If I could get a bodyguard like Matt Hawkins, I’d say sign me up for trouble right now. Wowee!! Her Bodyguard was a welcome relief for me after reading a very bad suspense book and an “ehh” book of fiction. This was an actual romance with likable characters and an intriguing mystery. If only I hadn’t felt like the author was trying to get a subtle message across.
Lili Kavanaugh is a professor and a shoe designer. (By the way, I loved her occupation. The only thing better would have been a handbag designer.) While in Chicago on business, she’s attacked, and her family hires a bodyguard to protect her. In walks Matt Hawkins and his two men. Lili doesn’t really believe she’s in danger and hates the idea of a bodyguard. Matt wants Lili to take the danger seriously, and a second attack that leaves Matt’s assistants seriously injured finally convinces her. Matt takes Lili off to a cabin to hide out, and the close quarters kindle the attraction that sparks between them.
The story behind the old shoes that starts the plot rolling is an interesting one, and the way it ties into the story “fits” nicely (shoe pun intended). I easily saw the secret of the shoes, but the rest of the story was indeed a mystery to me. Joey and Rose, a Chicago gangster and his girlfriend, are the center of the story. They were shot by the mob in 1933, and the money and jewelry that Joey stole were never found. Lili owns a pair of Rose’s shoes. Matt and Lili figure out that the shoes are the clue to the puzzle and take off to find Willis Conroy, an old man also involved in the story,
Lili has a refreshing attitude – hip, straightforward, sexual (and not innocent), which I liked. She faces life with enthusiasm and doesn’t let much get her down. However, she hates the idea of having a bodyguard and throws a little tantrum when Matt shows up. She starts to fall for Matt while hating what he does for a living, even while it’s keeping her safe. She’s also a romantic at heart, and she cares enough about Matt to try to help him get past his emotional barriers. Lili is quite the contradiction, but I liked her.
I had no problem deciding whether I liked Matt. The answer to that is a resounding yes. He’s tough, strong and smart, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to protect his clients. He escaped a bad childhood the best way he knew how and made something of himself, but he still feels ashamed of his past. Finding himself attracted to the client is a new thing for him – and a no-no – but he just can’t fight it. Lili is going to be his last job anyway before he starts his own security business.
The attraction between Matt and Lili is completely believable and a true case of opposites attract. Lili’s romanticism and verve is a nice counterpoint to Matt’s restraint and practicality. It’s such a connection that Lili can see right to Matt’s heart, often pointing out things he needs to see but can’t. He does the same for her. However, Matt’s insistent attitude that what he and Lili had wouldn’t last and Lili’s opposition to his job started to get old. I really liked the way Lili could see through Matt, though. So often when the hero decides to push the heroine away for her own good, she buys into his story and believes it. Matt tries to do that with Lili, and instead of screaming and getting mad, she calls him on it and basically says nice try, but she isn’t buying it.
Much as I liked this aspect of Lili’s personality, I could never figure out why she hated Matt’s job so much. Her reasoning didn’t seem reasonable – having a bodyguard was a benefit to her. Since her opposition to Matt’s job is never really explained, trying to figure it out kept jerking me out of the story. When Jerott uses Willis Conroy, the old criminal, as a comparison to Matt, it started to feel like there was an anti-violence message lurking beneath the story. While that’s a great message, I don’t like being preached to, however gently, especially in a book I’m reading purely for entertainment.
Everything else about this story works, however, and I recommend it even as I wonder why so many contemporary romances are tied to suspense stories these days. Her Bodyguard is definitely a romance, though, so pick up Her Bodyguard when it hits the shelves, and Matt will have you wishing for a little suspense to come your way, too.