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-Plot- Grace Hall is a wealthy and powerful woman who is often in the media spotlight, partly because of her position as President of the Hall Foundation (a charity that gives art grants) and partly because she married a European Count. John Smith is ex-military and now runs a bodyguard business that gives protection to the rich and powerful. An article is written in a newspaper about the most influential women and shortly after one of them is murdered, a copy of the article is left next to the body. Grace is one of the women in the article so she hires Smith as her bodyguard. Things get complicated when they fall in love but can Smith keep her alive? And even if he does can they ever have a life together? -Opinion- I am a big fan of J.R Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood and I thought that while I was waiting for her new book to come out I would read some of the books that she wrote under the name Jessica Bird. I had high hopes for this book because I love so much of her other work and I was very disappointed. I wasn't just disappointed because this book wasn't as good as her paranormal stuff but because it just wasn't a very good book. The book didn't grip me right away as her books usually do and unfortuantely I didn't become anymore involved in the plot as the book went on. There were a few parts in this book that I enjoyed but for the most part I found it to be a very boring read and by the time I was halfway through the book I just wanted it to be over already. It felt as though the plot was very slow, particularly the romance side of it. On the one hand you have the plot with the murders and on the other the romance plot and while I think these could have been done well to compliment each other they weren't in this book. It's like both plots move forward seperately and this really made the book drag on. I didn't feel much of a connection with the characters. Grace was a nice enough character and Bird made her very human with all of her flaws as well as her talents and beauty. Smith on the other hand didn't feel as real as Grace. Grace describes him as being like a ghost in one scene and I think that's the best way to describe him. He has no real depth and you don't ever feel like you know the character. Although Grace is a nice person and you see a more real side to her character it's still difficult to feel like you know her. This plot wasn't an original one (I've just started reading a book by Nora Roberts that has a very similar plot) but I do think that it's a good one for romance novels and has a lot of potential. Unfortunately this book didn't reach it's potential. There are a lot of moments in this book that should have been tense but Bird builds no tension at all and this book didn't really make me feel anything. The book is quite well written, it just doesn't have any spark.
Jessica Bird is an American romance novellist who also writes paranormal romance/urban fantasy under the better known alias of J R Ward. It also has to be said that not only is she better known as J R Ward but she writes better as J R Ward too. Synopsis: Grace Hall is a wealthy heiress who is the latest target of an attacker who is threatening the city's successful women. Reluctantly, Grace hires a bodyguard in the shape of John Smith. And finds herself subject to the ironclad will of her new protector. In spite of her frustrations with John, she finds herself drawn to him in ways she can't explain.... For a romance novel to stay in the mind it really needs to have a hook or at the very least some originality. Unfortunately, although the story is a pleasant read it is about as memorable as a trip round the supermarket. By that I mean that everything in the book can be found in hundreds of other contemporary romances. The rich girl/bodyguard pairing is nothing new and the heroine being threatened by someone is nothing new either. The characterisation of the hero and heroine are good. They are fully fleshed out and the secondary characters are also more than the cardboard cutouts so often seen in romances but there is a terrible blandness about this book. Nothing in the story came as a surprise. I don't want to completely dismiss this book because, as I said, it is a pleasant read but don't expect the story to stay with you any longer than a day or so, if that, after you've finished it. A good holiday read where you don't want to tax your brain too much but for my money, you'd be better reading something written by her alter ego.