Review: First A Lady by Jade Cary

first a ladyTitle: First A Lady

Author: Jade Cary

Year of publication: Out today! I was kindly given a copy to read and review

The heroine: Former First Lady Grace Coolidge

The hero: Private security firm owner/former Secret Service agent John Marin

The blurb: Grace Ashton Coolidge will never forget the horror of seeing her husband, President Matthew Douglas Coolidge, gunned down by two rogue Secret Service agents on that convention stage, and she will never forget the agent who carried her to safety, and comforted her on a deserted road outside of New Orleans until they were found. Now, Grace must attend two functions as a former first lady, and the current president is requiring her to accept protection. The assassination has taught Grace that the Secret Service cannot be trusted, and she seeks out former agent John Marin to take the job.

She said it was for only two weeks, but former agent John Marin wants no part of protecting the former first lady. He sold everything and removed himself to a tropical island, where good rum, pretty, willing women, and amnesia was all he required. Losing a United States President on his watch could never be redeemed, but he finds it hard to resist the beautiful, elegant, haunted woman who chases him down and begs him to protect her. But there is more going on with Grace Coolidge than she is letting on. Refined, smart and beautiful, she is hiding something from him, and it will take more than leading her by the arm with his hand at her back to get to the truth. Whatever her past, she is a lady first, and he will protect her with his life, no matter the cost. And that cost might include his heart, a heart broken one humid night on a convention stage.

It was only two weeks, she said. But John Marin knows better.

Two weeks will never be enough time with this woman.

Standalone or series: Standalone.

The review: I have been lucky enough to read some enormously good books as of late, and First A Lady is definitely one of them. This book was glorious, with its rich characters, settings in two countries, and enough mystery to keep you interested.

Grace Ashton Coolidge’s husband, Matt, is the President of the US. When he’s assassinated in New Orleans, she’s pulled out of the line of fire by Secret Service agent John Marin. Marin was in charge of Matt’s protection, and didn’t realise what was happening until it was too late. He manages to get Grace out safely and comforts her, and Grace withdraws from the spotlight after her husband’s funeral by fleeing back to her native UK (she has joint US/UK citizenship, thanks to her parents).

A year later, she’s being threatened. Committed to participating in several events in Matt’s honour, the current president insists she has security or she won’t be allowed into the US. Grace understandably refuses Secret Service protection and says she will provide her own, and there’s only one man she trusts with her life – John Marin. Tracking him down to the Caribbean island he’s been holed up on, mired in guilt at failing to protect the President, she begs for his help… and he’s unable to refuse her. He’s always been attracted to Grace Coolidge; she’s beautiful and aristocratic, but not untouchable.

When he goes back to London with her to organise her trip to the US, he finds out Grace has secrets, secrets she won’t share with him. She has her reasons for hiding them, but he wants to know them all. He wants to know this woman who intrigues and haunts him. He wants her, even though he knows he can’t protect her properly as her lover. When they finally give in to the desire and attraction between them, they’re torn apart – by Grace’s secrets and by John’s stubbornness. Grace wants a family, and she wants it with John… but will he ever forgive himself for failing his President? Will he allow himself to finally give in to happiness with Grace?

You’ll just have to read it to find out. Make sure you do, okay? This book is in my top ten romance books of all time.