Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Independent on 30 November 2011
Reading Challenges: 2013 In Uniform Challenge
Jessica Marlowe has been given the impossible task of making NASA appealing to the public to stave off budget cutbacks. She decides that since sex sells, she needs a handsome astronaut to spearhead her campaign and Commander Deke Stockard ticks all the right boxes. Unfortunately for her, he is more interested in making sure that the shuttles are space worthy than being a pin-up boy.
I liked Deke as there was no artifice about him. Prancing around for photographers has him seeing red and he’s not afraid to share his opinions on the subject…repeatedly. He good qualities are plenty as he is tenacious and dedicated to ensuring the safety of the astronauts going up in the shuttle even when it isn’t really his job to do maintenance work. Deke hasn’t had a serious relationship as he has seen the affect the job has on spouses of other astronauts. He doesn’t want to risk not coming home but the more time he spends with Jessica, the harder it is to keep his resolve.
Poor Jessica has the weight of the world on her shoulders. A manipulative blonde has oozed her way into the boss’ good books and got the promotion Jessica wants and has worked hard for. Jessica knows the woman is gunning for her so has to resist her (constant) urges to be with Deke as fraternisation with clients is verboten. One misstep and Jessica can kiss her job goodbye. Jessica is a great spin doctor though and approaches media leaks in a calm and pragmatic manner. Without her, the situation could easily have spiralled out of control.
Deke and Jessica spent quite a bit of time denying their feelings for each other but when he actually invited her to meet his parents it was obvious they had reached a new level in their relationship. Their tentative connection is tested however when the launch date is brought forward so Deke can rescue a Russian cosmonaut with a blood clot. There are still plenty of sweet scenes to be had.
There is a secondary thread running through the novel about whether safety concerns about the shuttle are true or not. We are shown who one of the responsible parties was but there is definitely more to it. We also don’t know whether the problems will be properly identified or fixed in time. St. Claire built the tension for this section well so even though I subconsciously knew everything would probably be alright as we gotta have a HEA, I raced through this section. I appreciated that the NASA technical side of things wasn’t abandoned in favour of the romance as it helped this book stand apart from the contemporary romance pack.
Space in His Heart was a sweet, fun read and a great way to spend an afternoon.