I've had several people recommend Jodi Ellen Malpas's work to me, so reading THE PROTECTOR felt like common sense. Plus, that cover looks just like the iconic carrying scene from The Bodyguard. I can practically hear Whitney Houston singing...
No, not "I Will Always Love You" but "Why Does It Hurt So Bad?" And by "it" I mean my brain, because reading this book gave me one mean mother of a headache.
The plot is pretty simple because there isn't much of one. Cami(lle) is the daughter of a rich magnate-type who is getting blackmailed. When Cami becomes the focus of the threats, her father hires Jake, an ex-Sniper from the SAS, to guard her body. This being a bodyguard romance novel, pretty soon he's doing far more to her body than guarding it. Also, since this is a bodyguard romance novel, Jake is naturally hiding something from Cami about his past. And naturally, she finds out about it in the worst way.
Cami is kind of like a cross between Paris Hilton and Tiffany Trump. She comes across as spoiled, but she has a business acumen as well (she wants to start her own fashion line). She also has moments of kindness, even if she's blinded by privilege. I liked her at first, because I like reading about feminine women who don't feel apologetic or ashamed by their femininity (one of the reasons Elle Woods from Legally Blonde and Cher from Clueless are my faves). Then Jake hopped on the scene and literally all she could think about was "Jake, Jake, Jake, Jake, Jake."
Jake, on the other hand, reminds me of those heroes from the Harlequin Desire line - alphahole, controlling, creepy, possessive, and manipulative. Cases in point: Using the word p*ssy and what I think is a British gay slur ("ponce"?) to refer to feminine things or emotional things and getting so jealous of the male model posing with Cami during one of her photoshoots that he shouts a curse word, disrupting the set, while thinking something like "that man has his hands on MY breasts." Because Cami's breasts are apparently his breasts. He owns them. Ew. Later in the book, he decides he loves her, so he controls her eating habits (forcing her to eat fatty food she doesn't want), and then an instant later, proposes to her and draws a wedding ring on her finger in pen. Ew. I didn't like him from the beginning and I liked him even less when I found out what his secret was.
Between the bad sex scenes, bad characterization, last-ditch attempt at conflict in the third act, and the insta-love that is utterly without basis or substance, I can't say that there's much to speak in this book's favor. I guess I liked Cami's mom a lot, and I learned a new phrase: "cunny funt."
Apart from that, I'd give this book a miss - unless you find men who think of women's bodies as Monopoly boards attractive.
1 out of 5 stars