Thursday, June 11, 2015

Suzanne Brockmann -- Frisco's Kid

Suzanne Brockmann -- Frisco's Kid

Rated: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ . ♥   {4.55}
Action: ♠♠.♠ / Emotion: ♣♣♣♣.♣ / Romance: ♥♥♥♥.♥ / Sensuous: ♦.♦ / Suspense: ♠♠.♠
Action: 2.7 / Emotion: 4.1 / Romance: 4.6 / Sensuous: 1.8 / Suspense: 2.9  //  Laughter: 2 / Giggle: 2  //  Tears: 6 / Teary: 0

  Romantic Times WISH Award for LT. Alan "Frisco" Francisco
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Setting:       San Felipe, California
Era:             Present Day {1997}
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Since Suzanne Brockmann is a favorite author, it was not surprising that Frisco's Kid, the third book in The Tall, Dark and Dangerous Series was a one-sitting, enjoyable, enthralling, entertaining re-read.   Because Frisco's Kid is a Harlequin "series" book, it lacked the depth and development of a main stream novel.   However, Brockmann was still able to draw readers into a story of how Mia Summerton, a teacher of tenth grade U.S. History, was able to help her next door neighbor, Alan "Frisco" Francisco, the injured member of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad, come to a place of acceptance.   Frisco's Kid features {1} the romance and {2} the emotional connection that developed between Frisco and Mia, but it is definitely not a book filled with exciting action scenes and 'edge of your seat' suspense that one might attribute to a book featuring a Navy SEAL.

The notes in the back of the book indicate that the first time I read this book {July 12, 2007}, it was very, very likeable and was added to my 'To Be Re-Read' List.   Back before starting this blog, it was so easy to pick up a book, read it with nothing more on my mind than enjoying a good story.   But now, with the mindset of writing a review and posting a blog entry, when re-reading Frisco's Kid, some of the reading enjoyment was stolen because now my mind was cluttered with details.   Rather than just reading this book because 'I Love To Read,' I was paying closer attention to things like: {1} were the characters' personalities richly developed, {2} was the dialogue well-written and entertaining, {3} was there a lot of action, {4} was there a degree of suspense, {5} was the sensuality spicy, {6} was there an emotional connection between the reader and the characters, and {7} was the story enjoyable?

Having read the first two books in The Tall, Dark and Dangerous Series, ({1} Prince Joe and {2} Forever Blue) in which Frisco's personality and injury had been introduced, it was easy to open Frisco's Kid with great enthusiasm to see how Brockmann was going to reveal how Alan "Frisco" Francisco was dealing with {1} his knee injury, and {2} the loss of his place on the roster of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad.   Not only did Brockmann expose the heart and mind of how Frisco was dealing with these two intertwined and devastating events in his life, but she had readers crying copious tears right along with Frisco.

This book opened five years after Frisco was shot in the leg during a search-and-rescue counter-terrorist operation in Baghdad.   (This mission was detailed in the prologue of Prince Joe.)   During the past five years Frisco had been in and out of VA Hospitals and Rehabilitation Centers trying to find a way to fix his leg so that he could rejoin his Alpha Squad.   But while Frisco had endured excruciating pain and therapy, the most he could do was walk with a limp and a cane because his knee could not support his full weight or be fully extended.

Brockmann detailed Frisco's total and complete devastation when Captain Steve Horowitz, Frisco's doctor, told him that he was releasing Frisco from the Rehabilitation Center because there was nothing more that could be done to fix Frisco's knee.   In fact, Captain Horowitz reprimanded Frisco because he was over-working the knee, which was making it worse instead of better.   The picture Brockmann painted of Frisco's stubborn and grim determination to be fit enough to re-join his Alpha Squad was enhanced as she inserted Lieutenant Joe "Cat" Catalanotto, Frisco's commanding officer, into the picture, trying to offer support to Frisco, suggesting that Frisco accept his disability and apply to be a teacher in the SEAL program.
Two more hours, and he'd have to pack up his things and leave.   Two more hours, and he wouldn't be a Navy SEAL, temporarily retired, temporarily off the active duty list, recovering from a serious injury.   In two hours, he'd be former Navy SEAL Lt. Alan Francisco.   In two hours, he'd be a civilian, permanently retired, with nowhere to go, nothing to do.   (Frisco, page 15)
One thing that has become obvious while reading these first three books of The Tall, Dark and Dangerous Series is that Brockmann has concentrated her character development on the hero (the SEAL) in each book and left the heroine's background and personality evolution in the shadows.   The heroine is not the star of the show, rather she is there to support the hero on his journey to becoming a better man, to finding his happily-ever-after.

Mia Summerton is a well-adjusted, strong-willed, more-than-capable heroine.   In fact, because of her compassionate nature and her belief that a person, be he a street-wise, smart-mouthed student, or a sullen, angry, bitter, recently retired Navy SEAL, responds better to positive reinforcement than trying to browbeat them into shape with haranguing lectures.   She is the perfect woman to help Frisco reach a point of acceptance in his life.   And to give him that fairy-tale ending that is a necessary requirement to a romance novel.

The book is obviously taking place during the summer months because Mia, a teacher, never has to go to work.   Rather she can be found puttering in her garden or more often getting involved in the life of her next door neighbor.   Mia's first impression of Frisco is not a good one.   Frisco crawls into a bottle (like his father and sister) when he learns he is no longer a SEAL.   All the way through this story, it is stressed that Frisco no longer knows who he is because all he has ever wanted to be (since the age of eleven) is a Navy SEAL.  
"Do you mind if I call you Alan?   I mean, after all, it is your name --"
"Yeah, I mind.   It's not my name.   Frisco's my name.   Frisco is who I became when I joined the SEALs."   His voice got softer.   "Alan is nobody."   (Mia and Frisco, page 60)

He could've told her he was strong enough to stop -- he just wasn't strong enough right now to face the fact that the Navy had quit on him.   (Frisco, page 69)

She turned, and in the new light of her discovery, his bedroom had an entirely different look to it.   Instead of being the room of someone who didn't care enough to add any personal touches, it became the room of a man who'd never taken the time to have a life outside of his dangerous career.   (Mia, page 74)

Suddenly she understood that the list she'd seen on Frisco's refrigerator of all the things he couldn't do wasn't simply pessimistic whining, as she'd first thought.   It was a recipe.   It was specific directions for a magical spell that would make Frisco a man again.
Jump, run, skydive, swim, stretch, bend, extend . . .
Until he could do all those things and more, he wasn't going to feel like a man.   (Mia, page 123)

"Ever since I was injured," he said softly, "I feel like I've slipped back into that nightmare that used to be my life.   I'm not a SEAL anymore.   I lost that, it's gone.   I don't know who I am, Mia -- I'm some guy who's less than whole, who's just kind of floating around."   He shook his head.   "All I know for sure is that my self-respect is gone, too."   (Frisco, page 144)
Frisco is so full of pride and his determination not to admit that he is physically challenged makes life harder on himself and those around him.   Brockmann peppers the story with incident after incident in which Frisco cannot perform simple, ordinary, everyday tasks without help to make him realize that {1} he is, indeed, physically handicapped and {2} that it is not shameful to ask for help.   And Mia always seems to be in the right spot at the right time to not only step in and help, but to speak words of truth into Frisco's ear as well.
"But I am helpless."
"No, you're not," she told him.   "Not anymore.   You're only helpless if you refuse to ask for help."   (Frisco and Mia, page 137)   {emphasis: mine}

". . .   So what if you can't carry Tasha down the stairs.   I'll carry her for you."
Frisco shook his head.   "It's not the same."
"It's exactly the same."
"What if you're not home?   What then?"
"Then you call Thomas.   Or your friend, what's-his-name . . . Lucky.   And if they're not home, you call someone else.   Instead of this," she said gesturing toward the list on his refrigerator, "you should have a two-page list of friends you can call for help.   Because you're only helpless if you have no one to call."   (Frisco and Mia, page 137)   {emphasis: mine}
Brockmann did a great job of including several intriguing secondary characters to add more depth and drama to the story.   In order {1} to remove Frisco from his bottle-induced pity party and {2} to show Mia a softer, kinder side of Frisco than the angry, depressed, frustrated man she met when he returned to his condo in San Felipe, California.   The most fascinating and well-developed addition to the cast was Frisco's five-year-old niece, Natasha (also called Tasha or Tash) Francisco.   Tasha was the daughter of Frisco's older sister, Sharon Francisco, who was an irresponsible drunk.   Sharon brought Tasha to Frisco to care for while she went into a detox center after injuring someone while driving under the influence.   Frisco's first interaction with Tasha melted the hearts of Mia and readers.
Mia had thought his request for a hug had been purely for Natasha's sake, but now she had to wonder.   With all his anger and his bitterness over his injured leg, it was possible Alan Francisco hadn't let anyone close enough to give him the warmth and comfort of a hug in quite some time.   And everyone needed warmth and comfort -- even big, tough professional soldiers.   (Mia, page 35)   {emphasis mine}
Natasha was a wonderful addition to the story.   As the daughter of a drunk, Tasha was used to caring for herself and doing whatever she felt like doing.   Brockmann did a great job of making Tasha feel real by giving her a cute, precocious personality that endeared her to readers, Frisco, Mia, and Thomas.   Mia used Frisco's frustration at trying to corral Tasha's tendency to wander off on her own as a tool to teach him that positive reinforcement for good behavior brought about better results that hollering at bad behavior.   One of the cutest scenes in the book was when Frisco gave Tasha a medal for following his rules.   But before that happened, Mia, who always seemed to know the right thing to do, used Natasha as a tool to, in essence, lecture Frisco for climbing into a bottle.
"In her opinion, all bets are off if Mom -- or Uncle Frisco -- can't drag themselves out of bed in the morning."   Mia fixed him with her level gaze.   Her eyes were more green than brown in the bright morning sun.   "She told me she thought she'd be back before you even woke up."
"A rule is a rule," Frisco started.
"Yeah, and her rule," Mia interrupted, "is that if you climb into a bottle, she's on her own."   (Frisco and Mia, page 77)
Another wonderful addition to the story was the inclusion of one of Frisco's and Mia's neighbors, Thomas King, the young man who waded into the ocean to save Natasha after her first disappearance from Frisco's condo.   Thomas is one of those fascinating secondary characters that Brockmann includes in her stories that steals the spotlight when he appears on the pages of the book.   The book is not long enough for Thomas to be a well-developed character, but he is an important part of the process of getting Frisco to eventually come to a place where he could accept his limitations.

Because he worked a full-time and a part-time job, Thomas should not have had as much time to spend with Frisco, Mia, and Tasha as he did, but it was easy to overlook this incorrectness because he was an integral part of the story.   Thomas's interactions with both Frisco and Tasha were fantastic additions to the story.   The soliloquy that Thomas delivered to Frisco near the end of the book was beautifully spoken.   It was impossible not to grin at some of the descriptive names Thomas called Frisco during their heart-to-heart discussion.   Again, Brockmann shines as she writes gripping, entertaining, meaningful dialogue.
"And you, Navy.   Check yourself into a hospital, man.   It's time to get your head examined."   Thomas lowered Tash to the floor and picked up the plate that held her lunch.   "This yours?" he asked her.
She nodded.
"Good," Thomas said, handing it to her.   "Go sit on that funny-looking swing on the porch while you eat this.   I need to talk to Uncle Crazy here, all right?"   (Thomas, page 209)

"Plugging your fingers in your ears so you can't hear it doesn't change the truth, my man"   (Thomas, page 209)
One other secondary character was added to cast to add a bit of action and suspense to the novel.   One of Sharon's old boyfriends, Dwayne Bell, showed up in San Felipe looking for Sharon.   Dwayne was a typical villain -- a man who was involved in drugs, stolen goods and black-market guns.   But his worst crime was the fact that he hit little Natasha when she and Sharon were living in Dwayne's home.   Dwayne's was not a well-developed personality in the story, but his arrival on the scene made it necessary for Frisco to go into protective mode.

Brockmann briefly inserted Frisco's swim buddy, [Luke] "Lucky" O'Donlon into the story.   Even though Lucky showed up at Frisco's condo at just the right moment to help when the furniture store delivered Natasha's bedroom furniture, very few details about Lucky's personality were revealed.   Lucky showed up, chatted with Frisco, helped move furniture, laughed with Mia and then left, leaving readers with no inside information that would prompt anxiousness to read Lucky's book (Book 9, Get Lucky).

Naturally, since this is a romance novel, the awareness that sparked between Frisco and Mia took center stage.   Brockmann did a great job of developing the attraction between Frisco and Mia to such a degree that neither was able deny their feelings.   Frisco was hampered by his belief of not being man enough to deserve a woman like Mia.   Mia, a woman who was opposed to violence and weapons of any kind, did her best not to fall for a professional soldier.   But, as a woman who spent her entire life rescuing strays, Mia's heart couldn't help but melt when she saw the gentleness and kindness underneath Frisco's tough guy exterior.
She had "girlfriend" written all over her, and that was the last thing he needed.   She would fill his apartment with flowers from her garden and endless conversations and little notes with smiley faces on them.   She'd demand tender kisses and a clean bathroom and heart-to-heart revelations and a genuine interest in her life.   (Frisco, page 46)

It was lust and desire, amplified a thousandfold, mutated into something far more powerful.   (Frisco, page 55)

"You touch me, even just like this, and I feel it," she said huskily.   "This chemistry -- it's impossible to ignore."   (Mia, page 118)

"I need more than sexual chemistry.   I need . . . love."   (Mia, page 118)

She was wrong.   She was dead wrong.   She didn't know it, but she had the power to damn well make him do anything.
Maybe even fall in love with her.   (Frisco, page 122)
As expected in a Harlequin "series" book published in 1997, the lovemaking scenes between Frisco and Mia, while passionate and spicy, were nonetheless graphically understated.   That is not necessarily a bad thing, because the love scenes were well-written and added to the enjoyment of Frisco's and Mia's story.

Brockmann showed her cleverness when it came to character development by not only making Mia a kind-hearted woman, well aware of her own worth, but also gave her the career of being a teacher.   The one job that would ensure that when Mia refuted Frisco's statements about a teacher's lack of worth, she could project sound judgment about the amazing worthiness of teachers.   Isn't it wonderful when authors insert such words of wisdom into their stories?
Frisco wanted to cry.   Instead he laughed, his voice harsh.   "Yeah, and teaching's right up my alley, right?   I certainly fit the old adage -- 'Those who can, do.   Those who can't, teach.'"
She flinched as if he had struck her.   "Is that really what you think about teachers?   About me?"
"It wouldn't be an adage if there weren't some truth to it."
"Here's another adage for you -- 'Those who are taught, do.   Those who teach, shape the future.'"   Her eyes blazed.   "I teach because I care about the future.   And children are the future of this world."   (Frisco and Mia, page 206)
Because being a SEAL was all that Frisco ever wanted to be, it provided Brockmann with a platform with which to give readers details about the SEALs.   When Frisco was trying to explain to Mia why he didn't know who he was if he wasn't a SEAL, he had the opportunity to share several stories about what a recruit had to endure to get to wear the SEAL trident.
"I snuck into this local dive where a lot of the off-duty sailors went, just so I could listen to their stories.   The SEALs didn't come in too often, but when they did, man, they got a hell of a lot of respect.   A hell of a lot of respect -- from both the enlisted men and the officers.   They had this aura of greatness about them, and I was convinced, along with the rest of the Navy, that these guys were gods."   (Frisco, page 142)

She could picture him as that little boy, cheeks smooth, slight of frame and wire thin, but with these same intense blue eyes, impossibly wise beyond his tender years.   She could picture him escaping from an awful childhood and an abusive father, searching for a place to belong, a place to feel safe, a place where he could learn to like himself, a place where he'd be respected -- by others and himself.
He'd found his place with the SEALs.   (Mia, page 143)
Brockmann closed the book with a slightly suspenseful, somewhat action-filled finale in which Frisco had to ask his former teammates to help him rescue Mia and Natasha from the villain.   Brockmann did a great job of including the kind of male camaraderie dialogue that always makes for excellent reading when the Alpha Squad joined Frisco in his condo to plan a search-and-rescue mission.   Sadly, readers will have no idea of what the men of Alpha Squad are like because they were only mentioned in passing with the inclusion of a short clause about each of them.   (Naturally, the exception being that readers of the first two books of the series would have a better feel for what Joe Cat and Blue were like.)

Because this is a short Harlequin romance, the ending was very rushed.   Nevertheless, it still didn't make sense that Frisco didn't realize that Dwayne had Mia.   It seemed that there was only one narrow road to and from the cabin where Frisco, Mia, and Natasha had been hiding out.   So why didn't Frisco notice the crashed and abandoned car as he and Thomas were leaving the cabin?

Brockmann has a wonderful way of inserting some unique features in her stories that really add that special spark to a book.   In Frisco's Kid, it was that pink sofa that the "Russian Princess" Natasha loved that really added incredibly to the enjoyment of the story.

In closing, Frisco's Kid, the third book in Suzanne Brockmann's The Tall, Dark and Dangerous Series is a moving, entertaining book and a wonderful addition to the series.   Even though it is a shorter Harlequin "series" book, it still contained: {1} Alan "Frisco" Francisco, a well-developed, multi-faceted hero, an incredibly tough, handsome, muscled SEAL, who was badly wounded, inside and out, but salvageable; {2} Mia Summerton, a beautiful, happy, spunky, intelligent, determined, heroine who always seemed to have the perfect words to speak to the hero to rescue him from despair; {3} a strong emotional connection to the characters that brought forth tears and laughter; {4} a wealth of romance permeated the entire story as Frisco and Mia could not deny their awareness of the other; {5} the lovemaking scenes were passionate, but sensually understated; {6} although the action was not exciting, day to day events kept the story moving at a swift pace; {7} a bit of suspenseful tension invaded the story along with the villain; {8} a well-told story carried along by entertaining dialogue; {9} several minimally-developed secondary characters added a rich flavor to the book: {a} Natasha Francisco, Frisco's precocious, inventive five-year-old niece, and {b} Thomas King, a smart, street-wise young man who found himself involved in the lives of Frisco, Mia, and Tasha; {10} multiple secondary characters that enhanced the story line: {a} Captain Steve Horowitz, {b} Sharon Francisco, and {c} Dwayne Bell; and {10} the brief introduction of the members of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad: {1} Joe "Cat" Catalanotto, {2} [Carter] "Blue" McCoy, {3} Harlan "Cowboy" Jones, {4} Daryl "Harvard" Becker, {5} [Luke] "Lucky" O'Donlon, {6} Bobby "Bob" [Taylor], and {7} Wesley "Wes" [Skelly].   This enjoyable book will remain on my 'To Be Re-Read' List.
--Vonda M. Reid (Thursday, June 11, 2015 : 4:36 a.m.)     [372]

Books In The Series: "The Tall, Dark and Dangerous Series" // Members of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad
# Date Title Hero Heroine
01.06-1996Prince JoeLieutenant Joseph "Joe" Paulo "Cat" Catalanotto: CommanderVeronica St. John: Professional Image and Media Consultant
02.10-1996Forever BlueLieutenant Carter "Blue" McCoy: Executive OfficerLucy Tait: Hatboro Creek Police Officer
03.01-1997Frisco's KidLieutenant Alan "Frisco" Francisco: U.S. Navy Retired SEALMia Summerton: Tenth Grade U.S. History Teacher
04.08-1998Everyday, Average JoeEnsign Harlan "Cowboy" Jones: Melody Evans:
05.10-1998Harvard's EducationEnsign Daryl "Harvard" Becker: P.J. Richards: FInCOM Antiterrorist Team
06.12-1998It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
aka: Hawken's Heart
Lieutenant William R. "Crash" Hawken: Nell Burns: Daisy Owen's Personal Assistant
07.11-1999The Admiral's BrideAdmiral Jake Robinson: Dr. Zoe Lange:
08.01-2000Identity: UnknownMitchell Shaw: Becca Keyes: worked at Lazy Eight Ranch
09.03-2000Get LuckyLieutenant Luke "Lucky" O'Donlon: Sydney Jameson: Journalist
10.07-2001Taylor's TemptationChief Bobby Taylor: Colleen Mary Skelly: Wes's Sister
11.09-2003Night Watch
aka: Wild Wild Wes
Chief Wes SkellyBrittany Evans: Single Mother

Characters Found In "Frisco's Kid"
Character Description
Alan "Frisco" Francisco[Hero] Navy Lieutenant; pain had been a part of his life since his leg had nearly been blown off more than 5-y-a during a covert rescue operation; knee couldn't support his full weight or fully extend; ugly, raw scars on his knee; multiple surgeries (7) had always been the optimist of Alpha Squad; his attitude had always been upbeat and friendly; wherever they went, he had been the one in the street, making friends with the locals; he'd been the first one smiling, the man who'd made jokes before a high-altitude parachute jump, relieving the tension, making everyone laugh; he had stopped laughing 5-y-a when doctors told him his leg would never be the same, that he'd never walk again; after years of intense focus, operations and physical therapy, after fighting long and hard, he could walk again, but he couldn't run; he could do little more than limp along with his cane (8) after five years of disappointment and frustration and failure, his optimism and upbeat attitude were worn; he burned to return to the excitement of his life as a Navy SEAL; he wasn't upbeat anymore; he was depressed, frustrated, and angry; well-muscled body (9) used to break the sprint records during physical training (10) in and out of hospitals and PT centers for 5 years (13) an expert in 10 different fields of warfare (14) U.S.N. Retired (17) early 30s; young; tall; built like a tank; muscular shoulders and arms; powerful looking chest; dark blond hair, cut short, in an almost box-like military style; square jaw; rugged features were harshly, commandingly handsome; intense eyes; tattoos on both arms, one an anchor (18) rugged good looks; a career military man; shoulders back, head held high, the Navy version of G.I. Joe; he was a warrior by choice, not draft; voice was deep and accent-less (20) eyes were an odd shade of blue with thick, long lashes; his knee was a virtual railroad switching track of scars; the most attractive man Mia had ever seen; hair a shiny mixture of light brown with streaks and flashes of gold and even hints of red that gleamed in the light; his nose was big but not too big for his face, and slightly crooked; wide mouth; laugh lines at the corners of his mouth and eyes; mouth and eyes were taut with pain and anger (21) truly believed in the power of negotiation and peace talks, but followed the old adage: walk softly and carry a big stick (24) was careful not to drink too much, because he didn't want to be like his father and sister (28) rude; unhappy; dangerous; lived in condo 2C (30) his chiseled features looked softer as he tried to smile at Natasha (34) his smile transformed his face, he became breathtakingly handsome (35) had salt water running through his veins (41) had worked hard to delete the tie of his past and his parents (47) a real-life version of G.I. Joe; probably a male chauvinist; carried a seemingly permanent chip on his shoulder; craggy-featured, handsome face; enticingly hard-muscled body; looked as if he should have his own three-month segment in a hunk-of-the-month calendar; beneath his outer crust of anger and bitterness and despite his sometimes crude language and rough behavior, there lurked the kindest of souls (48) had been an expert in unconventional warfare for the past 10 years (53) smooth tanned skin; hard muscles (56) stomach was a washboard of muscles; tattoo on his bicep was a sea serpent; intriguing; exuded a wildness, a barely tame sexuality that constantly managed to captivate Mia; sexy; gorgeous; working hard to overcome a raft load of serious problems, making him seem tragic and fascinating (57) perceptive (64) his condo had a rather apathetic feel, as if the person living here didn't care enough to unpack, or to hang pictures on the wall and make the place his own (73) his belongings gave the impression of being impersonal to the point of distastefulness; his naval uniform held eleven metals, clearly indicating his dedication to his job; had gone above and beyond the call of duty time after time; a man who had never taken the time to have a life outside of his dangerous career (74) blinding mixture of muscles and curves (79) historically, his people were coastline people (84) broad shoulders; powerful chest (100) a professional soldier; had barrels of anger and frustration and pain to work through before he could be considered psychologically and emotionally healthy (101) charming; friendly; handsome (103) beautiful, heart-stoppingly perfect crooked smiles (104) musky, masculine scent (137) father was a drunk; growing up was not a barrel of laughs (138) had training as a medic (139) in the fourth grade, he started riding his bike for hours on end just to get out of the house (141) respected himself (143) work-roughened hands (148) toughest, hardest man Mia had ever met, yet vulnerable (149) a sharpshooter (171) big, stern-faced, gun-carrying, flesh and blood version of G.I. Joe, who ignored physical pain as if his heart and soul were made of stone, who had the patience to listen, and the sensitivity to hear music in the sound of the wind in the trees (192) incredible; funny; smart (194) wonderful with Tasha; patient; kind; gentle; willpower made of stone; a soldier with an absolute code of honor (195) strong, tough, creative; can adapt (205)
Mia Summerton[Heroine] lived next door to Frisco (17) taught tenth grade History (18) high ponytail held her long, dark hair off her neck (18) her parents were antiwar (20) 27-y-o (21) odd colored eyes, a light shade of brown and green, hazel, with a dark brown ring encircling the edges of her irises; eyes had a slightly exotic tilt to them, looked faintly Hawaiian; cheekbones were wide and high, adding to the exotic effect; nose was small and delicate, as were her graceful-looking lips; skin was smooth and clear in a delicious shade of tan; long, straight black hair was up in a ponytail, a light fringe of bangs softening her face; hair was so long that if she wore it down, it would hang all the way to her hips; strikingly beautiful; 12 inches shorter than Frisco, with a slender build; shapely legs were a light shade of brown, and her feet were bare, her figure was slender, almost boyish; her breast may have been small, but they swelled slightly beneath the cotton of her shirt in a way that was decidedly feminine; clean, fresh beauty, could see the faint lines of life on her face, along with a confidence and wisdom that no mere teenager could possibly exude; youthful appearance (22) her smile was crooked and made her look just a little bit goofy, which marred her perfect beauty; a smile was her default expression (23) oval-shaped face; didn't back down from an argument; wearing something light and delicate, with the faintest hint of exotic spices (25) teaches high school (32) exotic fashion-model face and trim, athletic body; everything about the woman irritated Frisco; a nosy neighbor; a helpful do-gooder; a disgustingly cheerful, flower-planting, anti-military, un-intimidate-able, fresh-faced girl-next-door type (45) a sucker for kindness (48) had a beautiful smile; grew up in Malibu; might have some Hawaiian or Polynesian blood; was adopted from an overseas agency; the records were extremely sketchy (80) teaching at an urban high school for over five years; eyes were a beautiful mixture of brown and green and compassion (81) never been impressed by men in uniform (82) full of life (106) long, dark hair, her beautiful face, her pretty flowered sundress that revealed her smooth, tanned shoulders and her slender, graceful arms (120) trim, athletic body was the closest thing to Frisco's idea of perfection he'd ever seen; wasn't voluptuous by any definition of the word; her hips were slender, carving into the softness of her waist; she was willowy and gracefully shaped, and wonderful combination of smooth muscles and soft, flowing lines (151) openly, unabashedly sexy and unembarrassed by her powerful sensuality; confident and daringly fearless and bold; sweet natured; gentle; kind; nice (153) soft-hearted and kind; Frisco wasn't the first down-on-his-luck stray that she'd taken in (159) opposed to violence and weapons of any kind (167) beautiful; light-hearted; joyful (188) made her living teaching U.S. history; considered herself an artist; raised around artists, brought up surrounded by artists' sensitivities and delicate senses of detail; had never been able to paint like her mother, but she wasn't a half-bad photographer, able to catch people's quirks and personalities on film; considered herself a liberal feminist, in tune with her world, always willing to volunteer at the local church homeless shelters, sensitive to the needs of others; was a modern, sensitive, artistic, creative woman (192) for years she'd looked countless angry, hurt, and painfully frightened young men and women in the eyes to get through to the toughest, hardest cases in the high school; she'd been thick-scanned, she had let all of their harsh, insulting, sometimes shockingly rude words bounce off of her; had met their outbursts with calm and their verbal assaults with an untouchable neutrality (212)
. . .. . .
Daryl "H." "Harvard" Becker[One Appearance] [Book 5 : Harvard's Education] member of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad (220) Chief; possessed an ivy league education; a wicked sense of humor (220) powerful biceps (246)
Dwayne Bell[Rare Appearances] one of Sharon's boyfriends; hit Natasha (44) came to San Felipe looking for Sharon; a big man, taller and wider than Frisco, but softer and heavily overweight; wearing a dark business suit that had to have been hand tailored to fit his girth and lizard-skin boots that were buffed to a gleaming shine; his shirt was dark gray, a slightly lighter shade of the same black of his suit, and his tie was a color that fell somewhere between the two; his hair was thick and dark, and it tumbled forward into his eyes in a style reminiscent of Elvis Presley (108) his face was 50 pounds too heavy to be called handsome, with a distinctive hawklike nose and deep set eyes that were now lost among the puffiness of his excess flesh; big beefy hands; heavy New Orleans accent; dangerous (109) the graceful agility of a much smaller, lighter man (110) wanted money from Sharon (111) professional scumbag; involved in drugs, stolen goods, black-market guns; earns six figures a year (173)
Captain Blood[No Appearance] was going to pull Joe Cat from Hell Week (237)
[Joseph] "Joe" [Paulo] "Cat" Catalanotto[Brief Appearances] [Book 1 : Prince Joe] Lieutenant; commander of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad; big man; dark eyes (8) hawklike gaze; rugged face (9) long legs (11) dressed in fatigues and a black combat vest; wore his long dark hair in a ponytail (219) got a stress fracture in his leg during Hell Week (237) Blue and Joe's team carried him to the finish (238) unmistakable New York accent (241)
Veronica "Ronnie" [St. John Catalanotto][No Appearance] [Book 1 : Prince Joe] pregnant (9) red hair (10) Joe's wife (16)
Cliff[One Appearance] one of Dwayne's men (234)
Fred and Charlene Ford[No Appearance] the new owners of the home that Dwayne Bell had lived in with Sharon (225)
Danny [Francisco][No Appearance] Frisco's brother; got his high school girlfriend pregnant (144)
Natasha "Tasha" "Tash" [Francisco][Major Secondary Character] Sharon's 5-y-o daughter; Frisco's niece; the offspring of an unknown father and an irresponsible mother; unless her mother owned up to the fact that she had a drinking problem and got help and settled down, her life would be filled with chaos and disruption and endless change (27) a very frightened red-haired girl (29) had amazing strawberry blonde hair that curled in a wild mass around her round face; her face was covered with freckles, and her eyes were the same pure shade of dark blue as Frisco's (31) birthday on January 4 (34) fearless in the water (84) born in Tucson, Arizona (84) pure blue eyes just like Frisco's (100)
Rob [Francisco][No Appearance] Frisco's brother; killed in a car accident; he was DUI and hit a pole (144)
Sharon Francisco[One Appearance] Frisco's older sister; a drunk as their father had been (26) couldn't hold a job; couldn't pay her rent; couldn't support her five-year-old daughter; irresponsible; floated through life, drifting from job to job, from town to town, from man to man; having a baby daughter hadn't rooted her in any one place; Frisco had sent her money every month, hoping that she used it to pay her rent so the Natasha had a roof over her head and food to fill her stomach; only visited Frisco at the VA hospital when she needed money (27) a battered, worn-out-looking blonde on crutches (29) injured someone in DUI accident (30) always sleeps with tv on so she won't feel lonely (62) hated the beach; nearly drowned when she was about five; moved inland, spending much of her time in Las Vegas and Reno (84) lived with Dwayne for 4 months; dealt drugs for Dwayne (173) not 100% honest with Frisco (180)
[Mr. Francisco][No Appearance] Frisco's father; worked on a fishing boat for years; vacations were spent at the water; his three sons had loved the beach (84) worked on a fishing boat when he wasn't too hung over to get out of bed (138) a bastard; had two moods, {1} drunk and angry, and {2} hung over and angry; his children learn to stay out of his way, otherwise they'd get hit (140)
Steve Horowitz[Rare Appearances] Frisco's doctor (10) brisk, efficient manner (11) Captain (119) several years older than Frisco, but he had an earnestness about him that made him see seem quite a bit younger (120) flat pale blue eyes; a flash of warmth and compassion behind the customary chill (121)
Harlan "Cowboy" Jones[One Appearance] [Book 4 : Everyday, Average Joe] member of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad (220) Ensign; hotheaded young SEAL who replaced Frisco on Alpha Squad (221)
Thomas King[Major Secondary Character] tall, African-American teenage boy; wore low-riding, bagging jeans; Mia and Frisco found him talking to Natasha; nearly as tall Frisco, but 50 pounds less; defended Natasha (43) Mia's former student; lived in 1N of same condo as Mia and Frisco; lived with his sister and her kids (44) a cynical disdain and a seemingly ancient weariness that made him look far older than his years; had scars on his face, one bisecting one of his eyebrows, the other marking one of his high, pronounced cheekbones; his nose had been broken more than once which gave him a battle-worn look that erased even more of his youth; except for a few minor slang expressions, he didn't speak the language of the street; he had no discernible accent of any kind; had worked as hard as Frisco to delete that particular tie with his past and his parents as he had (47) worked part-time as a security guard at the University; that way he can audit college courses in his spare time; spare time that doesn't exist because he also works a full day as a landscaper's assistant over in Coronado (50) knew Mia for 4 years; used to live and breathe anger; thought it was the only way to stay alive; was the meanest son of a bitch on the block; didn't join a gang because he didn't need a gang, everyone was scared of him; was tough enough to go solo; was on an express bus straight to hell; got lucky; when he was 15, got a new teacher for history; Mia looked him in the eye and saw through all that anger down to who he was underneath (210)
[Carter] "Blue" McCoy[One Appearance] [Book 2 : Forever Blue] the Alpha Squad's XO; second in command of the SEAL unit; rarely wore anything other than cutoffs and an old worn-out loose olive-drab fatigue shirt with sleeves removed; he always wore one of the guns he carried in a shoulder holster underneath his shirt, this smooth leather directly against his skin (125) blond hair; normally taciturn; south Southern drawl (220)
[Luke] "Lucky" O'Donlon[Rare Appearances] [Book 9 : Get Lucky] Frisco's swim buddy (63) rode motorcycle; wearing his blue dress uniform; looked to be one hundred percent spit and polish, Frisco knew better; wide smile; warm blue eyes; Lieutenant; no one could resist him (90) at one time, he and Frisco had been so much alike; Frisco's best friend; charming; persistent (92)
Ramon[One Appearance] one of Dwayne's men (224)
[Wesley] "Wes" [Skelly][One Appearance] [Book 11 : Night Watch] member of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad; short and razor thin; inseparable from Bobby since became swim buddies in BUDS (220)
[Mrs. Summerton][No Appearance] Mia's mother; an artist (78) has a studio near Malibu (80)
Bobby "Bob" [Taylor][One Appearance] [Book 10 : Taylor's Temptation] member of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad; tall and built like a truck; inseparable from Wes since became swim buddies in BUDS (220)
Dr. Wright[One Appearance] doctor who looked after Frisco in the emergency room after fight with Dwayne (119)
ZuZu[Animal] Mia's dog; got her when Mia was 8-y-o; named after the little girl in the movie It's a Wonderful Life; recently died (67) part cocker spaniel mix that Mia got from the pound (68)

Locations, Organizations, Terms Found In "Frisco's Kid"
Location / Organization Description
San Felipe, Californiaa low-rent town outside of the naval base; where Frisco had a condo (15) book setting (60) where Frisco grew up; the armpit of California (80)
. . . . . .
273 Barker Streetin Harper; where Dwayne was holding Mia and Natasha (228)
1210 Midfield StreetFrisco's address (128)
A&B Construction Co.the company that was building the new restaurant close to Frisco and Mia's condo (70)
Baghdadwhere Frisco was wounded during a search-and-rescue counter-terrorist operation (22)
Californiawhere Frisco lived (7)
Coronadowhere the SEALs ride the surf, trying not to crash their little rubber boats into the rocks (45)
Harperthe next over from San Felipe to the east; where Dwayne Bell's house was located (225)
Harris Avenuethe street on which Mia was taking her daily run (70)
Las Vegasone of the places that Sharon had lived (84)
MalibuMia's mother has a studio near there; where Mia grew up (80)
Renoone of the places that Sharon had lived (84)
SEALNavy SEALs are the U.S. military's most elite special operations force; they operate on see, in the air, and on land. SEa, Air, Land.; smarter, stronger and tougher than Green Berets or Commandos; our qualified experts in a number of fields; all sharpshooters; all demolitions experts, both underwater and on land; can fly or drive or sell any jet airplane or tanker boat; all have expert status and using the latest military technology; an expert at making war; a professional soldier (23) were the biggest, toughest stick America could hope to carry (24) the only time they salute is when they are awarded a medal (95) they got a hell of a lot of respect, from both the enlisted men and the officers; had this aura of greatness about them; most don't dressed in uniforms, but they all wore a pan called the Budweiser (142)
SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squadthe squad Frisco had once belonged to (8) a seven-man team of SEALs; the team Frisco used to belong to (29) members of SEAL Team Ten's Alpha Squad: {1} Joe "Cat" Catalanotto, {2} [Carter] "Blue" McCoy, {3} Harlan "Cowboy" Jones, {4} Daryl "Harvard" Becker, {5} [Luke] "Lucky" O'Donlon, {6} Bobby "Bob" [Taylor], and {7} Wesley "Wes" [Skelly]
Tucson, Arizonawhere Natasha had been born (84)
SEAL Terms
BUDSis basic training for SEALs (91) grueling basic training; most guys don't make it through; some classes even have a 90% dropout rate; the program was weeks and weeks of organized torture, and only the man who stayed in to the and got the Budweiser pin and became SEALs (142)
Budweiserthe trident pin worn by all the SEALs; it's an eagle with a submachine gun in one claw and a trident in the other; SEALs get this pin after they go through a grueling basic training session called BUDS (142)
COCommanding Officer (60)
Hell Weekthe final week of BUDS (143)
point manmeans you lead the squad; you're the first guy out there; the first by either to locate or step on any booby traps are land mines; it's a pretty intense job (103)
sneak-and-peakan information gathering expedition behind enemy lines (11)
swim buddya friend who looked out for you, and you looked out for him (49) when you are swim buddies through BUDS, that makes you swim buddies for live (90)
XOExecutive Officer (125)

"Frisco's Kid" Quotations
23"What do you do when there's no war to fight?   Start one of your own?"   (Mia)
35Alan Francisco hadn't let anyone close enough to give him the warmth and comfort of a hug in quite some time.   And everyone needed warmth and comfort – even big, tough professional soldiers.   (Mia)
46She had "girlfriend" written all over her, and that was the last thing he needed.   She would fill his apartment with flowers from her garden and endless conversations and little notes with smiley faces on them.   She'd demand tender kisses and a clean bathroom and heart-to-heart revelations and a genuine interest in her life.   (Frisco)
60"Frisco's my name.   Frisco is who I became when I joined the SEALs."   His voice got softer.   "Alan is nobody."   (Frisco)
73The whole place had a rather apathetic feel, as if the person living here didn't care enough to unpack, or to hang pictures on the wall and make the place his own.   (Mia)
77"Yeah, and her rule," Mia interrupted, "is that if you climb into a bottle, she's on her own."   (Mia)
82"Kids who crave attention often misbehave.   It's the easiest way to get a parent or teacher to notice them."   (Mia)
118"You touch me, even just like this, and I feel it," she said huskily.   "This chemistry -- it's impossible to ignore."   (Mia)
124But relentlessly questing after the impossible, making goals that were unattainable, setting himself up only for failure -- that would wear him down and burn him out.   It would take away the last of his warmth and spark, leaving him bitter and angry and cold and incomplete.   Leaving him less of a man.   (Mia)
137"You're only helpless if you refuse to ask for help."   (Mia)
137"Because you're only helpless if you have no one to call."   (Mia)
144"Ever since I was injured," he said softly, "I feel like I've slipped back into that nightmare that used to be my life.   I'm not a SEAL anymore. I lost that, it's gone.   I don't know who I am, Mia -- I'm some guy who's less than whole, who's just kind of floating around."   He shook his head.   "All I know for sure is that my self-respect is gone, too."   (Frisco)
145"I want it back.   I want to be whole again."   (Frisco)
158"I haven't really known you that long," she continued, "but I think I know you well enough to be certain that you're going to win.   You're not going to settle for any kind of limbo.   I know you're going to do whatever it takes to feel whole again.   I know you'll make the right choices.   You are going to live happily ever after.   Just don't give up."   (Mia)
207"I don't know who you are.   I thought I did, but . . ."   She shook her head.   "I thought you were a SEAL.   I thought you didn't quit.   But you have, haven't you?   Life isn't working out exactly the way you planned it, so you're ready to give up and be bitter and angry and collect disability pay while you drink away the rest of your life, sitting on your couch in your lousy condominium, feeling sorry for yourself."   (Mia)
209"Plugging your fingers in your ears so you can't hear it doesn't change the truth"   (Thomas)
210"She said I hid behind anger because I was the one who was scared -- scared that everyone was right, that I was worthless and good for nothing."   (Thomas)

"Suzanne Brockmann -- Frisco's Kid" Review and Information Links
Rated Posted Site Notes, Comments, Etc.
----Suzanne Brockmann's WebsiteAuthor
----Suzanne Brockmann's FacebookAuthor
----Suzanne Brockmann's TwitterAuthor
. . . . . . . . .. . .
----Books Series In OrderList of Suzanne Brockmann's Books
----Fantastic FictionList of Suzanne Brockmann's Books
----Fict FactList of Books In The "Tall, Dark and Dangerous" Series
----Fiction DBList of Suzanne Brockmann's Books
. . . . . . . . .. . .
5.0006-....-2003A Romance Review--Celia // brief, but pretty good
A / Warm10-15-2000All About Romance--Claudia Terrones / excellent review, great detail {Desert Isle Keeper}
Interview02-19-2001All About Romance--Claudia Terrones / A Chat With SB // personal details, really interesting
Write ByteAll About RomanceSuzanne Brockmann discusses "What's it All About, Alpha?"
Write Byte04-15-2002All About RomanceSuzanne Brockmann discusses "The Company that Sells You Series Romance"
4.5 average44 reviewsAmazonas of: June 11, 2015
4.0 average40 ratingsBarnes & Nobleas of: June 11, 2015
7.5 out of 1010-01-2006Bookabulary--Kookie // good, brief review {gr22}
5.0005-31-2011Buggy's Book Blog--Buggy // great pictures, lots of story detail {gr7}
10 / 8 / 805-23-2003Contemporary Romance Writers--Desmond Chan // brief, but good review
If You Like07-28-2008Dear Author--Dr. Sarah Frantz / Excellent, Excellent, Excellent Article
3.96 average3,274 ratingsGood Readsas of: June 11, 2015
5.0009-18-2010Good Reads // Jeriseveral excellent quotes and a good, succinct review
3.88 average110 ratingsLibrary Thingas of: June 11, 2015
--10-xx-2001My Shelf--Renee Wampler // Interview with Suzanne Brockmann
4.1 average180 ratingsPaperback Swapas of: June 11, 2015
Interview--RBL Presentsolder, lengthy interview with Suzanne Brockmann
4.5 / Top Pick--Romantic Times Book Reviews--Melinda Helfer // PR Review
4.43 average7 ratingsShelfarias of: June 11, 2015
4.5506-11-2015Wolf Bear Does Booksshorter post on Amazon, Fiction DB, Good Reads, Library Thing, Shelfari

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♥   Very Subjective Rating
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