Etta

Audiobook Review: The Bodyguard

Expected publication: July 19th 2022

Author: Katherine Center

Narrator: Patti Murin

Audiobook Length: 10 hours 30 minutes

She’s got his back.
Hannah Brooks looks more like a kindgerten teacher than somebody who could kill you with a wine bottle opener. Or a ballpoint pen. Or a dinner napkin. But the truth is, she’s an Executive Protection Agent (aka “bodyguard”), and she just got hired to protect superstar actor Jack Stapleton from his middle-aged, corgi-breeding stalker.

He’s got her heart.
Jack Stapleton’s a household name—captured by paparazzi on beaches the world over, famous for, among other things, rising out of the waves in all manner of clingy board shorts and glistening like a Roman deity. But a few years back, in the wake of a family tragedy, he dropped from the public eye and went off the grid.

They’ve got a secret.
When Jack’s mom gets sick, he comes home to the family’s Texas ranch to help out. Only one catch: He doesn’t want his family to know about his stalker. Or the bodyguard thing. And so Hannah—against her will and her better judgment—finds herself pretending to be Jack’s girlfriend as a cover. Even though her ex, like a jerk, says no one will believe it.

They’ve got a secret.
When Jack’s mom gets sick, he comes home to the family’s Texas ranch to help out. Only one catch: He doesn’t want his family to know about his stalker. Or the bodyguard thing. And so Hannah—against her will and her better judgment—finds herself pretending to be Jack’s girlfriend as a cover. Even though her ex, like a jerk, says no one will believe it.

In The Bodyguard, Hannah Brooks, an executive protection agent, faces unexpected struggles when she is dealt with one negative after another. She is dating her boyfriend Robby, a fellow agent at her company, and excited for her next potential assignment in Europe. Things do not go to plan when her mother passes away and her company expects her to take more time and remain in Houston, Texas. Things continue to go down for her when Robby breaks up with her the night after Hannah’s mother’s funeral as Hannah is trying to invite Robby on a trip to Toledo because she is a workaholic, too serious, and a bad kisser. Now she lost one work assignment, her mother, and now her boyfriend when she is given her new client, famous actor Jack Stapleton. He has been out of the spotlight a little since his brother’s death and is now in town to help his mother.

Since Jack is reluctant to have a bodyguard, a plan is created for Hannah to act as his girlfriend to not arouse suspicion around his family. While the two try to remain professional, there is a lot of chemistry brewing between them. Not only is there a potential romance that the two of them are fighting to keep their boundaries, but each character goes through a lot of growth throughout the story. There are some fun moments as they try to navigate this ruse, especially around Jack’s family. I enjoyed Jack’s family in general and they made for a fun group to be around. Jack and Hannah were both enjoyable as each are going through their own struggles, which was nicely balanced with them getting to know each other.

The story does contain the usual shorter female lead (5’5”) with the taller male lead (6’3”), so it was disappointing that there was nothing unique about this in the story. I understand the idea that Hannah was not the typical build of a bodyguard, but it still felt like a miss to maybe do something different and maybe make Jack shorter, even a tiny bit, to stand out from other novels in this genre. There is also an emphasis, at times, for Hannah being more average in looks, which reminded me of Miss Congeniality, where “average” is not actually average. While these felt a little formulaic, it was still a very fun and sweet romance story. The very likable characters and writing of the story helped keep me interested and the excellent narrator helped elevate my reading experience.

Overall, there are predictable elements so I am not sure this novel would stand out among my vast collection of stories; however, I still absolutely loved this story and would read it again. There are humorous moments, emotional moments, and, of course, many romantic ones all weaved together. Jack and Hannah are complex characters, and their backstories are laid out well over time where the reader can follow them along on their journeys. This was a very fun read by Carter and I will gladly read more from her in the future!

**I want to give a special thank you to Netgalley and Macmillan Audio, for a review copy of this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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