Title: Guardian for Hire
Author: Christine Bell
Publisher: Entangled Indulgence
Sarabeth Lucking’s life is turned upside down when the couples’ retreat she works for winds up embroiled in the biggest scandal of the year. With her reputation in tatters, she can’t imagine things getting worse, until her former co-workers are rubbed out, and a bad-ass, ex-Army Ranger shows up hell-bent on protecting her. She shows him the door, perfectly content with letting him go find someone else to brood over. Right up until her car explodes into a ball of flames…
Gavin McClintock grew up on the streets of Edinburgh, so protecting Dr. Stick-Up-Her-Rear isn’t on his bucket list. Still, a promise is a promise, and, after her brush with death, he’s going to do whatever it takes to keep Sarabeth safe. When she finally gives in and shreds her librarian-in-mourning look in favor of a sex kitten, the revealing clothes and sexy new hairdo unleash the spitfire she’s been hiding beneath that shell of propriety.
Maybe the doc isn’t the only one in need of protection…
I love Christine Bell’s writing! It’s quirky and fun (as her blog post attests) and hot and romantic all at the same time. I don’t know how she does it–one minute I’m laughing, and the next I have to fan myself. Guardian for Hire showcases her talents well.
Sarabeth and Gavin both come into their relationship on totally the wrong foot. He thinks she’s a prissy rich chick with a stick up her butt and a sense of entitlement. She thinks he’s a bossy, overbearing meathead whose services and opinions are definitely not needed. Watching them re-evaluate their first impressions–and fall for each other in the process–is sooooo much fun.
As they get to know each other better, both make all kinds of miscalculations and mistakes, second-guessing themselves constantly. I loved this scene because it shows Gavin trying to be the good guy–after embarrassing her horribly just minutes before (check out the excerpt from Christine’s guest post here, it immediately proceeds this one)–and making one blunder after another. Giggle worthy. Yet the next minute? Steam. Check it out:
Scooping up the box of generic tissues off the chipped beige sink, he swung the door open again. “Hey, uh, you want some Kleenex?”
She’d buried her face in her hands and her shiny, newly darkened hair gleamed as she nodded. He tossed the box toward the empty side of her bed, but she picked that exact moment to turn to her side, looking up just in time for the box to smack her squarely on the bridge of her nose.
The box toppled to the floor, and he winced as her hands darted to the offended spot.
Yeah, he was like The Notebook when it came to cheering women up. All warm fuzzies here. What a comfort.
“Shit, sorry about that.” He crossed back to kneel by her feet and scooped the box from the floor. He pulled a few tissues out and shoved them toward her. “Are you bleeding?”
“A little.” She reached for the wad and he could see the blood trickling from the split in her otherwise perfect skin.
Lovely. She’d been under his protection for less than a day and already she was hurt. And he’d done the hurting, to boot. Renowned security specialist at your service, lass. If Owen found out, he was going to break his balls mercilessly over this. “I guess it’s lucky that was today’s only injury.” He half smiled.
“Huh?” Her brows knit together as she peered at him through
watery eyes over her makeshift bandage.
“Well, with your car, your whole body could’ve been blown to pieces. So. In all, it was a good day.” As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he realized just how much better they’d sounded in his head. Because in his head, it had sounded nothing like, Hey, remember when you almost died a horrific, fiery death? Good times, right?
She stared at him like he’d lost his marbles, but mercifully, she’d stopped crying. Instead, she seemed focused on patting at her nose gingerly like she was blotting out a stain.
“That’s cartilage, there. You’ll need to apply more pressure than that,” he offered.
“It’s the only way to stop the bleeding. Give it here.” She didn’t hand over the tissues, and rather than forcing them from her, he laid his hand over hers, pressing firmly. “There. Like this.” She sucked in a breath, but didn’t fight him. Her hand was even softer than he’d expected. Warmer, too. With her being so damn chilly toward him, he’d half expected some kind of arctic blast from her touch. Instead, the skin he found was silky and inviting. The bones felt so small and delicate in his giant mitt and for an instant, he was almost afraid of breaking her.
You’ve already done that, you big oaf, he reminded himself.
Exactly why he shouldn’t be around women like her. A long moment passed before she murmured, “That, um, feels better actually. Thank you.”
Her gaze locked with his and a bolt of heat sizzled through him. No fucking way. Not that. Not now.
Not with her.
Yep. Lots of mental kicking going on there. There’s more where that came from, and I adored every minute.
And just in case you weren’t already convinced that Gavin was awesome with a side of awesome sauce, despite his inner awkwardness? He buys her a bag full of used books to keep her occupied while she’s under house arrest. Bodice-rippers are included.
He buys her books. Romance novels. Talk about fictional characters you can fall in love with…
If someone were to blow up my car, would this guy show up at my door? Please?
Guardian for Hire is the second book in the For Hire series, the follow-up to Wife for Hire. Its events build off of what happened in book one, but enough is revealed about that plot that if you haven’t read it already you aren’t lost here.
But, yes, you’ll want to back up and read Wife. Trust me on this.
Rating: 4 1/2 stars, A rating.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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