The Bodyguard by Cherry Adair, Gena Showalter & Lorie O'Clare
(St. Martin's, $7.99, R) ISBN 978-0-312-94323-3
***
The Bodyguard is an anthology with the common theme being the hero guarding the heroine. All three stories are paranormal suspense and overall do a good job in telling the story well. One of the stories dragged the rating down; otherwise I would have given this book four hearts.

Cherry Adair's story "Temptation on Ice" is set at a decommissioned Soviet submarine station in the Arctic Ocean. Sebastian Tremayne works for T-FLAC, which is an organization that fights terrorism using agents with paranormal powers. Sebastian doesn't have a power of his own, but is able to take on other agents' powers when working with them. Dr. Michaela Giese is a physicist and T-FLAC's intelligence points to her as the brains behind the operation of detonating a nuclear bomb to melt the polar ice cap.

Sebastian and Michaela have a history and he is in shock when he learns she is their target. Michaela was engaged to Sebastian's best friend and they met at the engagement party. They had an instant attraction and ended up back in the hallway of the house kissing passionately. Michaela then broke off her engagement and went on a trip to clear her mind. Her crashed plane was discovered in the ocean and she was believed dead. Sebastian is now on a mission to kill her in order to save the world, but is also fighting his feelings for her and his need to protect her.

"Temptation in Shadows," by Gena Showalter, is a story about a woman, Gabrielle Huit, who was abducted as a child and had a computer implanted in her head. She is able to download files from computers by just being near them. The Rose Briar organization agents, Sean Walker and Rowen Patrick, have entered her life undercover to attempt to win her trust and convince her to join their team of agents who all have special abilities. Sebastian is able to control shadows to conceal him or whoever / whatever he wants to hide.

Sean has an instant attraction for Gabby and contrives a stunt to abduct Gabby and then save her in an effort to win her trust. The stunt goes terribly wrong and they both discover that another group of people are after Gabby - or so they think. Sean goes to great lengths to protect Gabby while also trying to reveal who is after her.

The final story is "Hunting Temptation" by Lorie O'Clare. In this one, Seth Gere is a bounty hunter who is currently tracking a serial killer, Tray Long. Seth then meets Jenna Drury, a werewolf, who seems to be Tray's next target. Jenna and Seth share an intense attraction and Seth is struggling with his need to protect Jenna. Jenna, on the other hand, is trying to prove her strength and independence after being so suffocated by her older brother and pack-mates.

Cherry Adair and Lorie O'Clare do a very good job at telling an engaging story that is packed with action and has a great romance. They both have an easy flow and appealing dialogue. There is enough description to give the reader a good picture, but not too much that it bogs down the story.

Even though these are paranormal stories, I would say that "Hunting Temptation" is the most believable and it is my favorite of the three. The reaction to conflict is plausible and Jenna and Seth's attraction fits in naturally with the story.

"Temptation in Shadows" is my least favorite of The Bodyguard anthology. When I read my brief plot outline above, it sounds like an interesting story, but the writing did not live up to the potential of the storyline. There is too much description and the story gets bogged down in repeating detail. The dialogue at times is awkward and doesn't completely fit with the characters' personalities.

The three stories are in no way related to each other, so my recommendation would be to read "Temptation on Ice" and "Hunting Temptation" and use your own judgment on "Temptation in Shadows."

--Nichole Howell


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