Reviewed by Tori
Emily is a former athlete turned professional choreographer and enjoys all the perks her Hollywood career has to offer. But when her fame brings an abusive ex-boyfriend back into the picture, her employer hires the best security money can buy.
Carter is not only the best in the business but also one of the most gorgeous and sexy men Emily has ever seen. But Carter doesn’t mix business with pleasure and he tries his best to keep his attraction to Emily locked up tight. When her ex boyfriend attacks, Carter tosses aside all his objections and vows to protect her 24/7. But letting Emily into his life means letting her into his heart. And that could be dangerous for both of them.
Bodyguard is the 2nd book in C.D. Reiss’ Hollywood A-List series. I’ve only read two other books by Reiss and enjoyed them both. Each book is this series completely independent of one another and can be read as standalones. Set in the same world (Hollywood) Reiss dives into the world of stars, stalkers, and bodyguards when a young woman’s ex-boyfriend wants her back and refuses to take no (or a beating) for an answer. It had a lot of promise but for me it didn’t deliver. I was disappointed to see that the wit and chemistry that made Bombshell a hit for me was missing in here. This is a completely different iin tone and scope. I enjoyed the premise of a stalker ex, the hints of forbidden fraternization, and the reason behind Carter’s secretive nature but I was bored overall.
Reiss opens in the past, giving us background on the heroine, Emily, and how she went from an Olympic hopeful to a professional choreographer for her best friend-pop star Danielle McKenna. We then hop into the present with Emily rushing to work and getting tackled in the parking lot. She’s about to unload a world of hurt on her attacker only to discover he is a newly hired bodyguard. His company has been hired to help as they get ready for a huge music tour. Danielle has been receiving more than her usual creepy fan mail but when Emily is targeted, Danielle tells Carter to make Emily is number one priority.
Using alternating voices, Reiss introduces the main characters while laying the groundwork for the story. Simultaneously building a thriller/romance, Reiss skimps in some areas and overly expound on others. There are scenes that are set up with the impression that their intent will reveal later; only they don’t. Some scenes play out simply to add drama to the story and it is frightfully obvious. We learn more about Emily’s ex, his abuse, and the extent Emily has gone to get him out of her life. Carter is an ex LAPD detective now private bodyguard who lives with his mother and has a secret that he’ll do anything possible to protect.
Carter and Emily are lust at first sight but Carter doesn’t play where he works. That is until Carter does some maneuvering with his boss and suddenly it’s okay for them to be together. Apparently because, e Emily is THE ONE, this makes it all everything okay. Plenty of internal dialogue on both sides shows us they are interested in one another but the intensity of their feelings, along with the push and pull they engage in is better suited for a couple who has a long romantic history. Their chemistry is more a matter of Reiss skills in writing a sexy sex scene than an actual emotional response. This couple moves really fast and exhibits some inappropriate behavior that just doesn’t jive. Especially when you realise that all this happens in less than a week or two.
We know who the villain is right off the bat, so the story stays more focused on the romance and Carter’s big secret. I It’s odd but I found I liked Emily and Carter when they were in their own heads, doing their own things. When they were together or thinking of each other-that’s when they did some odd things and crossed lines. I found Emily to be nosy, naive, and easily angered when she doesn’t get her way. She carries a fake gun for protection then decides she wants a pink glock because black guns scare her. I don’t even know what to say to that. I liked Carter better though he too had some issues. His over protectiveness was commendable though it caused him to cross multiple lines. His constant hot cold act was annoying but the love he has for his family is wonderful to read about. What saves the story from being a complete write off for me is Carter and his family.
A large cast of secondary characters help to round out the story and give it some depth. For me, this book would have worked a lot better if Carter had been the star and Emily the bodyguard. The ending comes at us fast and wraps up the story neat little bow, leaving readers secure in the fact that Emily and Carter are the perfect couple and well on their way to their HEA. There is even a little inspirational scene at the end. Unfortunately, Reiss never managed to sell me on it.
Heroes and Heartbreakers