Posts Tagged ‘bodyguard trope’

First in a series alert! I doubt the rest of the series is Rock Fiction, since it’s more about the security team than the rockers, but, well, we’ll have to figure it out somehow. Which means either you or I (or Susan) will read it and see.

Here’s what the first one is about:

He’s been chasing a memory . . .

It was just supposed to be a regular Thursday afternoon…and then he saw her. Sitting in seat L214, one seat over from his at the baseball game, right next to her douche of a soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend. An impromptu kiss for the kiss cam, and Jax knew his life would never be the same. Five years and a tour in Afghanistan later, Jax is back stateside running his own private security firm, Iron-Clad, with his best friend. He isn’t the man he used to be… but Megan isn’t the sexy and sweet, though sheltered, twenty-two-year-old he left behind, either. And she’s in trouble.

…but now they’re on the run.

Megan Cruz has made something of herself. She’s turned her dreams of pop stardom into a reality. But when a deadly stalker breaks into her home claiming to be her number-one fan, the only person she can turn to is the boy who got away. But Jax isn’t the same carefree charmer who stole her heart, then broke it when he joined the military. This man is seductive, hard, guarded. And he’ll do anything to protect what’s his.

So really it’s a bodyguard trope, right? Except there’s history, however small, and baggage.

This has potential to be more than just the bodyguard trope. (I just hope there’s enough Rock in this Rock Fiction.)

I’m drooling.

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You know, I can’t decide how I feel about books that wind up being the token Rock Fiction entry into a series. On the one hand, it’s a great way to expose non-Rock Fiction readers to our amazing category. But on the other, they have a greater chance of not breathing music the way the best Rock Fiction does. So are these books really showing the magic and pull of Rock Fiction?

Today’s Coveting entry is Anne Calhoun’s Going Deep. Check the description:

After weeks on a sold-out tour, singer Cady Ward is coming home for the holidays. But after one too many episodes of fan-craziness, Cady’s manager decides that she needs protection—in the form of muscled cop Conn McCormick. Longing for peace and quiet to prepare before her next album drops, Cady doesn’t need a bodyguard just to deal with some vague email threats…though she can’t deny that close proximity to Conn’s body is a very nice place to be.

Conn is in the midst of a career scandal when his boss assigns him to pop-star guard duty. It’s a poor use of his skills, even though Cady’s feisty nature proves the perfect distraction for Conn while Internal Affairs investigates his case. What begins as a sizzling attraction becomes something deeper than either Conn or Cady could have expected. But when Conn uncovers the sinister plan behind the threats to Cady, he’s faced with a professional dilemma: To save her life, will he risk having a future with the only woman who’s ever touched his soul?

Ahh, the bodyguard trope. You guys know that I think it’s hard to touch this one, given how well Lorelei James did it a few years back.

But this book might be coming at it from a different angle. After all, Cady isn’t on the road (or so the back cover says), so that takes that element out of the picture. And the series is about the Black Ops dudes, so that suggests this is more the hero’s story than the heroine’s. Which is also cool. I mean, I love men. Why wouldn’t I love reading about them?

As always, it’s all about the execution, so bring this one on and let’s see how it executes. Or better yet, represents Rock Fiction. AND makes my knees weak. I love it when a good romance can make my knees weak.

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Bodyguard trope!

1 creep. 2 bodyguards. 3 men who change Molly’s life forever.

Guitar player Molly Davis is taunted with disturbing gifts by some creep she hopes like heck is a harmless, misguided fan. The owner of the bar where her band plays isn’t taking any chances, however, and hires Gabe Cooper and Caleb “Ram” Ramsey to stand guard over Molly and the rest of the band.

Cooper is all business and doesn’t mess with Molly’s emotions. She can handle that. Ram is a different story. He’s gorgeous, has a good heart, and is sometimes infuriating. He doesn’t take Molly’s crap, giving him the potential to be the first man to shove his way through her stubbornness and into her life.

But a violent attack proves the creep isn’t going away. And that almost wrecks everything.

Now, around here, the gold standard of the bodyguard story is Lorelei James’ Hillbilly Rockstar, so this book’s got some work to do, right off the bat.

Some things that give me a warm feeling about it:
* starting the description off with mention of a creep. Who talks about creeps anymore? Bring me the creep!

* This is set in a bar, not in the high-powered world of corporate rock. Who does that? Crystal Firsdon, that’s who. Bring me to the bar!

But I do wonder if this is going to wind up being a threesome story? And what the creep’s issue is, and oh, do I hope it’s so much more than the usual thin excuses. If you’re going to feature a creep this much in the description, I want a really good stalker-loser! Round that man out.

Yeah, a lot of potential here. Can it live up to the gold standard? Maybe not. But maybe it can, and I really hope so.

 

 

Note from Susan: Jett originally had the title of this wrong. I’ve gone and fixed it. Thanks to Crystal for being so gracious and even funny about the mix-up.

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I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about this one that makes me think I need a bottle of crazysauce with it. Or maybe I just need the wings and this book’s bringing the crazysauce. Take a look:

Rock star billionaire Johnny Q Venom would rather be writing songs and performing for small audiences than flying across the globe for concerts and celebrity appearances. The man knows exactly what he wants…to possess Amanda Baker completely. For over three years, Johnny has followed Amanda’s rise and fall as female wrestler Roxy Punisher. And now that the time is right, he will pull out all the stops to finally have her. Can he break down Amanda’s emotional defenses and win her over?

Forced to retire from her passion of female MMA wrestling in her early twenties, full-time security guard Amanda Baker gets the opportunity of a lifetime — to be the personal bodyguard of multi-platinum rockstar Johnny Q Venom. And for more money that she has ever seen. What Amanda doesn’t know is her new employer has secretly been her biggest fan for years. Will the handsome billionaire be her model boss, or will their sizzling attraction to each other cause her more problems than it’s worth?

I think it’s the whole billionaire part that tips this from being a couple different familiar plots and shoves it into crazy. Or maybe it’s that this is supposed to be New Adult. Bands aren’t paid 25c for anything anymore — and not because they’re getting more than that. So for Johnny Q Venom to be a billionaire means he’s either Ozzy’s age or else he comes from money. Given his privileged attitude here, he could be born into money. That would sure explain why he thinks so much of himself that he longs to play for small audiences.

Dude, do you know what that would cost?

Given the recent history of authors getting mad when someone dares to criticize the plot of their books, I’m gonna shut up now. You all know Susan thinks Lorelei James wrote the best bodyguard story since the movie, so right there, this book’s going to have to live up to that. And it’s spread over four volumes. I don’t know why. Kinda strange, I think, but what do I know?

And before these authors get all pissed off even more, let me be the one to invite ’em down this time. Johnny Q Venom?

Bella and Bella, please stop in and write us a post about how you came up with THAT name. And in the book, do we find out his real one?

Yes, I’d read this. Because maybe it sounds like something it’s not, and most likely, if I don’t read it, I may miss out on something great. I don’t like missing out.

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I have a question about this one right off the bat, so let’s get right to it.

Sometimes when you fall, you land just where you need to be…

Gwen Tennison got out of Afghanistan alive but scarred–and then got stuck on her sister’s couch. When she’s offered a job managing the U.S. tour for rock music’s hottest, most troubled star, it seems like just the thing to snap her out of her post-injury funk. Her instructions are simple: start the shows on time, and keep him clean.

But Lucas Wheeler may be more than she can handle. Though he’s drug-free, he still feels the need, and his gorgeous, capable new tour manager is a challenge he can’t ignore. Fame and infamy have forced Lucas to protect his heart, but soon he finds himself craving Gwen’s touch, and yearning to give her control. And Gwen might feel the same way.

But it’s not just the mutual heat between them that is keeping Gwen on her toes. Someone is following Lucas from city to city. With more than just her job on the line Gwen must decide how much she’s willing to risk to keep Lucas safe.

So aside from the two typos Susan found — and she’s yowling that it’s not just self-publishing where this is a problem, because this book was published by a division of Penguin, which is one of the biggest of the big publishers — we’ve both got an issue with how this starts off. Gwen gets out of Afghanistan alive and … winds up as a tour manager.

Susan has friends who’ve worked in the industry as roadies for years and haven’t been tapped to make that leap. Why does Gwen? How? Is she competent for the job? It’s so much more than keeping someone clean and starting shows on time. Hell, starting shows on time isn’t even the tour manager’s job. (It’s the production manager’s, for you who’re keeping score.)

Now, maybe the story itself will make a lot of sense once you get past that. But maybe it won’t. It’s hard to tell because there’s a lot of focus on the “capable new tour manager” and … well, from this description, it just doesn’t wash. Not unless she’s got a history of working in the business prior to the whole Afghanistan thing.

And is she a bodyguard or a tour manager? A tour manager’s not going to be expected to put her life on the line for her artist. Just… no. She’s not security. She’s the band’s asshole. Security is security. Tour manager is tour manager. Two different jobs.

The hard thing with Rock Fiction is establishing expertise. If the author can’t do that, what’s the point of setting the book in the rock world?

Yeah, I know. It’s a sexy place. The glamour. The bright lights. The stage clothes — it’s like playing dress-up. The roaring audience. I’ll admit it: I’m intrigued by the people behind all that, too. Who are they? What pulls them in and makes them want to be part of it? Because let’s face it: one of the first things you learn when you start hanging out backstage is just how grimy and scummy it is.

But you gotta sound like you know what you’re talking about. And from the description here, I’m not hopeful.

Of course, this doesn’t mean I won’t read it. It just means I’m going to approach it with a little bit less of my usual excitement and expectation. Who knows? Maybe that’ll let me rate it higher once I hit the end. Set the bar low and all that… And I’m hoping this is the only thing wrong with the book. I really am.

This review was originally posted at West of Mars. It is being posted here, at its new permanent home.

I sat down with Maya Banks’ Sweet Possession hoping for a hot, steamy Rock Fiction romance. I’d been hearing talk of Ms. Banks’ books for years and was excited to check out her work for myself.

Sad to say, I was disappointed. I’ve seen the plot before: single man hired to be diva pop star’s bodyguard. Sparks fly.

Wasn’t there a movie about this?

From the Rock Fiction angle, Lyric could have been anyone. She could have been a model or a socialite, or the daughter of a public figure. The pages don’t resonate with music. Very little about Lyric does.

From the romance angle, the story seemed familiar. There’s the secret that is the reason Lyric is a diva. The single guy who protests he’s not going to fall for the woman, only to crawl into her bed a page later. She’s resistant. He’s supportive and has all the answers.

Frankly, I’d have been yawning, except it drove me crazy how every single character used the phrase, “Have a kitten.” Food was yummy. People felt snuggly.

Blech.

Okay, anyone know why the new WordPress’ so-called “improved posting experience” ATE my original of this review?

There may not be a better example of the bodyguard trope in romance than the classic Whitney Houston/Kevin Costner movie.

Count on Lorelei James to create a book that goes toe-to-toe with a movie – and might even top it. Hillbilly Rockstar is the name of it, and it’s the newest entry into her Blacktop Cowboys series.

I suspect that we’ve met both Liberty Masterson and Devin McClain in previous Blacktop novels. I’m a shameful James fan and haven’t read more of the series. But it doesn’t matter, as this is the novel in which they both get to shine.

The premise is classic. Devin’s got security issues, and his people hire Liberty’s people. I mean, hello? How else can this storyline get started? We know this about the bodyguard trope. There’s not a lot of way around it. The magic here is what happens once the two start working together, Liberty pretending to be his personal assistant and not minding – much – the sneers of a band who think they know better.

Blue streak in her hair or no, Liberty’s no groupie.

So the story is really about how their romance comes about. In fact, Devin’s security threats are almost a second thought as the story unfolds, and that’s perfectly okay. This isn’t meant to be a romantic suspense, which it would become if the threat to Devin was more serious.

Really, what can you say? It’s delicious watching Liberty and Devin fall in love. If anything, I’d argue this is more Liberty’s story than Devin’s; she’s the rounder, more real character. There’s further for her to go before she can overcome her past scars. From clothing to career to learning to care, this is her journey. Devin, he just has to quit with the groupies – which he has – and take care of his band. Which he, largely, does. He has that over-the-top charisma that makes a really good rock star, and it’s tempered with more than a streak of introvert to him. But this means there’s also less of a path for him to follow in order to grow; at the end, he’s not much different from the man he was at the beginning.

But oh, who cares? I mean, we could make that same claim about Kevin Costner, right?

Where Hillbilly Rockstar gains the edge, though, is the racy stuff. Woo whee, this is author James’ strength. I know there are hordes of readers who pick up her books just for her knowledge of the fun stuff that can transpire between a man and a woman in a bedroom, and it’s hard to fault them for that. James is an author who can create amazing characters you’d like to have populate your real life. Her settings are fully researched – I can’t find a single fault with the rock and roll details in Devin’s life (although I did have a few questions for my cadre of experts, especially about the venues as the tour progressed) – and the plotlines plausible.

Really, why this woman isn’t on the best-seller lists – all of them, and for months and years on end – I don’t know. Then again, when I look at some of the drek that does make it, well, there’s no accounting for taste.

Skip those. Spend time with Lorelei James.

Disclaimer, which can’t possibly be cool the second time around but here goes anyway: Lorelei herself sent me a copy of this, in a cool pink-bound ARC edition that’s going on my shelf of keepers and not just because she autographed it. I’ve known Lorelei for years and think she’s the cat’s meow. But lest you think that stopped me from doing anything but loving this book, perish that thought. Lorelei is a seasoned pro, and she knows the value of a well-written but negative book review. In fact, I don’t blame her if she’s a bit upset, hoping I would have written her one. But … well, she’s too damn good a writer for that to happen. Really, if it had needed to, I’d have had no qualms about doing it. But I didn’t need to. So there.

Jett-300x300Seems I’ve been seeing a lot of male-male romances being talked about lately. That’s fine, I suppose. It’s not generally my thing. I  mean, I like men and all. But I’d rather read a romance and dream that I’m the one being loved. For me, that’s part of the reason a girl reads romances.

Rock Fiction is a strong enough pull to make me, well, not forget that I don’t really like m/m romances. But I’m willing to put up with it for the sake of the Rock and Roll.

Sounds like there’s plenty in Guarded. Sounds like the story takes place on the road, and I love road tales (when they’re done right, but know what happens more often than it doesn’t? The details are messed up and the authors shoot themselves in the feet.) and there’s even the usual junkie cliche storyline, too. The main plot, itself, is the bodyguard story we’ve seen so often. Sounds like this one might give Kevin Costner a run for his money.

Another beef I have going in to this one: the heroes are Jordan and Jace. Know how often I had to go back and double-check to see which was the rock star and which was the bodyguard? What happened to treating the reader like gold and making sure they could tell one character from another?

Susan said she entered to win a copy of this at GoodReads, so if she wins, I guess we’ll both get a crack at it. Maybe it’ll surprise me … in good ways. I like those sorts of surprises.