Review: The Bodyguard by Anna Hackett

Review: The Bodyguard by Anna HackettThe Bodyguard (Norcross Security #4) by Anna Hackett
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: action adventure romance, romantic suspense
Series: Norcross Security #4
Pages: 306
Published by Anna Hackett on April 23, 2021
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & Noble
Goodreads

For a princess with a deadly stalker, the only place she feels safe is in the arms of her big, tough, and very off-limits bodyguard.
Princess Sofia of Caldova is in San Francisco to spearhead a fabulous royal jewelry exhibition and raise money for her charity...but danger has followed her. With an unhinged stalker hunting her, a dangerous international ring of jewel thieves targeting her exhibition, and her own secret task no one can know about, she's in need of security.
Enter big, grumpy, ex-military bodyguard Rome Nash. A man who's guarded her once before, and who she embarrassed herself by kissing...a kiss he didn't return.
After years on a covert special forces team, Rome Nash thrives on working for Norcross Security as its chief bodyguard. Driven by the losses of his past, he needs to help keep people safe. But guarding a beautiful, elegant princess who surprises him at every turn, and who he knows is hiding secrets, is testing his legendary self-control.
For months, all he's thought about is Sofia, and now that she's in danger, Rome's willing to cross all the lines to keep her safe.
As the exhibition draws closer, jewel thieves attack, Sofia's stalker strikes, and infamous thief Robin Hood enters the picture. Rome and the men of Norcross Security step in, and Rome will risk everything to protect his princess, no matter the risk, no matter the cost.

My Review:

The title for this one is a dead giveaway – meaning that there is, just occasionally, truth in advertising. The Bodyguard, the fourth book in the terrific action adventure romance Norcross Security series, is, indeed, definitely, absolutely, a bodyguard romance.

So if bodyguard romances trip your trope meter, then this is definitely the book for you – not that the entire Norcross Security series isn’t a whole lot of fun, and not that there isn’t an element of somebody guarding somebody’s body in every single story.

After all, that’s what Norcross Security does – secure, protect and guard precious things and even more precious people. Especially when they discover that those people are especially precious to them.

There’s a certain pattern to bodyguard romances, and that pattern is very much in evidence in this story – with just a few of this author’s signature twists and turns.

We met Rome and Sofie – and more to the point they met each other – in the previous book in the series (my personal fave so far), The Specialist. And they struck plenty of sparks off each other then, even though they weren’t the main event – more like the preview of coming attractions – pun fully intended.

Now that those attractions are very definitely here – the UST is such a big thing in the room that it just can’t remain unresolved for long. But the heart of this story is not about the conflict between Rome’s duty to remain objective so that he can put all of his focus on protecting Sofie.

For one thing, his focus is shot the minute she steps back into his life – and neither of them can step away in spite of the gulf of differences between them.

Not just because Sofie is Princess Sofia of Caldova is a real-life royal, but also because she’s also a real-life thief bearing the nom-de-plume Robin Hood – a secret that she can’t afford to let go of.

But whether she’s the princess or the thief, she is also caught in the cross-hairs of a stalker who plans to kidnap her, rape her and murder her while his gang steals the jewelry collection she plans to auction for charity. A charity that benefits abused women – women like the best friend that her stalker also kidnapped and raped.

Sofie’s out to make someone pay. And pay, and pay some more. The same someone who is very, very definitely out to get her. Rome can’t stop this collision course – no matter how much he tries – but he can be there to make sure that evil gets punished and Sofie walks away more-or-less unscathed.

If she’ll let him.

Escape Rating B: I have some pretty mixed feelings about this book. I’m kind of all over the map about it.

For one thing, if you like the bodyguard trope this is an outstanding example of it. Howsomever, if it’s not your fave – and I have to admit that it isn’t mine, at least in a contemporary setting – the patterns necessary to fit the trope are inherently too obvious for my taste.

But, as I said, if this is your jam it’s a very jammy jam indeed. It’s hard to do a contemporary bodyguard story well – and this is definitely done well.

On my other hand, I personally love the “it takes a thief to catch a thief” concept and pretty much have since the TV show all the way back in the 1970s – I watched it in syndication, so not the original run, but still a damn long time ago.

It’s just that, in this particular story, it jerked at my willing suspension of disbelief because Sofie was so damn good at it with not nearly as much training as it seemed like she would need. But mostly because the idea of breaking out of the house where you’re being protected from your extremely creepy and dangerous stalker in order to break into secure buildings where you might get into even more or worse trouble, when you know that your stalker is watching your current location seems somewhere past foolish.

I like my heroines with agency, but not the kind of agency that makes them look like idiots in desperate need of rescuing.

On my third, or perhaps fourth, hand – how many hands am I up to this time? – I do enjoy the setup of Norcross Security and I’m on tenterhooks waiting for the boss of this crew of ex-military badasses, Vander Norcross, to finally take the fall into romance that he’s watched his brothers (and sister) and his crew plunge into. I loved getting a glimpse of what the folks at Treasure Hunter Security are up to these days, and I liked watching the heat rise – and pretty much combust – between Rome and Sofie – so I’m still happy I read this one.

But, upon reflection, I think that this just wasn’t the right book at the right time for me. If you’re in the mood for an action adventure romance in general, or a bodyguard romance in particular, it might be the right book at the right time for you!

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