by Megan Hart
Series: The Protector #1
Also in this series: Wicked Attraction, Forbidden Stranger
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
A female bodyguard with enhanced abilities. A billionaire playboy committed to destroying people like her. A romance they didn’t expect…
Dive into the first book in this fantastic new series set in the near future from New York Times bestselling author Megan Hart!
Nina Bronson used to be all human -- until the experimental surgeries and internal technology that saved her life and enhanced her as a soldier also forced her to leave the army for private service. Now she and her peers are facing slow, painful deaths unless their technology is upgraded, and the one man keeping those upgrades illegal and unavailable is an obnoxious billionaire. A man too gorgeous for his own good.
A man she’s supposed to guard with her life.
Ewan Donahue is the public voice speaking out against the enhancement procedures of injured soldiers. But when his lobbying leads to death threats, he needs someone to protect him around the clock. He doesn’t want to rely on an enhanced soldier—Nina’s tech goes against everything he stands for. But he really doesn’t want her to be beautiful like she is.
Doesn’t want her to suffer like she will.
Doesn’t want to succumb to the searing desire he feels for her.
As a series of attacks on his life send them to a remote cabin, their close proximity brings them together in ways they never imagined. They know they must prevent the need simmering between them, resist each other at all costs. But when tensions are high and danger is close, passion burns hottest of all…
I adore scifi romance, but I’m not a big fan of the “women kidnapped by aliens” genre, so it can sometimes be slim pickings. The blurb reminded me of the Deus Ex game series, which is a personal favorite, so I was very interested. This is, at heart, a scifi version of a “bodyguard and client” romantic suspense, and is a nice mix of action and romance.
Nina’s basically the female version of your typical ex-military alpha hero, which worked surprisingly well. I like books with strong heroines, but usually they also have even stronger heroes, so it was a breath of fresh air to have a heroine who’s both stronger and more alpha than her partner. She’s delightfully no-nonsense, and makes no apologies for who – or what – she is. She doesn’t hesitate to call out Ewan’s bullshit, either professionally or personally. When Ewan points out that they’re from completely different worlds, that his is dinner parties and business deals and hers is fighting and violence, Nina fires back that it’s people like him that make people like her necessary. She also makes no bones about the fact that they’re on opposite sides ideologically, and but she respects his opinion on that, which, frankly, is much more levelheaded than I would be in that situation. Without the enhancement upgrades, which Ewan actively fights against, Nina’s brain will slowly degrade until she’s basically a vegetable. Nina, however, has more of a “carpe diem” attitude, and I’m sure it also helps that she views their relationship – as boss and bodyguard as well as as a couple – as temporary.
“I’ve tossed it around from every direction. What it took to bring you into my life. How you’re the worst possible choice for me—”
“As far as compliments go, I have to say, you could use a few lessons in how to give them better.”
I was torn on Ewan. He’s a bit Darcy-ish about his attraction to Nina – a lot of the chapters from his point of view are about how much he hates his attraction to her. The part I had the hardest time with was the secret he kept from Nina. Ewan’s guilt for his part in the enhancement program is a driving motivator in his life. So, besides being ridiculously hypocritical, keeping that from Nina felt, basically, like a betrayal. Ewan has some roundabout logic that he doesn’t want to get into a relationship with Nina because he’s afraid it might actually turn into a longterm relationship. Part of her attraction to him, actually, is that as part of the enhancement process, she’s lost the ability to feel strong emotions, so she could never fall in love with him.
“[W]atching her in action had been one of the hottest things Ewan had ever seen . . . and he hated it. He didn’t need a reminder about what she was, and he definitely didn’t need to find it attractive. The idea of it was perverse, like if the doctor had wanted to make love to his monster after creating it.”
Their relationship is…interesting. From the start, there’s a tension between them that is unusual for both of them. She’s much stronger than him, obviously, and he actually gets off on her hurting him – nothing whips and chains, level, just biting and pinching, mostly. Ewan being Ewan, though, it’s another thing he doesn’t want to accept and tries to turn back around on her. Neither seemed to be able to decide whether they really wanted a relationship or not. While they do, eventually, fall in love (thanks to what seems like a giant dose of forced intimacy and cabin fever), I wasn’t completely sold on it, given Ewan’s actions and general selfishness. While he certainly takes steps towards redeeming himself, by the end of the book, he’s still not there. Also, this is part of a series, so there’s no HEA, and, in fact, the ending is a bit of a cliffhanger.
I waffled back and forth on whether to give this 3 or 4 stars, and eventually rounded up to 4 because I do really want to know what happens next. Can they make their relationship work? Now that one threat to Ewan’s life has been dealt with, will more spring up, especially once their relationship becomes public?
Overall, while I found some parts frustrating, I’m very much looking forward to the next book to find out what happens next. Recommended if you like romantic suspense scifi with strong alpha heroines!