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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Bride’s Bodyguard by Beth Cornelison

The Bride’s Bodyguard by Beth Cornelison
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (218 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Hired by the groom-to-be, former SEAL Jake McCall must make sure beautiful bride Paige Bancroft stays safe. When gunfire shatters the wedding, he discovers that the threat to Paige is hovering close. Now the country's national security depends on keeping her and a mysterious "bead" in her possession out of the wrong hands.

Paige Bancroft never had control of her privileged, sheltered life until she finds danger on her trail and a larger-than-life bodyguard at her side. Realizing her almost-wedding was a mistake, she's determined to fight for her survival…and start a new life with the sexy SEAL—for better or worse.

Imagine a wedding getting literally blown apart by a gunman right before the heroine says “I do.” and you have an intense romantic suspense ready to keep you at the edge of your seat.

Talk about a grand and powerful beginning to a story. At first is seems idyllic with a bride experiencing pre-wedding jitters, then the first chapter ends with her on the run and her life in the hands of a serious military minded stranger. So much for her wedding night.

Paige has a lot of growing to do throughout this story. She’s somehow gotten turned around about life’s priorities and she almost made a huge mistake. Oh, her intentions were noble, but that’s really not the place for it and nothing brings that home to her than being in the presence of Jake McCall. Paige’s character is pretty likable and she holds her own during the course of the tale. She doesn’t break down and get all girly – she has a spine and knows how to use it. Even when the tension is so thick a reader could cut it with a knife and Paige turns a little green in the gills – bad guys will do that to a person – she is a woman to respect.

Jake is a character that has a humungous chip on his shoulder. He thinks Paige is skewed... well so is he.

He’s got this warped idea of how trust should work, he is an ex-Navy SEAL who really wasn’t ready to retire and it shows and he doesn’t handle failure well at all. He’s knowledgeable but vulnerable, tough when he has to be and tough when he shouldn’t be. In a way, he needs a woman like Paige to set him straight. There’s one little tiny problem, did Paige get married or not? If she is, then he’s got a whole other issue to deal with because she’s gotten under his skin. Seriously, Jake has a frustrated hero complex and he’s not too smooth dealing in the civilian sector. I think he was flawed, sure, but he really was dedicated to Paige and her safety and he did respect her ideas and suggestions. The fact that he lost his focus a time or two because of his infatuation with the heroine endeared him to me. I think he needed saving too, from himself.

The secondary characters are Paige’s family and her "is he or isn’t he" groom/husband/fiancé. The conflict is both internal and definitely external. The villains are mean, well funded and connected, and persistent.

The writing is crisp, furiously paced when the action gets going, and at times humorous.

The Bride’s Bodyguard should keep romantic suspense readers flipping the pages at a fast clip because action is always just around the corner. The sparks fly between Jake and Paige as fast as the bullets coming after them. I was thoroughly entertained, was very satisfied with the happily ever after and had a great time reading this book.