The Passionate G-Man
by Dixie Browning
(Sil. Desire # 1141, $3.75, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-76141-4
My reaction to The Passionate G-Man summed up in four words:

Dopey title. Decent story.

Daniel Lyon Lawless is a government agent of sorts; he works for a vague "agency" and is attempting to lay low and recuperate from injuries sustained in a recent near-miss explosion. He survived. His colleagues did not. Suspicious, Lyon heads for the Great Dismal Swamp of eastern North Carolina, where he plans to camp out until he heals. Then perhaps he can get some answers.

His plans are interrupted by back spasms that leave him lying helpless on a riverbank, groaning in pain. Lyon is rescued by Jasmine Clancy, an out-of-work actress and budding journalist who is reluctantly vacationing in the area. Jasmine has come to North Carolina to try and establish a relationship with her only known relative, her grandmother. To her despair, the grandmother is suffering from Alzheimer's and doesn't recognize Jasmine, nor does she want to get to know her.

Jasmine contracts a bad case of poison ivy and is unwilling to return to LA, where she'll have to face her best friend and her ex-boyfriend. Instead, she decides to take advantage of the situation and look around for inspiration for a travel article on the area. She is hiking near a river when she hears Lyon and goes to his assistance.

Jasmine rows Lyon back to his remote campsite, a good six miles downriver from where she finds him. Her hands are badly blistered by her efforts. She's now stranded with him while they both heal. Meanwhile, their attraction to each other grows.

Lyon is presented as an emotionally remote loner; Jasmine as a woman who longs for a family. Standard characters, though I liked Jasmine's role as an actress who knows her career is never going to take off, and who is looking for another way to make a living using her atrophied journalism degree. She also sees the world as a series of film scripts. Jasmine's awareness of this and her background as a lonely child who wanted some storybook adventures in her dreary life make her rather endearing.

Lyon didn't fare as well. He's pretty stock: sexy, blue-eyed government agent who lusts after Jasmine's body and wants great sex, but is determined not to let his heart be involved due to his own rotten childhood. Yawn. There wasn't much to humanize him, either, since the author doesn't let us see inside his head other than his thoughts about Jasmine and his suspicions about his job situation. I did like the aspect of the story that had Lyon physically dependent on Jasmine. It did bring him down a peg or two.

Dixie Browning has over sixty romances to her credit, and she can always be counted on to deliver characters that are intelligent. Both Lyon and Jasmine act like adults, thank goodness. I liked the setting too. I can't remember the last time I read a romance set in a swamp. Clever.

So, while I didn't fall in love with The Passionate G-Man, I was entertained by him and his lady. Enough so that I'll be looking for the next book in this series of The Lawless Heirs. Let's hope it has a title as intelligent as the story, though.

--Cathy Sova

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