Friday, February 28

Flashback Friday: Defying Gravity by Rachel Lee

Flashback Friday is a weekly tradition started on Bookshelf Fantasies. It's focus is on showcasing a book from at least 5 years ago that holds a special place in your heart and on your shelf.

The year was 1992. It was the year of the Rodney King beatings and Clinton being elected to president. CDs are outselling cassettes for the first time, Windows 3.1 and Microsoft Works are released by Microsoft. In entertainment Johnny Carson is retiring, The Silence of the Lambs wins the Oscar for best picture and Nick Nolte was People's Sexiest Man Alive, while Pearl Jam and Nirvana are burning up the air waves.


This book was originally published by Silhouette Intimate Moments, #430 all the way back in May of 1992. It was then reissued in May of 1998 as part of the Tall, Dark and Smart - Men at Work series. I purchased my copy at a used bookstore probably about a year or so after it was originally released.

From the back of the book:

"Stop Disturbing the Gravity... Or I'll Kill You."

Shaken, Liz Pennington ignored the anonymous call. But when someone ransacked her office, infiltrating the computer system she and partner Tim O'Shaughnessy had carefully designed for top-secret government work, alarm set in.

Knowing they were in danger, she didn't protest when Tim moved in with her for protection. But glimpses of taut glistening muscles whenever he worked out reminded her all too clearly that her fellow computer whiz was drop-dead gorgeous.

As threats from the "Gravity Man" continued, Liz's fears took a new direction. Investigating with Tim she could handle, but living with him? If the case wasn't solved - and quickly! - she knew her control would snap. And the explosion was bound to know Tim right out of his gym shorts...

Why did I like this book so much that even 20 years later it is still sitting on my keeper shelf?  This book was one of my first introductions to the unapologetic Alpha man. This guy is ex military, smart, buff and not afraid of being a guy.  There is one particular passage that I really enjoyed and I have continued to think about years later:

"It's all right, Liz," Donna said soothingly. "Don't be mad at Tim. He's just being a  man, and there are few enough around anymore who know how to act like one."
"You know why men aren't men anymore?" Tim asked Donna. "It's all this women's lib stuff. Now don't get me wrong, I think women are just as competent, capable and smart as men. hell, I've got a woman for a business partner, right? I couldn't possibly be a male chauvinist."

"Absolutely not, " Donna agree. "Not a hint of it anywhere in your makeup, Tim."

"Certainly not. The problem with men today, Donna is that women's lib has forbidden us to be men.  Think about it. We get turned on by pretty women. Women are sex objects to men. That doesn't mean we can't admire their other qualities, but hell's bells, the last thing a man is allowed to do these days admit that a woman does turn him on. We're born to be sexual aggressors, but the minute you make a pass some woman is calling you an M.C.P."

"I never though of that, " Donna said.

"It's true. Men love to look at women. These days if you watch a woman's buns as she walks down the street, she's apt to call the cops.  And forget taking in an eyeful in the workplace. That's sexual harassment. So men can't look, they can't talk, they can't make a pass, and before they can uh ... get friendly, they have to prove they're sensitive and that they really admire her mind. So here we are, unable to be men. Is it any wonder that we've turned into such a bunch of wimps?"

"You'll never be a wimp," Donna assured him.

Liz was seething, but before she could marshal a suitably cutting comment, Tim plunged on.

"That's only because I refuse to believe that being a male is a crime of some kind. You know, it's really awful when you think about it. Biologically the entire race has evolved to give women attributes that turn men on, and make men turn on when they see a woman. All this so the species can survive.  Whether women want to admit it or not, survival of the human race depends on them being sexy and us being horny."

Donna sounded suddenly stifled. "I never thought of it quite that way, Tim."

"Of course you didn't," he said kindly. "You're a woman. Women don't think in those terms. They prefer things being all gauzy and soft. They want romance all tied up in a great big bow of love. Than't natural. After all, they bear the children and want to ensure that those children will be fed, sheltered and cared for.  I'm not arguing that there's anything wrong with the way women think and feel about these things. I'm just saying that there's nothing really wrong with the way men feel about these things, either. Believe me, no guy was ever attracted to a woman's mind first, but that doesn't mean he can't come to admire it later."

I will warn you that the technology in the book is dated. (20 years!) But at the time, my geeky little heart flipped over a book that had a woman being a computer wiz. Here was a great role model for someone like myself.  She was a business partner and techno geek, not just in some subservient job such as nurse, secretary or nanny. This was a woman who was the man's equal, both intellectually and financially. Plus the brainy girl scores the hot brainy alpha guy in the end. Woot!  This is one of my 5 star reads.

Tim O'Shaughnessy is involved in top-secret computer work for the government. He's dedicated to protecting his latest software program--and his beautiful business partner, Liz Pennington. They had never worked quite this closely before, and Tim couldn't deny that as the danger of their assignment became more intense, so did their passion! Could they ever return to business as usual?
Available at the following retailers:
Amazon     BN


  1. Awww, they just don't write 'em like they used to. I didn't get around to reading this one in the 90's but I remember those days. I was reading a lot of Maggie Shayne, Justine Davis and Linda Howard. I haven't read a Sil/Har romance in so long.

  2. I know, right!! I think I haven't read them in so long because there are so many more choices now. Back then, if you wanted a romance novel, Harlequin was pretty much it.


Thanks for taking the time to comment.

back to top