HERO DEBUT by Angela Ruth Strong
SERIES: Love Off Script #2
GENRE: Contemporary Romance (Christian)
RELEASE DATE: August 29, 2023
“Another sparkling feel-good romance, brimming with perfect doses of heart and heat!”– Bethany Turner, award-winning author of The Do-Over
Gemma Bennett is the leading lady of her own life, and her true love is writing screenplays. With her trusty pink notebook in hand, she signs up for the Citizen’s Safety Academy to research her newest blockbuster hope, a rom-com with a police officer as the hero. And the fact that the handsome and heroic Lieutenant Karson Zellner is the one leading the training? Well, who can blame her for wanting to spend evenings with the man she swooned over months ago when he responded to a call at her apartment?
Karson already has his fair share of problems before Gemma shows up, and he’s not exactly a fan of the ditzy blonde who can’t seem to stay out of trouble. The last thing he needs is a damsel in distress to rescue; there are plenty of people in real need of his help. The fact that she seems to think his job makes him a superhero is just one more strike against her. This isn’t a movie, and he feels like the furthest thing from a leading man.
Gemma can’t seem to stop doing the worst, most embarrassing things at just the wrong time. And as time goes on, Gemma begins to realize that the scripts for a perfect screenplay and a real-life happily-ever-after are two very different things. Can she step out of her own way to find the hero her story needs?
Other Books In This Series
I have been (im)patiently waiting for this book ever since I closed the last page of Husband Auditions. I just KNEW there would be a fabulous story between Gemma and the policeman who captured her imagination and the beginnings of her heart in an absolutely classic scene from that book (IYKYK). And I am quite happy to report that I was right! (By the way, if you haven’t read Husband Auditions, you can read Hero Debut as a standalone but I highly recommend you go back and read it at some point because it’s SO fun!)
Their grumpy-sunshine relationship is highlighted masterfully in the alternating perspectives between Gemma and Karson, that delicious pull back and forth as attraction deepens… much to her delight & his consternation. And hold on to your bonnets because there’s a doozy of a first kiss that had me searching out a backup oxygen supply. Wowza. Still. Fanning. In fact, there are all sorts of memorable moments in Hero Debut – some that made me laugh out loud (I’m looking at you, certain running joke that comes full circle in the end), some that tugged at my heart, and some that were just purely entertaining in multiple ways.
Gemma is a delightful heroine – imaginative, romantic, creative, head in her stories, heart on her sleeve. And yet, there’s a lot more to Gemma than the above descriptors. She’s much more layered and insightful than perhaps I’d given her credit for being, and she has a few surprises in store for Karson and for readers, too. Karson is super swoony (duh), and I’m shallow enough to admit that I drooled a little bit right along with Gemma when he was in uniform but even more when he was dressed casually. Whew. But, just like Gemma, there’s more to him than meets the eye, and that intersection of their individual wounds – and respective healing – takes this story beyond ‘just’ a hilarious read (though it’s certainly and wonderfully that) into something that can impact our own hearts too.
Bottom Line: Hero Debut is another thoughtful, endearing, hysterical, and swoony story from Angela Ruth Strong. Gemma’s misadventures would make Ramona Quimby proud and, combined with Karson’s begrudging amusement, are tons of fun to read. The banter, the simmering attraction, the good-natured ribbing and antics of Gemma’s roommates and Karson’s colleagues, all of it is classic romcom gold. But, just like all the best stories, it seamlessly leads readers to deeper insight, too. The emotional issues that Gemma and Karson each battle – the insecurities, the anger, the betrayal, the self-built walls – add dimension that sharpens the edges of their budding relationship and leave readers with more to think about than just a few swoonilicious kisses. Though… y’all… not kidding about the toe-curling nature of those! I smiled from beginning to end, and I can’t wait to read Charlie’s story next!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. In the interest of full disclosure, the company for which I freelance as a blog/review tour coordinator was hired to promote this book with a blog/review tour at an earlier date. All views expressed are still only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 5 stars / fabulous in every way
KissingBook Level: 4 / keep those fans and fainting couches handy!!
Angela Ruth Strong is an expert on Write That Book, blogs on inspyromance.com and How to Write a Novel, and is the founder of IDAhope Writers. She is the author of the Resort to Love series and the CafFUNated mysteries. Angela lives in Meridian, Idaho and can be found online by visiting angelaruthstrong.com
What about you? What makes you want to read Hero Debut by Angela Ruth Strong?