Going Deep (An Alpha Ops Novel)
St. Martin's Press / November 1, 2016 / $7.99 print & digital
The story of a pop singer and her bodyguard makes everyone think of the 1992 movie classic The Bodyguard, starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. There are many similarities between Anne Calhoun’s Going Deep and the movie, particularly around the vulnerability of a public figure. What is different about Calhoun’s scenario is the role of social media. Singer Cady Ward communicates directly with her fans through Instagram and other social media channels, granting more than the illusion of all access/all the time to the star they love.
Officer Conn McCormick steps up when a hometown fan gets out of line after a concert marking the end of Cady Ward’s long concert season. It’s a Lancaster, PA tradition for Cady to sing her heart out to the fans who knew-her-when before she celebrates the holidays with her family. Later that evening, in her childhood home, Cady thinks about what happened.
Adrift on a sea of exhaustion, she found herself staring at the narrow bed, wondering if there was any way she could fit herself and Shoulders, aka McCormick, into that bed.
That wasn’t going to happen. It was a random encounter with a man doing his job, nothing more.
Her manager Chris Wellendorf tells Cady that she is too vulnerable to move into her new house alone: she either gets protection or, well, there is no “or.” She has received hate mail and death threats: the out-of-control fan who rushed her tipped the scales for Chris. He notes that Conn was the only cop who had a handle on the intrusion and asks Conn’s boss if his officer can provide 24-hour protection for Cady. Conn wonders why him? He’s “not trained as a body man.”
Chris waved away the objection. “Our devoted fan last night got past two other cops, but not you. Why?
“He tripped my crazy wire,” Conn said dismissively.
Chris nodded encouragingly, like Conn was a slightly slow child reciting his letters. “Can you be more specific?”
That’s where the preternatural alertness came in handy. Like most kids with a temperamental father and who’d bounced in and out of homes and schools, Conn was an expert in reading people…Conn knew from liars, from cheats, from crazy.
At the inaugural meeting, Conn tries to get out of an assignment that he doesn’t want. He says, “The lady gets a say,” because he doesn’t want to force his presence on her. Cady sizes him up; all “six-foot-six and solid muscle” of him, like everyone does, from gang members to gals in bars.
But Cady’s look was mostly business. She was hiring him for a job. It was the heat glimmering behind those green eyes as, for just a moment, she looked at his shoulders that made his blood feel like syrup in his veins, his nerve endings glow.
Neither Cady nor Conn can ignore the elephant in the room. When Conn arrives to case out her house, he can’t help but case out his client too, noticing “her flushed cheeks, her lips, her big, bright hazel eyes.”
“Look,” he said suddenly, because the signs couldn’t be clearer that she was responding to the close quarters and instant attraction, “this can’t happen. We’re going to be in each other’s pockets for the foreseeable future, and getting physical won’t make it better. It will only make it worse.”
Alrighty then. That’s settled. LOL. I’m pretty sure we all know how this will pan out. It’s Cady who reframes the situation. She’s honest and forthright and impossible to resist.
She was home. In her own house. With a man she wanted as badly as she’d ever wanted a man before. “I’ve changed my mind. I don’t feel like managing it,” she said. “There’s no reason to manage it. I want you. You want me. We’re both adults who understand the situation.”
After Cady broaches the subject, Conn succumbs to his desire and they both explore “how this could be between them.”
He slowly took all control from her, leaning in with his hips, then chest, then his mouth, his lips hot and demanding against hers until he’d stolen her ability to breathe.
Anne Calhoun is cinematic in her ability to capture the excitement of a man and woman loving for the first time. Cady and Conn have insta-lust that’s off the charts but they forge an intimacy that encompasses them body and soul. If you like your holiday romances with more than a touch of sizzle, Going Deep is a keeper.
Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Going Deep by Anne Calhoun, available November 1, 2016:
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Janet Webb aka @janetnorcal has unpredictable opinions on books. Season ticket holder of the Oakland Athletics baseball team. Social media devotee. Stories on royals and politics catch my eye. Ottawa born. Grew up on Georgette Heyer and Mary Stewart. When I rediscovered the world of romance, my spirit guide was All About Romance's Desert Island Keepers—I started with the “A” authors and never looked back.