I don’t tend to read books based on who the publisher is. I choose them based on author, plot, reviews, but Carina Press, an imprint of Harlequin, is an exception. If I’m looking for a light read with a bit of romance, that’s the first place I turn. I’m not saying I read everything they put out, but in the genres I do read, mysteries, paranormal romance, even contemporaries, the ones I’ve found have been enjoyable reads.

The superhero hook is what drew me to How to Date a Henchman by Mari Fee and it turned out to be a cute romance with an interesting angle on the whole superhero, supervillain struggle. Gina is a receiptionist at EnClo, but she doesn’t really know what the company. It’s all a bit mysterious and when the owner shows up, along with a sexy bodyguard, Burke, things get even more interesting. The owner, Mr. Sparks, is an odd man, turns out that’s because he’s a supervillain, Static, and as the title implies, Burke is actually his henchman. This time around though, Static’s plan might actually be good for people, but every supervillain needs a matching hero, so enter Glimmer intent on stopping Static.

I have to say I like how the world is not black and white. Both Static and Glimmer live in the middle, not wholly good or evil. They are people, super people, but still people with egos and hopes and dreams and goals. And Burke may be a henchman, but it’s a job, and one he’s well suited for. He’s the muscle to Static’s brains, and the one who tries to keep Static on track and out of jail.

The budding romance is sweet and in a book filled with Alpha men, Gina holds her own. She may not have any powers, but she’s got guts and smarts and knows the law. And in Canada, vigilantism is illegal. Superheroes don’t have the free reign they do in place like New York.

How to Date a Henchman is a e-novella, weighing in at about 76 pages, so the romance and plot are not overly involved, but we still get a full-fledged story. The characters are likeable, the chemistry between Burke and Gina sparked but it never flew over the line into “really, already?” It’s like a cupcake, sweet, yummy, and left me smiling and wanting another one.

4 out of 5 stars

Category: Romance

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Published September 3, 2012 by Carina Press
26,000 words

Book source: For review from NetGalley

This was my third read for R.I.P. VII, a reading event embracing the ghastly and ghostly, mysterious and grim. I think with a supervillain and giant cloned brains it fits under the “paranormal” and a little creepy. R.I.P. VII is hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings.

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