I first read EXPOSURE back in 1996, and ever since then it's been on my keeper shelf. For me, it's a sentimental favorite, a comfort book/hero I know practically by heart, as I usually reach for it and read it about twice a year. It has so many things I love and enjoy in romance: 1) a cop hero, 2) some suspense, 3) a woman on the run, 4) an obsessed/stalkerish baddie, and most of all, 5) a big alpha male protector. I love Sheriff Elvis Donnelly. If I could snap my fingers and make him magically appear, I would.
Elvis is that stoic alpha male, tough and controlled. He's a 6'6 reformed bad boy who also falls into that scarred and imperfect hero category. He lost part of an arm in an explosion and has an angry facial scar and a prosthesis/hook to show for it. He's definite wounded hero material. Not only does Elvis have the physical scars, he's also got deeper, less visible ones, ones that make him vulnerable, causing him to question why the heroine would want him, "as if a babe like this one would ever give an ugly sonofab*tch like him second glance anyway." We get a lot of this story from his POV, and you see just how much Elvis wants to have someone, how much he wants Emma, how much he wants it all.
Although not an 'erotic' read, the sexual tension and attraction between him and Emma is strong and bristles on the page. It's exciting and needful, and the action is more about the build-up and about Elvis jonesing for Emma. He wants her bad, and you can feel that. <"The next thing she knew, she was being yanked down to straddle his lap. His hook flashed with speed of light to clip into the back belt-loop of her jeans and the rest of the prosthesis pressed her hard against him. His right fist tangled in her hair. It gripped tight and pulled- ripping her mouth away from his."> And this was all just a kiss and some heavy petting.
Everytime these two interact, whether it's arguing and fighting, or kissing and then finally getting it on, you feel that chemistry and that energy between them. But you also feel that a romance truly develops between them as well. There are tender moments, longing moments, and sweet moments. I enjoyed it all. I even enjoyed Emma's Cajun accent and her precocious little girl, Gracie, although I know these two aspects of the story bothered some readers. I enjoyed Emma being curvy, tough and Southern, and I thought Gracie was cute, maybe verging a little on too adorable, but she was still cute to me, calling Elvis her 'Elbis.' Elvis fell hard for her, too.
There's romance, sweet and sexy in feel, and there's some exciting action and suspense as danger and obsession follow Emma and little Gracie, plus a lot of other stuff already happening there in Port Flannery. All this with a scarred but hunky and very protective alpha male hero to preside over it all. He is the King after all, and one of my very favorite heroes.