Overall Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I am always on the hunt for new authors. As a blogger/reviewer, I love when I receive emails looking for readers for an author, especially one I haven’t read. This was the case with Nana Malone. Even though she has an impressive existing book list, she simply hadn’t hit my Kindle search until I received an email about her newest book, Bodyguard to the Billionaire. In reading the blurb for the book, I was hooked for one of many reasons: (1) billionaire romance, (2) doppelgänger, (3) strong female hero (she’s a bodyguard), and (4) hints of a forbidden romance. And this book doesn’t disappoint in fulfilling those categories. Bodyguard to the Billionaire is the first book in a duet, so it ends on a nice little (not really little…actually, BIG) cliffhanger. If you’re looking for a HEA at the end of this book, you have to wait patiently for the second book in the duet, The Billionaire’s Secret (which you can preorder now).
The story follows Theo and Zia. Theo is a look-alike to the playboy billionaire, Derrick Arlington. Derrick approaches Theo and asks him to pretend to be him for a short time, no explanation given other than Theo must ensure Derrick’s company’s acquisition proceeds. Derrick offers Theo an exorbitant amount of money to fulfill this task, and Theo needs the money to work himself out of a hole left by leaving a former job. What Theo doesn’t bargain far is an attempt on his life.
Enter Zia. Zia is a King’s Knight, a bodyguard under the royal guard. She helps save Theo on the night an attempt is made on his life. Given that Derrick is a cousin to a king (and a lord), a decision is made for Zia to protect Theo/Derrick as his bodyguard. She will act as his girlfriend and personal assistant. From the start, these two feel a strong attraction to each other, but the complications of a relationship keep them apart until they can no longer deny their feelings for each other. Will Zia keep Theo/Derrick safe? Will she forgive Theo when she finds out that he is not Derrick? Will these two find a happily-ever-after? Those are the questions.
Given that I had not read Nana Malone before Bodyguard to the Billionaire, I was woefully unprepared for the other characters in this book, namely the other King’s Knights and the royal figures. There are obviously other books that precede this book, so, while this is a standalone duet, it can be confusing in understanding the relationships between Zia and the other people in this book. There are quite a few other characters who have clear backstories, and it left me a bit overwhelmed at times. For example, King Sebastian asks Theo/Derrick to join a basketball game and various other male characters join in. It is clear that they have books of their own, and I would have liked to know them better in this book. However, this is more about me than Malone’s development of the story.
This book is a SLOW BURN. Theo and Zia fight their attraction vehemently, and they (especially Theo) question their feelings and motives constantly. Between the two of them, I found myself becoming frustrated at times. I’m not sure if that was Malone’s intent, but there was a bit of repetitiveness in the story as these two denied themselves for most of the book. In fact, these two don’t finally consummate (connect in the bedroom) until 80% into the book, so this romance requires patience. Again, it’s a slow burn.
There are many parts of this book I loved. For one, the story is interesting. I’m feeling as though this has a Parent Trap feel to it. I think Theo and Derrick will be more connected than initially suggested. There is definitely some romantic suspense in this book besides the forbidden romance aspect, and I think it will make for a big explosion in the second book in this duet.
Additionally, Theo and Zia offer the best type of character qualities. While struggling to mimic Derrick, Theo simply cannot hide his true self. It’s this identity that Zia really loves. It’s actually what I loved about him two because he is a little bit alpha, compassionate, and kind. Even more, Zia is the best type of heroine: she’s a strong woman who has denied her own happiness to ensure the happiness around her. When you meet this type of woman in a book, you cannot help but cheer on the hope that she will find someone who will live to bring her happiness. And we see this begin to transpire in this book. If she can forgive Theo in the second book, I KNOW Theo will become that swoony hero for Zia.
Bodyguard to the Billionaire is a great beginning to the Billionaire Duet. The moment I finished reading this book, I quickly one-clicked The Billionaire’s Secret because I’m hooked by this couple and their story. If you love a romantic suspense with a hero and heroine whose chemistry burns off the page, then you’ll want to read Nana Malone’s newest book.
In love and romance,