Jessica Pennington’s work as an etiquette coach requires her to be polite and proper at all times, especially now that she has a book coming out. The only thing that rattles her reserve is the increasingly violent emails and texts from her persistent stalker. With the book launch in jeopardy, she reluctantly hires a bodyguard.
Noah Samuels hates stuck-up, prim people like Jessica. He’s more the blunt, straightforward type. But to advance up the ranks at McCormack Security, he has to take the high-profile assignment. After a near miss on his first day on the job, Noah realizes that the stalker isn’t just hype cooked up to sell books-the threat is real.
As the stalker escalates from letters to letter bombs, Noah sees a vulnerable side of Jessica that rouses more than just his protective instincts. But can she let down her guard long enough to trust Noah before it’s too late?
*Blurb from Goodreads*
I love my romantic suspense, and the blurb for this book sounded so great. A bodyguard, a stalker and a prim and proper heroine… it just sounded like a recipe for success, and I enjoyed it very much!
Jessica has a book launch, a business and multiple social events to manage, all while trying to live without the fear that today will be the day her stalker tries something new. She is stressed and under insane amounts of pressure, and somehow, just barely, manages to keep her cool. That is until Noah walks in the door and saves her from a bomb within five minutes of shaking hands.
Noah is desperate to get back to work after a shooting, and taking a babysitting job is something he can to do prove he’s ready to go back to work. But after the bomb on day one, Noah soon realizes that this is not the average stalker. He sticks close to Jessica at every turn, and despite their attraction, is willing to do anything for the woman who keeps getting more and more under his skin.
I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed the suspense in this book. I’ve found that very few authors can do a really good job of doing a romantic suspense in less than 200 pages, but Curtis did an amazing job with keeping the suspense alive and moving the story forward, and even slowing things down too. I will definitely be looking forward to reading more from this author in the future.
I really liked Noah, from the second he came on the page, kicking butt as he went. He was surly and opinionated and although he wasn’t super happy about taking a bodyguard position, was one hundred percent dedicated to his job. Watching him struggle with falling for Jessica, someone who was the complete opposite of what his “ideal” woman was like, was great fun. I’ve always been a fan of books that can do this trope well, because it creates so much tension and angst and fulfillment once the characters finally come together.
Jessica was a wonderful heroine as well. Her character is peeled back layer by layer and as more was revealed to the reader, the more I liked her. She comes across as this very calculated woman, one who weighs every action and processes every move she makes. But as her backstory is revealed, I was left thinking nothing but positive thoughts about her: how she was so positive and caring and sweet and sincerely dedicated to the life she carved out for herself.
While the relationship between Jessica and Noah is smoking hot with sexual tension, it wasn’t without its faults. There were times it seemed like they were on the same page emotionally, only to take a giant step back from one another, shut one another out, and do silly things to push one another away. That annoyed me a bit, especially when Jessica forced Noah to leave, putting her own body in harm’s way of the stalker. It felt a little like a TSTL move, and I wanted to yell at her for making that decision, especially when it cost her so much more than she expected.
Again, I can’t say enough good things about the suspense in this one. Especially when it came to the mystery of who exactly the stalker was, I was so surprised by the end. Curtis did a wonderful job of keeping the mystery going, keeping me on the edge of my seat, and leaving me guessing up until the very last minute. Bravo!
All in all I really enjoyed my first ever Curtis read. The suspense was so incredibly well done, the characters were developed in a way that engaged me more than I could have ever hoped for. While the romance wasn’t my favorite, it was filled with sexual tension that kept me rooting for them. I would definitely recommend romantic suspense fans pick up this book and give Curtis a try!
I give Guarding Jess a B+