Series: Bachelor Bodyguards (Book 1)
Return to Payne Protection for the latest scandal in this brand-new Bachelor Bodyguards series
Once a bad boy, always a bad boy. At least that's what Candace Baker tells herself after being scorned by fellow bodyguard Garek Kozminski. And her hot Payne Protection coworker hasn't just returned to his lawless ways...but his old girlfriend, too Heartbroken, Candace is determined to send Garek back where he belongs--jail.
No one--even sexy Candace--can know Garek is faking his criminal comeback to bring down a mobster. But when a curious Candace almost blows his cover, Garek must come clean to her--risking both their lives. Now the bodyguard duo is forced to keep their enemies close...and the danger closer.
Very good book. This one picks up where the previous series (Shotgun Weddings) left off. Payne Protection's business is picking up, so they hired the brothers of Logan's wife Stacy (Explosive Engagement) to be part of the team, even though both have criminal backgrounds. Garek has been doing a good job, though he gets on the nerves of fellow bodyguard Candace. He's constantly flirting with her, even though she doesn't encourage him. There's a sizzle of attraction between them, but Candace tries to ignore it, until the night an impulsive kiss turns to more. Then Garek leaves without a word, leaving Candace feeling used and furious.
In spite of what happened, Candace doesn't trust Garek. Her belief is that he won't last long on the right side of the law, and she fully expects him to return to his criminal ways. She believes her concerns are justified when Garek takes a job as bodyguard to his old boss's daughter who is also his former girlfriend. Candace is determined to get proof of his misdeeds and send him back to jail.
What Candace doesn't know is that Garek has been recruited by FBI agent Nick Rus to get close to Viktor Chekov and find the proof they need to put him away. Garek doesn't dare let his feelings for Candace show because that would put her in danger from Chekov. Unfortunately for Candace, her interest in Garek's activities make her a target.
There's a lot of action as Garek works to protect Candace from the results of her curiosity. I loved the way his feelings for her are demonstrated by his protectiveness. He tries so hard to keep her away from his activities, but he's no match for her persistence, and he finally has to tell her the truth. It was pretty satisfying to see Candace's suspicions proved wrong, though Candace had already begun to suspect that there was more to what was happening than she knew. I loved watching her realize that she really didn't want him to be guilty, and that she was beginning to fall for him.
Each attack on Candace makes Garek more determined to find his evidence quickly. He feels that his case is getting stronger as each attack appears to link back to the missing evidence. I loved seeing Garek and Candace start to work together, and they soon came up with a plan that would accelerate their results. The final confrontations were really intense, as an unexpected twist put Candace in extreme danger. The resolution was great, with a surprise at the end of it for Garek and Nick.
Both Candace and Garek are stubborn in holding to their goals, so it's no wonder that they spend a lot of time clashing during the year they have known each other. Candace's tunnel vision in regards to Garek was frustrating at times to watch. Once Candace let go of her prejudice against him, she was quick to see the good in him. One of the things I liked best about Garek was the obvious love he had for his family. So many of the things he had done in the past were done to protect them. For such a rough and tough guy, the scene at the end with Candace's Christmas present was really sweet and romantic, with an unexpectedly vulnerable side coming out.
I really liked seeing the characters from the previous series make appearances in this one. Logan and Stacey were particularly prominent, and I loved Stacy's part in getting Garek and Candace together. I also loved learning a little more about Milek. He's had such tragedy in his life, but the end of this book gave an indication that things are going to change for him. I also hope to see more of Agent Nick Rus, as he seems due for some happiness of his own.