About the Book:
Title: The Bodyguard
Author: Katherine Center
Page Length: 320
Publication Date: July 19, 2022
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Synopsis: She’s got his back.
Hannah Brooks looks more like a kindgerten 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.
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An elite bodyguard, Hannah needs a change of scenery after her boyfriend, who is also a coworker vying for the same position as her, breaks up with her on the same day of her mother’s funeral. Famous actor Jack Stapleton has been out of the spotlight ever since he was involved in a car crash that killed his younger brother. Jack plans to return home to Texas and help his mother while she deals with a health issue. Because of Jack’s celebrity status and past encounters with stalkers, Hannah is hired as his bodyguard. Jack isn’t thrilled, and he insists she acts as his girlfriend so as not to alarm his family. As the lines between reality and pretend blur, Hannah realizes there is more to Jack than meets the eye. She has a hard time keeping her feelings in check. Does Jack feel the same way?
The Bodyguard is such a fun and engrossing contemporary romance! I loved that the female protagonist is the bodyguard, and the male protagonist is the one who needs protection. It’s a role reversal that I haven’t often seen in romance novels. The heart of the story is the romance between Hannah and Jack. However, the other storylines, including Jack’s mysterious backstory, the fake dating ruse, and Hannah’s work and relationship struggles, are equally intriguing. There is also a bit of suspense as Jack’s overeager fans become more of a threat than anticipated.
Hannah is such a strong and brave woman, and I love her take-charge personality. She goes through so much, both in her personal and professional life, throughout the story, and she learns a lot about herself, which I liked. Hannah struggles with the death of her mother, her recent break-up, a friendship in tatters, uncertainty at her job, as well as her growing and confusing feelings toward Jack, and it’s interesting to see how she deals with all of the challenges she faces.
Jack is handsome and charming, and he also has a lot of depth. Kind, caring, and riddled with guilt and secrets, Jack struggles a lot with the past, his family, and his role in his brother’s death. Jack is still grieving, and his strained relationship with his family weighs heavily on him. He is a really interesting and deep person who, much like Hannah, hides and ignores his feelings. I enjoyed his character arc and how he evolves and opens up as the story progresses.
The highlight of the novel, of course, is the wonderful, chemistry-laden romance between Hannah and Jack. I love the fake dating trope, and Hannah and Jack make it look good! They have the best banter, and the way they tease and play off each other is so natural and electric. They are so funny together, and the way they cajole, relax, and have fun with each other is fantastic! There are so many laugh-out-loud scenes when this pair is together, and I love that they bring so much happiness and levity into each other’s lives.
I really enjoyed this story. It’s fun and funny at times and emotional and moving at others, and the characters are layered and interesting. The story includes themes of self-acceptance, forgiveness, the need to belong to something bigger than yourself, and taking a chance on love, and there are some incredibly poignant and touching moments, especially as Hannah gets to know Jack and his family. I would definitely recommend The Bodyguard to readers who like rom-coms or contemporary romance and am so thankful to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
- The romance.
- The intrigue.
- Jack’s family.
A breakup is a type of grief. It’s the death of not just any relationship-but the most important one in your life.
People loving you for your best qualities is not the same as people loving you despite your worst.
To what we’ve held onto. And what we’ve lost.
Every chance you take is a choice. A choice to decide who you are.
The people we love help teach us who we are.
I think this is a great book for readers who enjoy contemporary rom-coms.