Intelligent, lighthearted, and full of romance, this was exactly what I was hoping for… though I wouldn’t have minded some steam, lol! It’s my first from the author, so I wasn’t sure if the vibe would be more women’s fiction or romance, but it ended up being a great combination of the two. The romance is front and center throughout, though this is definitely the heroine’s story. It’s told exclusively from her point of view, and she’s got some self-reflection and personal growth to go through before she can let love into her life. But it also feels like a low angst, slow burn romance too, complete with a fake relationship and a famous hero. I loved that our couple was forced to spend nearly every moment together, and neither one seemed to have any complaints about that. It’s the kind of story where you have to puzzle out the hero’s thoughts and feelings, which kept me engaged and interested throughout. And I had no trouble bingeing it in one sitting – this was very good.
The story follows Hannah, a woman’s whose past has shaped her into the person she is today. She works as a bodyguard, and it would take just the right guy to scale her walls and discover the soft center she hides beneath her bristly and business-like exterior. So when Hannah’s estranged mother passes away and her support system crumbles around her, she hopes that burying herself in work with protect her from all of the unwelcome emotions that are creeping up on her. But when a new assignment – protecting a famous but reclusive actor – starts spiraling out of control, Hannah is left reeling. It’s not long before she finds herself posing as the heartthrob’s girlfriend and temporarily living on his family ranch. Spending time together brings them closer, but Jack is off-limits in more ways than one… and faking a relationship with an actor would lead anyone to question whether it’s ALL an act.
Much of the story is introspective and focused on Hannah’s thoughts, but Jack is also an integral component. It’s a true romance, just one that tackles some heavier issues and does not include any steam. Difficult subjects like cancer, the loss of a loved one, and addiction are included, but the overall tone is actually pretty upbeat. Jack and Hannah’s connection is so easy to see, and I loved all of the ways they complement each other. They both heal old wounds throughout the story, and there were plenty of swoony vibes. Their relationship develops slowly, almost a friendship at first, and I can see why there was no spice included – though they form a bond semi-quickly, there are several obstacles in their way. I loved how much Jack appreciated Hannah’s authenticity, and he adored the fact that she can be both tough and tender. He doesn’t try to change her, and he seems to genuinely love the things that make her insecure about herself. All in all, it was super easy to fall for Jack, so I had plenty of patience for their relationship to evolve. This was an excellent first read from this new-to-me author – I loved it!
The audio is so good! Since the story is told exclusively from Hannah’s point of view, there’s a single female narrator. She does a great job of differentiating between the characters, and I loved her performance as Hannah. The audio enhances the story in a big way, infusing both emotion and emphasis into the text. And the narrator’s voice was relaxing and easy to listen to, perfect for the tone of the book. This would also make an ideal workday listen – not only is the runtime short enough to finish in a single day, but the slow burn story and low/no heat level means that you won’t be blushing at the office, lol. It’s not somber enough to drag you down; it’s lighthearted and a little playful, which will make the day fly by. I definitely recommend the audio.
She’s got his back.
Hannah Brooks looks more like a kindergarten teacher than somebody who could kill you with a wine bottle opener. Or a ballpoint pen. Or a dinner napkin. But the truth is, she’s an Executive Protection Agent (aka “bodyguard”), and she just got hired to protect superstar actor Jack Stapleton from his middle-aged, corgi-breeding stalker.
He’s got her heart.
Jack Stapleton’s a household name—captured by paparazzi on beaches the world over, famous for, among other things, rising out of the waves in all manner of clingy board shorts and glistening like a Roman deity. But a few years back, in the wake of a family tragedy, he dropped from the public eye and went off the grid.
They’ve got a secret.
When Jack’s mom gets sick, he comes home to the family’s Texas ranch to help out. Only one catch: He doesn’t want his family to know about his stalker. Or the bodyguard thing. And so Hannah—against her will and her better judgment—finds herself pretending to be Jack’s girlfriend as a cover. Even though her ex, like a jerk, says no one will believe it.
What could possibly go wrong???
Hannah hardly believes it, herself. But the more time she spends with Jack, the more real it all starts to seem. And there lies the heartbreak. Because it’s easy for Hannah to protect Jack. But protecting her own, long-neglected heart? That’s the hardest thing she’s ever done.
About the Author:
BookPage calls Katherine Center “the reigning queen of comfort reads.” She’s the New York Times bestselling author of over half a dozen books, including How to Walk Away, Things You Save in a Fire, and What You Wish For. Katherine writes laugh-and-cry books about how life knocks us down―and how we get back up. She’s been compared to both Jane Austen and Nora Ephron, and the Dallas Morning News calls her stories, “satisfying in the most soul-nourishing way.” Her books have made countless Best-Of lists, including RealSimple’s Best Books of 2020, Amazon’s Top 100 Books of 2019, Goodreads’ Best Books of the Year, and many more. Bestselling author Emily Henry calls her summer 2022 book, The Bodyguard, “a shot of pure joy.” The movie adaptation of Katherine’s novel The Lost Husband (starring Josh Duhamel) hit #1 on Netflix, and her novel Happiness for Beginners is in production now as a Netflix original starring Ellie Kemper. Katherine lives in her hometown of Houston, Texas, with her husband, two kids, and their fluffy-but-fierce dog.
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