Rating: 3.75 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
With his days occupied by guarding the door of a middle-aged woman who “entertains” barely legal boys in her dressing room, bodyguard Ben Collins could use a break. Which is how he finds himself in an empty room—well, at least he assumed it was empty until he heard the sob. When he discovers an injured Daniel Lincoln, a contestant on the knockoff X-Factor show he’s working for, Ben immediately offers to take him to the hospital, but is asked instead for help to Daniel’s dressing room and maybe to stand guard outside his door.
When Daniel entered the competition, he was sure it would improve his relationship with Cam, his long-time boyfriend, but when Cam followed him to the show, his jealousy and temper turned abusive. Battered, bruised, broken, and cast off the show in third place, Daniel turns his back on Ben when the bodyguard shows concern for his use of painkillers. But Ben tells him to call if he ever needs help.
Months later, when he receives a call that Daniel needs his help, Ben rushes to his aid. When he arrives at the hotel to find Daniel drugged with an unknown woman, Ben goes on high alert and flips into bodyguard mode. Now protecting Daniel from his abusive ex and getting him back on his feet is all Ben cares about. Since the beginning, something about the broken rocker has called to Ben and that hasn’t changed, though falling into a relationship with one of his clients is not an option. But the more time Ben spends with Daniel the more he wants him and when his personal life is plastered in the papers for the world to see, it’s up to Ben to protect more than just Daniel’s life, he’ll have to protect his heart too.
The Ex Factor is the second book in R.J. Scott’s Bodyguard Inc. series.
R.J. Scott knows how to hit all my buttons. I have a weakness for broken characters and she can break them with the best. Thankfully, there’s also a white knight in this book in the form of an overprotective bodyguard. This book was sweet and fun and bit adventurous. It was a growth for Daniel, a journey of sorts into learning to stand on his own two feet and on the path he finds the love of his life.
Broken is putting it mildly. Daniel is beyond messed up. When the story opens, like a lot of abuse victims, he’s convinced that Cam loves him but was only upset. I can’t say he really blames himself, which I like about him. From what I can see, Daniel knows that Cam hitting him is wrong, but he remembers the good times and he thinks that making money in his music career can get them to that point again. Not only does he have abuse to deal with, but addiction to pain meds is an issue due to his injuries. He didn’t see it as a problem until Ben said something about it. So yeah, Daniel has his problems but his healing and strength in the end make him that much more lovable.
Ben is Ben. What you see is what you get basically. He’s one of the good guys. He was attracted to Daniel before the encounter in the closet but never said anything and wouldn’t have ever because he was duty bound to never cross the bodyguard/client line. His role in Daniel’s life at first is strictly platonic. He counts himself as a friend and wants nothing more than to make sure Daniel is safe and healthy. But when these two finally get together serious sparks fly. Scott does a great job at shifting their budding friendship into a growing, blooming romance.
I like Daniel’s mom and dad’s role in this story. Mom is the typical sweet, pampering, nurturing mother and dad is more of a to the point kind of guy. They make up a great back story for Daniel and where he came from—his hometown and all very tightknit and warm. But they also form a strong support system and barrier around Daniel when he’s at his weakest. They add a layer to Daniel’s story.
The storyline is fairly simple compared to some of this author’s plots. It’s not uninteresting, simply uncomplicated. I was hoping for more from Cam’s side of the story—maybe a mob connection that was after Daniel or someone trying to kidnap him for ransom. But in the end, the conclusion with Cam was a very brief and a bit disappointing. For such a massive villain in this book, he was curiously absent throughout most of it. I mean, he was mentioned often, but he’s only seen in two scenes and then only briefly.
I am always drawn in by this author’s ability to tell a story. She has a way of pulling me into a story seemingly without trying. And the same happened with this book, but I did find a snafu. There were some tense issues, mixing present and past tense. At first I thought it was a missed word or two. Those happen. But it happens a lot, so no, not just a missed word.
So, while I liked this book, I didn’t like it as much as I liked the first in the series, Bodyguard to a Sex God. Yes, the guys were super hot and the pull of Daniel’s brokenness was too much to ignore. But the story just didn’t live up to what I am used to from this author. It was good, but not as good. But still, I’m looking forward to what comes next in this series, and yes, I’m still awaiting Kyle and Ross’s story.