Heat Factor: Silk panties flying across the room.
Character Chemistry: They are both hot. That’s about it.
Plot: Don’t think too hard about the details.
Overall: Never cared about the characters, so never got really invested in the story.
Jonathan is a Congressman. (There are enough context clues to assume that he’s a Congressman from Virginia, probably representing the 1st, 4th, or 7th district, but the specifics of where he is are not part of the story in any way.) Not just any Congressman, a hot-shot Congressman who single-handedly lead the charge to pass legislation to decrease human trafficking. Oh, plus he’s being groomed by his party to run for president. Now, his life has been threatened, so someone (Maybe the President? Unclear. It wasn’t Jonathan, anyways.) has hired a private security firm to send an undercover bodyguard to protect him while he’s on the campaign trail, hobnobbing with the locals for re-election.
Enter Abbie, his bodyguard. She is tall, skinny, and extremely hot. She knows her way around weaponry. She is 29, because god forbid our female romantic lead be in her 30s.
Since Abbie is a security expert and Jonathan is a “man of the people,” they clash about the best practices for keeping him safe. He MUST keep campaigning, and wants to be close to his constituents, and she’s like, dude, your life is in danger.
She successfully protects him, eventually gets a bad guy who sings about his superiors, and the threat is over. Between protecting him, they have some sex that is mostly hot except I kept getting distracted by the overuse of the word panties. Panties are not sexy, even if they are made of black silk. (I don’t know of a sexy synonym either. Let’s just not discuss underwear so much, mkay?)
In the process, she destroys at least two pairs of Louboutins. I get it. She is extremely sexy, and her stilettos make her even more sexy. But – these seem like not the right shoes for her job. Also, how can she afford to destroy multiple pairs of $900 shoes on a single assignment? I shudder to think what her annual shoe budget must be. I was extremely annoyed by the shoe thing. Especially the scene where she breaks a heel running after a bad guy, and therefore doesn’t catch him. She even thinks, after it happens, “no way in hell was she switching to the orthopedic nightmares some of the older agents wore.” This completely ignores the fact that the shoes make her less competent at doing her job. ARGH.
Bodyguard is part of James Patterson’s Bookshots Flames series. Good on James Patterson for promoting romance novels – and with that, using his name to promote novelists who are not as big as he is. But he’s so condescending about it. Like, he came up with this idea of “Bookshots”, which are books that “give people lightening-fast reads that completely capture them for just a couple of hours in their day”. That type of book already exists, James Patterson. It’s called a “Novella.”
As you probably gathered from the brief plot synopsis above, this particular novella centers on politics. If you don’t care about politics or how the world actually works, you may find this book less annoying than I did. As you probably gathered from the fact that I looked up Virginia’s congressional map to figure out what district this guy represents based on a throwaway line about them being in Richmond, I am a NERD. Though none of my many years of study were focused on political science, I am still a politics nerd. I am about to start ranting about a bunch of things in this story that I found completely nonsensical. If you are not a nerd, maybe none of this nonsense will annoy you. You have been warned.
First of all, Jonathan is friend (presumably, a contemporary) of Abbie’s college boyfriend. There are two possibilities here. Either, he is a very young MoC, say in his early 30s, or Abbie’s college boyfriend was 10 years her senior. If he is a very young MoC, there is NO WAY that he would be being groomed to run for president in 2-4 years. If he’s in his 40s, that’s cool, but it does mean that Abbie’s college relationship had more of a power imbalance that we are being told about – though that could explain why the break-up was such a traumatic experience for her. This is a minor annoyance, but I want consistency in my romances.
Speaking of Jonathan being groomed to run for President, when was the last time a lowly Congressman became president, without also having some other political experience? If we’re extremely generous, we can say Gerald Ford, who went from MoC to Vice President to President, but he was never elected to nationwide office – he just got the job because of Nixon’s shenanigans. Before that, it was James Garfield. (Granted, we live in the Age of Trump now, so I guess… all bets are off?)
The reason Jonathan is being targeted is because he passed legislation making it harder for a terrorist organization to traffic women. Now, there may be intricacies here that I don’t understand, but… isn’t trafficking already illegal? Plus, the terrorist group in question is definitely Muslim (never stated, heavily implied), so there’s no way it’s being protected by other powerful politicians – so it’s not like legislation can make this group more of a target than it already is. Presumably, cutting down on trafficking is about enforcement. Unless he was able to pass a huge funding package. (HAHAHAHAHA) Or unless the bill in question is more like the recent FOSTA / SESTA bills, which were meant to combat online trafficking, but which advocates and sex workers say actually do more harm than good. All of this to say: I see no way that a single piece of legislation actually was the precipitate cause for a sophisticated organization to take a hit in their trafficking abilities.
There is a mole in his campaign passing info about his stops to the terrorist group. When Abbie uncovers who it is, she is extremely unsympathetic – even though it is made clear that the mole is acting under duress to protect a family member. Abbie’s like, why didn’t you just tell Jonathan! And the staffer is like: they said they would kill my sister! Not said, but what exactly does Abbie think Jonathan will be able to do to fix this situation? He’s a politician, not a friggin’ magician. URGH.
Finally: why is he campaigning so hard to get re-elected to Congress? If he is such a rock star, his seat is probably safe. Plus, gerrymandering! I know, I know, it’s to show that he’s a man of the people and really really cares about his constituents, but… come on. Maybe I’m jaded because my MoC doesn’t even hold town hall meetings, much less campaign events open to the public.
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