James Patterson’s new Bookshots line (a fancy name for novellas) promises ‘Under 150 pages; Under $5, Impossible To Put Down’ and ‘Life Moves Fast, Books Should Too’. They are available currently in two categories – thriller and romance and can be read on any electronic device. Bodyguard by Jessica Linden is one of the new entries in the romance category, and true to that claim, took me just about an hour to read. It’s a timely political romance/romantic suspense story that was about more of a relationship with benefits than a romance with a surprising number of action scenes for its length. I’d say it delivers what’s promised.
Congressman Jonathon Lassitar is a man of the people. He’s charismatic, well liked, and one of the guys on the Hill who really wants to get things done; case in point – the legislation he helped put through to hinder Hak Tanir, a shadowy terrorist group involved in human trafficking. As a result, they’ve got Jonathon down as a target, and Abbie Whitmore is determined that he won’t be their next victim. She’s been hired by his people as a security expert/bodyguard, set to take her place as his ‘aide’ to explain her presence. Abbie and Jonathon clash over his desire to be accessible to the public and her mission to keep him safe. When an attraction blossoms between them, the danger he’s in takes on a more personal tone for Abbie. Can she protect him and her heart at the same time?
There isn’t a lot of character development in this story. We don’t know much about Abbie and Jonathon’s history or motivations except to say that Jonathon is the kind of politician that really has the people’s interests at heart, and Abbie has the skills necessary to do her job of protecting her client, whomever it might be. Their first kiss is not my favorite scene, being that Jonathon pulls a lesson from a politician currently in the headlines in the grab and go department, essentially kissing Abbie out of the blue leaving her to at first melt into his arms, then protest and push him away. Dallying with a client is definitely not something Abbie does normally, no matter how attractive or interested in her he might seem. Fortunately, later on there is more mutual interest between them, and after a particularly harrowing scene of a rally involving a gunman (the kind one hopes won’t actually happen in real life) the shared relief and heightened emotions in the aftermath lead to a more believable and mutually involved love scene. From then on, they hop into bed together on a few more occasions. There isn’t a lot of romance here, no courtship or public appearances as a couple, just some good sex and the sense that their emotions are becoming stronger without any ‘insta-love’ declarations.
For a novella, there are a suprising number of action scenes and a bit of a mystery too, that does get solved by the end. The group Hak Tanir pulls no punches and has no qualms about collateral damage and making anyone a target if it gets them to their goal. Abbie definitely comes across as an expert in her field, proficient in all forms of attack. It’s puzzling to me that she isn’t just introduced as extra security for Jonathon, given that she quickly reveals her skills in public and is obviously not just his ‘aide’. Later on, her judgement is impaired by her feelings for Jonathon and she makes some questionable choices that she’ll have to deal with down the road. The author does a good job of the behind the scenes look at Jonathon’s political campaign and the rally stops along the way. In the end, we get a suitable happy for now ending, one in which both Abbie and Jonathon agree that they want to pursue whatever this thing is between them. For a short read, Bodyguard did its job of keeping me entertained.