Body Language

Suzanne Brockmann
2008 reissue of 1998 release, Contemporary Romance
Bantam, $6.99, 279 pages, Amazon ASIN 0553591657

Grade: C-
Sensuality: Warm

Originally published as Loveswept #889 in May, 1998...did you know we've granted Suzanne Brockmann DIK status more than a dozen times?

The idea of best friends becoming more has always appealed to me, but I’ve found very few books that showcase the concept well. I was happy to try Body Language, which combines both an author and an idea that I love. Sigh. The combination didn’t work.

Sandy is fast asleep when her best friend drops by and announces he’s staying with her for a while. This doesn’t bother her, however, because Clint McCade has always been a wanderer and pops in when he can. Right away, Sandy can tell that something is troubling McCade, but he won’t confide in her. She doesn’t know what to do, because they’ve always been able to tell each other everything. In fact, she quickly tells him that she’s finally met the one.

McCade can’t believe that Sandy’s in love. It’s immensely bad timing, considering he’s recently discovered that he loves Sandy and wants to spend the rest of his life with her. But he wants her to be happy and she’s never given any indication that she’s interested in him, so he sets out to help her get what she wants. It’s going to be a big job, however, because Sandy only has a professional relationship with James (the man of her dreams) and he’s clueless about her feelings.

McCade starts teaching her all about body language and how she can use it to show James her interest. Things become much more complicated when James shows up at Sandy’s house and McCade answers the door in a towel. The plan changes and the two pretend to be couple until McCade can “dump” her. This has an added bonus of potentially making James jealous or interested in what he can’t have. McCade is thrilled to play the role of Sandy’s boyfriend, even if it is for show, because it allows him to be close to her and steal several kisses. Sandy starts to realize that her feelings for her friend are much stronger than she thought and soon she’s sick of the game they’re playing. She wants to be McCade’s girlfriend for real.

Nothing about the couple’s relationship captured me. McCade just suddenly shows up already having gone through the process of realizing he loves his best friend. That’s one of the best parts of this type of plot and I didn’t get to see any of it. It was also annoying that the perspective constantly switches from the hero’s to the heroine’s head and they’re both thinking the same thing (oh, if only he/she thought of me in that way), over and over again. I also didn’t trust Sandy’s love for Clint, since she originally believed she was in love with someone she didn’t even know. Despite being best friends practically their whole life, the characters cannot seem trust one another either. Sandy, for instance, constantly believes that if McCade leaves, he’ll never come back.

Nothing seemed to be in balance. Constant misinterpretations carried through until the very end of the book, and it really wore me down. The name “McCade” was used an average of 3-4 times a page, for 280 pages, which irritated. In the same vein, the discussions and lessons on body language were also excessive and rather uninteresting, since it wasn’t anything I didn’t already know. On the other hand, some topics are mentioned so sporadically that every time they arose, I felt confused as to their real relevance.

I have only tried a few of Brockmann’s books outside of her Troubleshooters series, but I didn’t enjoy any of them and, unfortunately, Body Language was no different. The tone is completely different from the series I love. While the idea of the book intrigued me, I found many aspects of the story lacking. The characters had potential, but being in their heads annoyed me and I couldn’t get into their relationship. I know that quite a few people like Brockmann's straight contemporaries, so they might see this book in a different light, but I’ll just stick to the Troubleshooters books.

-- Andi Davis

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