When Linda first met Gary Preston, he was bright, vibrant, magnetic. He looked like an Irishman, talked like a judge, and moved like Babe Ruth (without all the pudge and bluster). He had bravado, sure, but it was cool, professional, gracious. He had an air of power kept tight under control but at the ready. She felt he was dangerous, to some, but trusted him anyway. Getting rescued a few times didn't hurt the attraction at all.
Finding out he was the Flame wasn't so much a revelation but a confirmation. He'd always been her knight, shining armor not required.