The Bodyguard by Katherine Center


“Hannah Brooks looks more like a kindergarten teacher than somebody who could kill you with a corkscrew. 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. Jack Stapleton’s a household name – he’s captured by paparazzi on beaches the world over and 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.

When Jack’s mom gets sick, he goes 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 better judgment – finds herself pretending to be Jack’s girlfriend as a cover. Even though her ex says no one will believe it. Hannah hardly believes it herself, but the more time she spends with Jack, the more real it all starts to seem. And therein lies the heartbreak. Because it’s easy for Hannah to protect Jack. But protecting her own long-neglected heart? That’s the hardest thing she’s ever done.”

-Synopsis from inside front cover


*trigger warnings in book but not in the review include: death of a parent, alcoholism, violence, car crash, drowning, cancer, mental health issues*

I’ve seen Katherine Center’s books everywhere but this is the first of hers that I have read. I picked it when I saw the audiobook was available at my library (and after seeing it had good reviews online).

Wow, I was so surprised by how much I liked this book! The story is so well-plotted and Hannah’s character is so complex. Even Jack’s storyline was more complex than I expected it to be. It was such an entertaining read that was equally emotional, thoughtful, and sweet. It reminded me in some ways of Christina Lauren’s books, where every single box is checked and the story is just perfect.

I will admit some of my surprise is because based on the cover of this book, I wasn’t sure if it would be for me. I know illustrates covers are hugely popular and everyone loves them but I think they sometimes inadvertently make a book appear like it will be less serious than it actually is. That’s why I was so surprised by the depth of this story, and fair warning there are many difficult topics covered. This is not meant to be a criticism of Katherine Center by any means – the cover is just not what I would have expected for this book.

I listened to most of the book on audio and read the second half on the physical copy and really enjoyed both. I will for sure be reading more of Katherine Center’s books in the future!

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