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    Alyssa Locke, A Heroine I Respect by Stacy Ahlgren
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  • Published: Aug 26th, 2009

ahlgren111Not long ago, during hero week, I spotlighted one of my most unforgettable heroes, one Roger “Sam” Starrett, so it’s only fitting that I chose his wife, Alyssa Locke, as his female counterpart.  Besides, I can’t think of too many heroines I respect more.  Suzanne Brockmann created an amazing heroine in her series, and to be honest, I can’t think of anyone else I could have chosen as a favorite.

I liked Alyssa pretty much from the first time I met her, though we find out a little bit about her before she even appears.  ” ‘Find out if Alyssa Locke went to this competition,’ Tom ordered.  SO squadmember Frank O’Leary was only the second best marksman in the U.S, Navy.  Lieutenant Junior Grade Locke had outscored him every single time they’d competed.  She was a robot when it came to taking out a target.” – The Unsung Hero by Suzanne Brockmann, page 107-108.

Brockmann_GoneMuch later in the book, we find out even more about her: “As Kelly climbed out of her car, Tom hung on to the woman’s hand far longer than he had for his male friends.  She was gorgeous, Kelly realized.  Her skin was mocha colored, but her hair had red highlights and her eyes were a vivid green.  And she had a lithe body that matched the sheer perfection of her face.  She may not have been large breasted, but she was perfectly proportioned and athletically trim.  And she had amazing posture.  Positively regal.” TUH, page 282.

And her infamous exchange with Sam, her future husband “‘There are two things in life I’m sure I’ll never be,’ Locke said far too sweetly. ‘One is a SEAL.  That I regret.  I believe I’d be an asset to the teams.  The other, however, is a redneck asshole.  No regrets there.’  She smiled at him.  ‘Too bad you can’t say the same.'”

Because Alyssa is so incredibly beautiful – I believe I read that Suz used actress Vanessa Williams as her inspiration – she’s had to downplay her appearance to be taken seriously, and this means she’s all business, all the time.   “She stopped smiling at a man – unless he was a close friend – right around the time she’d turned fifteen.” The Defiant Hero by Suz Brockmann, page 10.  She resides in a man’s world, and to measure up, she has put all her time and energy into her career, forgoing much of her personal life, and this gives her a reserved, almost cold air that tends to scare people off.  But not Sam.  He’s never been one to play it safe, and he’s incredibly attracted to the prickly, icy Alyssa, his “Lys”.  She’s just not so fond of him.  At least at first.  In fact it would pretty much seem that she hates Sam.

But at the time time, she grudgingly respects him, and the abilities he’s honed since being a SEAL.  When he manages to evade her time and again, she reluctantly agrees to let Sam teach her how to do the same.  And then something surprising happens, something that leads Sam to realize that Alyssa is not all he thinks she is:  “And when a quick phone call to the maternity ward revealed that Tyra had given birth to a little girl just thirty minutes earlier, and that both mother and child were doing remarkably well, Alyssa Locke, the coldhearted ice bitch, actually started to cry.” TDH, page 227.

So here we finally begin to see the softer side of Alyssa, the beautiful woman who hides behind her gun and a serious expression, the tough as nails markswoman who never misses, who’s job it is to take out human targets.  While it may appear that she’s just a robot, we’re given a glimpse into her mindset, her motivation for bringing down the bad guys.

She tried to imagine what it must’ve been like to be Sam and have to stand there and listen to that girl getting beaten.  Raped.

And then she thought long and hard about what it must’ve been like to be that girl.

She kept her crosshairs aimed in the middle of her target’s forehead, waiting for the clicks over her headset that signaled the SEALs were in place, waiting for the word from Tom Paoletti: Go.” Over the Edge by Suz Brockmann, page 362.

But underneath it all Alyssa is a woman, one who has finally looked through all the crap and defensiveness and posturing done by Sam and has seen deeper, into his heart, and realizes something very important:


He turned back, surprised she’d used his name.

‘Stay safe.  Take head shots.’

He smiled, touched that she cared.  ‘I will.’

She stepped closer.  Lowered her voice.  But it still wasn’t low enough to keep Jenk and Cosmo from overhearing if they really wanted to.  ‘After we’re done here…Well, I was thinking, um, that, well, that you’re someone I’d really like to get to know better.  And I was wondering if maybe you’d like to have dinner with me.’

Sam glanced at Jenk, who was pointedly not looking at him.  He looked back at Alyssa, into the warm swirl of hope in her eyes, and he was afraid to open his mouth because he didn’t think he could form any coherent words.  He was afraid that a mindless howl of joy would escape, embarrassing her to death.” OTE, page 358.

Yet despite this happy turn of events, it isn’t for several more books that Sam and Alyssa finally get their happy ending.  Now, 15 books later, their relationship, which has evolved into marriage and later, parenthood, continues to fascinate me.  Alyssa has softened some over the years, especially once she became a mother, yet at the same time, at her core is still a strong element of steel and confidence that earned my respect way back in the beginning.  I love how she loves Sam, how being with him has made her more confident, more relaxed, yet she is still very much her own woman, and she’s not so intimidated by her husband that she cannot be an effective leader.  She treats Sam as she would any other person that reports to her, and it’s an extension of their incredible relationship that makes it work so well.  The both lead dangerous lives; that hasn’t changed since having a child, but they’ve managed to make it work for them.  Oh, how I adore these two.

As with Sam’s entry as my favorite hero here at RNTV, I’m not going to comb through every book or short story recapping all there is to Alyssa Locke, because for one thing, there is just too much history to share, and I’m hoping these tantalizing little glimpses into the life of Alyssa and her relationship with Sam will entice you to pick up the books if you haven’t already.  Brockmann to me is the queen at doling out delayed gratification when it comes to creating some of her most memorable couples, with Sam and Alyssa as her crowning glory, and personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way

Have you read the Troubleshooters series?  How do you feel about Alyssa as a heroine?

11 Responses to “Alyssa Locke, A Heroine I Respect by Stacy Ahlgren”

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  1. Maria Lokken
    on Aug 26th, 2009
    @ 1:40 pm

    Okay – I must be the only person alive not to have read the Troubleshooter series. Which is strange because Marisa is a HUGE fan. And while I’ve never read them, I feel as though I have because Marisa has been giving me a blow by blow description for years.

    I remember when we interviewed Suzanne Brockman she said her editor finally said she had to give Alyssa and Sam their happy ending or readers would stage a riot.

    So now that you’ve chosen her as your favorite heroine and Marisa has raved about the books and , and, and, I think I’m going to have to start reading this series, and goodness knows there’s plenty of backlist here.

  2. Andrea
    on Aug 26th, 2009
    @ 1:55 pm

    You’re not the only one, Maria. I’ve not read them either. But you’re right, after reading both of Stacy’s blogs, I’m wondering if I should start!

    Excellent blog, Stacy! You’ve made me want to read Sam and Alyssa’s HEA, so you’ve done your job!! 🙂

  3. Kati
    on Aug 26th, 2009
    @ 3:31 pm

    I love Alyssa and Sam! Especially the chocolate sauce scene! 😉

    Great choice, Stacy! I particularly like that Alyssa is a woman of color, and while it’s mentioned, it’s not even an issue between them. It’s about the love and attraction and support they have for each other. They have a wonderful ongoing romance, that’s for sure!

  4. Gannon
    on Aug 26th, 2009
    @ 3:46 pm

    I have to join Maria and Andrea in the “have not read” corner. 🙂 You’ve definitely made me want to read the series, Stacy. Great job!

  5. Marisa
    on Aug 26th, 2009
    @ 5:12 pm

    Stacy – you’ve picked one of my very favorite heroines in fiction! She’s all that and more, and for those of you who haven’t read the Troubleshooter series you’re missing out on some terrific characters.

    One of the things I love about this character is the journey Miss Brockmann takes us on over so many books. We really get to know Alyssa, her foibles, her joys, her heartaches and the thinking behind the woman. Throughout many books there is an unfolding about her relationships with her teammates, her friends and her lover/now husband. Even in the books where she doesn’t have a ‘starring’ role – she comes across clearly and vibrantly. It’s an extraordinary thing to come to know a heroine over a series of books and continually want to know more.

  6. Buffie
    on Aug 26th, 2009
    @ 6:47 pm

    Wow, can’t believe I’m not the only one who hasn’t read this book! But thanks to you Stacy, I think I need to go out and get it. It sounds like a book I would truly enjoy reading.

  7. Dee
    on Aug 26th, 2009
    @ 8:03 pm

    I came late into the Troubleshooters series as a friend of mine mailed me a couple of the books and the rest I either got at a used bookstore or at bookstores in paperback [Into the Fire and All Through the Night] or in hardback [Into the Storm and Dark of Night].

    I loved seeing not only the romance develop for Sam and Alyssa, but also seeing them evolve as characters. From bantering rivalry to marriage and parenthood, they still have the spark first seen in the early books.

  8. Renee
    on Aug 26th, 2009
    @ 8:25 pm

    I just finished Gone Too Far this week! It’s been a great journey seeing Sam and Alyssa grow and their relationship develop. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series and learn more about them!

    Alyssa is so beautifully developed over the course of the series, and she really is a great heroine, Stacy!

  9. LJ Greene
    on Aug 26th, 2009
    @ 9:09 pm

    Love this series. I’ve been reading it from the beginning and yes, Alyssa and Sam were absolute favourites.

    I haven’t read the new one yet–Hot Pursuit–but it’s on the TBR pile.

  10. PJ
    on Aug 26th, 2009
    @ 9:14 pm

    Terrific blog, Stacy! I haven’t read any of the Troubleshooters books yet though I’ve heard wonderful things about all of them. More books to add to the stash!

  11. Stacy ~
    on Aug 26th, 2009
    @ 11:52 pm

    Maria, I hope you will love S&A as much as Marisa and I do. There is just something magical yet also very real about this couple that makes them my favorite. And I love that Alyssa is feminine but also very strong and capable w/o Sam having to rescue her. She’s my role model *g*

    Andrea, so glad to hear that! I will be forever grateful for the day I picked up my first Brockmann, Kiss & Tell, over 12 years ago. A moment I cherish.

    Kati, that’s one of my favorite things too. While Alyssa’s color is mentioned occasionally, it really doesn’t have anything to do with Sam & her. Sam fell completely in love with her and her ethnicity didn’t impact their relationship at all. They just…were.

    Gannon, another one? Well, I hope I’ve tempted others to read this series and become as enamored of them as I am. I’m thrilled Marisa is such a huge fan – I love sharing tidbits and observations with her. She and I think very much alike, and it’s fun chatting about the books.

    Marisa, that’s one of my favorite things about Alyssa, that she doesn’t compromise who she is to fit into Sam’s world. She’s the less sentimental, the less emotional, but it complements Sam so well. And watching their relationship evolve has been such a treat. I’m always left wanting even more.

    Buffie, reading these books is a serious investment of time, but if you love rom suspense and strong characters, I think you will find this series has a lot to offer. They’ve enriched my reading experience.

    Dee, one of my favorite things now is to watch them deal with issues that crop up in a marriage. Like their careers, and how to raise their child. It’s fascinating to me to watch them work it out, like any married couple would. There’s sacrifice, but also lots of love and joy, too.

    Renee, I’ve enjoying watching the changes Alyssa has gone through. It’s unfortunate that her stunning looks often end up being more of a curse than anything, but she’s learned to look past that and worry about the really important things, like her family, and protecting people. She continues to impress me.

    LJ, every book is a joy and a sadness because no matter who’s in it, I still want my S&A fix. These characters have affected me as few others have, and I’ve enjoyed it, cried over it, and rejoiced throughout it all.

    PJ, I highly recommend them to rom suspense fans. I know there are a lot of books out there to be read, but some are more worth investing time into reading, and I think these books fit that description.

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