassy; group of terrorists who weren't known for their humanitarian treatment of hostages; record of torture and abuse was well documented; intense hatred of all things American (13)

"Everyday, Average Jones" Quotations
18"They don't send us in, Melody," he said, talking directly to her, "unless they're desperate."   (Cowboy)
27The danger added the tremendous responsibility of preserving another's life and multiplied by a very natural and honest sexual attraction sometimes resulted in an emotional response above and beyond the norm.   (Cowboy)
37"It takes a strong man to become a SEAL," Harvard told her quietly.   "And it takes any even stronger woman to love that man."   (Harvard)
66"Between the two of us, we've got the gossips working full-time, haven't we?"   (Melody)
88"You don't need me."   Cowboy repeated Melody's words.   "You don't want me.   You've got it all figured out.   You and you alone can give this baby be everything he or she needs.   Except you're wrong.   Without me, you can't give this child legitimacy.   And you can't be his father."   (Cowboy)
91"Sometimes, Mel," he started slowly, hesitantly, "you've got to take what life dishes out.   And sometimes that it's real different from what you hoped for or what you expected."   (Cowboy)
102"Is it really that tough -- you know, the training?"
"It's insane," Jones said.   "But you know what I learned from doing it?"
"I can do anything."   Jones paused and Melody could picture his smile.   "There's no job that's too tough.   There's no task that's impossible.   If I can't climb over it, I'll swim around it.   If I can't swim around it, I'll blow the damn thing up and wade through the rubble."   (Cowboy)
102Jones had already done the very same thing to her life.   He'd blown it up and now was wading through the rubble.   (Melody)
107"I don't want to be married to someone like you.   I want to find a boring, regular, average, normal man."   (Melody)
110marriage did need more than sex and physical attraction to make it work.   Growing up in a household filled with arguments, anger and tension could well be worse than growing up in a household without a father.   (Cowboy)
159"it's hard to like yourself when one of the two most important people in your life deserts you."   (Cowboy)
160"And it's hard as hell to get ahead when you don't like yourself very much."   (Cowboy)
182"I was scared I'd lose you, Mel," he said.   "That night -- I shouted at you because I was more scared than I've ever been in my life.   It was wrong, but so's not letting me apologize."   (Cowboy)
184"Best thing to do is face your fear.   Learn all you can about it.   Then learn to live with it.   Knowledge goes a long way when it comes to declawing even the scariest monsters."   (Cowboy)
190She knew him quite well, she realized.   Over the past few weeks, despite her attempts to keep her distance, she'd come to know this man's vast repertoire of minutely different smiles -- what they meant, how they broadcast exactly how and what he was feeling.   She'd come to know his silences, too.   And she had a firsthand look at his method of dealing with fear.   (Melody)
198"One step forward, two steps back," Jones said softly, almost as if he was talking to himself, almost if he was able to read her mind.   "This is your game, honey.   You make up the rules and I'll follow them."   (Cowboy)
200"It's hard to trust someone unconditionally,"she told him.   "Even the most powerful trust has its limits.   I should know."   She forced herself to look at him, to meet his eyes.   "I would -- and I did -- trust you with my life.   But I found myself unable to trust you with my heart.   I expected you to hurt me and I couldn't get past that."   (Melody)

"Suzanne Brockmann -- Everyday, Average Jones" Review and Information Links
Rated Posted Site Notes, Comments, Etc.
----Suzanne Brockmann's WebsiteAuthor
----Suzanne Brockmann's FacebookAuthor
----Suzanne Brockmann's TwitterAuthor
. . . . . . . . .. . .
----Books Series In OrderList of Suzanne Brockmann's Books
----Fantastic FictionList of Suzanne Brockmann's Books
----Fict FactList of Books In The "Tall, Dark and Dangerous" Series
----Fiction DBList of Suzanne Brockmann's Books
. . . . . . . . .. . .
4.5002-....-2004A Romance Review--Mary / very brief, simplistic
B / Subtle07-25-1998All About Romance--Ellen Micheletti // great review
Interview02-19-2001All About Romance--Claudia Terrones / A Chat With SB // personal details, really interesting
Write ByteAll About RomanceSuzanne Brockmann discusses "What's it All About, Alpha?"
Write Byte04-15-2002All About RomanceSuzanne Brockmann discusses "The Company that Sells You Series Romance"
4.0 average47 reviewsAmazonas of: June 14, 2015
4.0 average44 ratingsBarnes & Nobleas of: June 14, 2015
7 out of 1002-22-2007Bookabulary--Kookie // very good, brief review {gr25}
3.0005-25-2011Buggy's Book Blog--Buggy // excellent, spot on review {gr8}
If You Like07-28-2008Dear Author--Dr. Sarah Frantz / Excellent, Excellent, Excellent Article
3.90 average3,047 ratingsGood Readsas of: June 14, 2015
3.0010-14-2013Good Reads // Buggysee: Buggy's Book Blog / read excellent comments here
4.0001-11-2012Good Reads // Sandylove the "library" quote
3.0004-30-2012Good Reads // Monique Atgoodliked the unique interpretation on the story / excellent quotes
2.0010-14-2013Good Reads // Cheriegreat job of detailing what didn't work in this story
3.85 average95 ratingsLibrary Thingas of: June 14, 2015
--10-xx-2001My Shelf--Renee Wampler // Interview with Suzanne Brockmann
4.1 average171 ratingsPaperback Swapas of: June 14, 2015
Interview--RBL Presentsolder, lengthy interview with Suzanne Brockmann
4.5 / Top Pick--Romantic Times Book Reviews--Melinda Helfer // PR Review
3.29 average7 ratingsShelfarias of: June 14, 2015
3.9006-15-2015Wolf Bear Does Booksshorter post on Amazon, Fiction DB, Good Reads, Library Thing, Shelfari

♥   Disclaimer:   I Purchased This Book
♥   Very Subjective Rating (my enjoyment of a book depends on what else is going on in my life, my moods, etc.)
♣   Will add your Everyday, Average Jones review link to table, just ask
♣   Preparing this post took approximately Thirteen Hours and Forty-Eight Minutes

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Suzanne Brockmann -- Frisco's Kid

Suzanne Brockmann -- Frisco's Kid

Rated: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ . ♥   {4.55}
Action: ♠♠.♠ / Emotion: ♣♣♣♣.♣ / Romance: ♥♥♥♥.♥ / Sensuous: ♦.♦ / Suspense: ♠♠.♠
Action: 2.7 / Emotion: 4.1 / Romance: 4.6 / Sensuous: 1.8 / Suspense: 2.9  //  Laughter: 2 / Giggle: 2  //  Tears: 6 / Teary: 0

  Romantic Times WISH Award for LT. Alan "Frisco" Francisco
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Setting:       San Felipe, California
Era:             Present Day {1997}
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Since Suzanne Brockmann is a favorite author, it was not surprising that Frisco's Kid, the third book in The Tall, Dark and Dangerous Series was a one-sitting, enjoyable, enthralling, entertaining re-read.   Because Frisco's Kid is a Harlequin "series" book, it lacked the depth and development of a main stream novel.   However, Brockmann was still able to draw readers into a story of how Mia Summerton, a teacher of tenth grade U.S. History, was able to help her next door neighbor, Alan "Frisco" Francisco, the injured member of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad, come to a place of acceptance.   Frisco's Kid features {1} the romance and {2} the emotional connection that developed between Frisco and Mia, but it is definitely not a book filled with exciting action scenes and 'edge of your seat' suspense that one might attribute to a book featuring a Navy SEAL.

The notes in the back of the book indicate that the first time I read this book {July 12, 2007}, it was very, very likeable and was added to my 'To Be Re-Read' List.   Back before starting this blog, it was so easy to pick up a book, read it with nothing more on my mind than enjoying a good story.   But now, with the mindset of writing a review and posting a blog entry, when re-reading Frisco's Kid, some of the reading enjoyment was stolen because now my mind was cluttered with details.   Rather than just reading this book because 'I Love To Read,' I was paying closer attention to things like: {1} were the characters' personalities richly developed, {2} was the dialogue well-written and entertaining, {3} was there a lot of action, {4} was there a degree of suspense, {5} was the sensuality spicy, {6} was there an emotional connection between the reader and the characters, and {7} was the story enjoyable?

Having read the first two books in The Tall, Dark and Dangerous Series, ({1} Prince Joe and {2} Forever Blue) in which Frisco's personality and injury had been introduced, it was easy to open Frisco's Kid with great enthusiasm to see how Brockmann was going to reveal how Alan "Frisco" Francisco was dealing with {1} his knee injury, and {2} the loss of his place on the roster of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad.   Not only did Brockmann expose the heart and mind of how Frisco was dealing with these two intertwined and devastating events in his life, but she had readers crying copious tears right along with Frisco.

This book opened five years after Frisco was shot in the leg during a search-and-rescue counter-terrorist operation in Baghdad.   (This mission was detailed in the prologue of Prince Joe.)   During the past five years Frisco had been in and out of VA Hospitals and Rehabilitation Centers trying to find a way to fix his leg so that he could rejoin his Alpha Squad.   But while Frisco had endured excruciating pain and therapy, the most he could do was walk with a limp and a cane because his knee could not support his full weight or be fully extended.

Brockmann detailed Frisco's total and complete devastation when Captain Steve Horowitz, Frisco's doctor, told him that he was releasing Frisco from the Rehabilitation Center because there was nothing more that could be done to fix Frisco's knee.   In fact, Captain Horowitz reprimanded Frisco because he was over-working the knee, which was making it worse instead of better.   The picture Brockmann painted of Frisco's stubborn and grim determination to be fit enough to re-join his Alpha Squad was enhanced as she inserted Lieutenant Joe "Cat" Catalanotto, Frisco's commanding officer, into the picture, trying to offer support to Frisco, suggesting that Frisco accept his disability and apply to be a teacher in the SEAL program.
Two more hours, and he'd have to pack up his things and leave.   Two more hours, and he wouldn't be a Navy SEAL, temporarily retired, temporarily off the active duty list, recovering from a serious injury.   In two hours, he'd be former Navy SEAL Lt. Alan Francisco.   In two hours, he'd be a civilian, permanently retired, with nowhere to go, nothing to do.   (Frisco, page 15)
One thing that has become obvious while reading these first three books of The Tall, Dark and Dangerous Series is that Brockmann has concentrated her character development on the hero (the SEAL) in each book and left the heroine's background and personality evolution in the shadows.   The heroine is not the star of the show, rather she is there to support the hero on his journey to becoming a better man, to finding his happily-ever-after.

Mia Summerton is a well-adjusted, strong-willed, more-than-capable heroine.   In fact, because of her compassionate nature and her belief that a person, be he a street-wise, smart-mouthed student, or a sullen, angry, bitter, recently retired Navy SEAL, responds better to positive reinforcement than trying to browbeat them into shape with haranguing lectures.   She is the perfect woman to help Frisco reach a point of acceptance in his life.   And to give him that fairy-tale ending that is a necessary requirement to a romance novel.

The book is obviously taking place during the summer months because Mia, a teacher, never has to go to work.   Rather she can be found puttering in her garden or more often getting involved in the life of her next door neighbor.   Mia's first impression of Frisco is not a good one.   Frisco crawls into a bottle (like his father and sister) when he learns he is no longer a SEAL.   All the way through this story, it is stressed that Frisco no longer knows who he is because all he has ever wanted to be (since the age of eleven) is a Navy SEAL.  
"Do you mind if I call you Alan?   I mean, after all, it is your name --"
"Yeah, I mind.   It's not my name.   Frisco's my name.   Frisco is who I became when I joined the SEALs."   His voice got softer.   "Alan is nobody."   (Mia and Frisco, page 60)

He could've told her he was strong enough to stop -- he just wasn't strong enough right now to face the fact that the Navy had quit on him.   (Frisco, page 69)

She turned, and in the new light of her discovery, his bedroom had an entirely different look to it.   Instead of being the room of someone who didn't care enough to add any personal touches, it became the room of a man who'd never taken the time to have a life outside of his dangerous career.   (Mia, page 74)

Suddenly she understood that the list she'd seen on Frisco's refrigerator of all the things he couldn't do wasn't simply pessimistic whining, as she'd first thought.   It was a recipe.   It was specific directions for a magical spell that would make Frisco a man again.
Jump, run, skydive, swim, stretch, bend, extend . . .
Until he could do all those things and more, he wasn't going to feel like a man.   (Mia, page 123)

"Ever since I was injured," he said softly, "I feel like I've slipped back into that nightmare that used to be my life.   I'm not a SEAL anymore.   I lost that, it's gone.   I don't know who I am, Mia -- I'm some guy who's less than whole, who's just kind of floating around."   He shook his head.   "All I know for sure is that my self-respect is gone, too."   (Frisco, page 144)
Frisco is so full of pride and his determination not to admit that he is physically challenged makes life harder on himself and those around him.   Brockmann peppers the story with incident after incident in which Frisco cannot perform simple, ordinary, everyday tasks without help to make him realize that {1} he is, indeed, physically handicapped and {2} that it is not shameful to ask for help.   And Mia always seems to be in the right spot at the right time to not only step in and help, but to speak words of truth into Frisco's ear as well.
"But I am helpless."
"No, you're not," she told him.   "Not anymore.   You're only helpless if you refuse to ask for help."   (Frisco and Mia, page 137)   {emphasis: mine}

". . .   So what if you can't carry Tasha down the stairs.   I'll carry her for you."
Frisco shook his head.   "It's not the same."
"It's exactly the same."
"What if you're not home?   What then?"
"Then you call Thomas.   Or your friend, what's-his-name . . . Lucky.   And if they're not home, you call someone else.   Instead of this," she said gesturing toward the list on his refrigerator, "you should have a two-page list of friends you can call for help.   Because you're only helpless if you have no one to call."   (Frisco and Mia, page 137)   {emphasis: mine}
Brockmann did a great job of including several intriguing secondary characters to add more depth and drama to the story.   In order {1} to remove Frisco from his bottle-induced pity party and {2} to show Mia a softer, kinder side of Frisco than the angry, depressed, frustrated man she met when he returned to his condo in San Felipe, California.   The most fascinating and well-developed addition to the cast was Frisco's five-year-old niece, Natasha (also called Tasha or Tash) Francisco.   Tasha was the daughter of Frisco's older sister, Sharon Francisco, who was an irresponsible drunk.   Sharon brought Tasha to Frisco to care for while she went into a detox center after injuring someone while driving under the influence.   Frisco's first interaction with Tasha melted the hearts of Mia and readers.
Mia had thought his request for a hug had been purely for Natasha's sake, but now she had to wonder.   With all his anger and his bitterness over his injured leg, it was possible Alan Francisco hadn't let anyone close enough to give him the warmth and comfort of a hug in quite some time.   And everyone needed warmth and comfort -- even big, tough professional soldiers.   (Mia, page 35)   {emphasis mine}
Natasha was a wonderful addition to the story.   As the daughter of a drunk, Tasha was used to caring for herself and doing whatever she felt like doing.   Brockmann did a great job of making Tasha feel real by giving her a cute, precocious personality that endeared her to readers, Frisco, Mia, and Thomas.   Mia used Frisco's frustration at trying to corral Tasha's tendency to wander off on her own as a tool to teach him that positive reinforcement for good behavior brought about better results that hollering at bad behavior.   One of the cutest scenes in the book was when Frisco gave Tasha a medal for following his rules.   But before that happened, Mia, who always seemed to know the right thing to do, used Natasha as a tool to, in essence, lecture Frisco for climbing into a bottle.
"In her opinion, all bets are off if Mom -- or Uncle Frisco -- can't drag themselves out of bed in the morning."   Mia fixed him with her level gaze.   Her eyes were more green than brown in the bright morning sun.   "She told me she thought she'd be back before you even woke up."
"A rule is a rule," Frisco started.
"Yeah, and her rule," Mia interrupted, "is that if you climb into a bottle, she's on her own."   (Frisco and Mia, page 77)
Another wonderful addition to the story was the inclusion of one of Frisco's and Mia's neighbors, Thomas King, the young man who waded into the ocean to save Natasha after her first disappearance from Frisco's condo.   Thomas is one of those fascinating secondary characters that Brockmann includes in her stories that steals the spotlight when he appears on the pages of the book.   The book is not long enough for Thomas to be a well-developed character, but he is an important part of the process of getting Frisco to eventually come to a place where he could accept his limitations.

Because he worked a full-time and a part-time job, Thomas should not have had as much time to spend with Frisco, Mia, and Tasha as he did, but it was easy to overlook this incorrectness because he was an integral part of the story.   Thomas's interactions with both Frisco and Tasha were fantastic additions to the story.   The soliloquy that Thomas delivered to Frisco near the end of the book was beautifully spoken.   It was impossible not to grin at some of the descriptive names Thomas called Frisco during their heart-to-heart discussion.   Again, Brockmann shines as she writes gripping, entertaining, meaningful dialogue.
"And you, Navy.   Check yourself into a hospital, man.   It's time to get your head examined."   Thomas lowered Tash to the floor and picked up the plate that held her lunch.   "This yours?" he asked her.
She nodded.
"Good," Thomas said, handing it to her.   "Go sit on that funny-looking swing on the porch while you eat this.   I need to talk to Uncle Crazy here, all right?"   (Thomas, page 209)

"Plugging your fingers in your ears so you can't hear it doesn't change the truth, my man"   (Thomas, page 209)
One other secondary character was added to cast to add a bit of action and suspense to the novel.   One of Sharon's old boyfriends, Dwayne Bell, showed up in San Felipe looking for Sharon.   Dwayne was a typical villain -- a man who was involved in drugs, stolen goods and black-market guns.   But his worst crime was the fact that he hit little Natasha when she and Sharon were living in Dwayne's home.   Dwayne's was not a well-developed personality in the story, but his arrival on the scene made it necessary for Frisco to go into protective mode.

Brockmann briefly inserted Frisco's swim buddy, [Luke] "Lucky" O'Donlon into the story.   Even though Lucky showed up at Frisco's condo at just the right moment to help when the furniture store delivered Natasha's bedroom furniture, very few details about Lucky's personality were revealed.   Lucky showed up, chatted with Frisco, helped move furniture, laughed with Mia and then left, leaving readers with no inside information that would prompt anxiousness to read Lucky's book (Book 9, Get Lucky).

Naturally, since this is a romance novel, the awareness that sparked between Frisco and Mia took center stage.   Brockmann did a great job of developing the attraction between Frisco and Mia to such a degree that neither was able deny their feelings.   Frisco was hampered by his belief of not being man enough to deserve a woman like Mia.   Mia, a woman who was opposed to violence and weapons of any kind, did her best not to fall for a professional soldier.   But, as a woman who spent her entire life rescuing strays, Mia's heart couldn't help but melt when she saw the gentleness and kindness underneath Frisco's tough guy exterior.
She had "girlfriend" written all over her, and that was the last thing he needed.   She would fill his apartment with flowers from her garden and endless conversations and little notes with smiley faces on them.   She'd demand tender kisses and a clean bathroom and heart-to-heart revelations and a genuine interest in her life.   (Frisco, page 46)

It was lust and desire, amplified a thousandfold, mutated into something far more powerful.   (Frisco, page 55)

"You touch me, even just like this, and I feel it," she said huskily.   "This chemistry -- it's impossible to ignore."   (Mia, page 118)

"I need more than sexual chemistry.   I need . . . love."   (Mia, page 118)

She was wrong.   She was dead wrong.   She didn't know it, but she had the power to damn well make him do anything.
Maybe even fall in love with her.   (Frisco, page 122)
As expected in a Harlequin "series" book published in 1997, the lovemaking scenes between Frisco and Mia, while passionate and spicy, were nonetheless graphically understated.   That is not necessarily a bad thing, because the love scenes were well-written and added to the enjoyment of Frisco's and Mia's story.

Brockmann showed her cleverness when it came to character development by not only making Mia a kind-hearted woman, well aware of her own worth, but also gave her the career of being a teacher.   The one job that would ensure that when Mia refuted Frisco's statements about a teacher's lack of worth, she could project sound judgment about the amazing worthiness of teachers.   Isn't it wonderful when authors insert such words of wisdom into their stories?
Frisco wanted to cry.   Instead he laughed, his voice harsh.   "Yeah, and teaching's right up my alley, right?   I certainly fit the old adage -- 'Those who can, do.   Those who can't, teach.'"
She flinched as if he had struck her.   "Is that really what you think about teachers?   About me?"
"It wouldn't be an adage if there weren't some truth to it."
"Here's another adage for you -- 'Those who are taught, do.   Those who teach, shape the future.'"   Her eyes blazed.   "I teach because I care about the future.   And children are the future of this world."   (Frisco and Mia, page 206)
Because being a SEAL was all that Frisco ever wanted to be, it provided Brockmann with a platform with which to give readers details about the SEALs.   When Frisco was trying to explain to Mia why he didn't know who he was if he wasn't a SEAL, he had the opportunity to share several stories about what a recruit had to endure to get to wear the SEAL trident.
"I snuck into this local dive where a lot of the off-duty sailors went, just so I could listen to their stories.   The SEALs didn't come in too often, but when they did, man, they got a hell of a lot of respect.   A hell of a lot of respect -- from both the enlisted men and the officers.   They had this aura of greatness about them, and I was convinced, along with the rest of the Navy, that these guys were gods."   (Frisco, page 142)

She could picture him as that little boy, cheeks smooth, slight of frame and wire thin, but with these same intense blue eyes, impossibly wise beyond his tender years.   She could picture him escaping from an awful childhood and an abusive father, searching for a place to belong, a place to feel safe, a place where he could learn to like himself, a place where he'd be respected -- by others and himself.
He'd found his place with the SEALs.   (Mia, page 143)
Brockmann closed the book with a slightly suspenseful, somewhat action-filled finale in which Frisco had to ask his former teammates to help him rescue Mia and Natasha from the villain.   Brockmann did a great job of including the kind of male camaraderie dialogue that always makes for excellent reading when the Alpha Squad joined Frisco in his condo to plan a search-and-rescue mission.   Sadly, readers will have no idea of what the men of Alpha Squad are like because they were only mentioned in passing with the inclusion of a short clause about each of them.   (Naturally, the exception being that readers of the first two books of the series would have a better feel for what Joe Cat and Blue were like.)

Because this is a short Harlequin romance, the ending was very rushed.   Nevertheless, it still didn't make sense that Frisco didn't realize that Dwayne had Mia.   It seemed that there was only one narrow road to and from the cabin where Frisco, Mia, and Natasha had been hiding out.   So why didn't Frisco notice the crashed and abandoned car as he and Thomas were leaving the cabin?

Brockmann has a wonderful way of inserting some unique features in her stories that really add that special spark to a book.   In Frisco's Kid, it was that pink sofa that the "Russian Princess" Natasha loved that really added incredibly to the enjoyment of the story.

In closing, Frisco's Kid, the third book in Suzanne Brockmann's The Tall, Dark and Dangerous Series is a moving, entertaining book and a wonderful addition to the series.   Even though it is a shorter Harlequin "series" book, it still contained: {1} Alan "Frisco" Francisco, a well-developed, multi-faceted hero, an incredibly tough, handsome, muscled SEAL, who was badly wounded, inside and out, but salvageable; {2} Mia Summerton, a beautiful, happy, spunky, intelligent, determined, heroine who always seemed to have the perfect words to speak to the hero to rescue him from despair; {3} a strong emotional connection to the characters that brought forth tears and laughter; {4} a wealth of romance permeated the entire story as Frisco and Mia could not deny their awareness of the other; {5} the lovemaking scenes were passionate, but sensually understated; {6} although the action was not exciting, day to day events kept the story moving at a swift pace; {7} a bit of suspenseful tension invaded the story along with the villain; {8} a well-told story carried along by entertaining dialogue; {9} several minimally-developed secondary characters added a rich flavor to the book: {a} Natasha Francisco, Frisco's precocious, inventive five-year-old niece, and {b} Thomas King, a smart, street-wise young man who found himself involved in the lives of Frisco, Mia, and Tasha; {10} multiple secondary characters that enhanced the story line: {a} Captain Steve Horowitz, {b} Sharon Francisco, and {c} Dwayne Bell; and {10} the brief introduction of the members of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad: {1} Joe "Cat" Catalanotto, {2} [Carter] "Blue" McCoy, {3} Harlan "Cowboy" Jones, {4} Daryl "Harvard" Becker, {5} [Luke] "Lucky" O'Donlon, {6} Bobby "Bob" [Taylor], and {7} Wesley "Wes" [Skelly].   This enjoyable book will remain on my 'To Be Re-Read' List.
--Vonda M. Reid (Thursday, June 11, 2015 : 4:36 a.m.)     [372]

Books In The Series: "The Tall, Dark and Dangerous Series" // Members of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad
# Date Title Hero Heroine
01.06-1996Prince JoeLieutenant Joseph "Joe" Paulo "Cat" Catalanotto: CommanderVeronica St. John: Professional Image and Media Consultant
02.10-1996Forever BlueLieutenant Carter "Blue" McCoy: Executive OfficerLucy Tait: Hatboro Creek Police Officer
03.01-1997Frisco's KidLieutenant Alan "Frisco" Francisco: U.S. Navy Retired SEALMia Summerton: Tenth Grade U.S. History Teacher
04.08-1998Everyday, Average JoeEnsign Harlan "Cowboy" Jones: Melody Evans:
05.10-1998Harvard's EducationEnsign Daryl "Harvard" Becker: P.J. Richards: FInCOM Antiterrorist Team
06.12-1998It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
aka: Hawken's Heart
Lieutenant William R. "Crash" Hawken: Nell Burns: Daisy Owen's Personal Assistant
07.11-1999The Admiral's BrideAdmiral Jake Robinson: Dr. Zoe Lange:
08.01-2000Identity: UnknownMitchell Shaw: Becca Keyes: worked at Lazy Eight Ranch
09.03-2000Get LuckyLieutenant Luke "Lucky" O'Donlon: Sydney Jameson: Journalist
10.07-2001Taylor's TemptationChief Bobby Taylor: Colleen Mary Skelly: Wes's Sister
11.09-2003Night Watch
aka: Wild Wild Wes
Chief Wes SkellyBrittany Evans: Single Mother

Characters Found In "Frisco's Kid"
Character Description
Alan "Frisco" Francisco[Hero] Navy Lieutenant; pain had been a part of his life since his leg had nearly been blown off more than 5-y-a during a covert rescue operation; knee couldn't support his full weight or fully extend; ugly, raw scars on his knee; multiple surgeries (7) had always been the optimist of Alpha Squad; his attitude had always been upbeat and friendly; wherever they went, he had been the one in the street, making friends with the locals; he'd been the first one smiling, the man who'd made jokes before a high-altitude parachute jump, relieving the tension, making everyone laugh; he had stopped laughing 5-y-a when doctors told him his leg would never be the same, that he'd never walk again; after years of intense focus, operations and physical therapy, after fighting long and hard, he could walk again, but he couldn't run; he could do little more than limp along with his cane (8) after five years of disappointment and frustration and failure, his optimism and upbeat attitude were worn; he burned to return to the excitement of his life as a Navy SEAL; he wasn't upbeat anymore; he was depressed, frustrated, and angry; well-muscled body (9) used to break the sprint records during physical training (10) in and out of hospitals and PT centers for 5 years (13) an expert in 10 different fields of warfare (14) U.S.N. Retired (17) early 30s; young; tall; built like a tank; muscular shoulders and arms; powerful looking chest; dark blond hair, cut short, in an almost box-like military style; square jaw; rugged features were harshly, commandingly handsome; intense eyes; tattoos on both arms, one an anchor (18) rugged good looks; a career military man; shoulders back, head held high, the Navy version of G.I. Joe; he was a warrior by choice, not draft; voice was deep and accent-less (20) eyes were an odd shade of blue with thick, long lashes; his knee was a virtual railroad switching track of scars; the most attractive man Mia had ever seen; hair a shiny mixture of light brown with streaks and flashes of gold and even hints of red that gleamed in the light; his nose was big but not too big for his face, and slightly crooked; wide mouth; laugh lines at the corners of his mouth and eyes; mouth and eyes were taut with pain and anger (21) truly believed in the power of negotiation and peace talks, but followed the old adage: walk softly and carry a big stick (24) was careful not to drink too much, because he didn't want to be like his father and sister (28) rude; unhappy; dangerous; lived in condo 2C (30) his chiseled features looked softer as he tried to smile at Natasha (34) his smile transformed his face, he became breathtakingly handsome (35) had salt water running through his veins (41) had worked hard to delete the tie of his past and his parents (47) a real-life version of G.I. Joe; probably a male chauvinist; carried a seemingly permanent chip on his shoulder; craggy-featured, handsome face; enticingly hard-muscled body; looked as if he should have his own three-month segment in a hunk-of-the-month calendar; beneath his outer crust of anger and bitterness and despite his sometimes crude language and rough behavior, there lurked the kindest of souls (48) had been an expert in unconventional warfare for the past 10 years (53) smooth tanned skin; hard muscles (56) stomach was a washboard of muscles; tattoo on his bicep was a sea serpent; intriguing; exuded a wildness, a barely tame sexuality that constantly managed to captivate Mia; sexy; gorgeous; working hard to overcome a raft load of serious problems, making him seem tragic and fascinating (57) perceptive (64) his condo had a rather apathetic feel, as if the person living here didn't care enough to unpack, or to hang pictures on the wall and make the place his own (73) his belongings gave the impression of being impersonal to the point of distastefulness; his naval uniform held eleven metals, clearly indicating his dedication to his job; had gone above and beyond the call of duty time after time; a man who had never taken the time to have a life outside of his dangerous career (74) blinding mixture of muscles and curves (79) historically, his people were coastline people (84) broad shoulders; powerful chest (100) a professional soldier; had barrels of anger and frustration and pain to work through before he could be considered psychologically and emotionally healthy (101) charming; friendly; handsome (103) beautiful, heart-stoppingly perfect crooked smiles (104) musky, masculine scent (137) father was a drunk; growing up was not a barrel of laughs (138) had training as a medic (139) in the fourth grade, he started riding his bike for hours on end just to get out of the house (141) respected himself (143) work-roughened hands (148) toughest, hardest man Mia had ever met, yet vulnerable (149) a sharpshooter (171) big, stern-faced, gun-carrying, flesh and blood version of G.I. Joe, who ignored physical pain as if his heart and soul were made of stone, who had the patience to listen, and the sensitivity to hear music in the sound of the wind in the trees (192) incredible; funny; smart (194) wonderful with Tasha; patient; kind; gentle; willpower made of stone; a soldier with an absolute code of honor (195) strong, tough, creative; can adapt (205)
Mia Summerton[Heroine] lived next door to Frisco (17) taught tenth grade History (18) high ponytail held her long, dark hair off her neck (18) her parents were antiwar (20) 27-y-o (21) odd colored eyes, a light shade of brown and green, hazel, with a dark brown ring encircling the edges of her irises; eyes had a slightly exotic tilt to them, looked faintly Hawaiian; cheekbones were wide and high, adding to the exotic effect; nose was small and delicate, as were her graceful-looking lips; skin was smooth and clear in a delicious shade of tan; long, straight black hair was up in a ponytail, a light fringe of bangs softening her face; hair was so long that if she wore it down, it would hang all the way to her hips; strikingly beautiful; 12 inches shorter than Frisco, with a slender build; shapely legs were a light shade of brown, and her feet were bare, her figure was slender, almost boyish; her breast may have been small, but they swelled slightly beneath the cotton of her shirt in a way that was decidedly feminine; clean, fresh beauty, could see the faint lines of life on her face, along with a confidence and wisdom that no mere teenager could possibly exude; youthful appearance (22) her smile was crooked and made her look just a little bit goofy, which marred her perfect beauty; a smile was her default expression (23) oval-shaped face; didn't back down from an argument; wearing something light and delicate, with the faintest hint of exotic spices (25) teaches high school (32) exotic fashion-model face and trim, athletic body; everything about the woman irritated Frisco; a nosy neighbor; a helpful do-gooder; a disgustingly cheerful, flower-planting, anti-military, un-intimidate-able, fresh-faced girl-next-door type (45) a sucker for kindness (48) had a beautiful smile; grew up in Malibu; might have some Hawaiian or Polynesian blood; was adopted from an overseas agency; the records were extremely sketchy (80) teaching at an urban high school for over five years; eyes were a beautiful mixture of brown and green and compassion (81) never been impressed by men in uniform (82) full of life (106) long, dark hair, her beautiful face, her pretty flowered sundress that revealed her smooth, tanned shoulders and her slender, graceful arms (120) trim, athletic body was the closest thing to Frisco's idea of perfection he'd ever seen; wasn't voluptuous by any definition of the word; her hips were slender, carving into the softness of her waist; she was willowy and gracefully shaped, and wonderful combination of smooth muscles and soft, flowing lines (151) openly, unabashedly sexy and unembarrassed by her powerful sensuality; confident and daringly fearless and bold; sweet natured; gentle; kind; nice (153) soft-hearted and kind; Frisco wasn't the first down-on-his-luck stray that she'd taken in (159) opposed to violence and weapons of any kind (167) beautiful; light-hearted; joyful (188) made her living teaching U.S. history; considered herself an artist; raised around artists, brought up surrounded by artists' sensitivities and delicate senses of detail; had never been able to paint like her mother, but she wasn't a half-bad photographer, able to catch people's quirks and personalities on film; considered herself a liberal feminist, in tune with her world, always willing to volunteer at the local church homeless shelters, sensitive to the needs of others; was a modern, sensitive, artistic, creative woman (192) for years she'd looked countless angry, hurt, and painfully frightened young men and women in the eyes to get through to the toughest, hardest cases in the high school; she'd been thick-scanned, she had let all of their harsh, insulting, sometimes shockingly rude words bounce off of her; had met their outbursts with calm and their verbal assaults with an untouchable neutrality (212)
. . .. . .
Daryl "H." "Harvard" Becker[One Appearance] [Book 5 : Harvard's Education] member of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad (220) Chief; possessed an ivy league education; a wicked sense of humor (220) powerful biceps (246)
Dwayne Bell[Rare Appearances] one of Sharon's boyfriends; hit Natasha (44) came to San Felipe looking for Sharon; a big man, taller and wider than Frisco, but softer and heavily overweight; wearing a dark business suit that had to have been hand tailored to fit his girth and lizard-skin boots that were buffed to a gleaming shine; his shirt was dark gray, a slightly lighter shade of the same black of his suit, and his tie was a color that fell somewhere between the two; his hair was thick and dark, and it tumbled forward into his eyes in a style reminiscent of Elvis Presley (108) his face was 50 pounds too heavy to be called handsome, with a distinctive hawklike nose and deep set eyes that were now lost among the puffiness of his excess flesh; big beefy hands; heavy New Orleans accent; dangerous (109) the graceful agility of a much smaller, lighter man (110) wanted money from Sharon (111) professional scumbag; involved in drugs, stolen goods, black-market guns; earns six figures a year (173)
Captain Blood[No Appearance] was going to pull Joe Cat from Hell Week (237)
[Joseph] "Joe" [Paulo] "Cat" Catalanotto[Brief Appearances] [Book 1 : Prince Joe] Lieutenant; commander of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad; big man; dark eyes (8) hawklike gaze; rugged face (9) long legs (11) dressed in fatigues and a black combat vest; wore his long dark hair in a ponytail (219) got a stress fracture in his leg during Hell Week (237) Blue and Joe's team carried him to the finish (238) unmistakable New York accent (241)
Veronica "Ronnie" [St. John Catalanotto][No Appearance] [Book 1 : Prince Joe] pregnant (9) red hair (10) Joe's wife (16)
Cliff[One Appearance] one of Dwayne's men (234)
Fred and Charlene Ford[No Appearance] the new owners of the home that Dwayne Bell had lived in with Sharon (225)
Danny [Francisco][No Appearance] Frisco's brother; got his high school girlfriend pregnant (144)
Natasha "Tasha" "Tash" [Francisco][Major Secondary Character] Sharon's 5-y-o daughter; Frisco's niece; the offspring of an unknown father and an irresponsible mother; unless her mother owned up to the fact that she had a drinking problem and got help and settled down, her life would be filled with chaos and disruption and endless change (27) a very frightened red-haired girl (29) had amazing strawberry blonde hair that curled in a wild mass around her round face; her face was covered with freckles, and her eyes were the same pure shade of dark blue as Frisco's (31) birthday on January 4 (34) fearless in the water (84) born in Tucson, Arizona (84) pure blue eyes just like Frisco's (100)
Rob [Francisco][No Appearance] Frisco's brother; killed in a car accident; he was DUI and hit a pole (144)
Sharon Francisco[One Appearance] Frisco's older sister; a drunk as their father had been (26) couldn't hold a job; couldn't pay her rent; couldn't support her five-year-old daughter; irresponsible; floated through life, drifting from job to job, from town to town, from man to man; having a baby daughter hadn't rooted her in any one place; Frisco had sent her money every month, hoping that she used it to pay her rent so the Natasha had a roof over her head and food to fill her stomach; only visited Frisco at the VA hospital when she needed money (27) a battered, worn-out-looking blonde on crutches (29) injured someone in DUI accident (30) always sleeps with tv on so she won't feel lonely (62) hated the beach; nearly drowned when she was about five; moved inland, spending much of her time in Las Vegas and Reno (84) lived with Dwayne for 4 months; dealt drugs for Dwayne (173) not 100% honest with Frisco (180)
[Mr. Francisco][No Appearance] Frisco's father; worked on a fishing boat for years; vacations were spent at the water; his three sons had loved the beach (84) worked on a fishing boat when he wasn't too hung over to get out of bed (138) a bastard; had two moods, {1} drunk and angry, and {2} hung over and angry; his children learn to stay out of his way, otherwise they'd get hit (140)
Steve Horowitz[Rare Appearances] Frisco's doctor (10) brisk, efficient manner (11) Captain (119) several years older than Frisco, but he had an earnestness about him that made him see seem quite a bit younger (120) flat pale blue eyes; a flash of warmth and compassion behind the customary chill (121)
Harlan "Cowboy" Jones[One Appearance] [Book 4 : Everyday, Average Joe] member of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad (220) Ensign; hotheaded young SEAL who replaced Frisco on Alpha Squad (221)
Thomas King[Major Secondary Character] tall, African-American teenage boy; wore low-riding, bagging jeans; Mia and Frisco found him talking to Natasha; nearly as tall Frisco, but 50 pounds less; defended Natasha (43) Mia's former student; lived in 1N of same condo as Mia and Frisco; lived with his sister and her kids (44) a cynical disdain and a seemingly ancient weariness that made him look far older than his years; had scars on his face, one bisecting one of his eyebrows, the other marking one of his high, pronounced cheekbones; his nose had been broken more than once which gave him a battle-worn look that erased even more of his youth; except for a few minor slang expressions, he didn't speak the language of the street; he had no discernible accent of any kind; had worked as hard as Frisco to delete that particular tie with his past and his parents as he had (47) worked part-time as a security guard at the University; that way he can audit college courses in his spare time; spare time that doesn't exist because he also works a full day as a landscaper's assistant over in Coronado (50) knew Mia for 4 years; used to live and breathe anger; thought it was the only way to stay alive; was the meanest son of a bitch on the block; didn't join a gang because he didn't need a gang, everyone was scared of him; was tough enough to go solo; was on an express bus straight to hell; got lucky; when he was 15, got a new teacher for history; Mia looked him in the eye and saw through all that anger down to who he was underneath (210)
[Carter] "Blue" McCoy[One Appearance] [Book 2 : Forever Blue] the Alpha Squad's XO; second in command of the SEAL unit; rarely wore anything other than cutoffs and an old worn-out loose olive-drab fatigue shirt with sleeves removed; he always wore one of the guns he carried in a shoulder holster underneath his shirt, this smooth leather directly against his skin (125) blond hair; normally taciturn; south Southern drawl (220)
[Luke] "Lucky" O'Donlon[Rare Appearances] [Book 9 : Get Lucky] Frisco's swim buddy (63) rode motorcycle; wearing his blue dress uniform; looked to be one hundred percent spit and polish, Frisco knew better; wide smile; warm blue eyes; Lieutenant; no one could resist him (90) at one time, he and Frisco had been so much alike; Frisco's best friend; charming; persistent (92)
Ramon[One Appearance] one of Dwayne's men (224)
[Wesley] "Wes" [Skelly][One Appearance] [Book 11 : Night Watch] member of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad; short and razor thin; inseparable from Bobby since became swim buddies in BUDS (220)
[Mrs. Summerton][No Appearance] Mia's mother; an artist (78) has a studio near Malibu (80)
Bobby "Bob" [Taylor][One Appearance] [Book 10 : Taylor's Temptation] member of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad; tall and built like a truck; inseparable from Wes since became swim buddies in BUDS (220)
Dr. Wright[One Appearance] doctor who looked after Frisco in the emergency room after fight with Dwayne (119)
ZuZu[Animal] Mia's dog; got her when Mia was 8-y-o; named after the little girl in the movie It's a Wonderful Life; recently died (67) part cocker spaniel mix that Mia got from the pound (68)

Locations, Organizations, Terms Found In "Frisco's Kid"
Location / Organization Description
San Felipe, Californiaa low-rent town outside of the naval base; where Frisco had a condo (15) book setting (60) where Frisco grew up; the armpit of California (80)
. . . . . .
273 Barker Streetin Harper; where Dwayne was holding Mia and Natasha (228)
1210 Midfield StreetFrisco's address (128)
A&B Construction Co.the company that was building the new restaurant close to Frisco and Mia's condo (70)
Baghdadwhere Frisco was wounded during a search-and-rescue counter-terrorist operation (22)
Californiawhere Frisco lived (7)
Coronadowhere the SEALs ride the surf, trying not to crash their little rubber boats into the rocks (45)
Harperthe next over from San Felipe to the east; where Dwayne Bell's house was located (225)
Harris Avenuethe street on which Mia was taking her daily run (70)
Las Vegasone of the places that Sharon had lived (84)
MalibuMia's mother has a studio near there; where Mia grew up (80)
Renoone of the places that Sharon had lived (84)
SEALNavy SEALs are the U.S. military's most elite special operations force; they operate on see, in the air, and on land. SEa, Air, Land.; smarter, stronger and tougher than Green Berets or Commandos; our qualified experts in a number of fields; all sharpshooters; all demolitions experts, both underwater and on land; can fly or drive or sell any jet airplane or tanker boat; all have expert status and using the latest military technology; an expert at making war; a professional soldier (23) were the biggest, toughest stick America could hope to carry (24) the only time they salute is when they are awarded a medal (95) they got a hell of a lot of respect, from both the enlisted men and the officers; had this aura of greatness about them; most don't dressed in uniforms, but they all wore a pan called the Budweiser (142)
SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squadthe squad Frisco had once belonged to (8) a seven-man team of SEALs; the team Frisco used to belong to (29) members of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad: {1} Joe "Cat" Catalanotto, {2} [Carter] "Blue" McCoy, {3} Harlan "Cowboy" Jones, {4} Daryl "Harvard" Becker, {5} [Luke] "Lucky" O'Donlon, {6} Bobby "Bob" [Taylor], and {7} Wesley "Wes" [Skelly]
Tucson, Arizonawhere Natasha had been born (84)
SEAL Terms
BUDSis basic training for SEALs (91) grueling basic training; most guys don't make it through; some classes even have a 90% dropout rate; the program was weeks and weeks of organized torture, and only the man who stayed in to the and got the Budweiser pin and became SEALs (142)
Budweiserthe trident pin worn by all the SEALs; it's an eagle with a submachine gun in one claw and a trident in the other; SEALs get this pin after they go through a grueling basic training session called BUDS (142)
COCommanding Officer (60)
Hell Weekthe final week of BUDS (143)
point manmeans you lead the squad; you're the first guy out there; the first by either to locate or step on any booby traps are land mines; it's a pretty intense job (103)
sneak-and-peakan information gathering expedition behind enemy lines (11)
swim buddya friend who looked out for you, and you looked out for him (49) when you are swim buddies through BUDS, that makes you swim buddies for live (90)
XOExecutive Officer (125)

"Frisco's Kid" Quotations
23"What do you do when there's no war to fight?   Start one of your own?"   (Mia)
35Alan Francisco hadn't let anyone close enough to give him the warmth and comfort of a hug in quite some time.   And everyone needed warmth and comfort – even big, tough professional soldiers.   (Mia)
46She had "girlfriend" written all over her, and that was the last thing he needed.   She would fill his apartment with flowers from her garden and endless conversations and little notes with smiley faces on them.   She'd demand tender kisses and a clean bathroom and heart-to-heart revelations and a genuine interest in her life.   (Frisco)
60"Frisco's my name.   Frisco is who I became when I joined the SEALs."   His voice got softer.   "Alan is nobody."   (Frisco)
73The whole place had a rather apathetic feel, as if the person living here didn't care enough to unpack, or to hang pictures on the wall and make the place his own.   (Mia)
77"Yeah, and her rule," Mia interrupted, "is that if you climb into a bottle, she's on her own."   (Mia)
82"Kids who crave attention often misbehave.   It's the easiest way to get a parent or teacher to notice them."   (Mia)
118"You touch me, even just like this, and I feel it," she said huskily.   "This chemistry -- it's impossible to ignore."   (Mia)
124But relentlessly questing after the impossible, making goals that were unattainable, setting himself up only for failure -- that would wear him down and burn him out.   It would take away the last of his warmth and spark, leaving him bitter and angry and cold and incomplete.   Leaving him less of a man.   (Mia)
137"You're only helpless if you refuse to ask for help."   (Mia)
137"Because you're only helpless if you have no one to call."   (Mia)
144"Ever since I was injured," he said softly, "I feel like I've slipped back into that nightmare that used to be my life.   I'm not a SEAL anymore. I lost that, it's gone.   I don't know who I am, Mia -- I'm some guy who's less than whole, who's just kind of floating around."   He shook his head.   "All I know for sure is that my self-respect is gone, too."   (Frisco)
145"I want it back.   I want to be whole again."   (Frisco)
158"I haven't really known you that long," she continued, "but I think I know you well enough to be certain that you're going to win.   You're not going to settle for any kind of limbo.   I know you're going to do whatever it takes to feel whole again.   I know you'll make the right choices.   You are going to live happily ever after.   Just don't give up."   (Mia)
207"I don't know who you are.   I thought I did, but . . ."   She shook her head.   "I thought you were a SEAL.   I thought you didn't quit.   But you have, haven't you?   Life isn't working out exactly the way you planned it, so you're ready to give up and be bitter and angry and collect disability pay while you drink away the rest of your life, sitting on your couch in your lousy condominium, feeling sorry for yourself."   (Mia)
209"Plugging your fingers in your ears so you can't hear it doesn't change the truth"   (Thomas)
210"She said I hid behind anger because I was the one who was scared -- scared that everyone was right, that I was worthless and good for nothing."   (Thomas)

"Suzanne Brockmann -- Frisco's Kid" Review and Information Links
Rated Posted Site Notes, Comments, Etc.
----Suzanne Brockmann's WebsiteAuthor
----Suzanne Brockmann's FacebookAuthor
----Suzanne Brockmann's TwitterAuthor
. . . . . . . . .. . .
----Books Series In OrderList of Suzanne Brockmann's Books
----Fantastic FictionList of Suzanne Brockmann's Books
----Fict FactList of Books In The "Tall, Dark and Dangerous" Series
----Fiction DBList of Suzanne Brockmann's Books
. . . . . . . . .. . .
5.0006-....-2003A Romance Review--Celia // brief, but pretty good
A / Warm10-15-2000All About Romance--Claudia Terrones / excellent review, great detail {Desert Isle Keeper}
Interview02-19-2001All About Romance--Claudia Terrones / A Chat With SB // personal details, really interesting
Write ByteAll About RomanceSuzanne Brockmann discusses "What's it All About, Alpha?"
Write Byte04-15-2002All About RomanceSuzanne Brockmann discusses "The Company that Sells You Series Romance"
4.5 average44 reviewsAmazonas of: June 11, 2015
4.0 average40 ratingsBarnes & Nobleas of: June 11, 2015
7.5 out of 1010-01-2006Bookabulary--Kookie // good, brief review {gr22}
5.0005-31-2011Buggy's Book Blog--Buggy // great pictures, lots of story detail {gr7}
10 / 8 / 805-23-2003Contemporary Romance Writers--Desmond Chan // brief, but good review
If You Like07-28-2008Dear Author--Dr. Sarah Frantz / Excellent, Excellent, Excellent Article
3.96 average3,274 ratingsGood Readsas of: June 11, 2015
5.0009-18-2010Good Reads // Jeriseveral excellent quotes and a good, succinct review
3.88 average110 ratingsLibrary Thingas of: June 11, 2015
--10-xx-2001My Shelf--Renee Wampler // Interview with Suzanne Brockmann
4.1 average180 ratingsPaperback Swapas of: June 11, 2015
Interview--RBL Presentsolder, lengthy interview with Suzanne Brockmann
4.5 / Top Pick--Romantic Times Book Reviews--Melinda Helfer // PR Review
4.43 average7 ratingsShelfarias of: June 11, 2015
4.5506-11-2015Wolf Bear Does Booksshorter post on Amazon, Fiction DB, Good Reads, Library Thing, Shelfari

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