Harlequin Next, Jan 2008, $5.50
In Florida, twice divorced Sue Ellen Carson decides who should receive Department of Labor grants. When she rejects the survival training for at risk kids program run by Air Force Special Tactics Chief Master Sergeant Joe Goodwin, he arranges with her boss for her to get out of the air conditioned office and spend three weeks in the airy wilderness to learn first hand what his program is all about.
Sue Ellen is outraged by Goodwin’s tactic, but has no choice if she wants to remain employed. However, her initial anger turns slowly to respect and ultimately to love as she watches Joe work with hardened street kids giving those written off as forgettable delinquents self esteem and a sense of accomplishment and her his heart.
This is a fabulous romance between a somewhat down on men office jock and a tough soldier. The kids bring angst to the strong plot as polite American society represented by Sue Ellen prefers to warehouse them out of the way, which means leave them in the slums to fail; Joe cares about them just like he cared about his young enlisted. No one honors the soldier as much as Merline Lovelace does in her always superb novels that her fans know is not RISKY BUSINESS to read.