Jude is currently the biggest country music star. He’s at the top of the charts and the top of his game. He never thought it would be like that as the person closest to him told him many years ago that he would never amount to anything. Jude took that to heart and hasn’t had a relationship since. Not that it would be possible, even if he wanted to, because the story of a gay country singer is the next tabloid exclusive waiting to happen. So Jude stays closeted and unhappy. While being a top musician has its advantages, it also comes with a whole lot of crazy and Jude needs a bodyguard.
Derek is an ex-marine turned bodyguard and he is exactly what Jude needs. Despite Derek not being a country music fan, he has no problem keeping his eyes on Jude’s body. But Derek is just as closeted as Jude and anyone having a relationship with a famous musician is just asking for trouble. But trouble is finding Jude in the form of an ex who won’t take no for an answer and then from a break-in at his home. Derek’s priority becomes Jude, both on the clock as well as off, but if the men cannot openly follow their hearts, it will inevitably drive a wedge between them.
This book catches us up with yet another Marian brother, Jude. We have been given glimpses of Jude in both of the previous books in the Made Marian series and this book overlaps some of the time frame from both of those stories as well. The relationship between Jude and Derek stands alone for the most part, but there are brief references to incidents that happened in previous books. This book also follows suit with alternating first person points of view, which is always a bonus for me.
Jude is an easy character to like. From the first book and his interactions with his brother Blue, it was clear he was a good guy caught up in the world of music and being closeted. The only family member that knew he was gay was Blue. Even though Jude has several gay brothers and his parents adopted three of them after meeting them through a LGBT youth organization, Jude never felt comfortable coming out, mostly due to his career.
It’s been six years since Jude has been in any type of relationship. His last one ended badly and he hasn’t figured out how to be famous, gay, and in a relationship. What Jude does need is a bodyguard that knows what he is doing.
An injury ended Derek’s career in the military and he is now a bodyguard. At first, the country music is hard for him to take, but watching Jude certainly isn’t. Once the men realize they are both interested, they fall into what they think will be a friends-with-benefits situation, but emotions run high from the start. The men spend a lot of time together, they have great chemistry, and they have lots of opportunities to enjoy each other. The main conflict comes from will they be able to come out and what happens if one of then is ready but the other isn’t.
Alongside this are two side plots. One involves Jude’s ex who has resurfaced and one involves an overzealous fan. Neither of these storylines went anywhere at the end and were left dangling with no clear resolution. Also, the whole bodyguard setup was an issue for me right from the prologue. Jude is a mega star, yet he can’t find a bodyguard to protect him. One after the other are incompetent, yet Jude still stays with the same company. Derek was the only one that seemed to take the job seriously and even when he is off the clock, the relief bodyguard wasn’t comfortable confronting an issue until Derek arrived. Aunt Tilly is also back briefly and, as in the previous books, her comments are inappropriate, not funny, and not for me.
Jude and Derek had great chemistry, but there was a little something missing for me here with this overall story. Still, Lennox continues to intrigue me with the Marian clan and as the set up for Griffin’s story was laid out I know I’ll be looking for that one as well.