Warning: spoilers abound.
An intriguing blurb plus an awesome cover do not necessarily guarantee a good read—and such was the case with The Protector.
Between the odd choice of descriptors, excessive amount of exclamation points, and the use of certain dialogue tags, I couldn't help but wonder if the book had been professionally edited at all. All the spitting and spluttering was off-putting, to say the very least.
Cami Logan is a twenty-five-year-old fashion model and aspiring designer—or half of one, at least. She does the sketching, her friend does the sewing. Then there was her stint in rehab for cocaine addiction, but now that that's behind her, she's ready to get back to her busy schedule of shopping, drinking, the odd photoshoot here and there, and having girls' days with her BFF, where they paint each other's nails, giggle like school girls, and drink copious amounts of wine. But she'll have you know she's more than just a pretty face. Like, duh.
Before long, Cami gets summoned to her rich daddy’s office, a guy I couldn’t help but to picture as Donald Trump, where she’s informed that, thanks to his shady business practices, her life is in danger, and, as such, good old daddy is taking precautionary measures to ensure her safety.
Enter Jake Sharp, a thirty-five-year-old, emotionally stunted, ex-military sniper, and Cami's hired bodyguard. Jake is supposedly the best money could buy. With a 100k a week price tag, he should've been, but that just wasn't the case. Cami easily gave him the slip, the first of many, within five minutes of meeting him. Well, that was money well spent.
From that point on, I couldn't take Jake seriously as a respectable, top-of-the-line bodyguard. He failed to live up to his reputation. It was amateur hour all around, to be honest. He didn’t even do any of the hard work himself. He’d kick back, make a phone call to Lucinda, his partner of a sort, and let her do all the work for him. He even got the added bonus of sticking it to his new boss by sleeping with his daughter. Way to earn that paycheck, Jake.
I had a hard time buying into the romance. Between Cami's juvenile demeanor and Jake's issues—his no strings, no attachments, closed-off emotions—I would've thought things would've been just a little more difficult between them. However, that wasn't the case. The romance was fairly easy. I just had a hard time believing that Jake, the same guy who callously kicked his one-night stands out of his home, could so easily develop this all-consuming, desperate love without a hitch.
The Protector is told from alternating first-person points of view. Something that, depending on the author, I'm just not all that fond of. Perhaps my opinion of Jake would've been different if half the story wasn't told from his perspective.
I wouldn’t have liked Jake either way; not after it was revealed that he had a dead wife and a four-year-old daughter whom he abandoned, because, apparently, it was easier to talk himself into believing the little girl wasn’t his, due to his wife's infidelity, than it was to man up and take care of her. After he abandoned his daughter, leaving her to be raised by her aunt, he spent his time having meaningless one-night stands and taking care of various people who requested his services. How noble of him. There was absolutely no coming back from that, at least not in my eyes.
This book had all the markings of a good romance. Pretty cover, ex-military hero, and an interesting blurb. Unfortunately, I just couldn't warm to the characters. Cami, for all her talk of being an independent woman, fell into the TSTL category. And as for Jake, well, I couldn't get over the fact that he seemed to struggle more over the death of his two military buddies than he did over the abandonment of his own daughter—or, hell, even the death of his wife. I'm sorry, but a man who would abandon his child is not a man, and certainly not the kind of hero I could get behind. Yet, miraculously, once Cami entered his life, he was suddenly ready to be a father—four years after the fact. Yeah, okay. But of course, being the end of the book, it was all rainbows and sunshine and happily ever after.
Overall, the execution left a lot to be desired. The book was overly long and hard to slog through at times, and had inconsistencies that were hard to ignore. At least fifty pages could've been shaved off and the reader would've been none the worse for it. I couldn't connect with the characters. The writing was bland. Furthermore, it took forever to resolve the central conflicts. I found myself bored with the progression of the plot, especially in regard to the threats against Cami, of which she herself didn't even care about. Ultimately, this was a miss for me.