Her Bodyguard
by Michelle Jerott, contemporary (2001)
Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-380-81317-3

Michelle Jerott's latest, Her Bodyguard is part exciting and exasperating. The romance is okay, great at places, the suspense subplot is okay, but the entire premise has a kind of staleness to it. It's a bodyguard story, obviously, and the author uses the type of conflict that makes this book a puzzling and irritating read. Anyone up for another "heroine in danger but she just doesn't appreciate the bodyguard, no indeed, he is such a nuisance and his guns make her uncomfortable" plot?

Prof Lili Kavanaugh is an academia gal who knows more about shoes than Imelda Marcos. In fact, she makes a career out of studying shoes as well as designing them. At a recent conference in the Morton Auditorium of the Art Institute of Chicago, she is taken hostage by some strange bloke and passes out after trying to beat the kidnapper off. When she comes to, her sister's on/off boyfriend and her sometimes manager has gotten her a bodyguard. He's not bad-looking, but he's sure sexy and dangerous. Meet Matt Hawkins. He's hot and he has an eye on Lili's body.

Too bad Lili isn't buying any of the Bodyguard thing. And the mystery of her attack may be tied up to the pair of shoes in her collection that belonged to a 1930s mob dude's moll.

Lili is fun, real (not the asexual, too shy, eek-eek-shy-eek-eek way - she's real), and snappy, but I have no idea why she is so dead set against Matt. Even when she finally falls for that guy, she is still gritting her teeth over the whole guns-and-ammo thing. Lady, he is protecting you, and the last time I check, he is no martial arts expert at unarmed combat. Then again, I have a feeling Lili may just squeal just as loud if Matt wave his fists around. Ms Jerott doesn't make Lili too irrational in Lili's stance against violence, but still, Lili doesn't make much sense.

Or maybe it does when I take into consideration several other aspects of this story, such as Matt's imminent retirement from his job and an old shady friend of Matt, when His Bodyguard has a subtle anti-violence theme to it. Even then, Lili's behavior could have been explained better, because I really grit my teeth when she is throwing her temper tantrum around Matt's attempt to do his job.

Matt and Lili have great chemistry, and when they click, they really click. The mystery of the shoes are interesting too, and I wish the backstory has been delved deeper. Her Bodyguard is great, but at the same time, it could have been better.

Rating: 83

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