Review: Reckless by Sybil Bartel

recklessTitle: Reckless

Author: Sybil Bartel

Year of publication: Out today! The author kindly gave me a copy to read and review

The heroine: Art gallery owner Princess Calandra Sophia Paradis Spiros

The hero: Ex-Marine/Bodyguard Damian Tyler

The blurb: Bodyguard.

Escort.

Bad boy.

I didn’t come from the wrong side of the tracks. I was the wrong side. Every cliché you could think of, my family embraced. The only advantage I had was being the best looking out of all my brothers. Except when I joined the Marines, looks didn’t count for shit downrange.

I wasn’t active duty anymore, and working for the best personal security firm in the business, my looks were getting me in more trouble than they were worth. I just didn’t realize how much trouble until a princess from a country I’d never heard of asked for me by name. Her request was simple—me, my gun, four days and five parties. But she recklessly failed to mention one crucial part of the assignment… pretend to be her new fiancé.

Now she was about to find out how reckless a bodyguard could be.

Standalone or series: This is book three of the Alpha Bodyguard series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: The third book in the Alpha Bodyguard series is about Tyler, whom we’ve met in quite a few books set in this universe previously. He’s one of the younger bodyguards on Andre Luna’s payroll, but he’s ex-military and more than capable of doing his job.

When Luna calls Tyler to his residential building to meet a potential new client early one morning, Tyler’s wary – he’s the only employee who even knows where Andre lives, and Andre never meets clients at his home. When Tyler arrives, he lays eyes on the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. She’s well-spoken and regal, and he soon learns why – she is a princess of a small (imaginary) nation near the Greek Islands, but has lived in the US for years.

She goes by Sophia Paradis, her middle and mother’s maiden names, but her first name is Calandra. She tells Andre and Tyler that she needs private security for a function she’s having at her art gallery the next night because she’s wearing expensive jewellery. Andre and Tyler knows she’s lying about why she needs protection, but she won’t be drawn into telling them the truth. Since she’s offering to pay an obscene amount of money for the job, which Tyler needs so he can buy his mother – a woman who raised him and his four brothers alone after his father died in an accident when Tyler was a baby – he accepts the job.

And falls head over heels in love with Calandra, as he calls her after she confesses she prefers her first name. Tyler’s never believed in love at first sight, but that changes when he meets her. By the end of the day, he has gotten the truth out of her about why she really hired him; she has a stalker, whose behaviour is escalating. He’s also managed to break every rule of the job and has sex with her in her office, crossing the line from client/bodyguard to so much more.

Calandra has never really gotten close to people because the one person she loved most – her mother – died when she was a child, and she’s afraid that people are only drawn to her because of her lineage. She’s afraid to let anyone into her heart again, in case she loses them, too. She’s never been with a man before, and Tyler is an attractive hurricane of a man who bursts into her life and claims her as his. He takes her to have dinner with his family, and meeting his mother and four brothers is both charming and hilarious. There’s also the usual appearances of other favourite heroes – Collins, Talon, Dane, Jared, and my Viking, Neil.

The whole book, apart from the epilogue, takes place over a forty-eight hour period so if you’re not a fan of a hero and heroine who fall in love at first sight, this may not be the book for you. But this author is one of my absolute favourites and I always enjoy her stories, and this one is no exception.

Review: Scandalous by Sybil Bartel

ScandalousTitle: Scandalous

Author: Sybil Bartel

Year of publication: Out today! The author kindly gave me a copy to read and review

The heroine: Actress Audrina “Dreena” MacKenzie

The hero: Bodyguard Tank Gunther

The blurb: Bodyguard.

Babysitter.

Chauffeur.

Not what the hell I thought I’d be doing with my life.

Especially not for a spoiled Hollywood actress on location in Miami Beach. But triple pay and carrying a gun had its advantages. I’d shove away paparazzi and screaming fans for a lot less. The Marines trained me to be Force Recon — intimidation and crowd control was child’s play compared to four tours. This assignment should’ve been easy money.

But the doe-eyed starlet with the perfect ass dragged me down her rabbit hole. Living for the spotlight, she leaked the perfect scandal. I warned her making headlines wasn’t in my job description, but she kept smiling for the cameras.

Now she was going to find out just how scandalous a bodyguard could be.

Standalone or series: Book one in the Alpha Bodyguard series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: There’s nobody who writes alpha males quite like Sybil Bartel, and she doesn’t disappoint with the latest in the amazing universe she’s created. It started with the Alpha Escort series, then moved into The Uncompromising series, and now we have Scandalous, the first in the Alpha Bodyguard series.

Audrina “Dreena” MacKenzie is a famous actress, having made the leap from child star successfully. She’s originally assigned to Tyler, but when he fails to keep her contained as she strips and runs across Miami Beach naked, screaming that she’s drowning, Tank takes over the assignment of protecting her.

Tank Gunther, whose real first name is revealed in the book (and it suits him perfectly!), believes the young woman to be nothing more than a spoilt brat who needs to be kept in line. But as he gets to know her, he sees the real woman underneath… and she intrigues him. She’s hiding something from him, something about her past, and he’s determined to find out what it is. When her agent and publicist turn up to chew her out over her latest little stunt, Tank finds himself defending Audrina (he refuses to call her Dreena) since nobody else seems to.

In turn, Audrina doesn’t quite know what to make of Tank. He’s so very different to anyone else in her life. He treats her as a human being, deserving of respect and loyalty. She’s been keeping quite a few secrets, one of which involves making a new life for herself, and when she finds the courage to follow through she realises that Tank is the only person she has on her side.

They’re drawn to each other, even though they’re very different people in lots of ways. There’s a level in which they understand each other, and that deep-seated attraction rises to the surface, before neither of them can ignore it anymore. However, when Audrina says something on live TV that threatens not only Tank’s job, but could cost Andre Luna his business, she flees.

It takes Tank the better part of two weeks, but he finds her. He uncovers the secret she’s been hiding from the world, and he’s so appalled at what she has endured that he’s determined to make sure she comes back with him to Miami. To him. To stay. So he can protect and, yes, love her for the rest of his life. Even if she does drive him crazy.

Sybil works her magic once again and this book left me breathless for many reasons. Warning: Tank is incredibly dirty, so if graphic descriptions of sex and swearing isn’t your thing, this may not be the book for you. But if you love alpha males, strong-willed females, and a hot and heavy romance, then read this book immediately. And then go back and read all of Sybil’s other books, because you’ve really missed an incredible universe of characters who will stay with you for a long time.